Coronavirus Politics Daily: Refugees resettled, Moscow checks your digital code, measles set to surge

Coronavirus Politics Daily: Refugees resettled, Moscow checks your digital code, measles set to surge

Greece relocates migrant children: Amid growing concern over migrant populations' vulnerability to a coronavirus outbreak, Greece this week began transferring dozens of unaccompanied migrant children from crowded Greek refugee camps to dwellings elsewhere in the EU. Some have been sent to Luxembourg, while others are expected to go to Germany and Switzerland. Over 5,200 migrant children, many from war-torn Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq, currently live in overcrowded camps on the Greek islands, where infectious disease is rife, and sanitation is extremely poor. Greece, which has long complained about bearing the brunt of migrants fleeing conflict in Africa and the Middle East, says it hopes to relocate some 1,600 unaccompanied migrants to other EU countries in the months ahead. About a dozen states, including Italy and Portugal, have said they are willing to absorb them. But with many EU countries now crippled by massive coronavirus outbreaks themselves, it remains to be seen whether they will follow through.


Moscow restrictions go back to the future: With COVID-19 cases continuing to climb in the Russian capital, the city government has unveiled a new system of digital permits that people must have in order to travel anywhere in the city by car or public transportation. Essential workers get 30-day passes, while others can get one-day passes for doctor's visits or other approved personal reasons. In a way this is a 21st century rehashing of the old Soviet system of propuski, which were required to travel between regions. Two things to consider here: first, when and under what circumstances does this system end? Unlimited physical freedom to travel is one of the fundamental perks of Vladimir Putin's neo-authoritarian system of governance. And second, as countries in Western Europe and the US discuss the prospect of widespread testing as a means to reopen economies, will we too have to develop a similar system of centralized data, permissions, and control?

Coronavirus gives a boost to measles: Disruption to global supply chains because of the coronavirus pandemic, coupled with national stay-at-home orders, have disrupted mass immunization programs that low and middle-income countries rely on to keep children inoculated from otherwise deadly diseases. The Measles and Rubella initiative said that, so far, 24 countries had suspended their immunization programs, warning that as many as 100 million children could now be at risk of contracting measles. Measles remains one of the world's most contagious diseases, and in the absence of a vaccination, can be lethal. (In 2018, the most recent year for which there's comprehensive global data, measles killed 142,300 people.) While parents in wealthier countries might get their kids vaccinated by the family doctor, in countries like Brazil, Cambodia, and Nigeria, where measles epidemics are rife, many take their children to a community center or marketplace where large-scale immunization drives take place. This is not possible under social distancing guidelines, and medical experts say it will be a huge challenge to stop the spread of coronavirus without creating conditions for an explosive resurgence of measles or other infectious diseases.

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The supply chain mess is hitting all of us. Inflation is now the highest it's been in over 30 years.

The costs of food, gas and housing are going through the roof. What's more, almost everything made outside of America is now in short supply — like semiconductors for our cars.

Why is this happening? A lot of it has to do with the pandemic. Asian factories had to shut down or thought there would be less demand for their stuff. So did shipping companies. But then online shopping surged, and now there's a lot of pent-up demand to spend all the cash we saved during COVID.

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The economic consequences of high inflation are already bad enough.

But for Larry Summers, sometimes the psychological trauma that comes with it can do even more damage to a society.

"A society where inflation is accelerating is a society that feels out of control."

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Should you believe the hype(rsonic)?

Over the past few months, US officials have become increasingly alarmed about a new type of killing machines called "hypersonic weapons."

The top US General, Mark Milley, said that China's successful test of an advanced hypersonic weapon earlier this year was "very close" to a "Sputnik moment" – referring to the Soviet Union's surprise launch of the world's first artificial satellite in 1957, which raised fears that the US was lagging behind a formidable technological rival.

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Marietje Schaake, International Policy Director at Stanford's Cyber Policy Center, Eurasia Group senior advisor and former MEP, discusses trends in big tech, privacy protection and cyberspace:

What is Facebook planning with the metaverse?

Well, my sense is that Facebook mostly prefers a virtual reality over the actual situation the company is in, with overwhelming criticism about the many harms to people it is causing all over the world. The metaverse at launch would be added to a number of services and experiences online in a more virtual and augmented reality setting. Think about what the gaming sector has done, but now, also, other big tech firms are jumping on the bandwagon. The thing to remember is that the user experience would be more immersive.

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Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, shares insights on US politics:

Why did President Biden renominate Jay Powell to be the chairman of the Fed, and who's his No.2, Lael Brainard?

Well, Powell by all accounts has done a pretty good job of managing the Fed through the coronavirus pandemic. He dusted off the playbook, first pioneered by Chairman Bernanke during the financial crisis, and he's largely continued the relatively easy monetary policy of his predecessor at the Fed, now Treasury Secretary, Janet Yellen. With inflation growing the way it has over the last several months, Biden now owns the policies of the Fed and is essentially endorsing what Powell has been doing and giving Powell the political cover to continue to keep rates low for longer, or as many people expect, raise them slightly over the next 12 months in order to fight inflation.

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When Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted on all counts, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, who created the "1619 Project" tweeted: "In this country, you can even kill white people and get away with it if those white people are fighting for Black lives. This is the legacy of 1619." In an upcoming interview with Ian Bremmer, she explains why she saw the verdict as a consequence of this country's long history of double standards when it comes to racial justice. "The fact that we own more guns in this country than any other country is certainly a legacy of 1619" Hannah-Jones says. "This idea that white Americans can patrol, that they have the right to open carry, this is not something that Black Americans can engage in, in the same way." Watch her full conversation with Ian Bremmer in an upcoming episode of GZERO World.

Ian Bremmer shares his insights on global politics this week with a look at Peng Shuai's public appearance, El Salvador's "Bitcoin City," and Americans' Thanksgiving celebrations.

Why has China silenced its famous tennis player, Peng Shuai?

Well, they haven't completely silenced her in the sense that the head of the IOC, the International Olympic Committee with Beijing Olympics coming up, basically told the Chinese government, "hey, what is the absolute minimum that you can do so that we can get Beijing Olympics back on track?" And they did the absolute minimum, which was a half an hour phone call with her that felt like kind of a hostage phone call. But nonetheless, she says that she is fine and is private and doesn't want to talk about the fact that she had accused the former Vice Premier of sexually assaulting her. That is a fairly heady charge. It was clear, going to get a lot of headlines in the run-up to the Olympics. And she wasn't heard from after that. So big problem for the Chinese in the run-up to the Olympics.

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How did we get to today's supply chain mess?

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