WHAT WE'RE WATCHING

More Brexit Bewilderment – Following yesterday's parliamentary votes, which failed to approve any alternative to Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit plan, she is now weighing whether to try and get it through one last time. Although Parliament has already soundly rejected it three times, it now looks to be the least tumultuous path forward, and a fourth vote could be held by the end of the week. Another round of indicative votes is also expected in Parliament tomorrow. If both votes fail, new elections or a second referendum might be the only way to break Britain's bewildering political paralysis. But the clock is ticking: the UK has only until April 12 to decide what it wants to do. If it doesn't, the EU has to either give London even more time to sort things out, or allow the UK to careen out of the Union without any deal on future economic ties.

Bouteflika's next/last move – Oil-rich Algeria's severely disabled 82-year-old president has said he will step down before his term ends later this month, responding to weeks of protests that began when he announced he would seek a fifth-straight term in office. Will the early resignation quell the protests? A lot will depend on whether Bouteflika's exit opens the way to a more accountable political system or whether, as many fear, it will merely pave the way for military brass and other cronies around Bouteflika to make cosmetic changes that do little to address the country's problems. We aren't optimistic, but we are watching....

WHAT WE'RE IGNORING

Rational explanations for Garfields on the beach – For thirty years, novelty telephones shaped like the grumpy cartoon cat Garfield (one of your author's Saturday morning favorites as a child) have been washing up on a beach in Northwestern France. No one knew why until volunteers cleaning the beach recently discovered that the feline phones were washing out of a shipping container that had fallen off a boat in the 1980s and become lodged in a nearby sea cave. Ok, we understand that shipping companies lose an average of 1,500 containers on the high seas every year and that this is a rational explanation, but we were really hoping there was some larger supernatural force that might send thousands of Nermal washing up in Plymouth, England to antagonize Garfield from across the channel

Irrational explanations for the Rise of Nazism – One of Brazilian President JairBolsonaro's favorite political gurus is a 71-year-old, chain-smoking, foul-mouthed, autodidact philosopher from Brazil who lives in Virginia. Olavo de Carvalho's eccentric broadsides against "the left" and "globalists" are immensely popular with the Brazilian far right, and also with Steve Bannon (remember him?). But Mr. Carvalho's ideas sometimes go beyond the eccentric into the flat out, well, crazy: this weekend he tweeted that Stalin had in fact created Nazism as part of a broader plan to subjugate Eastern Europe. While we are ignoring the historical illiteracy of this suggestion, we are paying attention to what Carvalho says, because he exerts huge influence over Brazil's education policy, which Bolsonaro has made a point of reshaping since the moment he won Brazil's presidential election late last year.

This time last year, world health experts were speculating about why Africa appeared to have escaped the worst of the global pandemic. Younger populations? Natural immunity created by exposure to past viruses? Something else?

They can stop wondering. Africa is now in the grip of a COVID emergency.

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Listen: Stanford historian Niall Ferguson joins Ian Bremmer on the GZERO World podcast to talk about the geopolitics of disaster. Throughout human history we seem to be unable to adequately prepare for catastrophes (natural or human-caused) before they strike. Why is that? And as we emerge from the greatest calamity of our lifetimes in the COVID-19 pandemic and look to the plethora of crises that climate change has and will cause, what can we do to lessen the blow?

Subscribe to the GZERO World Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or your preferred podcast platform to receive new episodes as soon as they're published.

Get insights on the latest news in US politics from Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi barred two Republican members from serving on the Jan. 6 commission. What's going on?

Well, the Jan. 6 commission was designed to be a bipartisan commission, taking input from members from Democrats and Republicans. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy had the opportunity to make recommendations but the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, could always veto those recommendations. In this case, she did, saying no to two members, Jim Banks and Jim Jordan, both of whom are strongly aligned with President Trump and who voted against certifying the election results in 2020. The Republicans for the most part see the Jan. 6 commission as an opportunity to score political points against them, and the Democrats say this is going to be a fair, non-biased, and nonpartisan investigation into what happened on Jan. 6, starting with a hearing next week with some of the police officers who were involved in the battle with the protesters inside the Capitol.

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In his New York Times op-ed, David Brooks says the US is facing an identity crisis — protecting liberal and progressive values at home while doing little to stop autocrats elsewhere. But has the US really abandoned its values abroad just because it's withdrawing from Afghanistan? Ian Bremmer and Eurasia Group analyst Charles Dunst take out the Red Pen to argue that the US can advance democracy without being the world's sheriff.

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When the Tokyo Olympics begin on Friday, Japan watchers will be following more than just the performance of Japan's star athletes, including tennis star Naomi Osaka. They will also be tracking the political fortunes of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who is taking a big gamble by staging the event — amid a raging pandemic — in the face of strong and longstanding opposition from the Japanese public. What are the stakes for Suga, particularly with elections on the horizon? Eurasia Group senior analyst Ali Wyne explains.

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YouTube pulls Bolsonaro's rants: Google-owned YouTube pulled down a series of videos on the channel of Brazil's populist President Jair Bolsonaro, accusing him of spreading misinformation about the pandemic. YouTube removed more than a dozen clips for touting quack cures for coronavirus or claiming, in defiance of scientific experts, that masks don't reduce COVID transmissions. Last year, Twitter and Facebook also removed some content from Bolsonaro's feeds for similar reasons. But critics say that YouTube's move is too little too late, because Bolsonaro has been spreading misinformation about COVID since the pandemic began. Many Brazilians hold him personally responsible for the country's abysmal pandemic response, which has led to almost 550,000 deaths, the second worst toll in the world. Will YouTube's move change Bolsonaro's message? His weekly address to the nation, where he converses not only with government ministers but also various conspiracy theorists and loons, is broadcast on YouTube. Surely he doesn't want to risk losing that — or does he?

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Boycotts! Bans! Protests! Drugs! Think you've got gold medal knowledge about politics at the Olympics? Test what you know with this special Tokyo Olympics Quiz. And to stay current on all the latest political stories at the Games and around the world, subscribe here to Signal, our daily newsletter. Now, without further ado, the first question is...

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