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BACK TO THE NAMING BOARD? MACEDONIA’S REFERENDUM

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…

Khant Thaw Htoo is a young engineer who works in Eni's Sakura Tower office in the heart of Yangon. As an HSE engineer, he monitors the safety and environmental impact of onshore and offshore operations. He also looks out for his parents' well-being, in keeping with Myanmar's traditions.

Learn more about Khant in the final episode of the Faces of Eni series, which focuses on Eni's employees around the world.

Over the weekend, some 40,000 Russians braved subzero temperatures to turn out in the streets in support of imprisoned Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny. More than 3,000 protesters were arrested, and Navalny called on his followers to prepare for more action in the coming weeks.

But just who is Alexei Navalny, and how significant is the threat that he may pose to Vladimir Putin's stranglehold on power in Russia?

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The United States has never been more divided, and it's safe to say that social media's role in our national discourse is a big part of the problem. But renowned tech journalist Kara Swisher doesn't see any easy fix. "I don't know how you fix the architecture of a building that is just purposely dangerous for everybody." Swisher joins Ian Bremmer to talk about how some of the richest companies on Earth, whose business models benefit from discord and division, can be compelled to see their better angels. Their conversation was part of the latest episode of GZERO World.

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take (part 1):

Ian Bremmer here, happy Monday. And have your Quick Take to start off the week.

Maybe start off with Biden because now President Biden has had a week, almost a week, right? How was it? How's he doing? Well, for the first week, I would say pretty good. Not exceptional, but not bad, not bad. Normal. I know everyone's excited that there's normalcy. We will not be excited there's normalcy when crises start hitting and when life gets harder and we are still in the middle of a horrible pandemic and he has to respond to it. But for the first week, it was okay.

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Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Russian opposition leader Navalny in jail. Hundreds of thousands demonstrating across the country in Russia over well over 100 cities, well over 3000 arrested. And Putin responding by saying that this video that was put out that showed what Navalny said was Putin's palace that costs well over a billion dollars to create and Putin, I got to say, usually he doesn't respond to this stuff very quickly. Looked a little defensive, said didn't really watch it, saw some of it, but it definitely wasn't owned by him or owned by his relatives.

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The GZERO World Podcast with Ian Bremmer. Listen now.

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