What We're Watching: Peru deports, Jakarta sinks

Deportations in Peru – Peru's immigration police deported 40 Venezuelan refugees this week that they said either had criminal records or were living in the country illegally. We are watching this because it's the first mass deportation of Venezuelans we've heard of since their country fell into crisis several years ago, prompting an exodus of some 3 million people. Peru alone hosts more than 700,000 Venezuelan refugees, most of whom arrived in the past year. So far Latin America has mostly avoided the kind of social and political disruptions that large-scale refugee flows have caused in Europe. Is that starting to change?

A new Indonesian capital – Indonesia has announced an ambitious project to move the country's capital away from Jakarta, which is famously traffic-choked, polluted, and steadily sinking into the sea. Relocation of the capital has been discussed for decades, but we are watching to see if it really happens this time and, if it does, whether President Joko Widodo can realize this project without corrupt bureaucrats and builders making it impossibly expensive. Massive construction projects and endemic corruption generally go together like peas in a pod (see "Odebrecht").

What We're Ignoring: Modi's Mangos, Fishy Russian Whales

Modi's Mangos – Journalists have a tough time getting to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but a Bollywood film star recently pinned him down for an hour-long interview about his personal life, tastes, and approaches to eating mangos, reports the FT. We are ignoring this in part because we like South American mangos better than India's famous Alphonsos (don't @ us), but mainly because we think voters' choices in the largest election in history should be determined by the issues rather than by Bollywood hagiographies or interviews of Mr. Modi.

Russian whale spies – Espionage experts claim that a white whale that approached a Norwegian fishing boat this week wearing a harness fitted with a GoPro camera holder and a label sourcing it to St. Petersburg is a Russian navy-trained spy. We're not impressed by this Bourne Beluga. Somebody sent secret squirrels into Iran in 2007. And the US Navy has trained dolphins to spot underwater mines for decades. We know everyone is on the lookout for Russians these days, but this doesn't cut it.

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.