Russia-Ukraine: Two years of war
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Yang Yang, the giant panda that China loaned to Zoo Atlanta, looks on in its enclosure in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., on Dec. 7, 2023.

REUTERS/Megan Varner

Hard numbers: Panda diplomacy returns, Biden’s dog’s bites revealed, Global democracy wanes, US cell service flickers out

4: The pandas are coming back! The four remaining pandas in the US, currently at the Atlanta Zoo, are set to be joined by others again. Beijing has reportedly reached an agreement with other American zoos to send them pandas, which are native to China. The breakthrough avoids a situation in which the US would be without pandas for the first time since 1972, when detente between Beijing and Washington enabled the fluffy bears to come to the US as part of “panda diplomacy.”
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2024 is the ‘Voldemort’ of election years, says Ian Bremmer
2024 is the ‘Voldemort’ of election years, says Ian Bremmer | Global Stage

2024 is the ‘Voldemort’ of election years, says Ian Bremmer

Critical elections are occurring across the globe this year, with a record number of people — roughly half the global population — set to head to the polls in dozens of countries.

During a Global Stage panel at the Munich Security Conference, Eurasia Group Founder and President Ian Bremmer described 2024 as the “Voldemort of election years.”

“Voldemort is the name that should not be spoken in the ‘Harry Potter’ series … This is the year that people have been very concerned about but have kind of hoped that they could push off,” says Bremmer. This is not just because there are so many elections occurring amid historic levels of distrust in key institutions, but also because the United States — the most powerful country in the world — is also “one of the most politically dysfunctional,” he explains.

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Naming names: The nonprofit tracking corruption around the world
Naming names: The company tracking corruption around the world | Global Stage

Naming names: The nonprofit tracking corruption around the world

What is the least corrupt country in the world? According to a Berlin-based nonprofit called Transparency International, that would be Denmark. Finland is close behind. At the very bottom of the list is Somalia, dead last out of 180 nations.

Founded in 1993 by a retired World Bank Official, Transparency International operates in more than 100 countries, promoting accountability and exposing public sector corruption.

The team, led by CEO Daniel Eriksson, attended the 2024 Munich Security Conference last week with a warning about the rise of “strategic corruption,” a geopolitical weapon involving bribes and disinformation to attain a political goal in another nation.

“Our definition of corruption is the abuse of entrusted power for personal gain,” Eriksson told GZERO’s Tony Maciulis.

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Yulia Navalnaya, the widow of Alexei Navalny, takes part in a meeting of European Union foreign ministers in Brussels, Belgium February 19, 2024.

REUTERS/Yves Herman/Pool

Navalny’s widow continues his fight for freedom

Yulia Navalnaya, widow of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, vowed to carry on her late husband's activism in defiance of Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom she blames for Navalny's death.

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Senegal’s democracy at risk as president calls off election

On Saturday, President Macky Sall called off the election for his replacement without naming a new date, which means he will remain in power extralegally, thrusting the former rock of West African stability into crisis. On Monday, Sall called a special session of Parliament to consider a bill endorsing his decision and allowing a delay of up to six months.

What happened? Karim Wade, son of Sall’s predecessor and a political rival, was running for president but a constitutional court blocked his candidacy last month, alleging he held dual French and Senegalese citizenship. Wade claims he had renounced his French citizenship, and his party launched an investigation into two of the court’s justices last week. Then, in a masterstroke of political judo, Sall backed the investigation – and used it as the excuse to call off the elections.

Will Sall get away with it? The opposition parties rejected the cancellation, and police used tear gas on scattered groups of protesters in Dakar on Sunday, but the mass of civil society did not take to the streets. If elections do go forward – there’s no guarantee – the constitution requires 80 days' notice, and who knows how long the inquiry will take.

On the international stage, the Economic Community of West African States expressed concern but did not condemn the cancellation. ECOWAS has struggled to maintain democratic unity, with military juntas seizing control of Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger in recent years, all of which announced their withdrawal last week.

Al Gore's take on American democracy, climate action, and "artificial insanity"

Listen: In this episode of GZERO World podcast, Ian Bremmer sits down with former US Vice President Al Gore on the sidelines of Davos in Switzerland. Gore, an individual well-versed in navigating contested elections, shared his perspectives on the current landscape of American politics and, naturally, his renowned contributions to climate action.

While the mainstage discussions at the World Economic Forum throughout the week delved into topics such as artificial intelligence, conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East, and climate change, behind the scenes, much of the discourse was centered on profound concerns about the upcoming 2024 US election and the state of American democracy. The US presidential election presents substantial risks, particularly with Donald Trump on the path to securing the GOP nomination.

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Al Gore: "Artificial insanity" threatens democracy
Al Gore: "Artificial insanity" threatens democracy | GZERO World with Ian Bremmer

Al Gore: "Artificial insanity" threatens democracy

It is not a partisan statement to acknowledge that the future of American democracy is very much an open question. In 2020, we witnessed the first non-peaceful transition of power from one US presidential administration to another for the first time in modern history. And if past is prelude, 2024 could be a good deal worse. So what accounts for the imperiled state of democracy? Misinformation, coupled with technology, is a big part, says former vice president and Nobel laureate Al Gore in an upcoming episode of GZERO World.

Ian Bremmer caught up with Gore on the sidelines of the 2024 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland to talk about the upcoming US election and, as you might expect, the existential threats posed by climate change. In this clip, Gore talks about today's witches' brew of new technologies, social media, and a lack of shared trust amongst Americans.

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America vs itself: Political scientist Francis Fukuyama on the state of democracy

Listen: In this edition of the GZERO World podcast, Ian Bremmer speaks with Stanford’s Francis Fukuyama about the state of democracy worldwide and here in the US. 2024 will be a pivotal year for democracy, and nowhere more so than here at home. A quarter of Americans believe that the FBI was behind January 6. But as the late New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan once said, “You’re entitled to your own opinions, but you’re not entitled to your own facts.” But today, in America, we cannot agree on basic facts. On this note, Fukuyama joins Bremmer to discuss the global and domestic threats to democracy.

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