Watching and Ignoring

WHAT WE’RE WATCHING

Ebola in the DRC — According to the Health Ministry of the Democratic Republic of Congo, “Our country is facing another epidemic of the Ebola virus, which constitutes an international public health emergency.” At least 17 people have died following the latest outbreak, the ninth documented in the DRC. The virus, discovered in the DRC in the 1970s, takes its name from the country’s Ebola river.


Brazil after Barbosa — Former Supreme Court President Joaquim Barbosaannounced this week he won’t run for president. With less than five months to go, Brazil’s election remains wide open, if now a little less interesting.

Clown protest — In April, 100 people were murdered in the Mexican resort town of Acapulco. Residents are angry, but not surprised. This week, a group of professional clowns dressed in white made international news by marching to protest the violent crime that has become common in many Mexican cities and towns. Love them or fear them, clowns command attention.

WHAT WE’RE IGNORING

Mr. Sandman — In Rio, there are three kinds of people: those rich enough to afford a home with an ocean view, those who can’t afford such luxury, and Marcio Mizael Matolias. This third category consists of one man who lives on Barra da Tijuca beach while avoiding the high cost of housing by living in a (literal) sandcastle. Hold off on jokes about “unsustainable development,” because he says he has lived there for 22 years. So far so good. But his commitment isn’t total: When the sand gets too hot, he stays at a friend’s house.

The Robert Mueller Rumor Mill — Again this week we saw “bombshell” media reports on various allegations against President Trump followed quickly by news that Robert Mueller was investigating the same issues months ago. The Special Counsel is obviously 187 steps ahead of everyone talking and writing about his investigation. #Wait for Mueller

It was inevitable that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would make India's elections a referendum on Narendra Modi, and now that the vast majority of 600 million votes cast have been counted, it's clear he made the right call.

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Among the 23 men and women now seeking the Democratic Party's nomination to take on Donald Trump in next year's election, the frontrunner, at least for now, has spent half a century in politics. Former Vice President Joe Biden, first elected to the US Senate in 1972, is the very epitome of the American political establishment.

Yet, the dominant political trend in many democracies today is public rejection of traditional candidates and parties of the center-right and center-left in favor of new movements, voices, and messages. Consider the evidence from some recent elections:

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It's Friday, and Signal readers deserve at least one entirely upbeat news story.

José Obdulio Gaviria, a Colombian senator for the rightwing Democratic Center party, is an outspoken opponent of government attempts to make peace with the FARC rebel group after 50 years of conflict.

On his way into a meeting earlier this week, Gaviria collapsed. It was later reported that he had fainted as a result of low blood pressure probably caused by complications following recent open heart surgery.

A political rival, Senator Julian Gallo, quickly came to his rescue and revived him using resuscitation skills he learned as—irony alert—a FARC guerrilla. CPR applied by Gallo helped Gaviria regain consciousness, before another senator, who is also professional doctor, took over. Gaviria was taken to hospital and appears to have recovered.

Because some things will always be more important than politics.