What We're Watching: German Politicians vs the Internet

AKK – Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer ("AKK"), the leader of Germany's ruling Christian Democratic Union and Angela Merkel's choice to succeed her as Chancellor, has called for regulation of political opinions on the internet during election campaigns. Her proposal came in response to a German YouTube star's viral video that accused the governing party of failing to address climate change. Her idea has provoked intense criticism, in particular from free speech advocates. Not a good look just after her party took a hit in the European Parliament elections. We're watching to see how much damage she's inflicted on her political future.


Netanyahu on the Clock – Today is the deadline for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to form a coalition government following last month's elections. If he fails, Israel might face a repeat vote for the first time in its history. The stakes are especially high for Netanyahu, who faces indictment on corruption charges. If he can form a government, he can try to pass laws that would give him immunity from prosecution while in office. For the moment, the ultra-orthodox and ultra-nationalist parties that are Netanyahu's likeliest potential coalition partners are still holding out in hopes of winning policy concessions.

What We're Ignoring: Bad Maps in East Africa

Fatwas on the Greenback – There are many ways to manage a currency crisis. Religious scholars in Pakistan have declared a fatwa against the hoarding of dollars in order to stop people from buying the US currency as fears rise that Prime Minister Imran Khan's cash-strapped government will soon devalue the Pakistani rupee. We're skeptical a fatwa will be enough to solve this problem.

Ethiopia's New Maps – Ethiopia's foreign ministry has said it's sorry for any "confusion and misunderstanding" after publishing a map of Africa on its website that erased neighboring Somalia by incorporating its territory within Ethiopia's borders. It's a touchy subject, given wars between the two countries in the 1960s and 70s and Ethiopian intervention inside Somalia in more recent years. But those who see something sinister at work should consider that the map also shows the Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo as a single country, and it doesn't show South Sudan at all. In other words, the Ethiopian foreign ministry may just have really bad mapmakers.

In the end it wasn't even close. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Conservative Party won a stunning victory in the UK's snap elections yesterday, taking at least 364 seats out of 650, delivering the Tories their largest majority since 1987.

Johnson read the public mood correctly. After three years of anguish and political uncertainty over the terms of the UK's exit from the European Union, he ran on a simple platform: "Get Brexit Done." In a typically raffish late-campaign move, he even drove a bulldozer through a fake wall of "deadlock." Despite lingering questions about his honesty and his character, Johnson's party gained at least 49 seats (one seat still hasn't been declared yet).

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This holiday season, how concerned should I be about smart toys and their vulnerability to hacking?

You should be concerned both, that Internet connected toys can be hacked and also that they have shoddy privacy practices. And then the voice files of your kid talking to their teddy bear will end up in the cloud, accessible to all kinds of creepy people. On the other hand, Internet connected toys are great. Kids need to learn about technology. So, tradeoffs.

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David Miliband: Now that Boris Johnson has won a majority in the House of Commons, what's going to happen to Brexit?

If only Brexit could get done in 60 seconds? Because the result of the general election obviously means that Britain will leave the European Union, but it does nothing to clarify our future relations with the European Union. The Johnson victory is undoubtedly a very strong one, and he will try and interpret it as a victory for himself and for the Conservative Party and the attraction that they offer to Labour voters.

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Once a widely heralded human rights champion who was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 for advancing democracy in Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi has now taken up a different cause: defending her country from accusations of genocide at the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

Yesterday was the court's final day of hearings over that country's military-led crackdown against the Rohingya Muslim minority in 2017, which left thousands dead and forced more than 740,000 people to flee to neighboring Bangladesh. Here's what you need to know about the proceedings.

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