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What We’re Watching: Salvadorans protest Bitcoin, meet Aukus, no COVID pass no job in Italy

Salvadorans protest Bukele, Bitcoin: Thousands of people took to the streets of El Salvador's capital on Wednesday, the 200th anniversary of the country's independence, to protest against President Nayib Bukele's increasingly authoritarian streak and his embrace of risky cryptocurrency. Last May, Bukele ended the Supreme Court's independence; perhaps unsurprisingly, the court then decided to lift the constitutional ban on presidential term limits — presumably so Bukele can run for reelection in 2024. Meanwhile, last week El Salvador became the first country in the world to accept Bitcoin as legal tender, but the rollout was, to put it mildly, messy. The protesters resent Bukele's dictator vibes and warn that Bitcoin could spur inflation and financial instability. The tech-savvy president, for his part, insists that crypto will bring in more cash from remittances and foreign investment, and remains immensely popular among most Salvadorans. Still, Bukele's Bitcoin gamble could erode his support if the experiment fails.

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Is Australia still the lucky country?

Over the past 18 months, national governments have tried a lot of different stuff to get the relentless pandemic under control. These approaches range from the radical (hello, Sweden), to the punitive, to the downright risible.

Naturally, I have been focused on the goings on down under in Australia, my home country, where the people I care about most have been hermetically sealed off from the rest of the world since March 2020.

The Australian government has enforced the most stringent curbs on movement of any democratic country in the world. Its punishing international travel ban, which includes blocking Australians from leaving the continent, has been likened to North Korea. So what's been happening, and why does it really matter?

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Biden and G7 take on China

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hi, everybody happy Monday. Ian Bremmer here. I've got a Quick Take for you. Thought we would talk a little bit about President Biden's first trip outside the United States as president and the G7, which frankly went better than expected. I'm the guy that talks about the GZERO world and the absence of global leadership. But the desire of a lot of American allies to have a more regularized relationship with the United States that feels like a partnership and alliance is pretty high. And President Biden's willingness to play that role, irrespective of the constraints and divisions that he has back at home, it's also pretty high. And those two things aligned.

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What We’re Watching: Copa America venue woes, Denmark-US Euro phone tap, Greenpeace vs big coal in Australia

Who will host the Copa América? Only two weeks before the first match, the Copa América, South America's biannual national football (soccer) tournament, has become — pardon the pun — a political football. The tournament was initially to be held jointly by Argentina and Colombia. Two weeks ago, however, the organizers dropped Colombia as co-host citing security concerns following mass street protests against the government's planned tax reforms. Now, as Argentina enters another national lockdown over rising COVID cases, they have decided to switch the venue to... COVID-ravaged Brazil. Brazil's embattled President Jair Bolsonaro has given the go-ahead, perhaps thinking that hosting the competition will help boost his rapidly declining approval ratings in the football-crazy nation. But the move — which is not yet final — immediately provoked strong criticism from Brazilians who think it will cause the deadly disease to spread even more, and the Supreme Court has agreed to review an urgent motion by the opposition Worker's Party to stop it. Meanwhile, Bolsonaro's supporters are calling out his opponents for rejecting a competition that will flush cash into Brazil's economy.

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A world of George Floyds, one year later

A year ago, the police murder of George Floyd galvanized a new generation of protest and advocacy for racial justice and police reform in the United States. But it also energized activists in other countries, who for decades had been waging their own fights for social and racial justice.

Here we take a look at three places where the Floyd rallies struck a chord and ask: what's happened in the year since?

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What We’re Watching: Australia cancels China deals, Zuma without lawyers, US to recognize Armenian genocide

Australia rips up Belt & Road deal: Australia cancelled two 2018 deals signed between Victoria, Australia's wealthiest state, and the Chinese government, that committed the two sides to working together on initiatives under China's Belt and Road infrastructure development program. Foreign Minister Marise Payne said that the agreements "were adverse to our foreign relations." Similar deals between Victoria and institutions in Iran and Syria were also abandoned by the Australian government this week, under a 2020 law that allows Canberra to nullify international agreements struck at local and state level. (Australian universities say the "foreign veto bill" amounts to "significant overreach.") Meanwhile, Beijing hit back, calling the move "unreasonable and provocative," and accusing Canberra of further stoking divisions after a series of escalatory moves by both sides that have seen China-Australia relations deteriorate to their worst point in decades. Chinese investment in Australia dropped by 62 percent last year, a massive blow for Australia's export-reliant economy.

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Can "the Quad" constrain China?

China is making its neighbors nervous these days. Chinese fighter jets are screaming into Taiwan's airspace. Hundreds of armed Chinese "fishing boats" are plying the disputed waters of the South China Sea. And Beijing is slashing imports from some trading partners because of disputes over political issues.

To push back against this increasingly aggressive behavior, regional powers Japan, India, and Australia, together with the US, are boosting cooperation via a 17-year-old grouping called the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or simply "The Quad." But how effectively can these four countries really work together to counter China? Eurasia Group's Peter Mumford discusses the Quad's future.

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