What We're Watching: Japan wants to jail Ghosn's American helpers

Japan seeks arrest of Americans who helped Ghosn escape: Japanese authorities have issued arrest warrants for three Americans suspected of helping former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn flee the country while he was awaiting trial on charges of financial wrongdoing. You might recall Ghosn's dramatic escape back in December, where he walked out of his home in Tokyo, turning up a day later in Lebanon. The Japanese claim that the three US citizens – including a former US special forces soldier– smuggled Ghosn onto a plane by hiding him in "portable luggage." The three Americans are believed to still be in the Middle East. Japan and Lebanon have about a month to decide whether Ghosn will be extradited back to Tokyo, but Beirut generally doesn't hand over its nationals to foreign governments.


"International crisis" looms in northern Syria: After a weeks-long offensive that has displaced hundreds of thousands of civilians, Syrian government forces have captured the town of Maarat al-Numan in Idlib province, rebel forces' last stronghold. The town, held by opposition fighters since 2012, controls the long road linking Damascus to Aleppo, and is critical to Bashar al-Assad's plan of consolidating power across Syria. The dire humanitarian situation in Idlib has worsened as sustained air strikes have forced some 20,000 people to flee their homes there in the last two days alone. The US special envoy for Syria warned Thursday that around 700,000 displaced civilians from northwest Syria are now on the move to the Turkish border, which he says, could create a full blown "international crisis."

What we're really watching, like on TV:

Pandemic: Worried about coronavirus? Great time to check out the new Netflix docuseries "Pandemic: How to Prevent an Outbreak," which explores the world's preparedness to deal with a potential influenza pandemic. Spoiler: experts say a new outbreak is inevitable, and that the world isn't prepared to handle it. Besides its freakish resonance for the moment, Pandemic introduces viewers to everyday heroes on the frontlines of managing and researching epidemics, like these scientists working tirelessly to develop a universal flu vaccine.

Howard University President Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick joins That Made All the Difference podcast to discuss how his career as a surgeon influenced his work as an educator, administrator and champion of underserved communities, and why he believes we may be on the cusp of the next "golden generation."

Listen to the latest podcast now.

It's been a bad week at the office for President Trump. Not only have coronavirus cases in the US been soaring, but The New York Times' bombshell report alleging that Russia paid bounties to the Taliban to kill US troops in Afghanistan has continued to make headlines. While details about the extent of the Russian bounty program — and how long it's been going on for — remain murky, President Trump now finds himself in a massive bind on this issue.

Here are three key questions to consider.

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Nicholas Thompson, editor-in-chief of WIRED, discusses technology industry news today:

Do some of the Facebook's best features, like the newsfeed algorithm or groups, make removing hate speech from the platform impossible?

No, they do not. But what they do do is make it a lot easier for hate speech to spread. A fundamental problem with Facebook are the incentives in the newsfeed algorithm and the structure of groups make it harder for Facebook to remove hate speech.

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Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Yes, still in the middle of coronavirus, but thought I'd give you a couple of my thoughts on Russia. Part of the world that I cut my teeth on as a political scientist, way back in the eighties and nineties. And now Putin is a president for life, or at least he gets to be president until 2036, gets another couple of terms. The constitutional amendments that he reluctantly allowed to be voted on across Russia, passed easily, some 76% approval. And so now both in China and in Russia, term limits get left behind all for the good of the people, of course. So that they can have the leaders that they truly deserve. Yes, I'm being a little sarcastic here. It's sad to see. It's sad to see that the Americans won the Cold War in part, not just because we had a stronger economy and a stronger military, but actually because our ideas were better.

Because when those living in the former Soviet Union and the Eastern Block looked at the West, and looked at the United States, they saw that our liberties, they saw that our economy, was something that they aspired to and was actually a much better way of giving opportunities to the average citizen, than their own system afforded. And that helped them to rise up against it.

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Jon Lieber, managing director for the United States at Eurasia Group, provides his perspective on US politics:

How likely is bipartisan action against Russia in light of Taliban bounty reports?

I think it's probably unlikely. One of the challenges here is that there's some conflict of the intelligence and anything that touches on the issue of President Trump and Russia is extremely toxic for him. Republicans have so far been tolerant of that and willing to stop any new sanctions coming. I think unless the political situation or the allegations get much worse or more obvious, that stalemate probably remains.

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