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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.

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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