What does Brexit mean for the UK, London, and NYC? Will McConnell allow a US stimulus payment vote?

Brexit will be here on January 1st. What big changes are coming?

There are a lot of big changes coming. Most important for the average Brit is the fact that you no longer can work or have education access in the European Union. You have to apply with normal immigration patterns, as you would outside the EU. That's going to change the way people think about their future. But otherwise, a lot greater regulatory impact, declarations of customs for goods being transmitted, so the cost of trade is going to go up with the world's largest common market. You know, the idea of I mean, for financial markets is very important because you have financial groups that are losing automatic access to the single market in the EU as well. They're supposed to be new deals cut around that, but we aren't there yet. It's not a disaster, but the fact that all these changes are happening immediately, and they are a significant cost primarily on the smaller economy of the United Kingdom and that they're going to have to be borne at a time when the economy's not doing well, when coronavirus hasn't been handled very well, when global demand is already depressed, this is a big hit, and it's a big hit also on the back of almost five years of uncertainty around the UK.


I think one of the most interesting things is London is not going to be seen as as much of a global city. As someone who loves London personally, I think that's sad. But it's also really interesting because when you think about truly global cities in the world, I've thought Hong Kong, for example, certainly not any more with what's happened from the mainland and the introduction of the national security law. London really hard to say given what they've just done in the UK to limit connections with the European Union. There's in general lots of fragmentation in the world, globalization and globalism has taken it on the chin. I think this helps the United States, the world's largest economy, and it helps New York City because there is still a desire for financial markets, for global creatives, for talent and wealth to come together in places. Tokyo is an incredibly well functioning, really big city, but it's so much more homogenous. Beijing is an incredible place with a massive amount of dynamism, energy and wealth, but it's also in an authoritarian system and a reasonably closed marketplace. It just can't be global. So, I actually think that New York City is comparatively speaking, going to do a lot better as a place in terms of energy, momentum, ideas and wealth, even though in the coronavirus period, people have been leaving New York, L.A., Silicon Valley for places that are cheaper. I would be betting long on places that are global, especially in an environment that's going to be more unequal going forward and first tier cities doing well.

Are $2000 stimulus payments back on the table in the United States?

If McConnell decides that he is willing to put it to a vote, the answer is maybe, but I have a hard time seeing him do that personally. Keep in mind that that would be a gift to the Democrats who have been supporting this without taking away any of the other bits of the bill, the rescission that President Trump has demanded, the pork and spending that has come somewhat from Republicans, somewhat from Democrats. I think McConnell still believes that the way he exercises power is by determining the political agenda and only providing opportunities for things that he and his party supports. Now, there is the complication of the Georgia by-election and both of the GOP senators who are running in that by-election, Perdue and Loeffler have come out surprise, surprise, in favor of the $2000 stimulus, the checks, individual checks, for again, for everybody that that makes under a certain amount, and that's useful for them because they're running, it's politics as usual, but I don't think that necessarily makes McConnell any more likely to put it on the agenda. In fact, given the fact that politics are generally local, they get to say they supported it, they're not going to take a hit from the fact that it doesn't actually pass. So, I think it is effectively a nothing-burger. It's Trump saying that he pushed hard for those checks, for people's money in their pockets, and it was taken away. And if he wants to have a fight with McConnell, he certainly can.

Happy New Year. What does the world in 2021 look like?

I will not tell you that right now. I will tell you that next week you should all tune in for our top risks. We do it every year. And it is well in place. There is an enormous amount of work that goes into it. We will be putting it out on Monday, January 4th. And there's going to be a livestream to talk about it at 12:00 noon Eastern Standard Time. You can watch on gzeromedia.com and all of our social media accounts. I look forward to seeing all of you then. Happy New Year to everyone.

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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