What We're Watching – A Sea Goddess and Iranian Female Fighter

Taiwan's Sea Goddess Candidate – Terry Gou, a self-made billionaire and founder of electronics-maker Foxconn (a major manufacturer of iPhones), is running for president of Taiwan. (The election is scheduled for January 2020.) In contrast to current President Tsai Ing-Wen, the party Mr. Gou wants to lead, the Kuomintang, wants warmer ties with Beijing. Gou himself has strong ties to mainland China, where many of Foxconn's factories are located. Gou (pronounced "Gwor") just might win. The current president is unpopular, and Gou claims he was ordered to run by Mazu, a powerful sea goddess, who appeared to him in a dream.

An Iranian Female Boxer – Sadaf Khadem, the first Iranian woman to compete in an official international boxing match, cancelled plans to return home to Iran from Paris this week because, she says, Iranian authorities have issued a warrant for her arrest. The charge? Khadem says she's accused of violating the country's female dress code by competing in shorts and a t-shirt. (In Iran, girls as young as nine can go to prison for appearing in public without a headscarf). Having defeated her French opponent, we think that anyone who wants to arrest Sadaf Khadem should first meet her in the ring. #FloatLikeAButterfly

What We're Ignoring – Bashir behind Bars and Trump Gets a Rival

Bashir Behind Bars – Omar Bashir, Sudan's recently toppled tyrant, is now officially in jail. Last week, his military ousted him from power after months of protests against his oppressive regime. But we're ignoring Bashir's transfer to the slammer, because the protesters, still on the streets, appear unmoved. They're surely glad to see Bashir in jail, but want his military men, who continue to run the country, to pass power to a civilian government.

William Weld – Former Massachusetts Governor and 2016 Libertarian Party vice presidential candidate William Weld announced his candidacy for president this week as a Republican. President Trump has an approval rating with Republican voters that's well above 80 percent. Weld's chances of denying Trump the Republican Party nomination are about the same as your Friday author's odds of hitting the moon with a rock.

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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