So, what is Vladimir Putin thankful for?

World leaders sit around the Thanksgiving table

Not everyone celebrates the US holiday of Thanksgiving, but we've all got something to be grateful for in this awful year, right? So as Americans gather around the table — or the Zoom — to give thanks on Thursday, here's what a few world leaders are grateful for at the moment.


Donald Trump, US President

Very strongly grateful that although my legal appeals are MELTING faster than my attorney's hair dye, tens of millions of people still believe my claims of election fraud. That will be very useful to me in my next reality TV project — stay tuned! BIG RATINGS!

Vladimir Putin, President of Russia

I'm grateful that although Trump lost, he has done more to delegitimize American democracy and institutions in the past four years — four weeks even! — than I could manage in a lifetime. Separately, I think Turkey is highly overrated.

Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany

Unfortunately there is not (yet) a German word for "the feeling when you are thankful that although you are retiring next year after 15 years of running Germany you are at least reasonably happy that the transatlantic relationship, troubled as it is, might be on an upswing now that Biden won."

The Coronavirus, Pandemic-in-Chief

Not psyched about all this vaccine news, but "it is what it is," as they say. At the very least I'm thankful that it could still take years to distribute globally. Now, let's sit down to dinner shall we? Come a little closer, can't quite hear what you are saying ...

Xi Jinping, President of China

Thankful to have shared 2020 with my dear friend Donald. If it weren't for him, our COVID coverup, Hong Kong crackdown, Xinjiang repression, and all those faulty PPE products we shipped to Europe would have made me the world's most hated person.

Kamala Harris, VP-elect of the US

Thankful for the chance to put on these Converse All-Stars and walk all over the haters for the next four years.

Abiy Ahmed, PM of Ethiopia

Thankful that the Nobel Committee gave me that peace prize two years before I threatened earlier this week to kill civilians in my deepening conflict with Tigray rebels.

Boris Johnson, PM of the UK

Well it's been a bloody awful year. Brexit, then Covid. Then more COVID — and now COVID and Brexit at the same time. And 2021 doesn't look much better with that sleepy Irish bloke in the White House. At the very least I'm grateful that Americans are obsessed with The Crown.

Jair Bolsonaro, President of Brazil

I'm grateful that no matter how outrageously I behave, 30 percent of Brazilians will always have my back. Is that enough to win again in 2022? We'll see.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President of Turkey

Ha ha, very funny. President of "Turkey" has to comment, eh? No! By the way, Vladimir, I saw that comment above — you better have been talking about the bird, which is legitimately bland and overrated, like Russia.

Narendra Modi, PM of India

Thankful that we will probably start getting those H1B visas back again. But if Biden goes wobbly on China we will NOT be happy. By the way, agree with Recep on the turkey — why don't you, like, put some decent spices on that?

Benjamin Netanyahu, PM of Israel

Just a word of gratitude for the carte blanche that Trump gave me these past four years — on settlements, on Palestine, on the Golan Heights, on Jerusalem — because let me tell you, without him in the White House, things are about to get a lot harder for me.

Ayatollah Khamenei, Supreme Leader of Iran

Great Satan is Great Satan, no matter how you slice that turkey, but we are pretty thankful that Joe Biden won. At least there is a chance to revive the Iran deal and get rid of some of these sanctions. Still, Death to America! Death!

Alexander Lukashenko, President of Belarus

Thankful to Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro for showing me the way: despite months of protests, sanctions, and general global hate over my blatant theft of the election in August, my security services are sticking with me and I'm not going anywhere.

We pay little attention to the waves of the sea, yet they are the greatest unused source of renewable energy in the world. Meet ISWEC and Power Buoy, two interesting new technologies used to harness this energy. Learn more about the extraordinary power of waves in this episode of Eni's Energy Shot series, where we investigate interesting facts and trends about energy.

Ukraine is once again in a tough spot.

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Vaccine nationalism, where countries prioritize their own citizens before the rest of the world, has been effective for rich nations like the United States and Israel. But leaving behind so much of the global population isn't just a humanitarian issue. It could prolong the pandemic, according to the World Health Organization's Chief Scientist, Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, who argues that what the global vaccination effort most urgently lacks are doses, not dollars. In a wide-ranging interview with Ian Bremmer on GZERO World, she calls for a large increase in the global vaccine supply in order to prevent the rise of more dangerous and vaccine-evading super-variants. She also weighs in on a controversial new WHO report investigating the origins of COVID-19 and suggests we may be seeing alternative vaccine forms, like nasal sprays, sooner than we think.

Listen: Soumya Swaminathan calls for a massive increase in the global vaccine supply in order to prevent the rise of more dangerous and vaccine-evading super-variants, in a wide-ranging interview with Ian Bremmer on the GZERO World podcast. Dr. Swaminathan, Chief Scientist at the World Health Organization, argues that vaccine nationalism, where countries prioritize their own citizens ahead of the rest of the world, will only prolong the pandemic because a virus does not stop at any national border. She also weighs in on a controversial new WHO report investigating the origins of COVID-19 and discusses when she thinks the world's children should get vaccinated. In addition, she suggests we may see alternative vaccine forms, like nasal sprays, sooner than we think.

Subscribe to the GZERO World Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or your preferred podcast platform to receive new episodes as soon as they're published.

India, the world's third largest emitter of carbon dioxide, is one of the countries worst affected by climate change. But it takes issue with those now asking it to clean up its act. Why, the Indians ask, should we give up our right to get rich by burning fossil fuels like you developed economies have done for generations?

That's precisely the message that India's energy minister had for the US and other wealthy nations at a recent Zoom summit after they pressured Delhi to set a future deadline for net zero emissions. For India, he explained, such targets are "pie in the sky" aspirations that do little to address the climate crisis the country faces right now.

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The Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics are nearly a year away, but discussion of a potential boycott is already stoking tensions on both sides of the US-China relationship. Officials in Washington and other Western capitals are coming under mounting pressure from activists to respond to human rights abuses in China. An increasingly assertive Beijing, meanwhile, vigorously rejects any foreign criticism of what it regards as internal issues.

The last time the US boycotted an Olympics was in 1980, when it withdrew from the Summer Olympics in Moscow to protest the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan. Four years later, the Soviet Union repaid in kind by skipping the Games in Los Angeles. Would the US and its allies do something like that again? And how might China respond? Eurasia Group analysts Neil Thomas and Allison Sherlock explain the drivers of the boycott movement and its possible fallout.

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In two weeks, US President Joe Biden will be hosting an online "climate summit" to mark Earth Day. He'll ask China and India to sign up to America's ambitious new plan to slow down climate change. Will they go for it? China is the world's largest polluter, but Beijing is rolling out solar and wind power as fast as it's burning coal. India, meanwhile, is loathe to pick up the slack for rich countries that polluted their way to wealth and now want everyone else to agree to emissions cuts. No matter what happens, any successful plan to reduce global emissions will require buy-in from these three nations which, along with the European Union, account for almost 60 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions nowadays. Here's a look at emissions by the world's top polluters compared to everyone else over the last two decades.

Two big Andean elections: This Sunday, Ecuadorians go to the polls for the second time this year in a close presidential runoff, while Peruvians will vote in the first round of their own presidential election. In Ecuador, the matchup is between the leftwing-populist frontrunner Andrés Arauz, who has pledged to blow up the country's IMF agreements and boost national oil production, and Guillermo Lasso, a pro-business candidate who is seen as the choice of continuity with the current market-friendly government. Voter abstention is likely to be high, and the final result could very well be close and contested in a polarized country that was struggling with massive social unrest even before the pandemic struck. Meanwhile in Peru — which recently went through three presidents in the space of a week — the candidate field is hugely fragmented. Those with a decent shot to make it to the second round include "change" candidates like the leftist former lawmakers Yohny Lescano and Verónica Mendoza, as well as the prominent neoliberal economist Hernando De Soto, who has recently risen in the polls. Former soccer star George Forsyth is also in the mix, as is Keiko Fujimori, daughter of authoritarian former president Alberto Fujimori. Both of this Sunday's elections will serve as a kind of bellwether for the political mood in a region that has been devastated by the public health and economic impact of the pandemic.

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