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Two types of cicadas that resurface every 13 and 17 years, respectively, are making their rare appearance this spring.

USA TODAY via Reuters

HARD NUMBERS: Cicadas plan historic reunion, China uncorks stimulus binge, Collusion claim rocks shale, Argentina gets more IMF money, Melinda Gates walks out the door

221: Can you hear it? If you’re in the US Midwest you sure can. After 221 years, two local broods of cicadas – red-eyed, beetle-like insects that grow underground for years before emerging for a single summer of cacophonous buzzing and mating – will emerge at the same time. Brood XIII, based in Illinois, comes up every 17 years, while Brood XIX does so every 13 years. For context, the last time they were out at the same time, Illinois wasn’t even a state yet.

140 billion: As its GDP growth picks up again, the Chinese government is looking for some further stimulus, and what better way to invigorate the economic senses than $140 billion in long-dated sovereign bonds? Beijing will start selling the paper this week, putting the funds towards “modernization.” China is looking to wean itself off of an economic model that relies heavily on property investment.

10: At least 10 new class action lawsuits allege that US shale oil producers colluded to keep crude prices up, driving up gasoline prices too. The shale oil industry, which uses advanced technologies to pull petroleum hard-to-develop shale rock formations, has boomed in the past decade, catapulting the US into the global top spot in oil production.

800 million: The IMF is set to disburse another $800 million in support for Argentina after determining that new President Javier Milei’s radical austerity reforms have helped to stabilize the economy. The eccentric Milei, a self-described “anarcho-capitalist,” has slashed spending since he was elected on promises to fix a moribund economy mired in triple-digit inflation. For a deeper look at how and why Milei is succeeding, see this Quick Take by Ian Bremmer.

12.5 billion: Philanthropist Melinda Gates, formerly married to Microsoft founder Bill, is stepping down from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, one of the largest donor organizations in the world. As part of her agreement, she will keep $12.5 billion to direct towards her own work supporting women, minority groups, and families. To date, the foundation has given out more than $75 billion in grants to development and healthcare projects. Melinda and Bill divorced in 2021.

How Javier Milei is turning Argentina's economy around
How Javier Milei is turning Argentina's economy around | Ian Bremmer | Quick Take

How Javier Milei is turning Argentina's economy around

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take: Hi, everybody. Ian Bremmer here and a Quick Take to kick off your week. And today, I want to take us to Argentina, where newly elected President Javier Milei deserves a round of applause, at least for where we see the country so far in his administration.

We've had a first budget surplus that Argentina has enjoyed in over a decade. And monthly inflation, which has been significant highs and impossible for the people, is actually slowing down. Now, that's a really big deal. After several administrations in Argentina doing their damnedest to destroy the economy, Milei is turning the place around. He's succeeding. And by the way, this was not what I expected when the elections were happening. When he was first elected, I wrote, “expect more economic collapse imminently. ” And clearly that didn't happen. And that's a great thing. for the Argentinean people. I'm happy to be wrong about this. And by the way, I'll be very happy if I could be wrong about Ukraine getting partition, that seems like a tougher one. But nonetheless, what happened and why has he been more successful than I expected? It's worth thinking about.

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Jess Frampton

Mark Carney sees more problems than solutions emerge from Davos

Davos is a good place to recognize problems but not such a good place to solve them, according to Lord Mark Malloch Brown, a British politician and diplomat who was in the Swiss Alps this month. “A new generation of modest, listening and empathetic leaders is needed – the antithesis of Davos Man,” he tweeted.

The World Economic Forum has steered so far to the north of public opinion that it is now being used as a punchline – the New York Times noted that “the Davos Consensus” is now a counter-indicator of what is likely to happen. “Trump is already the president at Davos — which is a good thing because the Davos consensus is usually wrong,” said Alex Soros, son of George and chair of the Open Society Foundation, on a panel at this year’s forum.

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Residents of Avellaneda protest against the DNU (Decree of Necessity and Urgency) and the Omnibus Law promoted by the government of Javier Milei.

Alfredo Luna/Ulan/Pool/Latin America News Agency via Reuters Connect

The masses test Milei with major protest

Starting mid-day Wednesday, Argentina’s most powerful unions will stop work to demonstrate against the financial overhauls proposed by new President Javier Milei, as his omnibus spending bill works its way through Congress. An impressive turnout is expected for the march to the national Congress in Buenos Aires, with smaller solidarity protests across the country. Workers everywhere – from banks to domestic airlines to those informally employed – say they will join the strike.

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10 images that captured 2023

With 2023 in our rearview mirror, here are some of the images that defined the tumultuous year: from Fulton County, Georgia to Gaza City,

Feb. 5: Spy Balloon Downed

Feb. 5: Spy Balloon Downed

Credit: Sipa USA via Reuters

Sailors assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group 2 recover a Chinese high-altitude surveillance balloon off the coast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Feb. 5, 2023.

Feb. 10: Earthquake shakes Turkey and Syria

Feb. 10: Earthquake shakes Turkey and Syria

Credit: Umit Bektas/Reuters

An aerial view shows damaged and collapsed buildings in the aftermath of a deadly earthquake in Hatay, Turkey February 10, 2023.


March 23: France protests pension changes

March 23: France protests pension changes

Credit: Alain Pitton/NurPhoto via Reuters

Riot policemen stands amid clouds of tear gas as more than 70,000 people protest in Toulouse against French President Emmanuel Macron’s attempt to raise the national retirement age and change pension benefits. March 23th 2023.

May 6: King Charles III coronated

May 6: King Charles III coronated

Credit: Stefan Rousseau/Pool via REUTERS

King Charles III waves as he leaves the balcony of Buckingham Palace, London, following his coronation, May 6, 2023.

Jun. 7: Canadian wildfires

Jun. 7: Canadian wildfires

Credit: REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

People ride bicycles at 6th Avenue as haze and smoke caused by wildfires in Canada blanket New York City, New York, U.S., June 7, 2023.

Aug. 24: Trump mugshot

Aug. 24: Trump mugshot

Credit: Reuters

Former U.S. President Donald Trump in a police booking mugshot released by the Fulton County Sheriff's Office, August 24, 2023.

Sept. 25: Milei’s chainsaw

Sept. 25: Milei\u2019s chainsaw

Credit: REUTERS/Cristina Sille

Argentine presidential candidate Javier Milei holds a chainsaw next to Carolina Piparo, candidate for Governor of the Province of Buenos Aires, during a campaign rally, in Buenos Aires, Argentina September 25, 2023.

Oct. 7: Noa Argamani kidnapped

Oct. 7: Noa Argamani kidnapped

Nova music festival attendee Noa Argamani reaches out to her boyfriend, Avinatan Or, as they are kidnapped by Hamas terrorists on Oct. 7, 2023.

Oct. 9: Gaza’s children bombed

Oct. 9: Gaza\u2019s children bombed

Credit: IMAGO/Medhat Hajjaj/apaimages via Reuters

A child at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City rests after surgery, having been wounded in an Israeli attack. October 9, 2023.

Oct 23: Afghanistan's historic Cricket World Cup win

Oct 23: Afghanistan's historic Cricket World Cup win

Credit: ANI via Reuters

Hashmatullah Shahidi celebrates Afghanistan's victory against Pakistan. Oct 23, 2023

What will 2024 bring? Make sure to subscribe to the GZERO Daily newsletter to keep up.

Javier Milei, president of Argentina, reacts during a plenary session in the Congress hall as part of the 54th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum, WEF, in Davos, Switzerland, on Jan. 17, 2024.

GIAN EHRENZELLER/Pool via REUTERS

Milei makes fiery Davos debut

Javier Milei’s first foray onto the international stage wasn’t so much to deliver a maiden speech as to give a “brazen hussy of a speech,” to use Winston Churchill’s memorable phrase.

The newly elected Argentinian president blazed into Davos like a comet and delighted libertarians around the world with his unabashed advocacy of free markets. He concluded with a rallying cry for the world’s wealth creators: “Long live freedom, dammit!”

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GZERO 2023 music playlist

It was a bumpy year, so bump and groove your way into the New Year with our 2023 playlist! We scoured the charts from Buenos Aires to Beijing for songs that captured the zeitgeist, from Ice Spice to Fela Kuti — and make you wanna boogie.



Playlist tracks

Inflation - “Expensive shit” by Fela Kuti

French protests – “Paris is a bitch” by Biga*Ranx

West African coups - “Soldier Take Over” by Yellowman

Milei elected - “Desesperada” by Sara Hebe

European migration - “Desaparecido” by Manu Chao

Politics in general - “Liar’s Dub” by Max Romeo

Climate change failure - “Sogno otro mundo” by Apres la classe and Manu Chao

Struggle between Mexico government and drug cartels - “La People” by Peso Pluma

Nigerian election - “I Told Them” by Burna Boy

Xi Jinping wins historic third term as Chinese president - “Paint the Town Red” by Doja Cat

25th anniversary of Good Friday agreement - “Jackie Down the Line” by Fontaines DC

War in Ukraine - “Heart of Steel” by Tvorchi

Power Barbie - “Barbie World” by Nicki Minaj & Ice Spice

George Santos - “Banned in DC” by Bad Brains

UAW/SAG strikes - “Never Cross a Picket Line” by Billy Bragg

China economic weakness - “Made in China” by Higher Brothers and Famous Dex

Ukraine - “Running Up That Hill” by Kate Bush

Rise of AI - “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Pt. 1” by The Flaming Lips

Colombia’s new drug policy – “Don’t Sniff Coke” by Pato Banton

US telling on India for killing Hardeep Singh Nijjar – “Exposing me Remix” by FBG Duck

Elon Musk unravels – “Where Is My Mind?” by Pixies

Chinese spy balloon – “Somebody’s Watching Me” by Rockwell

Biden-Xi meeting – "Bad Idea Right" by Olivia Rodrigo

The Black Sea grain deal – "Is It Over Now? (Taylor's Version) by Taylor Swift

Biden runs for president (again) – “Never Gonna Give You Up” – By Rick Astley

Putin survives Prigozhin revolt -- "Houdini" by Dua Lipa

Putin to Lukashenko – “Lil Boo Thang” by Paul Russell

North Korea fires more missiles for attention – “I’m Just Ken” by Ryan Gosling

FILE PHOTO: Brazilian president Lula da Silva hugging Ursula von der Leyen the President of the European Commission at the 3rd EU-CELAC Summit in Brussels, Belgium on 17 July 2023.

Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Reuters

EU and Mercosur near trade deal (at last)

It has been a long four years since the free trade deal between Brussels and Latin America’s largest trade bloc was agreed in principle, but all sides now, finally, look close to signing on the dotted line.

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