Iran faces repercussions after shooting down a passenger plane

Ian Bremmer joins us from Ethiopia to help us make sense of global political tensions and their origins.

What repercussions will Iran face in the aftermath of shooting down a Ukrainian passenger plane?

Well, big repercussions internationally because the Europeans, the Canadians, plenty met. They lied about it before they finally said, OK. Tried to cover it up. And that means it's going to be much tougher to keep them onside in terms of this Iranian nuclear deal that the Iranians themselves are increasingly pulling away from. Also, big demonstrations on the ground in Iran. That's bad for the Iranians, of course, the worst week they've had in decades.


Where does this leave US-Iran tensions?

Well, I mean, pretty bad in the sense that Trump is now not just talking about no nukes. He's also saying, don't you dare abuse your people, don't go after them. So, is Trump saying that there's going to be hell to pay or further sanctions for repression? I mean, right now, the isolation of the Iranian regime has gone way the heck up. They're in trouble. They're actually in trouble right now.

How will China respond to Taiwan's re-election of anti-unification leader Tsai Ing-wen?

Well, this shows you that US-China relations are going to get worse. Xi Jinping feels like he's in a bit of a box on this after Hong Kong and the repression there. That's why Tsai Ing-wen, the nationalist did so well there. But after this deal is signed between the US and China this week on trade, everything else going in a bad direction: Taiwan, Hong Kong, intellectual property, Uighurs. And watch what happens with the extradition case of the daughter of the Huawei founder in Canada this month.

Amid the current need to continually focus on the COVID-19 crisis, it is understandably hard to address other important issues. But, on March 31st, Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed landmark facial recognition legislation that the state legislature passed on March 12, less than three weeks, but seemingly an era, ago. Nonetheless, it's worth taking a moment to reflect on the importance of this step. This legislation represents a significant breakthrough – the first time a state or nation has passed a new law devoted exclusively to putting guardrails in place for the use of facial recognition technology.

For more on Washington's privacy legislation, visit Microsoft On The Issues.

Read our roundup of COVID-19 themes and stories from around the globe.

Europe skirts US sanctions to help Iran: While the US insists on tightening the sanctions noose around COVID-stricken Iran, European countries are now sending medical equipment. To do so, they are using for the first time a system called INSTEX, a back-channel financial mechanism created a year ago that allows Europe to maintain trade ties with Iran despite US sanctions. Recall that in 2018 the US pulled out of the multilateral Iran nuclear agreement and reimposed crippling sanctions – the Europeans stayed in the deal and have tried to salvage it. To date, Iran has suffered more than 3,000 deaths from COVID-19, one of the highest tolls in the world. Some say that Iran's failure to contain the contagion has been complicated further by US sanctions, which have thwarted the Islamic Republic's ability to fund medical imports. Tehran has urged the US to ease sanctions to no avail, but Ayatollah Khamenei has also, citing some wild conspiracy theories about the coronavirus' origin, refused medical aid from Washington.

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Laid-off hospitality workers tell their stories in their own words.

Ian Bremmer breaks down the massive economic toll the COVID-19 pandemic is taking on the hospitality and service industries in America and around the globe. In the U.S. alone, millions could face unemployment as businesses struggle to stay afloat.

Over the past decade or so, the European Union has weathered the global financial crisis, a migrant crisis, and the rise of populist nationalism. Sure, it's taken its fair share of bumps and bruises along the way, but the idea of a largely borderless Europe united by common democratic values has survived more or less intact.

Then came the coronavirus. The global pandemic, in which Europe is now one of the two main epicentres, is a still-spiralling nightmare that could make those previous crises look benign by comparison. Here are a few different ways that COVID-19 is severely testing the 27-member bloc:

The economic crisis: Lockdowns intended to stop the virus' spread have brought economic activity to a screeching halt, and national governments are going to need to spend a lot of money to offset the impact. But some EU members can borrow those funds more easily than others. Huge debt loads and deficits in southern European countries like Italy and Spain, which have been hardest hit by the outbreak so far, make it costlier for them to borrow than more fiscally conservative Germany and other northern member states. In the aftermath of the global financial crisis, this imbalance nearly led the bloc's common currency, the Euro, to unravel.

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