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.

Last week, in Fulton, WI, together with election officials from the state of Wisconsin and the election technology company VotingWorks, Microsoft piloted ElectionGuard in an actual election for the first time.

As voters in Fulton cast ballots in a primary election for Wisconsin Supreme Court candidates, the official count was tallied using paper ballots as usual. However, ElectionGuard also provided an encrypted digital tally of the vote that enabled voters to confirm their votes have been counted and not altered. The pilot is one step in a deliberate and careful process to get ElectionGuard right before it's used more broadly across the country.

Read more about the process at Microsoft On The Issues.

The risk of a major technology blow-up between the US and Europe is growing. A few weeks ago, we wrote about how the European Union wanted to boost its "technological sovereignty" by tightening its oversight of Big Tech and promoting its own alternatives to big US and Chinese firms in areas like cloud computing and artificial intelligence.

Last week, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and her top digital officials unveiled their first concrete proposals for regulating AI, and pledged to invest billions of euros to turn Europe into a data superpower.

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Communal violence in Delhi: Over the past few days, India's capital city has seen its deadliest communal violence in decades. This week's surge in mob violence began as a standoff between protesters against a new citizenship law that critics say discriminates against India's Muslims and the law's Hindu nationalist defenders. Clashes between Hindu and Muslim mobs in majority-Muslim neighborhoods in northeast Delhi have killed at least 11 people, both Muslim and Hindu, since Sunday. We're watching to see how Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government responds – Delhi's police force reports to federal, rather than local, officials.

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Ian Bremmer's perspective on what's happening in geopolitics:

What are the takeaways from President Trump's visit to India?

No trade deal, in part because Modi is less popular and he's less willing to focus on economic liberalization. It's about nationalism right now. Hard to get that done. But the India US defense relationship continues to get more robust. In part, those are concerns about China and Russia.

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27,000: The Emir of Qatar has decreed a $27,000 fine and up to five years in prison for anyone who publishes, posts, or repost content that aims to "harm the national interest" or "stir up public opinion." No word on whether the Doha-based Al-Jazeera network, long a ferocious and incisive critic of other Arab governments, will be held to the same standard.

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