What We're Watching &What We're Ignoring

WHAT WE'RE WATCHING

Priyanka Gandhi – With elections due by May and Narendra Modi's BJP still the dominant force in Indian politics, the entrance onto the national political stage of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, whose father, grandmother, and great-grandfather all served as Congress Party prime ministers, deserves attention. She's widely considered more charismatic than her older brother Rahul, the party's current leader. After upset wins for Congress in three recent state elections, does she have the political talent to bring her party back to the center of Indian politics?

US Federal Workers – The shutdown stalemate looks set to continue. As the US enters Day 35 of a partial government shutdown, we're watching how federal employees respond. With the approach of tax season, the Trump administration has ordered 30,000 employees of the Internal Revenue Service to work without pay. Will they? This question will be repeated across other federal agencies. Look for more stories about large numbers of federal employees who don't show up for work.

WHAT WE'RE IGNORING

Your Job Frustrations You don't have to be a US federal employee to be fed up with a bad job situation, but there's no way you have it as bad as UK Prime Minister Theresa May does. Check out this "behind-the-scenes footage" from part of her day, from an ad created by a job search site.

Japanese otters Last year, the Japanese city of Susaki named a live otter with a large social media following to be its honorary tourism ambassador. The city also has a guy in an otter costume as its official mascot. But then a second guy in an otter costume began filming himself performing reckless stunts and committing apparent crimes, some of them a little creepy. Confusion ensued. We're ignoring this madness, because if we really started following it, we'd never get any work done.

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And go deeper on topics like cybersecurity and artificial intelligence at Microsoft on The Issues.

Last weekend, world leaders, security experts, and business executives flocked to the Hotel Bayrischer Hof in Munich for the 55th annual Munich Security Conference. What's the Munich Security Conference? Think of it a bit like Davos, but with policymakers in dark suits rather than billionaires in Gore-Tex.

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Speaking of trans-Atlantic rifts, we've written previously about the US pushback against Huawei, arguably the world's most geopolitically significant technology company. The Trump administration has been trying to convinceits European allies to ban the Chinese tech giant from their next-generation 5G information networks, citing national security risks. Last week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo even warned of consequences for countries that don't toe Washington's line on the issue.

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Over the past 20 years, hundreds of millions of people in China have been pulled out of poverty by their country's staggering economic growth. Beijing today is a rising power on the global stage. That's all pretty great, and yet the country still ranks beneath war-torn Libya and perpetually melancholy Russia in the United Nations World Happiness Report. This week's Economist hazards a guess about what really makes people smile or scowl, but here's how China stacks up for joy against other countries.