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Northern Ireland’s post-Brexit troubles

In recent days, Northern Ireland has seen some of its worst street violence in over a decade. The anger has subsided a bit this week, but post-Brexit fears leave many uncertain about their future in a deeply divided land with a long history of political violence between Irish republicans and UK unionists.

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Why Europe’s vaccine rollout has been so tortured

The EU acted swiftly, decisively, and effectively to respond to the pandemic's economic fallout. A nearly trillion dollar bailout package, agreed to late last July, has kept much of the continent afloat. But it failed on the public health response, first on testing and then rolling out vaccines. Enrico Letta, Italy's former prime minister, shares his thoughts on the reasons why in a conversation with Ian Bremmer on the latest episode of GZERO World, airing on public television stations nationwide starting this Friday, March 26. Check local listings.

What We’re Watching: Irish reunification, China’s COVID passports, Ethiopian election boycott

Will Northern Ireland leave the UK? Unifying the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland into one sovereign state has long been a pipedream for Irish nationalists. But recent polls reveal that public sentiment is changing. The combination of demographic shifts and Brexit, which resulted in Northern Ireland exiting the EU as part of the UK, have upped support to break away from London in the near term: one survey found that 42 percent of people in Northern Ireland support reunification, and the number was even higher among the under-45 cohort (47 to 46 percent). Meanwhile, the Irish nationalist Sinn Fein party, which made massive gains in Ireland's general election last year, recently said that Dublin, Belfast, and London need to start getting ready for Irish reunification — and soon. But the issue is extremely difficult to reconcile: The 1998 Good Friday Agreement, which ended decades of bloodshed between Irish nationalists and pro-UK unionists, says that a united Ireland can only be achieved if most Northern Irelanders consent. However, in 2016 most Northern Irish (56 percent) did say they wanted to stay in the EU. Could an Irish reunification referendum actually happen soon?

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What We're Watching: Brexit pettiness, a Russian protest

Brexit pettiness lingers: Here we were naively thinking the Brexit shenanigans were over after the EU and UK agreed to an eleventh-hour post-Brexit trade deal last month. We were wrong — the saga continues. Now, a new row has erupted after the Johnson government said it will not give the EU ambassador in London the same diplomatic status awarded to other representatives of nation states. Unsurprisingly, this announcement peeved Brussels, whose delegates enjoy full diplomatic status in at least 142 other countries. The UK says it will give the EU envoy the same privileges as those given to international organizations, which are subject to change and do not include immunity from detention and taxation given to diplomats under the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations. EU members are furious, with officials accusing London of simply trying to flex its muscles and engaging in "petty" behavior. The two sides will discuss the matter further when UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets EU representatives next week, their first face-to-face since the two sides settled the Brexit quagmire on December 31. Alas, the Brexit nightmare continues.

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What does Brexit mean for the UK, London, and NYC? Will McConnell allow a US stimulus payment vote?

Brexit will be here on January 1st. What big changes are coming?

There are a lot of big changes coming. Most important for the average Brit is the fact that you no longer can work or have education access in the European Union. You have to apply with normal immigration patterns, as you would outside the EU. That's going to change the way people think about their future. But otherwise, a lot greater regulatory impact, declarations of customs for goods being transmitted, so the cost of trade is going to go up with the world's largest common market. You know, the idea of I mean, for financial markets is very important because you have financial groups that are losing automatic access to the single market in the EU as well. They're supposed to be new deals cut around that, but we aren't there yet. It's not a disaster, but the fact that all these changes are happening immediately, and they are a significant cost primarily on the smaller economy of the United Kingdom and that they're going to have to be borne at a time when the economy's not doing well, when coronavirus hasn't been handled very well, when global demand is already depressed, this is a big hit, and it's a big hit also on the back of almost five years of uncertainty around the UK.

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"It's done" — EU, UK avoid no-deal Brexit

Four and a half years after Britons voted to leave the EU, the missed deadlines and last-minute shenanigans are finally over. Just a week out from the December 31 deadline, when Great Britain would have crashed out of the European Union without a trade deal, the EU and the UK today announced they had reached an agreement on post-Brexit trade — the full details of which will become public in coming days.

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What We're Watching: Britain's new COVID strain, US Congress reaches stimulus deal, Nepal's political chaos

Britain's new COVID strain: Just as the Brexit transition comes to an end and the United Kingdom prepares to leave the European Union on January 1, Britons now face a new form of isolation. Countries in Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, Asia and elsewhere have banned travelers from the UK in response to reports that a variant of the novel coronavirus is raging out of control in that country. The (relative) good news is that, though this COVID-19 variant appears more infectious than the strain it has replaced, there is no evidence to date that it's more deadly or more resistant to the vaccines now in use in the UK. The bad news is that there will be more people flooding into British hospitals, and the virus variant is another factor undermining economic and financial confidence in the UK at a time when its leap into the Brexit unknown already threatens market turmoil.

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Can Europe trust the US – or its own nations? A top German diplomat’s view

GZERO World examines the current state of transatlantic partnerships between the US and Europe following four years of Trump's presidency, and whether or not the incoming Biden Administration can restore trust that the US is a willing and reliable ally. Ian Bremmer's guest is one of Germany's most accomplished diplomats, Wolfgang Ischinger, who has served as ambassador to both the US and the UK. His new book, World in Danger: Germany and Europe in an Uncertain Time, explores the current state of the EU and its place in global affairs as the UK prepares for its "BREXIT" and China looms large in the geopolitical landscape.

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