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What We're Watching: YouTube snuffs Bolsonaro, Israel probes Pegasus, China rejects COVID inquiry (again)

YouTube pulls Bolsonaro's rants: Google-owned YouTube pulled down a series of videos on the channel of Brazil's populist President Jair Bolsonaro, accusing him of spreading misinformation about the pandemic. YouTube removed more than a dozen clips for touting quack cures for coronavirus or claiming, in defiance of scientific experts, that masks don't reduce COVID transmissions. Last year, Twitter and Facebook also removed some content from Bolsonaro's feeds for similar reasons. But critics say that YouTube's move is too little too late, because Bolsonaro has been spreading misinformation about COVID since the pandemic began. Many Brazilians hold him personally responsible for the country's abysmal pandemic response, which has led to almost 550,000 deaths, the second worst toll in the world. Will YouTube's move change Bolsonaro's message? His weekly address to the nation, where he converses not only with government ministers but also various conspiracy theorists and loons, is broadcast on YouTube. Surely he doesn't want to risk losing that — or does he?

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Haitian president's killing reflects unprecedented rise in violence

Ian Bremmer shares his perspective on global politics this week:

What do we know about the assassination of Haiti's president?

Well, we know it's not making an awful lot of news the assassination of the leader of a country, because Haiti's a tiny economy. It's incredibly poor, it's been devastated by natural disasters and also by general lawlessness in the country. And over the last month, gang violence has become historically unprecedented. The police have been unable to maintain law and order in the streets, in most of the cities or sort of, major towns in Haiti. You've had thousands of Haitians displaced. You've had dozens of civilians killed and then overnight a gang entered the personal residence of the president. Again, police and presidential guard unable to stop them and he's dead. And his wife, the First Lady is in the hospital. It's a pretty staggering situation and obviously, some international support, some peacekeepers could be useful on the ground. Aid by itself is not going to do it right now.

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What We're Watching: Bolsonaro criminal probe, Lebanon's "social explosion," Zuma defies court, Putin's definition of champagne

Bolsonaro probe heats up: A smattering of protests broke out in cities across Brazil this weekend after the Supreme Court gave the go-ahead for a criminal probe into President Jair Bolsonaro for "dereliction of duty" linked to procurement of COVID vaccines. What's this all about? A recent congressional inquiry into Bolsonaro's broad handling of the COVID crisis revealed that he knew — and failed to report to authorities — a shady deal negotiated by his health ministry to buy jabs from a private Indian pharmaceutical company for more than 10 times the price originally quoted. The allegations have sparked fresh calls to impeach Bolsonaro, but conviction would require support from two-thirds of the lower house of Congress, an unlikely scenario given Bolsonaro's broad web of alliances in parliament. Still, the unfolding political drama is indeed having an impact on the street cred of the populist president, who rose to power on an anti-establishment, anti-corruption platform: Bolsonaro's net approval rating now hovers at -23 percent. Brazilians, who have been pummeled by the COVID crisis, will surely be watching the probe very closely ahead of next year's presidential vote. The timing is not great for Bolsonaro, whose nemesis, leftwing former president Lula, is gaining steam in the polls.

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What We’re Watching: EU COVID pass mess, Bolsonaro in trouble, Kim Jong Un’s latest shakeup

EU rolls out COVID digital certificate: As of today, the EU's long-awaited COVID Digital Certificate system — a centralized database of residents' vaccination status and test results — is up and running. Good news for those wishing to travel around the bloc again this summer, right? Not so fast. First, countries worried about the more infectious Delta COVID variant are still permitted to restrict travel from countries where the strain is prevalent. Second, some EU member states are still not fully integrated with the system, so the usual testing and quarantine requirements are in place. Third, the system greenlights people who have received vaccines approved by the European Medical Agency, but not others such as the WHO-approved Sinovac or Sputnik V, which are being administered, for example, in Hungary. As with its vaccine rollout, we predict the bloc's vaccine (gasp!) "passport" scheme will be initially glitchy, but ultimately work out fine.

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Can Brazil (and Bolsonaro) recover from a crippling year?

Jair Bolsonaro had a Trump-like rise to power to become the president of Brazil, but some of the same attributes that got him elected have contributed to the many economic, political and public health crises plaguing his country. In addition to the COVID pandemic, Brazil is still suffering from the impact of its worst ever recession which began in 2014. Bolsonaro promised to turn that around—but economic growth remains low and unemployment very high. As for the Amazon, its rapid deforestation accounted for one third of the destruction of the world's tropical forests in 2019 alone. Bolsonaro is up for reelection next year, and it's going to be an interesting campaign. The likely challenger is Luiz Inacio "Lula" da Silva, who is as far left as Bolsonaro is right.

Watch the episode: Brazil on the brink

Brazil on the brink

Latin America's largest economy has endured years of economic hardship, a barrage of political scandals, and one of the worst pandemic death tolls in the world. So where does Brazil go from here and how much longer can its president hold onto power? Former President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, who remains one of the most influential political figures in the country, joins Ian Bremmer to discuss Brazil's increasingly divided society, the potential fate of its current far-right leader, the prospects of his most likely challenger (known to all as "Lula") the climate crisis in the Amazon, and the country's complicated relationship with China.

A Brazilian hip hop artist who brings his community not just music, but food

An intimate look at a popular Brazilian rapper who has become an unlikely hero for the poorest of the poor in a sprawling community outside of Brasilia, Brazil's capital. Marcos Vinícius de Jesus Morais, aka Japão, has organized an effort to supply poor families with critically needed food and medical equipment, because "they put me in the position where I am. So today I just give them back everything they did for me. You see that today in the capital of Brazil, people are going through this kind of need, it is sad, regrettable, and cruel."

Watch the episode of GZERO World with Ian Bremmer: Brazil on the brink

Podcast: Brazil on the brink: perspective from former president Fernando Henrique Cardoso

Listen: Latin America's largest economy has endured years of economic hardship, a barrage of political scandals, and one of the worst pandemic death tolls in the world. So where does Brazil go from here and how much longer can its president hold onto power? Former President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, who remains one of the most influential political figures in the country, joins Ian Bremmer to discuss Brazil's increasingly divided society, the potential fate of its current far-right leader, the prospects of his most likely challenger (known to all as "Lula") the climate crisis in the Amazon, and the country's complicated relationship with China.

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