Israel's highly charged election; EU-China deal at risk over sanctions

Ian Bremmer discusses Israel's election, the EU-China tensions over sanctions, and Putin's jab on this edition of World In 60 Seconds.

Will Israel's fourth election in two years finally provide the country stability?

Well, I mean, to be fair, the country is actually stable. Seven million people rolling out vaccines faster than any other country around the world. I mean, you know, life is relatively normal unless you're in the occupied territories as a Palestinian. But the politics are indeed problematic. It is very close, indeed. It is conceivable that Netanyahu will be able, by the skin of his teeth, to put together a very, very right-wing coalition, that could threaten democracy. It's also conceivable that no one can put together a coalition, it depends on small parties, in which case you could have a fifth election in two years. Yes, that could easily happen. There you go.


What will come from new EU and US sanctions on China?

Well, the Europeans are saying that unless the Chinese actually pull back on the sanctions against European MEPs, which they did in response to the US, the EU, the UK, and Canada, all putting sanctions on Chinese officials in response to treatment of the Uighurs - they really didn't like that - that the EU-China investment deal wouldn't get ratified. Macron really wants this to get done. Merkel really wants this to get done. There is some uncertainty, of course, in Germany, depending on what happens after Merkel and the government. On balance, I would argue that this investment relationship still ends up happening and the US and the EU have very different perspectives on China, but still overall a hardening of positions towards each other across the board, on the western side and on the Chinese side.

Finally, Putin is finally getting vaccinated. What took so long?

It is a little surprising. And he did not get vaccinated on television. We have to take his word for it. His daughter got vaccinated with Sputnik V very early. Maybe he wanted to make sure she didn't grow a second head or anything. I don't know. Look, I'm a little surprised because, I mean, Sputnik V has been peer reviewed. It's a worthwhile vaccine. It's being exported and it's quite effective. So, I mean, I would have thought that Putin would want to show some patriotism. But, you know, maybe he's skittish about needles. I literally, I find it kind of strange. And with Russia, at the end of the day, you'll never find out, you don't want to be in a position to.

Emily Ademola lives in an area of Nigeria that has been attacked by Boko Haram militants in the past. Looking for water was very risky, and without access to water, the community – especially children – were at risk of waterborne diseases. Eni, in partnership with FAO, built a water well in Emily's community in 2019.

Watch Emily's first-hand account about how access to water "close to our doorsteps" has improved the quality of life for her community and her family.

There's never a great time to impose higher taxes on funeral services — but doing it in the middle of a raging pandemic is an especially bad move. Yet that was one of a number of measures that the Colombian government proposed last week in a controversial new tax bill that has provoked the country's largest and most violent protests in decades.

In the days since, the finance minister has resigned, the tax reform has been pulled, and President Iván Duque has called for fresh dialogue with activists, union leaders, and opposition politicians.

But demonstrations, vandalism, and deadly clashes with police have only intensified. Two dozen people are dead, 40 are missing, and the UN has criticized Colombian police for their heavy-handed response.

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Listen: India's latest COVID explosion hits home as one Delhi-based journalist speaks with Ian Bremmer about her own father's death from the virus. Barkha Dutt has been reporting on the pandemic in India since it began, but nothing could prepare her for the catastrophic second wave that has hit her country in the last few weeks—and that has now shattered her own family. Would her father have survived if the oxygen tank in his ambulance had been working, or if the ambulance hadn't gotten stuck in Delhi traffic?She asks similar questions of her national government. Why was it caught so unprepared by this second wave, well over a year into the pandemic? Why has India, the largest vaccine manufacturer in the world, been so slow to vaccinate its own citizens? And how much of the blame falls at the feet of Prime Minister Narendra Modi?

Subscribe to the GZERO World Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or your preferred podcast platform to receive new episodes as soon as they're published.

Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden, shares his perspective on Europe In 60 Seconds:

What's going on between the United Kingdom and France over fishing rights?

Yes, good question. Why on earth are they sending the Royal Navy to chase away some French fishermen from the island of Jersey? Fishing rights is very controversial. It was one of the key issues in the Brexit negotiations. Extremely divisive. Fishermen are fairly determined people but sending the Royal Navy to handle the French fishermen was somewhat excessive. I guess it played rather well with the English nationalists for Boris Johnson in the local elections, though.

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COVID has officially killed almost 3.5 million people around the world since the beginning of the pandemic. But some public health experts believe that the real number could be more than twice as high, because of challenges to accurately reporting the death toll in many countries around the world. A new study from the University of Washington contends, for example, that actual deaths are nearly 60 percent higher than reported in the US, twice as high in India, more than four times as high in Russia... and a staggering ten times higher than the official tally in Japan. Here's a look at how official figures compare to actual estimated deaths in the 20 countries where COVID has claimed the most lives.

While residents of wealthy countries are getting ready for hot vaxxed summer — COVID is still ravaging many low- and middle-income countries. The horrifying scenes coming out of India in recent weeks have gripped the world, causing governments and civil society to quickly mobilize and pledge support.

But on the other side of the globe, Brazil is also being pummeled by the pandemic — and has been for a year now. Yet thus far, the outpouring of aid and (solidarity) hasn't been as large.

What explains the global alarm at India's situation, and seeming passivity towards Brazil's plight? What are the politics of compassion?

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Paris-London face-off at sea: France and the UK are at loggerheads in the high seas this week over post-Brexit fishing access in Jersey, an island off the English Channel. Furious at regulations that they say makes it harder to fish in these lucrative waters, dozens of French fishing boats amassed near the Channel Island, threatening to block access to the port. In response, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson deployed two naval vessels — a move critics say was an unnecessary escalation, and an attempt by the PM to flex his muscles and bolster the Tory vote ahead of Thursday's regional election. France, for its part, sent its own naval ship and threatened to cut off Jersey's electricity supply, 90 percent of which comes from French underwater cables. Fishing rights was one of the final sticking points of Brexit trade negotiations, an emotive political issue for many Britons who say that they got a subpar deal when the UK joined the European Economic Community in the 1970s. Though an UK-EU Brexit agreement was finally reached in December 2020, it's clear that there are still thorny issues that need to be resolved.

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The GZERO World Podcast with Ian Bremmer. Listen now.

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The GZERO World Podcast with Ian Bremmer. Listen now.

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