Hong Kong a year after the National Security Law; US-UK travel corridor

Ian Bremmer shares his perspective on global politics this week:

A year after the National Security Law, how has Hong Kong changed?

More integrated into mainland China. Virtually no Western companies have pulled out. A fair number of Hong Kong citizens are leaving, and of course no more democratic opposition, no more free media. The full incorporation of Hong Kong into mainland China. One country, one system is happening very fast.


As rebels retake the Tigray capital, Ethiopia declares a ceasefire. Is peace near in Ethiopia's civil war?

Early to say that. It's certainly a promising step. There's been a lot of pressure from the international community, the US and others, sanctions on the Ethiopian government, potential that the IMF program doesn't run forward. That would be a big problem for the Ethiopian economy. So they want to move to a ceasefire, but the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abiy, is concerned that he doesn't have the military support for maintaining a ceasefire given the tense balance in Tigray. Certainly, with the Eritrean military across the border supporting them, it's going to be hard to keep that in place. But we will see where it goes.

Finally, is the hope of the US-UK travel corridor fading as the Delta variant forces more lockdowns around the world?

I know a lot of Brits want to come here and vice versa. I don't think so. Definitely the lockdowns are continuing through mid-July at the least in the UK, but again, the United States and UK have been some of the fastest in the world in terms of getting the entire population vaccinated. Yes, there are holdouts. Yes, there's anti-vax sentiment, but ultimately just as we're feeling like life is getting back to normal, that international transit between the advanced industrial economies is picking up soon. I'd be stunned if by the end of the summer we aren't traveling back and forth between the US and UK. Once again, special relationship, even post-Brexit.

"I knew that history was my life's calling."

On Bank of America's That Made All the Difference podcast, Secretary of the Smithsonian Lonnie Bunch shares his journey and present-day work creating exhibits that inspire visitors to help our country live up to its ideals.

A few weeks ago, a Signal reader emailed me to ask why so much of our coverage of the world is so damn dark. Aren't there any good news stories out there?

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There's a lot of doom and gloom in the world these days, and much cause for pessimism. Still, the advent of new technologies and scientific advancements has lifted millions out of poverty and increased quality of life for many over the last half century. Since 1990, global average life expectancy has increased by eight years to 73, while GDP per capita has also grown exponentially, doubling over the past decade alone. We take a look at how life expectancy and GDP per capita have evolved globally from 1960-2019.

Get insights on the latest news in US politics from Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington:

Why can't President Biden order a vaccine mandate for all Americans?

Well, the reason is it's out of his powers. The one of the fundamental challenges in the pandemic is that the federal government has actually been fairly limited in the steps they can take to stop the spread of the virus. So, that's why you've seen President Biden order masks on transit, mass transit, airplanes, and the like. But he can't order masks in workplaces because that's not within his power. That power lies within state governments. State governments and other entities, like employers, can require vaccinations before you come into their buildings, or you come back to school, or you go to work in your office. But the federal government can't do that. What Biden is doing is, allegedly, supposedly going to announce a mandate for federal workers to get vaccinated.

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American gymnast Sunisa "Suni" Lee, 18, stunned spectators around the world with her breathtaking performance in Tokyo Thursday that earned her the gold.

Here are some interesting facts about Suni Lee, the gymnast queen:

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"Super Mario" takes his chances: Less than five months after becoming Italy's consensus prime minister, Mario Draghi's coalition government is on shaky ground over Draghi's proposed judicial reforms. "Super Mario" — as he's known for saving the Eurozone as European Central Bank chief during the financial crisis — wants to dramatically speed up Italy's famously slow courts. But his push to reduce judicial backlogs is opposed both by the populist 5-Star Movement, the coalition government's biggest party, and by prosecutors because many cases could be scrapped before reaching a verdict. Draghi, upset that this resistance is stalling his other initiatives to cut Italian red tape, has decided to roll the dice anyway: he'll put his plan to overhaul the courts to a no-confidence vote in parliament. If Draghi wins, he gets the reforms passed without debate; if he loses, the PM technically has to resign, but he'll keep his job because he has enough votes even if the 5-Star Movement bows out of the coalition.

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Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden, shares his perspective from Europe:

What is going on in Bosnia with Bosnian Serbs boycotting all major institutions?

Well, it's a reaction against a decision that was taken by the outgoing high representative during his very last days, after 12 years of having done very little in this respect, to have a law banning any denial of Srebrenica and other genocides. But this issue goes to very many other aspects of the Bosnian situation. So, it has created a political crisis that will be somewhat difficult to resolve.

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700: Roughly 700 people arrested for joining the unprecedented July 11 anti-government protests in Cuba are still being held by the regime. They may now face mass show trials as Havana continues to crack down on dissent following the biggest challenge to its power in decades.

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