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Protestors gather outside the U.S. Supreme Court ahead of the oral arguments in two cases that challenge President Joe Biden's $400 billion student loan forgiveness plan.

Megan Smith-USA TODAY via Reuters Connect

What We’re Watching: SCOTUS mulling student debt relief, Blinken visiting Central Asia, Biden's partial TikTok ban, Petro’s post-honeymoon phase

US Supreme Court weighs student loan forgiveness

The US Supreme Court began hearing arguments on Tuesday in a pair of cases that will test the limitations of presidential power and could derail Joe Biden’s plan to forgive $400 billion in student debt. Biden campaigned on debt relief, promising to help families burdened by the pandemic-fueled economic crisis. But now the court will decide whether Biden has the authority to forgive student loans. The White House cites a 2003 law aimed at alleviating hardship suffered by federal student loan recipients following a national emergency, but opponents say debt relief should require congressional approval. Biden hopes to fulfill his campaign promise ahead of next year’s presidential race, and millions of millennials and Gen-Z scholars – many of whom could see up to $20,000 of their federal student loan debt wiped away – will be waiting with bated breath. A decision will drop before the court adjourns in June, but so far, justices in the conservative majority seem critical of Biden’s move.

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Pandemic Put Skills Top of Mind in a Job-Seeker’s Market — LinkedIn Exec | Global Stage| GZERO Media

COVID upended the job market & focused employers on skills

COVID had few silver linings. But perhaps one of them is that it upended the labor market in ways that, for once, favored workers over employers.

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Coronavirus vs Monkeypox | PUPPET REGIME | GZERO Media

Coronavirus vs monkeypox

The reigning pandemic champs aren't happy about this upstart challenger -- but maybe there's a deal to be made?


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The Ugly Politics of COVID-19's Birth

The Ugly Politics of COVID-19's Birth

China’s COVID-19 coverup continues. Earlier today (July 22), Chinese officials firmly rejected a request by the World Health Organization (WHO) to grant access to laboratories in the area the novel coronavirus was first identified. China’s deputy health minister says the request shows “disrespect for common sense and arrogance toward science.” Beijing did allow WHO investigators to visit the city of Wuhan back in January, but its bureaucrats say there’s no need to investigate labs, because Chinese authorities have already ruled them out as a source of the virus.

When future historians write about COVID-19 and this global pandemic, they’ll lead with the losses—human and economic. The number of dead. The economic toll. The debts incurred. The lasting damage.

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Ian Explains: COVID Ain't Over | GZERO World

COVID ain't over

We're not done with the pandemic — yet.

In the US, infections are up five-fold from a year ago, although both hospitalizations are down.

Although COVID will likely become endemic sometime this year in some parts of the world, the virus will still rage on everywhere else.

China's zero-COVID strategy is having a tremendous cost, while barely 17.4% of Africans are vaccinated. That bodes well for new variants.

Meanwhile, rich countries keep hoarding jabs, now also against monkeypox. Did we not learn anything after more than two years?

Watch the GZERO World episode: How depoliticizing the US health response will save lives (COVID isn't over)

COVID-19 holiday update: The latest on the Omicron variant

COVID-19 holiday update: The latest on the Omicron variant

Daily coronavirus infections in the US reached an all-time high this week, with nearly 484,377 confirmed new cases on Wednesday alone. Several European countries including the UK, France, Italy, and Spain are also setting pandemic records. Public health officials are blaming the sharp spike in cases on the rapidly spreading Omicron variant.

The last time I wrote about Omicron was on December 3, only weeks after the strain was first discovered in South Africa. There was a lot we didn't know about the new variant back then, but tons of new data has come out since.

To get you a lowdown on this latest stage of the pandemic, I sat down with Eurasia Group's top public health expert, Scott Rosenstein. Our conversation (lightly edited for clarity) is below.

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Key Questions About the Omicron Variant | Quick Take | GZERO Media

Key questions about the omicron variant

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Good morning everybody and I hope everyone is okay this Monday. I hope you had a happy Thanksgiving, those of you that celebrate. Of course, pretty difficult news over the weekend, and even this morning, the World Health Organization, referring to the new variant omicron of COVID as a very high global risk. And when I hear those words, obviously we get moving at Eurasia Group, a firm very much concerned about that. And indeed, this is in terms of new news about this pandemic that we've all been living with now for almost two years, this is some of the most concerning new headlines that we've seen thus far.

There are some things we know and some things we don't know, there are three things we need to know, if you want to really assess what the omicron risk represents for us and for the world: rates of infection, sickness and mortality and vaccine effectiveness. We only have strong answers about the first, which is we know that this is a lot more infectious as a variant than Delta has been, which itself was much more infectious than the original virus. And that is a very serious problem. I've spoken with a lot of the epidemiologists we know about this over the weekend, they're all extremely concerned about that.

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Inflation is at 30-year highs. You can blame the pandemic for it.

Inflation is at 30-year highs. You can blame the pandemic for it.

Wondering why guac is extra extra at Chipotle these days? Afraid your milk consumption habits may not be financially sustainable? You can thank the highest inflation rate in thirty years.

If you think that sounds scary, you’re not alone. People seem to be losing their minds about it. No one likes to pay more for the same.

But while everyone has an opinion about this bout of inflation, almost no one really understands what’s causing it. And that’s critical to understanding a number of things, such as when it will go away, who’s hurting, what the government can do to make it better, and how it will affect President Biden politically.

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