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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson

REUTERS/Toby Melville

What We're Watching: Boris in trouble, Shanghai eases lockdown, Mariupol's last stand

Is Boris still in the woods?

Few politicians have benefited as much from the war in Ukraine as British PM Boris Johnson, who was facing potentially career-ending crises before the Russian invasion. Chief among them was “partygate,” the scandal over him and his staff attending social gatherings during COVID lockdowns. Johnson was fined for the breach — a legal first for a sitting PM — but his pro-Ukraine advocacy has helped galvanize Brits who are now more concerned by Russian aggression, as well as the rising cost of living. So is Johnson out of the woods? Not quite. Labour Party leader Keir Starmer has called for a vote in the House of Commons Thursday on whether a special committee should investigate claims that Johnson misled parliament. British ministerial code dictates that MPs caught lying are expected to resign. The person who usually enforces this rule is … the PM, but Johnson says he has no intention of stepping down, and it’s unlikely enough Tory lawmakers would back his ouster. Still, the optics are poor for the Conservative Party: MPs will have to go on the record in support of a PM who has a disapproval rating of 65%.

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Volunteers in protective suits prepare to disinfect a residential compound in Shanghai.

REUTERS

That April night, they died in Shanghai

Since Shanghai's 26 million residents started a grueling lockdown on March 28, I have been checking social media more often. On April 13, I opened Weibo, aka China’s Twitter, and browsed to see what was happening in Shanghai, and I came across a piece of news that was going viral.

A Chinese health official named Wenxiong Qian had killed himself in his office.

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Ian Explains: Limits of the China-Russia Friendship | GZERO World

The limits of the China-Russia friendship

CIA Director Bill Burns once called Vladimir Putin an “apostle of payback.” But what about Putin's fellow autocrat wingman, Xi Jinping?

Xi and China are now in an awkward spot, Ian Bremmer explains on GZERO World. The Chinese are trying to condemn the invasion of Ukraine without condemning Russia, the invader.

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Austrian Chancellor Nehammer's Meeting with Putin: No Optimism | World In :60 | GZERO Media

No optimism after Austrian leader’s meeting with Putin on Ukraine

After Austrian Chancellor Nehammer's meeting with Putin, will more peace talks become possible? Is Shanghai's lockdown a humanitarian crisis? With the US inflation rate rising to 8.5%, what will happen if imposing further sanctions against Russia? Ian Bremmer shares his insights on global politics this week on World In :60.

After Austrian Chancellor Nehammer's meeting with Putin, will more peace talks become possible?

Was the first time a foreign leader from Europe actually met Putin in person in the seven weeks since the war has occurred. Did not go anywhere, no optimism, lots of war crimes, and the Russians are sending more troops into the Donbas as we speak. It seems pretty clear that Putin intends to declare victory. And before that happens, it is hard to imagine any utility of further negotiations. Doesn't mean you can't try. But I think we have to wait, frankly, until the military situation on the ground plays out more fully and then perhaps we might be able to get some form of frozen conflict or ceasefire. That's kind of where we are right now.

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China's Unanticipated COVID Problem | GZERO World

China's big problem isn’t Ukraine — it’s COVID

Everyone's talking a lot about China these days, mostly related to China's problematic position on Russia's war in Ukraine.

But China's big problem is at home with COVID, according to Melinda Liu, Beijing bureau chief for Newsweek.

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China Isn't Budging on Zero-COVID | Quick Take | GZERO Media

China isn't budging on zero-COVID

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take: Hi everybody, Ian Bremmer here. And yes, we are seven weeks into the war, but we also have real problems in containing COVID in China.

In the United States and the rest of the developed world, everyone's saying, "We're done with COVID. We don't want to wear masks anymore. We want to get our lives back." But in China, the zero-COVID policy means that they've got still major lockdowns. In particular, in Shanghai, the largest city in China, which is now entering a second week of lockdown. And record numbers of cases in Shanghai, nothing close to the numbers of cases you were seeing in the United States or in Europe, but in China -- where very few people have gotten COVID, and so there's no natural immunity, vaccines don't work very well and the hospitals would get overwhelmed very quickly if they were just going to let COVID rip -- understandable that they are extremely nervous about these small numbers and as a consequence, they're locking down the entire city.

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Paige Fusco

What We're Watching: Taliban ditch poppies, another Chinese COVID mishap, Darfur war crimes tribunal

Taliban ban poppy cultivation

Fulfilling a long-held promise, the Taliban have banned the cultivation of poppies, the main ingredient used in heroin and other opiates. “If anyone violates the decree, the crop will be destroyed immediately, and the violator will be treated according to Shariah law,” the group said. Afghanistan is by far the largest producer of opium, accounting for 85% of all production globally. (After the Taliban took control last year, opium production increased in the country by 8%.) Indeed, the move comes as the Taliban are vying to gain recognition from the international community as the legitimate ruler of Afghanistan and unlock millions of dollars worth of foreign reserves currently held in US banks. However, as cash runs dry from the opium trade, regular Afghan farmers who depend on the crops for their livelihood will feel the economic pain. Observers are warning of an impending calamity in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan, which is already reeling from economic collapse with reports of Afghans being forced to sell their children and organs to survive.

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Russians to Retaliate Against NATO – More Dangerous Than First Cold War | World In :60 | GZERO Media

Eastern European leaders visit Kyiv in unprecedented show of support

With three European leaders visiting Kyiv on Tuesday, that's today, does this signify a stronger EU-Ukrainian alliance? Are Western sanctions against Russia working? With cases surging, got to talk about COVID, is China's zero-COVID policy a complete failure? Ian Bremmer shares his insights on global politics this week on World In :60.

First, with three European leaders visiting Kyiv on Tuesday, that's today, does this signify a stronger EU-Ukrainian alliance?

Oh, you bet it does. And particularly from the Eastern European countries who, frankly, see this as an incredibly important issue and are trying to get the West Europeans and the United States to do even more than they already have in terms of sanctions against Russia. It's unprecedented for the prime ministers of Poland, Slovenia, the Czech Republic to be heading to Kyiv to support Zelensky while it's being bombed. Certainly it shows that Putin and the success of his military campaign is not bringing any of the fruit for Russian security measures in Europe that Putin had clearly hoped for. Where this all goes in terms of a climbdown, we are not close to that. I'm still very unconvinced that negotiations are going to bear fruit, irrespective of that. But extraordinary statement from the East Europeans today.

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