What We're Watching: Protests in Hong Kong and the World's Toughest Parrot

Hong Kong's Extradition Protests – In one of its largest protests in years, tens of thousands marched through Hong Kong's streets toward parliament over the weekend to oppose a plan they say would make it easier to extradite critics of the Chinese government to the mainland. Since 2014, pro-democracy advocates in Hong Kong have been calling for more autonomy from Beijing—with little to show for their efforts. They view the latest legislation as a thinly veiled ploy by the Chinese-backed government in Hong Kong to help Beijing curb dissent. More broadly, they fear that China is slowly stripping Hong Kong of freedoms guaranteed under the handover agreement signed by China and Britain, which controlled Hong Kong until 1997.

Freddy Krueger the Parrot – Brazil is a resilient country, and an Amazonian parrot named Freddy Krueger has now made his case to become Brazil's national bird. This week, Freddy somehow found his way back to the zoo in the southern city of Cascavel from which he was stolen following a difficult past in which he was bird-napped, bitten by a snake, and wounded during a drug-den shootout between traffickers and police. We're watching to see what Freddy gets into next and hoping for a biopic.

What We're Ignoring: Trump Meets Dems and Austrian Grannies Get Angry

The Don, Chuck, and Nancy Show – Can President Trump and congressional Democrats agree on anything? How about some big spending to upgrade shoddy US infrastructure? Trump has said at various times that he wants to splurge on major improvements to roads, rail, ports, airports and even communications infrastructure. Lead Democratic lawmakers Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer want these things too, though they want tax increases to pay for them along with labor and environmental protections as part of any deal. We're ignoring their meeting tomorrow, because Senate Republicans won't agree to any of this. Even where Trump, Pelosi, and Schumer agree, there's just no deal to be made.

Austria's Angry GranniesGrannies Against the Right is a movement created to protest Austria's rightward shift under the conservative-nationalist government of Chancellor Sebastian Kurz. It's organized by women old enough to remember the terrible aftermath of World War II. This is a fine organization engaged in a noble cause, but we decided to ignore them when we discovered that the group accepts non-grannies as members.

America's internet giants are being pulled into political fights right and left these days. Speech – what can be said, and who can say it – is increasingly at the center of those controversies. Consider these two stories from opposite sides of the world:

More Show less

Italy's prime minister resigns – Giuseppe Conte, the caretaker prime minister appointed to mediate an uneasy governing alliance between Italy's anti-establishment 5Star Movement and the right-wing Lega party, resigned on Tuesday. Rather than wait for a no-confidence vote triggered by the rightwing Lega Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, Conte stepped down on his own terms. Salvini, who's popularity has been rising, had hoped that by triggering snap elections he could get himself appointed prime minister, will now have to wait for Italy's president, Sergio Mattarella, to decide what comes next. While Lega and smaller right-wing allies want a new vote, center and left-wing parties are apparently working to see if they can form a majority coalition – perhaps including 5Star -- that would allow Mattarella to appoint a new government without fresh elections. We're watching to see how the dust settles in Europe's third-biggest economy.

More Show less

300: The US tested a new medium-range cruise missile on Sunday that flew more than 300 miles. This marks the first time the US has tested a weapon that would have violated the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, a Cold War era pact that was officially abandoned three weeks ago, sparking fears of a new global arms race.

More Show less