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What We're Watching

Explanations for the Assange arrest – Why did Ecuador's government allow UK police to arrest Wikileaks founder Julian Assange on Thursday after providing him asylum in its London embassy for nearly seven years? Was it pressure from the US government, which wants to imprison him for revealing its secrets? Assange's ongoing political activities? His "discourteous and aggressive behavior" toward embassy staff? Threats by Wikileaks against Ecuador? Or did Assange fail to follow embassy rules that he must pay his own medical bills and clean up after his cat? (Those were actual rules.) It probably wasn't the cat, but your Signal authors can smell that litter box from across the Atlantic.

South African violence against migrants – Election season can be a dangerous time. Migrants from other African countries have again become the target of deadly vigilante attacks by South Africans in recent weeks. Guest workers from Malawi, Somalia, DR Congo, Mozambique, Nigeria, and Zimbabwe have all been victimized. Upcoming elections may be feeding the violence as politicians from multiple parties publicly blame African foreigners for many of South Africa's economic, security, and social problems.

The Swiss troll the Brits – For the first time in modern Switzerland's history, a court has overruled the result of a nationwide referendum. In 2016, Swiss voters were asked whether partners who live together should pay tax at the same rate as married couples. By a margin of 50.8 percent to 49.2 percent, voters said no. This week, Switzerland's Supreme Court voided that result on the grounds that the information provided to voters before the referendum was "incomplete." Said the court: "Keeping in mind the close result and the severe nature of the irregularities, it is possible that the outcome of the ballot could have been different." The vote will be re-run. We're watching this story to see the expressions on the faces of Britons when they hear about it.

What We're Ignoring

Cuban Protesters – Hundreds of Cubans marched through Havana this week to protest cruelty to animals. Organizers of the demonstration say it's the first independent march ever authorized by Cuba's Communist government. Your Signal authors love animals, including Julian Assange's cat, but we'll ignore this story until the Cuban state approves a march to protest cruelty to people who disagree with their government.

Polling on Democratic presidential candidates – The men and women running for president, those who've made it official and those who haven't, are already working hard to raise money and their public profiles. But these are early days. First votes in primaries and caucuses won't be cast for nearly 10 months, and we're still 11 weeks away from the first Democratic presidential debates (June 26-27). Current polls tell us little more than that voters are familiar with Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, while the rest of the (ever-expanding) field is relatively unknown.

Empathy and listening are key to establishing harmonious relationships, as demonstrated by Callista Azogu, GM of Human Resources & Organization for Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC), an Eni subsidiary in Abuja. "To build trust is very difficult. To destroy it is very easy," says Callista, whose busy days involve everything from personnel issues to union relationships. She sees great potential for her native Nigeria not only because of the country's natural resources, but because of its vibrant and creative people.

Learn more about Callista in this episode of Faces of Eni.

For the world's wealthiest nations, including the United States, the rollout of COVID-19 vaccine has been rocky, to say the least. And as a result, much of the developing world will have to wait even longer for their turn. Part of the challenge, World Bank President David Malpass says, is that "advanced economies have reserved a lot of the vaccine doses." Malpass sat down with Ian Bremmer recently to talk about what his organization is doing to try to keep millions around the world from slipping deeper into poverty during the pandemic. Their conversation was part of the latest episode of GZERO World.

Saturday will mark the beginning of an historic turning point for European politics as 1,001 voting members of Germany's Christian Democratic Union, the party of Chancellor Angela Merkel, hold an online conference to elect a new leader.

Here are the basic facts:

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For the first time in twenty years, extreme poverty around the world is growing. How does the developing world recover from a pandemic that has brought even the richest nations to their knees? David Malpass, the President of the World Bank, is tasked with answering that question. He joins Ian Bremmer on GZERO World to talk about how his organization is trying to keep the developing world from slipping further into poverty in the wake of a once-in-a-century pandemic.

Joe Biden wants to move into the White House, but the coast isn't clear. He may need some bleach.

Watch more PUPPET REGIME here.

The GZERO World Podcast with Ian Bremmer. Listen now.


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