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A bungling we will go

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A good reason for paying attention to the news is that it can be so entertaining. Close to home we have the May/EU attempts to bungle Brexit without appearing to be bunglers. That one was never going to work and it hasn’t, but still the show goes on. As it would, being government funded.

Now for something completely different. Or maybe not so different because this one appears to have been let down by ham acting too.

A robot on show at a Russian state-sponsored event has turned out to be a man dressed in a costume.

Robot Boris featured on Russian TV and was apparently able to walk, talk and dance.

But soon after its appearance journalists began to question the bot’s authenticity.

In a picture published afterwards on social media, the neck of a person was clearly visible.

The robot is in fact a 250,000 rouble (£2,975) costume called Alyosha the Robot, made by a company called Show Robots.

Whoever came up with that act may not have much of a future.

Next we have China and what appears to be clumsy hostage taking in response to the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou.

A second Canadian has been detained in China on accusations of harming national security, as tension continues between the two countries.

It was confirmed on Thursday that Michael Spavor, a businessman, had been detained in addition to former diplomat Michael Kovrig.

Canada drew Chinese protests after it arrested an executive at telecoms giant Huawei at the request of the US.

Meng Wanzhou has been bailed but may face extradition for fraud.

She denies violating US sanctions on Iran through Huawei’s business dealings. China has threatened unspecified consequences if she is not released.

It’s all too obvious – makes the Chinese government look guilty and casts yet another cloud over wider perceptions of Chinese integrity and the political independence of Chinese business.

Before that we had some extraordinary bungling such as the killing of Jamal Khashoggi and the Novichok screw-up. It all serves to undermine the idea of sinister competence within the secret machinations of shadowy branches of government.

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