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AMLO’s Troubles Come Ashore

AMLO’s Troubles Come Ashore

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, known as AMLO, was elected Mexico's president in 2018 on the promise of a "radical but peaceful transformation" of the country, but after seven months in office, he's now being seriously tested.

The challenges: More than 40% of Mexico's people still live in poverty. About 34 million Mexicans live more than two to a room in houses built from dangerously flimsy construction materials.

There's no sign of progress in the fight against violent criminal gangs. Between January and May of this year, there were 14,133 recorded homicides in Mexico, a 6.3% increase from the first five months of 2018, and many of those murders were committed by members of drug cartels.

Relations with President Donald Trump remain tense and costly. AMLO recently deployed federal troops at Mexico's northern and southern borders to stem migrant flows in a bid to ward off Trump's tariff threats — that's an expensive move.

As if he didn't have enough troubles, even the ocean seems to have it in for him. Lopez Obrador last week angered some along the country's Caribbean coast by downplaying the economic and potential health impact of a surge of sargassum, a form of seaweed, on popular Mexican beaches.

AMLO's biggest problem is that he may not have enough money. The solutions he's proposed for these and other challenges require federal funding. But the Mexican economy contracted by 0.2% in the first quarter of this year, and oil production — important for Mexico's economic engine — fell by 10% last month to its lowest level in 40 years.

The bottom line: Lopez Obrador is still one of the most popular elected leaders on earth, but we're about to find out whether he can translate that support into credible solutions to his country's problems.

Wales, early 19th century: During breaks from his law studies, William Robert Grove indulges in his passion for science to become an inventor. On his honeymoon in Europe, he learns about the new energy source everyone's talking about: electricity. After learning that electricity allows water to be broken down into its two components, hydrogen and oxygen, his intuition leads him to an idea that ends up making him a pioneer of sustainable energy production.

Watch the story of William Robert Grove in Eni's MINDS series, where we travel through time seeking scientists.

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hi, everybody. Ian Bremmer here, and as we head into the weekend, a Quick Take on, well, the first bombing campaign of the new Biden administration. You kind of knew it was going to happen. Against some Iranian-backed militias in Syria, looks like a couple of dozen, perhaps more killed, and some militia-connected military facilities destroyed. I think there are a few ways to look at this, maybe three different lenses.

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Iran rules out nuclear talks… for now: Iran has reportedly rejected an offer to join direct talks with the US and EU over its nuclear program, saying it won't start the conversation until sanctions on Iran's economy are eased. To be clear, this does NOT mean that prospects for reviving the Iran nuclear deal are dead. Europeans and the Biden administration want a return to the 2015 nuclear agreement, and Iran certainly needs the economic boost that would come from a removal of sanctions. But Tehran is going to try to maximize its leverage before any talks begin, especially since this is a sensitive election year in in the country. Iran's leaders are going to play hard to get for a while longer before edging their way back to the bargaining table. Still, it's high stakes diplomacy here between parties that have almost no mutual trust — and one misstep could throw things off track quickly.

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18: A week after threatening protesters with a severe crackdown, Myanmar's ruling junta killed at least 18 people across the country in the bloodiest day of clashes since the generals staged a coup last month.
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The country's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, joins Ian Bremmer to talk vaccines, school re-openings, and when—and how—the pandemic could finally come end. He was last on GZERO World just weeks before the pandemic hit in the fall of 2019 and he described at the time what kept him up at night: a "pandemic-like respiratory illness." This time, he'll talk about how closely that nightmare scenario foreshadowed the COVID-19 pandemic. He'll also offer some guidance about what public health measures vaccinated Americans should continue to take in the coming months (hint: masks stay on).

The GZERO World Podcast with Ian Bremmer. Listen now.

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