What We're Watching &What We're Ignoring
WHAT WE'RE WATCHING
DRC ELECTION DRAMA –Opposition leader Martin Fayulu has, with the support of the local Catholic church and several Western governments, appealed to the country's Constitutional Court to nullify the official results of the 30 December election, which authorities say was won by Felix Tshisekedi, another opposition figure. The court could confirm the results, order a recount, or order new elections. Aside from the dangers of further political upheaval in a country long wracked by instability, global health experts are worried that the election uncertainty will complicate efforts to fight a resurgence of the deadly Ebola virus.
Canada vs China – Relations between China and Canada took a turn for the worse yesterday after a Chinese court sentenced a Canadian man to death for attempting to smuggle drugs out of China. The verdict hastily handed down on Robert Schellenberg comes against the backdrop of Canada's arrest in December of Meng Wanzhou, a top executive of Chinese technology giant Huawei at the request of the US. With Ms. Meng now out on bail awaiting an extradition hearing, the families of Mr. Schellenberg and two other Canadian citizens detained by China fear that these men could be become pawns in a broader diplomatic fight between China and the West. Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has no good options – any hint of clemency to Ms. Meng, who was arrested at the request of the US, risks infuriating Washington. But can he stand by as China executes one of his citizens?
WHAT WE'RE IGNORING
Questions about whether Donald Trump "worked for Russia" – The New York Times and Washington Post have recently published stories that say, respectively, that the FBI last year looked into whether the US President was doing Moscow's bidding, and that Mr. Trump had sought to conceal the US translator's notes from his one-on-one meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki. In the days since, journalists have been asking Mr. Trump if he "worked for Russia." After initially skirting the question on FOX, he flatly denied the allegation to the White House press corps. We are ignoring this question, as well as Mr. Trump's answers, and waiting for the findings of Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller's investigation.
Justin Trudeau's Afghan doppelgänger – Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is a man of many talents. He explains quantum physics. He boxes. He dances to Bhangra music in India. He runs a country so nice it's almost worthy of parody. But wait, does he also sing in fluent Dari and Pashto on television in Afghanistan? We too were fooled for a second when we saw the lyrical stylings of Afghan wedding singer Salam Maftoon, who bears an uncanny (like, really really crazy) resemblance to Mr. Trudeau. Attention to Mr. Maftoon's Trudeau-likeness has evidently boosted his chances of winning a popular TV singing contest, Afghan Star, by "50 percent." As an increasingly embattled Trudeau heads into elections later this year, he'd presumably be grateful for anything Mr. Maftoon can do to return the favor. But we are ignoring this because there is already a life-sized Justin Trudeau cutout, for whatever reason, in our office so we don't need another doppelgängerto keep track of.