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What We're Watching

Fear and Loathing in Sudan – President Omar al Bashir, Sudan's strongman since 1989, is in serious trouble. Protests have swelled in the capital city of Khartoum, and reports suggest some soldiers may be siding with demonstrators against the president's crackdown squads. The first trigger for public anger was a surge in price inflation. But Sudan is one of the poorest and most repressive countries on Earth, and calls for concessions have been replaced with calls for the president to resign. Bashir, who faces an International Criminal Court arrest warrant on charges of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity, has good reason to try to tough this out.

What the Brits have to say about online speech – In 2017, a 14-year-old teenager from north London took her own life after viewing disturbing images on social media – including memes about committing suicide. This week, a UK government report on "online harms" proposed new rules that would require companies, under pain of fines, to quickly remove posts that encourage suicide or bullying, or contain other violent or illegal content. Over the next 12 weeks, the British public will have the opportunity to weigh in on whether curtailing disturbing online speech is an acceptable price to pay to make the internet a safer place. After the government has a chance to respond and lay out its final proposals for legislation, a bill could make its way to Parliament.

What We're Ignoring

Crack theories from Brazil's new head teacher – President Jair Bolsonaro has replaced his scandal-plagued education minister with a fellow who believes that Brazilians are prone to cannibalism and that crack cocaine came to Brazil via a Communist conspiracy. Bolsonaro selected the new guy, an economist named Abraham Weintraub, in part because he shares the president's reverence for Brazil's former dictatorship and his revulsion at the political and cultural left. Purging "left-wing" ideology from the education system is a major aim of Bolsonaro's. So while we are ignoring Mr Weintraub's ludicrous theories, his impact on the education of millions of Brazilian children deserves close attention.

Kazakhstan's quick election – Kazakhstan will hold new elections on June 9, less than three months after the Central Asian country's longtime strongman Nursultan Nazarbayev resigned as president. No one has stepped forward to run yet, but we feel safe ignoring this one. Whomever the government prefers will win, but that person is also unlikely to wield real power. Nazarbayev remains chief of the country's powerful security council and heads the main political party. In fact, the interim president sought his approval before calling the plebiscite. It's safe to say the old man will be pulling the strings for a while longer.

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.

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

Ian Bremmer shares his perspective on global politics on this week's World In (More Than) 60 Seconds:

First of all, what is going on in the Caucuses?

Well, it's a war. You'd never know it from following American press, because of course, we're only talking about Trump and the elections. But Armenia and Azerbaijan are actively fighting each other. Over 100 are dead so far, including civilians. There is a lot of fog of war misinformation going on. Reuters piece that seems that there are some mercenaries, including Syrian mercenaries on the ground that were in Azerbaijan that were paid for by Turkey. The Armenians, as of today, are claiming that Turkish fighter jet downed an Armenian war plane. Ankara is saying, no, they didn't. The Iranians are being accused of transferring military equipment to Armenia. The Iranians are saying, no, they didn't.

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