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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman meets Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi upon his arrival in Cairo.

Saudi Press Agency/Handout via REUTERS

What We’re Watching: MBS on tour, Lithuania vs. Russia, Spain’s moderate swing

MBS makes BFFs ahead of Biden visit

With barely a month until his controversial summit with President Joe Biden, the Saudi crown prince is on a regional tour this week to show that he’s hardly the “pariah” that America’s president once promised to make him. In Jordan, Mohammed bin Salman will look to patch up a monarchy-to-monarchy relationship that became strained last year over allegations of Saudi involvement in a plot to overthrow King Abdullah II. The Jordanians hope MBS’s visit leads to a resumption of lavish Saudi financial support. In Egypt, Crown Prince Mohammed will be highlighting Riyadh’s tight relationship with the Arab world’s most populous country. Egyptian strongman Abdel Fattah el-Sisi enjoys strong backing from the Saudis, who have gifted or invested billions of dollars in Egypt in recent years. But the most significant stop on MBS’s tour will be in Turkey, where always-dicey relations between the regional rivals nearly broke off entirely over the Saudi government’s 2018 murder of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul. But with Turkey looking for financial help to right a listing economy, and MBS looking to shore up ties with a mercurial member of NATO, it seems that bygones are bygones.

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War in Ukraine Sets Energy Transition on "Hyperdrive" | Global Stage | GZERO Media

War in Ukraine sets energy transition in "hyperdrive"

GZERO Media caught up with Microsoft's Chief Environmental Officer Lucas Joppa at the World Economic Forum in Davos to discuss ways to keep nations focused on climate change amid the converging crises of war and pandemic.

Tony Maciulis: When you have these very immediate and acute crises happening concurrently like pandemic and now of course the war in Ukraine, has it been a challenge to keep the focus on climate change?

Lucas Joppa: I would say yes and no. It's a challenge because obviously these are crises in and of themselves and they need to be dealt with and focused on. But on the other hand, I think that these crises, what they've done is they've really shown society that we have things that are going to happen to us. And if we know that they are coming, it would behoove us to do something about them now to prepare for it now. The biggest thing that we have coming for us is the impacts of a rapidly changing global climate system. It's front and center of our minds. We know we have to get out and do something about it. And so on the one hand, yes, we're focusing on these crises, but it hasn't shifted focus off of climate either.

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Unpacking Lithuania's Energy Independence Strategy | Gintarė Skaistė | Global Stage | GZERO Media

Unpacking Lithuania's energy independence strategy

Over the past two years, Lithuania's economy was hit hard first by COVID, then by the Belarusian migrant crisis, and finally high energy prices late last year.

But now it's proving more resilient than others to the effects of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Why? Mostly because they prepared for it, Lithuania's Finance Minister Gintarė Skaistė tells Eurasia Group's Shari Friedman in a GlobalStage conversation.

Indeed, the Baltic nation recently grabbed headlines when it became the first EU member state to stop buying Russian oil and natural gas.

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Is Global Economic Inequality Getting Worse? | Global Stage | GZERO Media

Is global economic inequality getting worse?

Yes, said the majority of respondents in a recent GZERO poll.

What's happening in Ukraine has undone much of the momentum for narrowing the equality gap created during the pandemic, said Ian Bremmer, president of Eurasia Group and GZERO Media, during a Global Stage livestream conversation hosted by GZERO in partnership with Microsoft. The event was held on site at the headquarters of the World Bank in Washington, DC , and was moderated by Jeanna Smialek, Federal Reserve reporter at The New York Times. The war has aggravated pre-existing problems like high inflation and supply chain disruptions. A cease-fire would help end all this, but don't count on it.

This week the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund are holding their annual spring meetings. The conflict is top and center on the agenda, as is financial assistance to first help Ukraine keep the lights on and someday rebuild when the Russians leave.

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Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro gives a thumbs-up while lying in bed surrounded by medical personnel, in this still image obtained from social media. January 5, 2022.

Twitter/jairbolsonaro via REUTERS

Hard Numbers: Bolsonaro discharged, Taiwan buys Lithuanian rum, Niger mayor busted with coke, Rocket Man does it again

2: Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro was discharged two days after being admitted to a hospital with an intestinal obstruction. Bolsonaro's latest health problem is related to when he was stabbed while campaigning in 2018, which also caused him to develop chronic hiccups months ago.

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NATO Still Plays A Vital Role for US Interests | The Red Pen | GZERO Media

NATO’s role as a deterrent is still critically important to the US

In his New York Times op-ed, Stephen Wertheim says that Americans should "want no part" in NATO. It's a provocative argument, but misses the mark, according to Ian Bremmer, who breaks out the Red Pen with Eurasia Group analyst Charles Dunst to argue that now is not the time for the US to back out of NATO.

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Putin's Next Move Won't Be A Baltic Invasion That Could Unify NATO | The Red Pen | GZERO Media

Putin's next move won't be a Baltic invasion that could unify NATO

Russian President Vladimir Putin needs a way to boost his popularity at home, but is he likely to launch a military campaign targeting the Baltic states, as Russian studies expert Leon Aron argues in a recent Politico op-ed? Ian Bremmer and Eurasia Group analysts Alex Brideau and Zachary Witlin take out the Red Pen to break down why a Baltic invasion is unlikely to be on Putin's agenda.

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Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius on Lithuania, Belarus, NATO & Trump | GZERO Media Special Report

Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius on Lithuania, Belarus, NATO & Trump

Protests and violence continue to escalate in Belarus as pro-democracy demonstrators demand the resignation of President Alexander Lukashenko, whose landslide reelection in August is widely viewed as illegitimate. GZERO Media spoke to Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius of neighboring Lithuania, a nation that has become a staunch ally of the opposition movement in Belarus and is providing refuge to Lukashenko's main challenger Svetlana Tikhanovskaya.

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