Thailand's monarchy, Nigeria protests, Bolivia's new president & COVID latest

Watch Ian Bremmer discuss the World In (more than) 60 Seconds:

With Thailand's anti-government movement growing, is the monarchy in danger?

No, the monarchy is not in danger. The prime minister, Prayut, is in massive danger. These people want him out. That could lead to, yet another, military coup. By the way, markets don't tend to move because it happens a lot in Thailand all the time. This is a lot of demands for economic reform. A lot of demands for incompetence in the country. The economy has been hit massively. Thailand is massively dependent on tourism and something that is certainly not happening with coronavirus going on. It's extraordinary. There has been a fair amount of anti-monarchy sentiment and willingness to go after them in the demonstrations, which is illegal to do in Thailand, but there's still a lot of support. The royalist at military coordination is very high. That's not going to change the resources they have that they're able to spread around the country for patronage is massive. It is nowhere near the popularity that the former very long-lasting king had, but the monarchy in Thailand, no, is not in danger.


What is happening in Nigeria?

Well, massive protests in Nigeria, too. Big, big security breakdowns, both in the capital, Abuja, as well as across Nigeria's southwest. I was there, actually, a year ago and loved my trip. But there's no question, there were more military checkpoints than I'd ever been through in my life, including some that were a little dodgy. This time around, it is large amounts of popular protest against police brutality, and security shakedowns, and abuses. That has also been taken advantage of by some of the criminal elements themselves using the demonstrations to advance their own gains. The President Buhari has said very little in response, so far. The responses have mostly been at the local level. That's not going to be able to continue for long because we're talking about the capital of a country and pretty widespread instability. But nonetheless, this is a pretty big deal for the largest economy in Nigeria and something we should be watching pretty closely.

Bolivia, all over the world today, elected a new president. Who is Luis Arce, and how will he lead the country?

Well, he was the minister of finance, I want to say, for the former president, Evo Morales. Morales, indigenous leader of the left progressive, did a very good job in lowering inequality in Bolivia, was very popular, but was forced out of power because of charges of fraud in the last presidential vote a year ago. And both domestically and internationally, and the United States agreed, most international observers did, and then, turned out that those allegations of fraud were themselves fraudulent. In other words, he was kind of forced out of power illicitly. And the place holder government, this woman, Jeanine Áñez, who took over as an interim leader, and was from the right, and much more pro-business, pro-market, anti-indigenous people, overturned a lot of Morales' policies, and with significant abuses against his supporters, riot police brought in and the rest, she was thinking about running in election, which would have probably been illegal. She chose not to, smart for her, and ended up supporting the unity candidate on the right, former president, Carlos Mesa. He lost, and he lost in the first round to this President Arce, who has nowhere near the charisma of Morales. But the level of opposition to the way he was forced out so high that he ended up sweeping the win. And it's going to hurt economically. The markets will respond negatively to it. And obviously, this is a very challenging time, economically, in the country. But if you leave aside the Washington consensus, the IMF, and the rest, and talk about the Bolivian people, this is going to lead to a lot more political stability, a lot fewer people getting hurt. And big congratulations to the former minister of finance, now, president.

Final question is, what is the global COVID update?

Oh, save that until the end. We're continuing to see significant expansion of cases across, now, not just Spain, but really all of Europe. In fact, in the Czech Republic, you're seeing the highest levels of cases per capita of any country in Europe, I think, since this whole thing started. Real expansion across the entire continent, Western Europe and much of Eastern Europe. And of course, across, now, the entirety of the United States. It's not a third wave, it's a second wave. In the US, there were lots of first waves in different parts of the United States, so it made it feel like it was expanding at different times. In reality, it's because the US is just really big and diverse. Now, this is increasingly a collective second wave leading to a lot more people getting hospitalized too. The death rates in the United States and Europe are still staying relatively low. In part, that's different by behaviors on the part of the populations that are most vulnerable. In part, it is hospital care improve with having sufficient ICU beds. It is being prepared in terms of better treatment, and also, getting people to recognize symptoms and getting treated immediately. All of that means that even with a very significant... The absolute scale of this second wave is likely probably going to be greater in terms of total cases than the first wave was. And yet, the economic impact, the human impact is likely to be less because we've learned so much more about the virus.

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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Delhi-based reporter Barkha Dutt's decades of journalism couldn't prepare her for the horrific experience of covering the death of one specific COVID-19 victim: her own father. In a conversation with Ian Bremmer, Dutt recounts her desperate struggle to find an ambulance to take her father through Delhi traffic to reach the hospital, only for him to die in the ICU. Their in-depth discussion looks at India's struggle with the world's worst COVID crisis in the upcoming episode of GZERO World begins airing on US public television Friday, May 7. Check local listings.

A Green Party-led government for the world's fourth largest economy? That's no longer far-fetched. As Signal's Gabrielle Debinski wrote last month, most current polls now show Germany's Greens in first place in federal elections set for September 26. And for the first time, the Greens have a candidate for chancellor. Annalena Baerbock is vying to replace Angela Merkel, who has led Germany for the past 16 years.

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India and Brazil are currently the world's top two COVID hotspots. But while India's crisis is — at least according to official statistics — a relatively recent one, Brazil's COVID disaster has been an ongoing train wreck. Where India seemed to have kept the pandemic under control until some bad missteps about two months ago, COVID has been wreaking havoc in Brazil almost constantly for over a year now. And President Jair Bolsonaro's macho-posturing and COVID denialism has clearly not helped. We take a look at average daily new cases and deaths in both countries since the pandemic began.

US reverses course on vaccine patents: In a surprise move, the Biden administration will now support waiving international property rights for COVID vaccines at the World Trade Organization. Until now the US had firmly opposed waiving those patents, despite demands from developing countries led by India and South Africa to do so. Biden's about face comes just a week after he moved to free up 60 million of American-bought AstraZeneca jabs — still not approved by US regulators — for nations in need. It's not clear how fast an IP waiver would really help other countries, as the major impediments to ramping up vaccine manufacturing have more to do with logistics and supply chains than with patent protections alone. But if patent waivers do accelerate production over time, then that could accelerate a global return to normal — potentially winning the US a ton of goodwill.

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28: Yair Lapid, leader of Israel's opposition Yesh Atid (There is a Future) party, has 28 days to form a new government. President Reuven Rivlin tapped Lapid after incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to cobble together a governing coalition by Tuesday's midnight deadline, further prolonging Israel's political stalemate.

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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:

How big of a blow is Apple's new privacy feature to companies like Facebook, who depend on tracking users?

The long-awaited update, including enhanced privacy features, actually empowers those users to decide not to be tracked. So that's great news for people who are sick of how the data trail they leave behind on the web is used. But it has to be said, that simple feature settings changed by Apple cannot solve the problem of misuse of data and microtargeting alone. Still, Apple's move was met with predictable outrage and anti-trust accusations from ad giant Facebook. I would anticipate more standard setting by companies in the absence of a federal data protection law in the United States. That's just to mention one vacuum that big tech thrives on.

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India’s COVID crisis hits home

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