What We're Watching

Fear and Loathing in Sudan – President Omar al Bashir, Sudan's strongman since 1989, is in serious trouble. Protests have swelled in the capital city of Khartoum, and reports suggest some soldiers may be siding with demonstrators against the president's crackdown squads. The first trigger for public anger was a surge in price inflation. But Sudan is one of the poorest and most repressive countries on Earth, and calls for concessions have been replaced with calls for the president to resign. Bashir, who faces an International Criminal Court arrest warrant on charges of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity, has good reason to try to tough this out.

What the Brits have to say about online speech – In 2017, a 14-year-old teenager from north London took her own life after viewing disturbing images on social media – including memes about committing suicide. This week, a UK government report on "online harms" proposed new rules that would require companies, under pain of fines, to quickly remove posts that encourage suicide or bullying, or contain other violent or illegal content. Over the next 12 weeks, the British public will have the opportunity to weigh in on whether curtailing disturbing online speech is an acceptable price to pay to make the internet a safer place. After the government has a chance to respond and lay out its final proposals for legislation, a bill could make its way to Parliament.

What We're Ignoring

Crack theories from Brazil's new head teacher – President Jair Bolsonaro has replaced his scandal-plagued education minister with a fellow who believes that Brazilians are prone to cannibalism and that crack cocaine came to Brazil via a Communist conspiracy. Bolsonaro selected the new guy, an economist named Abraham Weintraub, in part because he shares the president's reverence for Brazil's former dictatorship and his revulsion at the political and cultural left. Purging "left-wing" ideology from the education system is a major aim of Bolsonaro's. So while we are ignoring Mr Weintraub's ludicrous theories, his impact on the education of millions of Brazilian children deserves close attention.

Kazakhstan's quick election – Kazakhstan will hold new elections on June 9, less than three months after the Central Asian country's longtime strongman Nursultan Nazarbayev resigned as president. No one has stepped forward to run yet, but we feel safe ignoring this one. Whomever the government prefers will win, but that person is also unlikely to wield real power. Nazarbayev remains chief of the country's powerful security council and heads the main political party. In fact, the interim president sought his approval before calling the plebiscite. It's safe to say the old man will be pulling the strings for a while longer.

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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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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28: The UK and the EU have again failed to agree on post-Brexit trade rules for Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom. In a 28-page document, the British government had suggested further changes to trade rules that were already negotiated as part of the Brexit settlement, but Brussels was not having any of it.

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