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WHAT WE'RE WATCHING

Macron’s Next Challenge– All French leaders seem eventually to face the same problem: Reform plans provoke resistance from workers and students. The protesters win public support. The president or prime minister is forced to back down—and then pilloried for his weakness. Tomorrow, Emmanuel Macron faces “Blocage du Novembre 17,” a protest in which people wearing yellow sweaters plan to block more than 1500 roads all over France to protest his diesel tax. A new poll says 65 percent of the public supports the protest and 42 percent intend to participate.


The Rise of China – Not sure we’re right about the power of the moving image? Check out this motion graphic on the rise of China.

Cuban officials in American hotels –A Hilton hotel in southwestern Japan turned away the Cuban Ambassador to Japan this week, citing US sanctions on the island nation. Japanese officials are furious. The US government should have learned decades ago that no good can come from pushing Cuban officials out of American hotels.

WHAT WE'RE IGNORING

Rubber Lenin –Speaking of being forced from one’s lodgings, Vladimir Petrov, a Russian lawmaker, says it’s too expensive to keep former Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin on display in the Red Square Mausoleum, where his body has been exhibited since his death in 1924. He proposes burying Lenin in 2024 on the 100th anniversary of his demise. He does believe the Mausoleum should remain open, perhaps with a rubber version of Lenin instead. This is not fake news. Your Friday author knows the story of Rubber Lenin is true, because he saw it in Pravda.

Duterte power naps – On Wednesday, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, a man who has cultivated an image as a virile, no-nonsense problem-solver, missed four scheduled meetings at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Singapore. Apparently, he was sleeping. Don’t worry, said a presidential spokesman. Duterte doesn’t sleep as we do. These were “power naps.”

Gait recognition – What good is facial recognition surveillance software if the camera can’t see your face? In China, authorities have begun using software that can identify a person by body shape and how they walk. This will never work, in our opinion, because clever people can easily adjust their gait.

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.

As we enter the homestretch of the US presidential election — which is set to be the most contentious, and possibly contested, in generations — Americans are also voting on 35 seats up for grabs in a battle for the control of the Senate. The 100-member body is currently held 53-47 by the Republican Party, but many individual races are wide open, and the Democrats are confident they can flip the upper chamber of Congress.

Either way, the result will have a profound impact not only on domestic policy, but also on US foreign relations and other issues with global reach. Here are a few areas where what US senators decide reverberates well beyond American shores.

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On September 23, GZERO Media — in partnership with Microsoft and Eurasia Group — gathered global experts to discuss global recovery from the coronavirus pandemic in a livestream panel. Our panel for the discussion Crisis Response & Recovery: Reimagining while Rebuilding, included:

  • Brad Smith, President, Microsoft
  • Ian Bremmer, President and Founder, Eurasia Group & GZERO Media
  • Jeh Johnson, Partner, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, LLP and former Secretary of Homeland Security.
  • John Frank, Vice President, UN Affairs at Microsoft
  • Susan Glasser, staff writer and Washington columnist, The New Yorker (moderator)

Special appearances by UN Secretary-General António Guterres, European Central Bank chief Christine Lagarde, and comedian/host Trevor Noah.

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Jon Lieber, who leads Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, offers insights on the Supreme Court vacancy:

Will Senate Republicans, who stopped a Supreme Court nomination in 2016, because it was too close to an election, pay a political price for the change in tactics this time around?

Not only do I think they won't pay a political price, I think in many cases, they're going to benefit. Changing the balance of power on the Supreme Court has been a career-long quest for many conservatives and many Republicans. And that's why you've seen so many of them fall in line behind the President's nomination before we even know who it is.

At this point, do Senate Democrats have any hope of stopping President Trump from filling the ninth seat on the Supreme Court?

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In a special GZERO Media livestream on global response and recovery amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Eurasia Group & GZERO Media president Ian Bremmer discussed the difference between Europe's unified approach to economic stimulus and the deeply divided and political nature of the current conversation in the US. While initial stimulus support was bipartisan, there is little chance of Democrats and Republicans coming together again ahead of the November 3 presidential election. "It's red state versus blue state. President Trump's saying that coronavirus isn't so bad if you take the blue states out. He's president of the blue states, you can't take the blue states out," Bremmer told moderator Susan Glasser of The New Yorker.

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Panel: How will the world recover from COVID-19?

UNGA Livestream