Sign up for our newsletter: GZERO Daily

{{ subpage.title }}

A protester near the Invalides during a demonstration against the government's pension reform plan in Paris

REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

What We’re Watching: An encore for French protesters, Zelensky’s growing wish list, Weah’s reelection bid

Round Two: French pension reform strikes

For the second time in a month, French workers held mass protests on Tuesday against the government’s proposed pension reform, which would raise the minimum retirement age from 62 to 64. Organized by the country’s eight big trade unions, authorities say as many as 1.27 million protesters hit the streets nationwide, bringing Paris to a standstill and closing schools throughout France. (Unions say the number was higher.) Meanwhile, President Emmanuel Macron is sticking to his guns, saying that incrementally raising the national retirement age by 2030 is crucial to reducing France’s ballooning deficit. (Currently, 14% of France’s public spending goes toward its pension program – the third-highest of any OECD country.) But for Macron, this is about more than just economics; his political legacy is on the line. Indeed, the ideological chameleon came to power in 2017 as a transformer and tried to get these pension reforms done in 2019, though he was ultimately forced to backtrack. But as Eurasia Group Europe expert Mujtaba Rahman points out, protesters’ “momentum is the key” and could determine whether legislators from the center-right back Macron or get swayed by the vibe on the street. This would force him to go at it alone using a constitutional loophole, which never makes for good politics. More demonstrations are planned for Feb.7 and Feb. 11.

Read more Show less
Luisa Vieira

The Graphic Truth: Where corruption is rising, falling

We didn't make much progress on ending global corruption in 2022 — thanks to political instability and armed conflicts, major contributors to graft worldwide. For instance, kleptocrats in Russia have long been cozy with Vladimir Putin and unsurprisingly did nothing to stop him from invading Ukraine. The war also hampered anti-corruption efforts in Ukraine, where President Volodymyr Zelensky recently fired multiple senior officials suspected of pocketing military procurement funds. So, which nations were the most and least corrupt last year? We take a look at Transparency International's ranking of perceived graft.

Ukraine Corruption Scandals Won't Affect War Efforts | World In :60 | GZERO Media

Ukraine anti-corruption moves won't hurt war effort

Will resignations and a political shake-up in Ukraine negatively affect its war efforts?

No, not at all. This is anti-corruption efforts, getting rid of a bunch of people that are seen as problematic in terms of skimming money within the government. Russia's been more corrupt than Ukraine historically, but actually, it's quite close. There's a lot of work to be done, and as people start thinking about Ukraine attracting major funds from the Europeans, the Americans, others, multilaterals to rebuild the country, they really need to make sure that the money is going where it needs to, and that means running the economy well. So this is the effort that's being tried here, but it doesn't really matter with the war effort at all.

Read more Show less

VP Eva Kaili from Greece at the European Parliament in Brussels.

EP/­Handout via REUTERS

What We're Watching: EU-Qatar bribery probe, US-Africa talk shop

Did Qatar bribe MEPs?

On Sunday, a Belgian judge charged four people with multiple crimes related to suspected bribery at the EU's legislature by a suspected Gulf nation. (It's Qatar, although, of course, the Qataris deny it.) Among the accused is Greek MEP and European Parliament VP Eva Kaili, who's been arrested and kicked out of the center-left parliamentary group as well as her own Pasok party in Greece. In what is being buzzed about as one of the chamber's biggest-ever corruption scandals, prosecutors suspect that the Gulf state tried to influence European Parliament decisions by giving money and gifts to MEPs. The bombshell probe comes just as Qatar is in the global spotlight over the FIFA World Cup, which many suspect the emirate paid bribes to host. Notably, just last month Kaili defended Qatar's human rights record, giving it credit for abolishing the kafala system that treats migrant workers as modern-day slaves. While the investigation is ongoing, the legislature has already suspended an upcoming vote on visa-free travel to the EU by Qatari nationals, and Greece announced Monday that it's freezing Kaili's assets.

Read more Show less
Luisa Vieira

The Graphic Truth: The World Cup of graft

FIFA, the governing body of world soccer, has long been tainted with corruption scandals — and the 2022 edition of its top competition is no exception. The World Cup is being held in Qatar despite the fact that even FIFA itself "admitted" that bribes were exchanged before the tiny emirate with zero soccer tradition got the nod in late 2010. But what about the countries whose national teams qualified for the tournament? We take a look at how the most and least corrupt countries would play against each other as soccer teams on a pitch. Note: if you're missing Saudi Arabia, believe it or not it ranks as less graft-ridden than Croatia.

A sculpture of the World Cup trophy is pictured in front of Khalifa International Stadium in Doha.

Reuters

Will politics or soccer win Qatar's World Cup?

Sunday is the day half the world has been eagerly awaiting for four years. The men's soccer World Cup — the most-watched event of the most popular sport on the planet — kicks off in, of all places, Qatar.

Read more Show less

Children hold an indigenous flag at a Black Deaths in Custody Rally at Town Hall in Sydney, Saturday, April 10, 2021.

AAP Image/Mick Tsikas

Hard Numbers: Oz buys Aboriginal flag, Malawi vs corruption, ISIS human shields, Boris the party animal

14: The Australian government paid $14 million for the copyright of the Aboriginal flag so that anyone can display it without fear of being sued. Indigenous artist Harold Thomas created the flag 50 years ago as a protest image; since then, it has become the dominant Aboriginal symbol and an official national flag.

Read more Show less

A banner shows the images of three former Mexican presidents, as members of the ruling MORENA party organize documents with citizens' signatures after gathering them for a ballot measure that could put former presidents on trial for corruption.

REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

Mexico's corruption referendum eye-roll

If your country had suffered decades of crippling corruption, wouldn't you want to prosecute those responsible? Of course you would. On Sunday, almost 98 percent of Mexicans who voted in a national referendum on this subject said, in so many words: "Yes, please prosecute the last five presidents for corruption!"

The catch is that turnout was a dismal 7 percent, meaning the plebiscite fell way short of the 40 percent turnout threshold required for its result to be binding.

Read more Show less

Subscribe to our free newsletter, GZERO Daily

Latest