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CATCH A WAVE: INDEPENDENCE EDITION

CATCH A WAVE: INDEPENDENCE EDITION

Over the past century, three major waves of independence have given rise to many of the 195 countries that exist today.


The first came in the period around World War One, when the collapse of the Ottoman, Habsburg, German, and Russian empires spawned new nation states in Central and Eastern Europe.

The second broke in the years after World War Two, when dozens of African and Asian countries won their independence — in some cases after a fierce fight — from the dying British and French empires.

The most recent wave arrived in 1991, as the dissolution of the USSR spawned 15 new former Soviet Republics. (To our Latin American readers, we aren’t disregarding you — it’s just that the collapse of the Spanish and Portuguese empires happened more than a century ago.)

Where and how will the next wave hit? Here at Signal, we think there’s a strong case to be made that cities may give rise to the next big independence push.

Here’s why:

  • Urban areas are already home to more than half the world’s population and produce 80 percent of global GDP — a figure that will grow as millions more people join the burgeoning ranks of the world’s city-dwellers in coming decades.
  • The urban-rural divide is growing more prominent in global politics: think London versus the English countryside, which were sharply opposed to each other over Brexit, or pro-immigrant US sanctuary cities versus rural voters who tend to look more skeptically on immigration.
  • Cities are increasingly on the front lines of dealing with transnational issues like climate change, health, migration, and terrorism, and have begun to cooperate more with each other along all of these lines.
  • Cities’ dynamic economies and more manageable size also means they’re arguably better-positioned to capture the benefits — and manage the downsides — of emerging technologies like artificial intelligence.

The widening urban-rural divide could eventually push cities to seek a greater degree of independence, but national governments will resist giving up too much ground. We’re curious what you think: What would it take for global cities to become city-states? What are some other potential waves of independence that you can think of? Let us know here. ​

Carbon has a bad rep, but did you know it's a building block of life? As atoms evolved, carbon trapped in CO2 was freed, giving way to the creation of complex molecules that use photosynthesis to convert carbon to food. Soon after, plants, herbivores, and carnivores began populating the earth and the cycle of life began.

Learn more about how carbon created life on Earth in the second episode of Eni's Story of CO2 series.

The long-simmering conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over a region called Nagorno-Karabakh erupted over the weekend, with more than 50 killed (so far) in the fiercest fighting in years. Will it escalate into an all-out war that threatens regional stability and drags in major outside players?

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On Tuesday night, you can finally watch Trump and Biden tangle on the debate stage. But you TOO can go head to head on debate night .. with your fellow US politics junkies.

Print out GZERO's handy debate BINGO cards and get ready to rumble. There are four different cards so that each player may have a unique board. Every time one of the candidates says one of these words or terms, X it on your card. First player to get five across wins. And if you really want to jazz it up, you can mark each of your words by taking a swig of your drink, or doing five burpees, or donating to your favorite charity or political candidate. Whatever gets you tipsy, in shape, or motivated, get the bingo cards here. It's fight night!

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Watch Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

A new war breaking out between Armenia and Azerbaijan, not a new conflict. They've been fighting over contested territory that used to be a part of the Azeri Soviet Socialist Republic. Nagorno-Karabakh was an autonomous region. It was taken by the Armenians. It's a mostly Armenian enclave in terms of population. It's been contested since that military fight. There's been ongoing negotiations. The Azeris a number of months ago tried some shelling. They got pasted. This time around, it's war and for a few reasons.

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Join us tomorrow, September 29th, at 11 am ET for a GZERO Town Hall livestream event, Ending the COVID-19 Pandemic, to learn about the latest in the global hunt for a COVID-19 vaccine.

Watch here at 11am ET: https://www.gzeromedia.com/events/town-hall-ending-the-covid-19-pandemic-livestream/

Our panel will discuss where things really stand on vaccine development, the political and economic challenges of distribution, and what societies need to be focused on until vaccine arrives in large scale. This event is the second in a series presented by GZERO Media in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Eurasia Group.

Apoorva Mandavilli, science & global health reporter for the New York Times, will moderate a conversation with:

  • Lynda Stuart, Deputy Director, Vaccines & Human Immunobiology, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Rohitesh Dhawan, Managing Director, Energy, Climate & Resources, Eurasia Group
  • Mark Suzman, CEO, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Gayle E. Smith, President & CEO, ONE Campaign and former Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development

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