Watching and Ignoring

What We're Watching

Corsica — Spain is not the only country with a potential separatist problem. French President Emmanuel Macron paid his first visit to Corsica this week to respond to demands for greater autonomy from increasingly ambitious nationalists on the island.


Korean Women’s Ice Hockey Team — The Winter Olympics are officially open, and one of the great stories of these games will be a women’s hockey team that brings together South and North Korean athletes for the first time. Forget politics. Forget medals. Forget your national team, at least in women’s hockey. They may not win a single contest, but these women are THE team to watch in Pyeongchang.

Other Animals That Can’t Fly — Last week, we told you about United Airlines’ refusal to allow a woman to board her flight with a large peacock she claimed she needed for “emotional support.” Now United is preparing a list of other animals that will not be allowed. The preliminary list includes hedgehogs, ferrets, insects, rodents, snakes, spiders, reptiles and “non-household birds.” Your Friday author will be watching to ensure his Support Llama is not included.

What We're Ignoring

Lembert Mende — In 2016, Democratic Republic of the Congo’s President Joseph Kabila refused to step aside when his term of office ended. Violent street protests followed. This week, Kabila’s Minister of Communications, Lambert Mende, said that Kabila, in office since 2001, would not stand for re-election or try to select a successor who would protect his interests in a vote now scheduled for December. No offense, Mr. Mende, but we’ll need to hear this news directly from Joseph Kabila.

Pence in Pyeongchang — US Vice President says he plans to attend the Games to ensure that North Korea is unable to “hijack the messaging of the Olympics.” Is there anyone alive today on this planet who is capable of being charmed by Kim Jong-un but then guided by Mike Pence? No, there isn’t.

North Korean opinions about beer — North Korea’s state-run Taedonggang brewery has introduced a new beer which North Korea’s state-run newspaper Rodong Sinmun says tastes and smells “better than existing beers” and has “already gained positive reviews from North Korean citizens.” Dear North Korea, we’ll cheer for your hockey players, but we aren’t going near your beer.

 

"I knew that history was my life's calling."

On Bank of America's That Made All the Difference podcast, Secretary of the Smithsonian Lonnie Bunch shares his journey and present-day work creating exhibits that inspire visitors to help our country live up to its ideals.

Listen: A deep dive down the bottle to examine the role alcohol has played in society, politics, and global summitry—from the earliest hunter-gatherer days to that memorable Obama Beer Summit in 2009. Joining Ian Bremmer on the GZERO World podcast is philosopher Edward Slingerland, whose new book Drunk: How We Sipped, Danced, and Stumbled Our Way Into Civilization makes a compelling, if nuanced, case for alcohol's place in the world.

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.

A few weeks ago, a Signal reader emailed me to ask why so much of our coverage of the world is so damn dark. Aren't there any good news stories out there?

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There's a lot of doom and gloom in the world these days, and much cause for pessimism. Still, the advent of new technologies and scientific advancements has lifted billions out of poverty and increased quality of life for many over the last half century. Since 1990, global average life expectancy has increased by eight years to 73, while GDP per capita has also grown exponentially, doubling over the past decade alone. We take a look at how life expectancy and GDP per capita have evolved globally from 1960-2019.

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:

Why can't President Biden order a vaccine mandate for all Americans?

Well, the reason is it's out of his powers. The one of the fundamental challenges in the pandemic is that the federal government has actually been fairly limited in the steps they can take to stop the spread of the virus. So, that's why you've seen President Biden order masks on transit, mass transit, airplanes, and the like. But he can't order masks in workplaces because that's not within his power. That power lies within state governments. State governments and other entities, like employers, can require vaccinations before you come into their buildings, or you come back to school, or you go to work in your office. But the federal government can't do that. What Biden is doing is, allegedly, supposedly going to announce a mandate for federal workers to get vaccinated.

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American gymnast Sunisa "Suni" Lee, 18, stunned spectators around the world with her breathtaking performance in Tokyo Thursday that earned her the gold.

Here are some interesting facts about Suni Lee, the gymnast queen:

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"Super Mario" takes his chances: Less than five months after becoming Italy's consensus prime minister, Mario Draghi's coalition government is on shaky ground over Draghi's proposed judicial reforms. "Super Mario" — as he's known for saving the Eurozone as European Central Bank chief during the financial crisis — wants to dramatically speed up Italy's famously slow courts. But his push to reduce judicial backlogs is opposed both by the populist 5-Star Movement, the coalition government's biggest party, and by prosecutors because many cases could be scrapped before reaching a verdict. Draghi, upset that this resistance is stalling his other initiatives to cut Italian red tape, has decided to roll the dice anyway: he'll put his plan to overhaul the courts to a no-confidence vote in parliament. If Draghi wins, he gets the reforms passed without debate; if he loses, the PM technically has to resign, but he'll keep his job because he has enough votes even if the 5-Star Movement bows out of the coalition.

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700: Roughly 700 people arrested for joining the unprecedented July 11 anti-government protests in Cuba are still being held by the regime. They may now face mass show trials as Havana continues to crack down on dissent following the biggest challenge to its power in decades.

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