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LEFTOVERS: KEEP IT OR TOSS IT

After the feast is over there's always a heap of leftovers – but which to keep and which to toss? That's our lens for this week's edition of “watching and ignoring.


"WHAT WE'RE KEEPING: Dog days in China – The rapid growth of China's middle class has led to a huge increase in dog ownership, but dog care etiquette hasn't quite kept pace. Uncurbed and unleashed dogs have led to disturbances and even fights in some cities. To address the problem, the metropolis of Hangzhou (population 9.4 million) has imposed a toothy set of regulations: no dog walking between 7am and 7pm, confiscation or death for unlicensed dogs, and stiff fines for owners who let their pups off the leash. Several dozen spirited larger breeds of dog have been banned altogether, including, we note, the Tibetan mastiff.Brexit on Ice – Amid growing prospects that the UK will crash out of the European Union next March without any new trade agreements in place, cold storage space in the country is nearing peak capacity. Why? Food producers and supermarkets are worried that a "no-deal Brexit" could interrupt their international supply chains for everything from butter to potatoes to peas, so they are stocking up ahead of time. The pharmaceutical industry has warned it doesn't have sufficient cold storage for medicines either. Can May reach a deal that gets Brexit out of the cold?WHAT WE'RE TOSSING OUT:Viktor Yanukovych's tennis elbow… and back and knee – The former president of Ukraine, who was ousted in the 2014 Maidan uprising and later fled to Russia, was scheduled to testify yesterday, via Skype, to a Ukrainian court about his role in the episode. He is on trial in absentia for treason. But at the last minute his lawyer pulled the plug on it: Mr. Yanukovych, he said, had suffered severe injuries to his back and knee on a Moscow tennis court and would have to reschedule. Thought bubble: Was he playing tennis while falling out of a window?Darting with an F – A foul feud broke out this weekend between two pro dart players who accused each other of farting during the Grand Slam of Darts in the UK. After losing badly to former world champ Gary Anderson of Scotland, Dutchman Wesley Harms said he'd been distracted by Anderson's flatulence. Anderson, for his part, not only denied the allegation but claimed that Harmswas the wily windbreaker of the evening. All we're saying is, with so many sharp objects around, it's a good things these guys aren't Russian poets.

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.

On his first day as president, Joe Biden signed a remarkable series of executive orders. Boom! The US rejoins the Paris Climate Accord. Bang! The United States rejoins the World Health Organization. Pow! No more ban on immigration from many Muslim-majority countries. Biden's press secretary reminded reporters later in the day that all these orders merely begin complex processes that take time, but the impact is still dramatic.

If you lead a country allied with the US, or you're simply hoping for some specific commitment or clear and credible statement of purpose from the US government, you might feel a little dizzy today. The sight of an American president (Barack Obama) signing his name, of the next president (Donald Trump) erasing that name from the same legislation/bill, and then the following president (Biden) signing it back into law again will raise deep concerns over the long-term reliability of the world's still-most-powerful nation.

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Kevin Sneader, Global Managing Partner at McKinsey & Company, provides perspective on what corporate business leaders are thinking during the global coronavirus crisis:

Should businesses be pessimistic or optimistic about 2021?

It's easy to be gloomy about the year ahead when faced with the realities of a cold, bleak winter in much of the world. Add to that lockdowns across Europe, surging case numbers and hospitalizations, and dreadful events in the Capitol in the US to name a few reasons for pessimism. But I think there is a case for optimism when it comes to this year. After all, it's true to say that it's always darkest before the dawn, and my conversations with business leaders suggest there are reasons to be positive by 2021.

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Renowned tech journalist Kara Swisher has no qualms about saying that many of the country's social media companies need to be held accountable for their negative role in our current national discourse. Swisher calls for "a less friendly relationship with tech" by the Biden administration, an "internet bill of rights" around privacy, and an investigation into antitrust issues.

Swisher, who hosts the New York Times podcast Sway, joins Ian Bremmer for the latest episode of GZERO World, airing on public television nationwide beginning this Friday, January 22th. Check local listings.

Brexit pettiness lingers: Here we were naively thinking the Brexit shenanigans were over after the EU and UK agreed to an eleventh-hour post-Brexit trade deal last month. We were wrong — the saga continues. Now, a new row has erupted after the Johnson government said it will not give the EU ambassador in London the same diplomatic status awarded to other representatives of nation states. Unsurprisingly, this announcement peeved Brussels, whose delegates enjoy full diplomatic status in at least 142 other countries. The UK says it will give the EU envoy the same privileges as those given to international organizations, which are subject to change and do not include immunity from detention and taxation given to diplomats under the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations. EU members are furious, with officials accusing London of simply trying to flex its muscles and engaging in "petty" behavior. The two sides will discuss the matter further when UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets EU representatives next week, their first face-to-face since the two sides settled the Brexit quagmire on December 31. Alas, the Brexit nightmare continues.

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The GZERO World Podcast with Ian Bremmer. Listen now.

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