BACK TO THE NAMING BOARD? MACEDONIA’S REFERENDUM

Last Friday, Willis previewed a referendum held in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) on the question of changing the small nation’s name to “North Macedonia.” The change is meant to persuade Greece to drop its long-standing objections to FYROM’s possible entry into the European Union and NATO. Since Greece is already a member of both, it can veto any new membership applications, and since it has a northern province called “Macedonia” Athens refuses to share that name. Speculation also swirled that Russia, which opposes further NATO expansion, was keen to seethe referendum fail.


Well, FYROM held the vote last weekend, and some 90 percent cast a ballot in favor of the new name. The catch? Voter turnout fell far short of the 50% threshold needed to make the vote valid (only around 35% of eligible voters showed up). Many voters, it seems, heeded the calls of some politicians in FYROM to boycott the vote as an expression of defiance against Greece. Why, they ask, must we jump through these hoops to claim what is ours?

Zoran Zaev, FYROM's disappointed prime minister, has vowed to press on with efforts to change the nation’s name with an appeal to parliament to end the impasse. Given the geopolitical issues at stake, this remains a very big story in a small country. Stay tuned…


How will our cities and lives change in the future? What about a structure with a roller skating rink above a swimming pool, made out of transparent solar panels that power the entire park? This was the innovation invented by Eni's young researchers based on Luminescent Solar Concentrators, developed through Eni's research.

Watch the latest episode of Funny Applications, Eni's video series that imagines new uses for technology.

For 30 years, citizens of Hong Kong have gathered in Victoria Park on the evening of June 4 to honor the peaceful protesters massacred in Beijing's Tiananmen Square on that date in 1989. It has been the only public Tiananmen commemoration permitted on Chinese soil.

This year, the park was surrounded by barricades to keep people out. The officially stated reason for the shut-down? Crowds spread coronavirus. (In this city of more than 7 million, COVID has so far killed four people.)

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In an interview with GZERO World host Ian Bremmer, Hong Kong lawmaker Dennis Kwok, an outspoken pro-democracy advocate, expresses his concerns that the current "draconian" laws China's leadership is forcing upon his city has expedited the end of the "one country, two systems" policy established in 1997.

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Big news, of course, that former Secretary of Defense Mattis comes out with a public statement basically calling Trump's rule, his actions, unconstitutional and unfit for office, more divisive than any president he's ever seen.

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Sweden's state epidemiologist has expressed regrets about not having tighter coronavirus controls. What's the reaction been in Sweden?

Well, the guy has been going somewhat back and forth over what he actually meant by that particular statement. But I think there's a general feeling, yes, we could have done things better that relates to testing and that relates to quite a number of other things. And there is a concern that as Europe is now opening up, Swedes are treated as slightly different, slightly more dangerous than people from other countries. There is concern over that.

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