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Taiwanese soldiers stand guard as a Chinook Helicopter carrying a tremendous Taiwan flag flies over a military camp, as part of a rehearsal for the flyby performance for Taiwan’s Double-Ten National Day Celebration, amid rising tensions between Beijing and Taipei and threats from China, in Taoyuan, Taiwan 28 September 2021.

Ceng Shou Yi/NurPhoto via Reuters

China tries to shape Taiwan’s Elections

As Taiwan’s election season gets into swing, China is attempting to use its economic clout to swing the vote away from the ruling, independence-minded Democratic Progressive Party and toward the more Beijing-friendly Kuomintang.

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The geopolitics of "Barbie"
The Geopolitics of "Barbie" | Quick Take | GZERO Media

The geopolitics of "Barbie"

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take: Hi everybody. Ian Bremmer here, and a special update, Quick take, I know you need to hear about this. The geopolitics of "Barbie".

"Barbie" is coming out. No, not in that way. Next week in the United States and the United Kingdom, massive launch. You've seen the dreamhouse, you've seen the buses, you've seen the excitement, and now you've seen the geopolitical backlash. It was not what you were expecting. I certainly don't remember there ever being a political science Barbie. Uh, there is a campaign manager Barbie that they made. That's, that's pretty much the opposite when you think about it. And there's also a Chief Sustainability Officer Barbie, that was of course, made of plastic naturally. But never a geopolitical analyst Barbie. Well, maybe that was a mistake, turns out there's a problem.

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A map showing countries in Africa and Asia that criminalize same-sex acts, by degree of punishment.

Paige Fusco

The Graphic Truth: Criminalizing LGBTQ love

Last week, Uganda’s parliament passed legislation that criminalizes identifying as LGBTQ, which puts individuals at risk of life imprisonment, or in some cases, even death. Similarly, draconian legislation over identifying as LGBTQ is under consideration in Ghana, and VP Kamala Harris’s visit to Zambia this week – for a summit celebrating democracy – is stoking anti-LGBTQ rhetoric. As of 2023, many parts of the world are still unsafe for the LGBTQ community, as same-sex acts are deemed illegal in 65 countries, from Latin America to Oceania. The death penalty is a possibility in 11 countries worldwide. We look at the range of penalties in Africa and Asia, the two continents with the highest number of countries criminalizing same-sex acts.


The Graphic Truth: How is Russian oil selling?

Russian oil has been selling at a massive discount since the war in Ukraine began last February, which has been a double-edged sword for the Kremlin. On the one hand, it brings in some much-needed revenue and makes Russian crude an attractive buy at a time of global inflation. On the other hand, selling at a discount means selling at a loss in revenue to a dwindling number of buyers. Adding to Russia’s woes, on Dec. 5, the EU instituted an embargo on Russian crude shipments at sea, leading to a massive drop-off in exports across the board, even to markets it depends on in Asia — chiefly China, India, and Turkey. The G7, Eu, and Australia also placed a $60 per barrel cap on Russian oil, so the discount is likely to remain in place as Russia tries to ship over long distances to Asia. We look at the discount for Russian crude today vs. when Russia invaded Ukraine, and how much each of Russia’s top three customers has been buying since the war began.

US President Joe Biden takes questions from reporters in Washington, DC.

REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein

Hard Numbers: Dems vs. Biden, Indian population vs. China's, Ukrainian army vs. Russia, Asian Vegas vs. COVID

64: With friends like these … A new poll says 64% of US Democratic voters — and nearly all of those under the age of 30 — don't want President Joe Biden to run for re-election in 2024. Biden, who would be almost 82 at the time, says he will do so. Let’s see how this plays out as the presidential contest heats up.

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Annie Gugliotta

What We're Watching: Blinken goes to Southeast Asia

Blinken tours Southeast Asia. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken kicks off on Monday his first Southeast Asian trip as America's top diplomat with stops in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand. Following similar tours by VP Kamala Harris and Defense chief Lloyd Austin, Blinken wants to bolster US defense cooperation with ASEAN, an economic bloc made up of Southeast Asian countries, to build a bulwark against China in the South China Sea. He will also pitch Joe Biden's vision for US-led Indo-Pacific trade as an alternative to doing more trade with China, and talk up Southeast Asia as an alternative business destination for US companies looking to abandon China. But what ASEAN really wants is tariff-free access to the US market, a non-starter for Biden because he says big trade deals with low-wage countries will hurt low-skilled American workers. Meanwhile, Southeast Asian countries are in a bind of their own: doing more business with the US as an alternative to China will create jobs, but the Chinese won't be happy about it — and nowadays they carry a lot more economic sway in the region than America does.

Japan's "third way" capitalism
Fumio Kishida, Prime Minister of Japan: Opening Remarks | GZERO Summit | GZERO Media

Japan's "third way" capitalism

Japan, the world's third-largest economy, has long been a bastion of modern capitalism. But newly-minted PM Fumio Kishida thinks it's time for a rethink of the neoliberal model.
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Net zero emissions by 2050 "lacks sense of urgency" — Suntory CEO
Net Zero Emissions by 2050 "Lacks Sense of Urgency" — Suntory CEO | GZERO Media

Net zero emissions by 2050 "lacks sense of urgency" — Suntory CEO

Like many other big corporations, Japanese brewer and distiller Suntory want to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. But that's not enough for CEO Tak Niinami. "It's far away and lacks the sense of urgency," he says. Niinami predicts that especially after COP26 people will be wary of greenwashing, so it's essential for corporations to "to be transparent, showing society what we are doing and how much progress we are making" on climate.

Suntory CEO Tak Niinami spoke during the first of a two-part Sustainability Leaders Summit livestream conversation sponsored by Suntory. Watch here.

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