Watching and Ignoring

WHAT WE’RE WATCHING

Karl Marx’s birthday parties — Karl Marx turns 200 years old tomorrow. We’ll be watching to see how people around the world mark the occasion and, of course, what sorts of presents he gets. Happy birthday, Karl!


The Age of Fake Video — Signal has warned this moment would come sooner rather than later. A US Senate candidate in West Virginia is running a TV ad that shows a Republican campaign rival shaking hands with Hillary Clinton. This is a doctored image of the same man shaking hands with Donald Trump.

China’s View of Venezuela — For years, the crisis-plagued Venezuelan government has gotten by with a little help from its friends, particularly deep-pocketed China. Between 2007 and 2016, Chinese state-owned banks lent Venezuela $60 billion. Crude oil served as collateral. But Venezuela’s oil output isn’t what it used to be, and political paralysis has taken a toll. In 2017, Chinese banks offered no new loans. Last month, a two-year grace period on a remaining $19 billion debt to China expired.

Second acts in Iraqi life — Remember the Baghdad press conference in 2008 where an Iraqi reporter threw both his shoes at George W. Bush? Convicted of assault on a foreign leader, Muntader al-Zaidi called his nine months in prison a time of broken bones and teeth. Now he’s a candidate for Iraq’s parliament on the list of a multi-party alliance called “Marching Toward Reform.” He pledges that, if he wins a seat on May 12, he will “sweep away the thieves and corrupt people, prosecute those who steal Iraqi money, and stop public money being wasted.”

WHAT WE’RE IGNORING

Math, apparently — Last week, I wrote that South Korean officials estimate their country is targeted by one North Korean hacking attempt every 17 seconds. I should have said 17 hacking attempts every one second. I regret underestimating North Korea’s capacity for cyber mischief… and my math mistake.

Your plan to invade Azerbaijan — Think you can take down Azerbaijan’s border force? Think again.


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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French protests over racial injustice: The George Floyd protests in the United States have sparked solidarity demonstrations around the world, with people flocking to US embassies in Berlin, London and elsewhere to express their outrage. But they have also inspired other countries to reexamine racial justice within their own societies. In France, where street demonstrations are practically a national pastime, thousands of people have gathered in support of the family of Adama Traoré, a 24-year old black man who died in police custody back in 2016. At least 20,000 Parisians demonstrated Wednesday, despite coronavirus bans on public gatherings. Protesters adopted similar language to the Floyd protests, demanding accountability for the officers who violently pinned down Traoré during a dispute over an identity check, leading to his death. Renewed focus on this case, which has become a potent symbol of police brutality in France, comes as coronavirus lockdowns have recently stoked tensions between the police and the mostly-minority residents of Paris' banlieues (low-income suburbs).

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