What We Are Watching
Saudi Arabia putting women's rights activists on trial – Just in time for International Women's Day, Saudi Arabia has announced that a dozen women rights activists will now face trial for seeking to "undermine the security" of the Kingdom. Members of the group were arrested last spring amid a crackdown that coincided with the move to lift restrictions on women driving. The apparent contradiction here reflects Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's authoritarian approach to modernizing a deeply conservative country: he has taken steps to liberalize certain aspects of society while also unleashing a ruthless crackdown on civil society that includes the jailing of activists and the government's murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
People on Twitter using AI to snoop on Chinese officials – Fair warning: we're not sure if this person who claims to have used facial recognition technology to spot officials who would otherwise be lost in the crowd at the opening of China's National People's Congress picking their noses and stifling yawns is for real. But just the idea that someone is using AI to literally watch the government of a country that's controversially using the same technology to augment its security state and crack down on millions of members of its ethnic Uighur Muslim minority is too good to pass up. The Communist Party isn't pleased.
What We Are Ignoring
A wild Washington love triangle – A carousing pair of bald eagles has been causing a stir in the US capital. Longtime partners Liberty and Justice were Washington's most famous nesting pair before Justice flew the coop last month, possibly to sow his oats after a mid-life crisis. After a few days fighting off a pair of rival suitors, including a dashing interloper named Aaron Burrd, Liberty shacked up with one of them and fled the nest herself. Later, as the local press put it, Justice returned, but found that Liberty had moved on. We're ignoring this story despite the poignant political metaphor, because the feathery soul-mates were recently spotted together again, and they deserve some privacy while they try to work things out.
Indian mustache groupies – Apparently we weren't the only ones who noticed Indian fighter pilot Abhinandan Varthaman's striking mustache. The fighter jock, who was released by Pakistan on Friday after being shot down over Kashmir last week, became an overnight hero and viral sensation, with young men from across India flocking to barbershops for the "Wing Commander Abhinandan" look. We're ignoring these pretenders, because there is only one Wing Commander Abhinandan.