Watching/Ignoring

WHAT WE’RE WATCHING

Putin’s Secret Weapon  President Trump took a shot at the Federal Reserve chair this week. “I’m not thrilled with his raising of interest rates,” he told Reuters after arguing that China and Europe are manipulating the values of their currencies. To understand the value of an independent central bank, the president should read this excellent profile of Russian central banker Elvira Nabiullina. She’s the primary reason that crisis-prone Russia has a relatively healthy banking sector, strong reserves, and low inflation. President Putin stays out of Nabiullina’s way—and makes sure others do, as well.


Israa al-Ghomgham  It might be another first for Saudi women. Two months after the Saudi government lifted a decades-old ban on women driving automobiles, Israa al-Ghomgham may become the first Saudi woman put to death for a political crime. Her offense? According to Human Rights Watch, an advocacy group, prosecutors have charged her with “participating in protests in the [majority-Shia] Qatif region, incitement to protest, chanting slogans hostile to the regime, attempting to inflame public opinion, filming protests and publishing on social media, and providing moral support to rioters.”

WHAT WE’RE IGNORING

Complaints about Jakarta's traffic — Are the Indonesian capital’s legendary traffic jams as bad as advertised? Not if you’re a superhero like President Joko Widodo. Maybe you saw James Bond and Queen Elizabeth parachute into London’s Wembley Stadium to open the 2012 Olympics. Now check out Joko’s opening of the Asian Games. (He gets down to business at about the 1:30 mark.)

Illegal aliens — This week, the Miami Herald endorsed Bettina Rodriguez Aguilera, who is running for a seat in the US House of Representatives vacated by Florida Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. Rodriguez Aguilera said in a 2009 television interview that when she was seven years old, she boarded a spaceship occupied by three tall aliens who spoke to her telepathically. And that’s not weird at all.

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