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WATCHING AND IGNORING

​​​​​​WHAT WE'RE WATCHING

The North Korean Coast – While flipping through his latest copy of Casino World Daily, your Friday author noted that casino magnate and conservative donor Sheldon Adelson wants to open casinos along the North Korean coast, perhaps on the “great beaches” near the hotels and condos President Trump would like to see built. Though some have mocked Trump’s suggestion, Kim Jong-un has expressed interest in exactly these sorts of tourism cash-cows. Sadly, he was too busy pointing at potatoes last week to build investor confidence by meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.


Leaders facing justice – El Salvador’s Supreme Court ordered President Sánchez Cerén to testify in a case involving the disappearance and likely murder of South Africa’s ambassador to the country in 1979. Sánchez Cerén is accused of serving as second in command of the left-wing rebel group that claimed to have killed the ambassador. The president denies involvement and refuses to testify. Also this week, a judge in Ecuador ordered the arrest of former President Rafael Correa on charges of kidnapping a political rival. Like Sánchez Cerén, Correa blames political enemies for these accusations. The difference? Correa now lives in Belgium.

WHAT WE’RE IGNORING

The Trump Baby Balloon’s Spokesperson – Apparently, the controversial Trump Baby balloon has its own spokesperson. That’s not necessary. Love it or hate it, the Trump Baby balloon speaks for itself.

Criticism of the giant Kazakh squirrel – Not a day goes by without someone asking your Friday author why he so rarely writes about giant squirrels. Well, Kazakhstan now has one, and this 40-foot-tall, bushy-tailed rodent needs both a talented spokesperson and a good lawyer. This creation has apparently delighted many Kazakh children, but some insist that $67,000 in public funds might have been better spent and warn that its straw and wood guts make it a fire hazard. Its creators say it represents nature's evolution from rural to urban life. #WorksForMe

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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You've watched Indian Matchmaking... We bring you the Hindu Nationalist Matchmaker where we help find love for the 70 year old virgin - Narendra Modi!

"There needs to be a dramatic and deep reduction in the amount of debt on the poorest countries. That's clear." As the world's poorest nations struggle to recover from a devastating pandemic, World Bank President David Malpass argues that freeing them of much of their debt will be key. His conversation with Ian Bremmer is part of the latest episode of GZERO World.

Listen: Renowned tech journalist Kara Swisher has no qualms about saying that social media companies bear responsibility for the January 6th pro-Trump riots at the Capitol and will likely be complicit in the civil unrest that may continue well into Biden's presidency. It's no surprise, she argues, that the online rage that platforms like Facebook and Twitter intentionally foment translated into real-life violence. But if Silicon Valley's current role in our national discourse is untenable, how can the US government rein it in? That, it turns out, is a bit more complicated. Swisher joins Ian Bremmer on our podcast.

The GZERO World Podcast with Ian Bremmer. Listen now.

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