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Putin attends a meeting with Senegal's President and African Union chair Macky Sall in Sochi.

REUTERS

Are the West’s efforts to isolate Russia doomed?

In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the US and Europe have launched a concerted campaign to punish Russia economically and isolate it politically. The West wants to send a strong message to other powers that might be tempted to violate the so-called rules-based international order. But many developing countries across Asia, Africa, and Latin America are reluctant to go along, blunting the effectiveness of this campaign. We spoke to Eurasia Group expert Christopher Garman to better understand the reasons for their skepticism, and what the consequences are likely to be.

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Marcos attends a news conference at his headquarters in Manila.

REUTERS/Lisa Marie David

What We're Watching: Marcos inauguration, Indian religious tensions, risotto shortage

Will Marcos 2.0 be kind to the Philippine media?

Weeks after winning the election in a landslide, Ferdinand Marcos Jr. (aka Bongbong, or more recently BBM) will be inaugurated on Thursday as president of the Philippines. He has a lot on his plate, including uniting — as he promised repeatedly during the campaign — a country deeply divided over the legacy of his father, the late dictator. One issue that'll surely pop up soon is how he'll handle the media, which was heavily censored under the elder Marcos’ martial law. On Tuesday, the Philippine SEC ordered the shutdown of Rappler, the news site run by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Maria Ressa, a vocal critic of outgoing strongman President Rodrigo Duterte. BBM will also face pressure to return a broadcast franchise to ABS-CBN, the country's biggest network, which Duterte canceled in early 2020 (and Marcos' dad also took off the air entirely in the 1980s). Supporters say Marcos 2.0 wants to kick off his presidency with a charm offensive to appease his enemies, but he may have more of a problem with his most powerful friend. Overturning two of Duterte's most controversial decisions would not go down well with the famously pugnacious outgoing leader — whose feisty daughter is … Marcos’s VP.

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Ari Winkleman

The Graphic Truth: How edible oil prices are cooking

Supply chain disruptions and the war in Ukraine have caused a growing food crisis globally, resulting in scarcity of staples and soaring prices.

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Why We’re in the Current Food Crisis — And Who Could Fix It | Hunger Pains | GZERO Media

Why we're in the current food crisis — and who could fix it

Sylvain Charlebois knows a thing or two about food. He's a professor at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada, and tweets as @FoodProfessor. So, what does he think about the current global food crisis?

It started two years ago, when COVID disrupted supply chains, but the acute shortages that are driving up prices are more recent, he explained in a conversation for GZERO with Diana Fox Carney, Senior Advisor at Eurasia Group.

Why? Charlebois cites climate issues that hurt inventories, higher shipping costs due to the COVID hangover of weakened supply chains, Russia's war in Ukraine pushing prices up across the board, and "nationalistic hoarding" of staples by certain countries.

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The Graphic Truth: Carb prices on the rise

The cost-of-living crisis as a result of the lingering pandemic — and more recently Russia’s onslaught in Ukraine — is being felt acutely around the globe. In advanced economies like the US and UK, the cost of food has increased dramatically because of logistical problems getting commodities out of Black Sea ports, as well as disruptions to harvesting in the region. Even before the pandemic, the US, which has a more dynamic economy than Europe’s — and a Federal Reserve that pursues policies favoring full employment — had a higher base inflation rate than many of its European counterparts. The Consumer Price Index is used globally to measure the average change over time in prices paid by consumers and is widely used to measure inflationary trends. We look at the CPI of breads and cereals in the UK and US since 2003.

Ari Winkleman

Ukraine and the global food crisis: how bad will it get?

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday served up a stark message to his audience at the World Economic Forum in Davos: we need your help so we can feed you.

With Russia’s war on Ukraine contributing to global shortages of wheat, cooking oils, and fertilizers, Zelensky called for European and UN help to establish export corridors for Ukrainian agriculture products that are currently trapped in Ukraine because of Russian naval blockades.

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Introducing GZERO's Coverage on Hunger Pains: The Growing Global Food Crisis | GZERO Media

Introducing GZERO's coverage on Hunger Pains: the growing global food crisis

The world is on the brink of a crisis that could push more than a billion people towards starvation. A crisis that could upend governments, roil global markets, and rattle households around the world.

The pandemic has scrambled food supply chains, raising costs for everyone. Droughts and floods tied to climate change have hampered harvests around the world. And Russia’s war with Ukraine has made it all worse.

Today, the world faces the sharpest “hunger pains” since the end of World War 2.

GZERO Media’s special coverage of the ongoing food crisis takes you deeper into the story.

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Flags wave outside NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.

REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

What We're Watching: Nordics to join NATO, India says no wheat for you, Lebanon's election

Finland & Sweden heart NATO

In a historic decision for two long-neutral countries opposed to military alliances, Finland and Sweden confirmed Sunday that they'll apply to join NATO in response to Russia's war in Ukraine. The Finns came out first and immediately informed Vladimir Putin, while the Swedes only gave the go-ahead after the ruling Social Democrats finally agreed (although they are against hosting NATO bases or nuclear weapons). The two Nordic countries are expected to formally submit their applications in the coming days, but their bids may have hit a last-minute snag: NATO member Turkey resents the Finns and Swedes for their historic support for the Kurdistan Workers' Party, which Ankara considers a terrorist organization. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg hopes the two sides will be able to iron out their differences quickly, but Turkish demands could delay the process. Meanwhile, Putin warned Finland — which shares an 800-mile border with Russia — that joining the alliance will be a "historic mistake" and cut off the Finns from Russian-generated electricity. Still, it seems that NATO's Nordic expansion is in the works — and there’s nothing Putin can do about it.

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