This combination of undated photos provided by the Arkansas Department of Correction shows death-row inmates Jack Harold Jones Jr., left, and Marcel Williams. Both men are scheduled for execution on April 24, 2017.
Arkansas Department of Correction/AP
April 24, 2017 8:42 AM EDT

Good morning. These are today’s top stories:

Arkansas prepares for rare double execution

In what could be the first double execution in the U.S. in more than 16 years, Arkansas is preparing to execute two inmates tonight despite legal appeals arguing they could experience extreme pain due to their poor health. Last week, Arkansas executed Ledell Lee, the state’s first use of the death penalty since 2005.

Political outsiders advance in French presidential election

Two anti-establishment candidates, centrist Emmanuel Macron and far-right populist Marine Le Pen, on Sunday advanced to a runoff in the French presidential election — a historic outcome that represented a challenge to the political status quo in the country. The results of next month’s runoff election will help determine the country’s role in the world, including is future in the European Union.

New Orleans has begun removing Confederate monuments

New Orleans officials removed the first of four Confederate monuments early today, which is still celebrated as Confederate Memorial Day in some states. The decision to remove the monument honoring the Crescent City White League was controversial, adding to a heated national debate over the continued use of Confederate symbols.

Also:

North Korea on Sunday threatened to sink a U.S. aircraft carrier traveling toward the Korean peninsula, the latest defiant response to mounting tensions between the two countries.

Today marks NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson’s 535th cumulative day in space aboard the International Space Station — a total that broke the national record and will earn her a congratulatory call from President Donald Trump.

Former President Barack Obama today will hold his first public event since leaving office, speaking with students at the University of Chicago about community organizing.

Hillary Clinton made a surprise appearance at the Tribeca Film Festival over the weekend.

The Morning Brief is published Mondays through Fridays. Email Morning Brief writer Melissa Chan at melissa.chan@time.com.

Write to Katie Reilly at Katie.Reilly@time.com.

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