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Aquarius – The Sequel

Aquarius – The Sequel

Remember the Aquarius, a rescue boat carrying 630 migrants its crew had saved from the sea off North Africa that made headlines across Europe in June when Italy refused entry? In that instance, Spain’s newly elected government came to the rescue by opening a port and accepting the passengers. The story was a political winner at home for both Italy’s Interior Minister Salvini, who said no, and Spain’s new prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, who said yes.


This week, the Aquarius is back. This time, the ship run by humanitarian organizations Doctors Without Borders and SOS Méditerranée was carrying 141 migrants, including 67 unaccompanied children, rescued in international waters. Italy and Libya again refused entry, and this time Spain also said no. After a four-day standoff, Malta accepted the ship, but only after France, Germany, Luxembourg, Portugal and Spain agreed to accept a share of the 141 rescued passengers.

The Aquarius, the only rescue ship now patrolling the waters off Libya, will be back. With Italy literally offering radio silence in response to requests for help, Spain will again be in the spotlight. Does Sánchez want Spain to become the haven that accepts the rescued migrants that other EU countries reject? If not, what happens to these people?

The bottom line: The search for an EU-wide burden-sharing solution continues. It’s both a moral dilemma and a serious political problem.

Now that Joe Biden is officially US president, leaders from around the world would like a word with him — but where will he make his first international trip?

After a tumultuous four years, many countries are now clamoring for a face-to-face with President Biden. That includes allies who felt abandoned by Trump's "America First" presidency, as well as adversaries with thorny issues on the agenda. We check in on who's pitching him hardest on a near-term state visit.

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Jon Lieber, Managing Director of the United States for the Eurasia Group, shares his insights on what to expect from President Biden's first 100 days:

It's Inauguration Day. And you can see behind me the Capitol Building with some of the security corridor set up that's preventing people like me from getting too close to the building, as Joe Biden gets sworn in as our 46th president. Historic day when you consider that you've got Kamala Harris, the first woman vice president, the first woman of color to be vice president.

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On Wednesday, Joe Biden will become president because eighty-one million Americans, the highest tally in US history, voted to change course after four years of Donald Trump's leadership. Like all presidents, Biden and his vice president, Kamala Harris, take office with grand ambitions and high expectations, but rarely has a new administration taken power amid so much domestic upheaval and global uncertainty. And while Biden has pledged repeatedly to restore American "unity" across party lines — at a time of immense suffering, real achievements will matter a lot more than winged words.

Biden has a lot on his agenda, but within his first 100 days as president there are three key issues that we'll be watching closely for clues to how effectively he's able to advance their plans.

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Kamala Harris was sworn in today as the first woman Vice President of the United States. That means she's only a heartbeat away from occupying the Oval Office — and could well be the Democratic candidate to replace Joe Biden if the 78-year-old president decides to not run for reelection in 2024. Should Harris — or another woman — become US president soon in the future, that'll (finally) put America on par with most of the world's top 20 economies, which have already had a female head of state or government at some point in their democratic history. Here we take a look at which ones those are.

The GZERO World Podcast with Ian Bremmer. Listen now.

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