WHAT WE'RE WATCHING & IGNORING
What We're Watching
Mercenary appeals – Sizable groups of Russian mercenaries claim Moscow is keeping them at arm's length, and they're not happy about it. Members of more than a dozen Russian "private military companies," supported by Russian military veterans, filed a petition last month with the International Criminal Court (ICC) demanding an investigation of their sponsors.
They claim hundreds of Russian fighters have died in eastern Ukraine, the Middle East, Asia, and Africa without any legal protections or official recognition from the Russian state. Kremlin critics claim the Russian government uses mercenaries to achieve foreign policy goals while deflecting charges of direct intervention. The Russian government has declined to comment on this case.
Kids with snowballs – In other legal news, nine-year-old Dane Best of Severance, Colorado won a landmark victory this week that lifts his town's ban on snowball fights. "The children of Severance want the opportunity to have a snowball fight like the rest of the world," he said during a passionate three-minute presentation to the Town Board. "Today's kids need a reason to play outside." We're watching Mr. Best, because we don't like being wet and cold, and this kid looks like he has good aim.
WHAT WE'RE IGNORING
"Operation Netanyahu Shield" – The Israeli military launched a significant operation along the Lebanese border this week to destroy tunnels it says were dug by Hizbullah to allow the group to attack Israeli civilians. Critics of embattled Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu say this operation is intended mainly to bolster his popularity and have dubbed it "Operation Netanyahu Shield." Yes, this action might well give Netanyahu a political boost. But his current headaches are legal as well as political. Police recommended last weekend the prime minister be indicted for bribery, and the army can't help with that. We're watching the military operation, but ignoring the political warnings.
North Korean Footwear – During careful recent inspection of a shoe store in North Korea, Kim Jong-un reportedly insisted that his country's shoemakers provide "diverse patterns and decent colors," to meet the "aesthetic tastes of our people." It's just really hard to get our hopes up on this one.