What We're Watching & What We're Ignoring
WHAT WE'RE WATCHING
US nuclear tech for Saudis? – A new report from a congressional oversight committee charges that senior White House officials have pushed a plan to share nuclear technology with Saudi Arabia over the objections of key national security advisors. Any such deal with the Saudis appears to violate US law. On the surface, this is just one more front in the widening and intensifying battle between the White House and Democratic lawmakers, but proliferation experts warn that sharing this tech with the Saudis could create a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.
Israeli elections – Prime Minister Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu's road to reelection just got a bit tougher. Former army chief Benny Gantz and centrist TV reporter-turned-politician Yair Lapid formed an alliance this week to challenge Bibi's Likud-led alliance in national elections set for April 9. Gantz and Lapid say they'll rotate as prime minister if they win. Netanyahu, meanwhile, has partnered with the far-right Jewish Home party and the extremist Jewish Power party to boost his electoral strength. In the background, the Israeli attorney general is considering whether to accept a police recommendation to indict Netanyahu on fraud and bribery charges.
Gifts fit for a prince – During his visit to Pakistan this week, a group of local lawmakers presented Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman with a gold-plated submachine gun and a portrait of himself. #CharmOffensive
WHAT WE'RE IGNORING
The Very Latest in Fake News – Meet Xin Xiaomeng, which we believe is the world's first AI news anchor. China's state news outlet Xinhua has announced it has partnered with search engine company Sogou to create this "product." Xin will make its debut early next month. Because the world needs less human accountability in its journalism.
The Oscars – The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will be handing out trophies this Sunday. But for the best in film from the past year, skip the red carpet and TV blah blah blah and head straight for a movie theatre near you. Your Friday author humbly submits two films for your consideration: Alfonso Cuarón's Roma (surpasses the considerable hype) and Hirokazu Kore-eda's Shoplifters (a rare gem). Both are films about unconventional families, and both are brilliant and beautiful. Or you can revisit some of the great work of recently departed master actors Albert Finney and Bruno Ganz.