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GZERO Media and The Straits Times team up to bring fresh global insight to bigger audiences

Ian sits down with Warren Fernandez, Editor-in-Chief of The Straits Times, Singapore's most-read newspaper, to talk about our new partnership, and to discuss the future of geopolitics in Asia. You can watch the full video here.

Here are the key takeaways:

We're entering a big election season in Asia, with upcoming national elections in Thailand, Indonesia, and India. In all three countries, the races are close. In Indonesia, the latest polls suggest that incumbent President Jokowi Widodo's lead is narrowing ahead of the April election. The Thai election this Sunday will likely end inconclusively with months of wrangling between pro-junta and pro-democracy forces. And in India, a national security crisis has upended an election that was set to be fought mainly over the economic record of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's BJP-led government.

There's good news on the US-China trade fight: The delay of a planned summit later this month between President Trump and President Xi is actually positive, because it suggests that unlike his Vietnam blow-up with Kim Jong-un, Trump is only willing to sit down with Xi if the two sides are close to a deal. The final agreement could actually be much more significant than most expect.

But the long-term problem for the US and China is that even if they resolve their disagreement on trade, mutual trust has vanished. That – rather than a trade deal – is the most lasting result for the world's two largest economies.

Check out GZEROMedia.com for more Asia news from The Straits Times.

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It's been four days since Iran's top nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, died in a hail of bullets on a highway near Tehran. Iran has plausibly blamed Israel for the killing, but more than that, not much is known credibly or in detail.

This is hardly the first time that an Iranian nuclear scientist has been assassinated in an operation that has a whiff of Mossad about it. But Fakhrizadeh's prominence — he is widely regarded as the father of the Iranian nuclear program — as well as the timing of the killing, just six weeks from the inauguration of a new American president, make it a particularly big deal. Not least because an operation this sensitive would almost certainly have required a US sign-off.

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Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hey everybody. Ian Bremmer here, have your quick take. Plenty going on this week. I could of course talk about all these new Biden appointees, but frankly, there's not that much that surprising there. Moderate, lots of expertise, not very controversial, almost all of which could get through a Republican controlled Senate, presuming that markets are going to be reasonably happy, Progressive's in the Democratic party somewhat less so. But no, the big news right now internationally, certainly about Iran. The Iranians started this year with the assassination by the United States of their defense leader, Qasem Soleimani. Everyone was worried about war. Now, closing the year with the assassination of the head of their nuclear program and historically the head of their nuclear weapons program.

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Joe Biden has had one of the longest political careers in American history, but his most important act is yet to come. Can decades of experience in Washington prepare him to lead the most divided America since the end of the Civil War?

Watch the GZERO World episode: What you still may not know about Joe

Ethiopia on the brink: After ethnic tensions between Ethiopia's federal government and separatist forces in the northern Tigray region erupted into a full-blown armed conflict in recent weeks, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced his forces had taken control of Tigray's capital on Saturday and declared victory. But the fugitive Tigray leader Debretsion Gebremichael quickly called Abiy's bluff, saying the fighting is raging on, and demanded Abiy withdraw his forces. Gebremichael accused Abiy of launching "a genocidal campaign" that has displaced 1 million people, with thousands fleeing to neighboring Sudan, creating a humanitarian catastrophe. The Tigray, who make up about five percent of Ethiopia's population, are fighting for self-determination, but Abiy's government has repeatedly rejected invitations to discuss the issue, accusing the coalition led by Gebremichael's Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) of "instigating clashes along ethnic and religious lines." As the two sides dig in their heels, Ethiopia faces the risk of a civil war that could threaten the stability of the entire Horn of Africa.

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Reasons for Hope: COVID and the Coming Year. Watch on Friday. Dec 4 2020 12 noon - 1 pm ET


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