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What We're Watching

India's Election Tourism – Your Signal authors are always on the lookout for vacations that combine relaxation with opportunities to nerd out on global politics and, man, have we found one: "Election Tourism India" has a five-week-long offering that combines standard sightseeing with the chance to attend colorful local political rallies across the country and meet-and-greet events with candidates for India's parliament. More than 3,500 people from outside India have already signed up, and we're going to find this hard to resist.

Golan blowback – In an unusual show of agreement between bitter regional rivals, the largest Gulf Arab states and Iran all condemned the US decision to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, a section of Syrian territory that Israel has occupied since 1967. We're watching to see if this makes it harder to get regional buy-in on any new Middle East Peace Plan. Wait, there's a new Middle East Peace plan? Yes, allegedly Jared Kushner has recently been putting the final touches on his magnum opus. But any solution will require support from Saudi Arabia and other regional Arab powers that can't, for domestic political reasons, accept legitimizing further Israeli occupation of Arab land

What We're Ignoring

Russians quoting non-existent Chinese proverbs – When a reporter asked Vladimir Putin's seasoned spokesman Dmitry Peskov about the end of the Mueller investigation at a press conference in Moscow this week, Peskov replied, "I would like to quote the words of a Chinese philosopher who said, 'It is very hard to find a black cat in a dark room, especially if it is not there,'" Good zinger, Dmitry Sergeyevich, but it seems that the proverb is . . . not actually from China.

"Techno-dystopian" Eurovision contestants – An Icelandic band called Hatari (or "Haters" in English) won the Nordic country's national Eurovision contest, securing a spot in the pan-European televised song contest and kitsch-fest which half your Signal authors love, and Alex hates. (Willis thinks Eurovision is a precursor of End Times.) The band, which takes the stage in sadomasochism garb, describes its music as "techno-dystopian"and roars that "hate will prevail... and Europe's heart impale. Burn off its web of lies." Lead singer Matthías Tryggva hailed the victory as bringing the band "one step nearer to our plan, to destroy capitalism." We like techno-dystopian BDSM metal as much as anyone, but we're ignoring Hatari, because Marilyn Manson and Nine Inch Nails got there first.

Microsoft released a new annual report, called the Digital Defense Report, covering cybersecurity trends from the past year. This report makes it clear that threat actors have rapidly increased in sophistication over the past year, using techniques that make them harder to spot and that threaten even the savviest targets. For example, nation-state actors are engaging in new reconnaissance techniques that increase their chances of compromising high-value targets, criminal groups targeting businesses have moved their infrastructure to the cloud to hide among legitimate services, and attackers have developed new ways to scour the internet for systems vulnerable to ransomware. Given the leap in attack sophistication in the past year, it is more important than ever that steps are taken to establish new rules of the road for cyberspace: that all organizations, whether government agencies or businesses, invest in people and technology to help stop attacks; and that people focus on the basics, including regular application of security updates, comprehensive backup policies, and, especially, enabling multi-factor authentication. Microsoft summarized some of the most important insights in this year's report, including related suggestions for people and businesses.

Read the whole post and report at Microsoft On The Issues.

On Tuesday night, you can finally watch Trump and Biden tangle on the debate stage. But you TOO can go head to head on debate night .. with your fellow US politics junkies.

Print out GZERO's handy debate BINGO cards and get ready to rumble. There are four different cards so that each player may have a unique board. Every time one of the candidates says one of these words or terms, X it on your card. First player to get five across wins. And if you really want to jazz it up, you can mark each of your words by taking a swig of your drink, or doing five burpees, or donating to your favorite charity or political candidate. Whatever gets you tipsy, in shape, or motivated, get the bingo cards here. It's fight night!

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GZERO Media, in partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Eurasia Group, today hosted its second virtual town hall on the hunt for a COVID-19 vaccine and the challenges of its distribution.

The panel was moderated by New York Times science and health reporter Apoorva Mandavilli and featured Gates Foundation's Deputy Director of Vaccines & Human Immunobiology, Lynda Stuart; Eurasia Group's Rohitesh Dhawan, Managing Director of Energy, Climate & Resources; Gates Foundation CEO Mark Suzman; and Gayle E. Smith, the president & CEO of ONE Campaign and former Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Watch the full video above.

Donald Trump's presidency has irked a lot of people around the world. And in fairness, that's no surprise. He was elected in part to blow up long-standing assumptions about how international politics, trade, and diplomatic relations are supposed to work.

But while he has correctly identified some big challenges — adapting NATO to the 21st century, managing a more assertive China, or ending America's endless wars in Afghanistan and Iraq — his impulsive style, along with his restrictions on trade and immigration, have alienated many world leaders. Global polls show that favorable views of the US have plummeted to all-time lows in many countries, particularly among traditional American allies in Europe.

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How was it that after decades of infighting, European nations were able to come together so quickly on an economic pandemic relief package? "I'm tempted to say because of COVID-19…because the triggering factor for the crisis was not the banks…not the bad behavior of some policy-makers somewhere in the region. It was actually this teeny tiny little virus..." European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde tells Ian Bremmer how a microscopic virus spurred the greatest show of international unity in years.


Watch the episode: Christine Lagarde, Leading Europe's United Economic Pandemic Response

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