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President of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, dressed in the national costume, dances as part of The Day Of Chechen Language celebrations in Grozny April 25, 2010. The Day Of The Chechen Language holiday was established by Kadyrov in 2007 to promote the national language.


Hard Numbers: Chechnya bans beats, Poland’s right stays strong,  Biden cancels student debt (again),  Argentina battles dengue, “Hardest Geezer” runs Africa

116: Can you feel the beat? If you’re in Chechnya, from now on you are only rocking between 80 and 116 beats per minute. That’s because a new law bans any music faster or slower than that range. The Goldilocks move, taken by the quasi-Islamist dictatorship of Ramzan Kadyrov, aims to shield the North Caucasus republic – which is part of Russia – from insidious Western influences. But don’t worry – as GZERO design captain Ari Winkleman points out, you can still listen to Radiohead’s “Creep” (92 bpm) on repeat in the streets of Grozny.

52.5: Polish PM Donald Tusk’s centrist governing coalition won just 52.5% of the vote in Sunday’s municipal elections, a narrow victory that underscored the persistent strength of the far-right Law and Justice Party, which took close to 34%, the largest share of any single party. Tusk’s coalition ousted Law and Justice from national power in bitterly fought general elections last fall but has continued to clash with the party over rule-of-law issues and appointments ever since.

25 million: The Biden administration on Monday announced a sweeping new program of student debt forgiveness that it said would give relief to some 25 million borrowers, including those who are either facing economic hardship, owe more now than they did at the start of their payback periods, or who have had debt for more than 20 years. The new plan replaces an earlier one that was struck down by the Supreme Court but is expected to face some legal challenges of its own.

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Noa Kirel from Israel performs during the grand final of the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest in Liverpool, Britain, May 13, 2023.

REUTERS/Phil Noble

Could Israel be disqualified from Eurovision 2024?

The search is underway for representatives from each of the 37 countries participating in the 2024 Eurovision song contest. The competition’s slogan might be United by Music, but as always, politics are never far from the stage.

This year, the controversy concerns Israel. Calls are growing for the country to be kicked out over its assault on the Gaza Strip, which has drawn accusations of war crimes and genocide. Many are citing as a precedent the 2022 expulsion of Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

Israel’s entry: 20 year oldEden Golan was selected after performing Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” to a hall of empty chairs, meant as a tribute to the Gaza hostages. Israel has been in Eurovision since the 1970s and has won four times — most recently in 2018.

Could Israel be expelled? Entries can be fined or disqualified for bringing politics onto the stage. But Israel’s expulsion is unlikely at this point. The final say rests with Eurovision officials, and so far they’re singing an evasive tune, saying, “Comparisons between wars and conflicts are complex and difficult and, as a nonpolitical media organization, not ours to make.”

Secretary of State Antony Blinken plays guitar at the State Department, September 27, 2023.


What we’re listening to: US tries out Hoochie Coochie diplomacy

To be honest, if you told us that the US secretary of state, a 61-year-old white guy, was gonna grab a Stratocaster and belt out some Delta Blues in public, we’d have braced for a much more awkward outcome than this.

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Medusa TN

Medusa TN facebook profile photo

Hip-hop artists with geopolitical beats

In our ongoing celebration of the 50th anniversary of hip-hop, GZERO is highlighting artists from around the world who show the geopolitical impact of the genre. To hear 50 artists from 50 countries around the world, check out our playlist here.

Medusa TN is a 31-year-old Tunisian rapper and a prolific example of the explosion of creative expression that followed Tunisia’s 2011 revolution, an uprising that inspired the Arab Spring, a wave of pro-democracy protests across the Middle East and North Africa. Medusa came of age during the revolution, and now her music pushes back against her country’s new leader, Kais Saied, and his slide back towards autocracy.

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What Eurovision means to Ukrainians at war
What Eurovision means to Ukrainians at war | GZERO World

What Eurovision means to Ukrainians at war

Where else will you find banana-inspired wolves, dubstep rapping astronauts, or earworms about vampires? It’s Eurovision, of course: the 70-year-old song contest that pits nations against each other in an annual spectacle of camp, kitsch, and catchy melodies.

But for Ukrainians – who have won the contest three times in the past 20 years – the contest is about something much more.

On GZERO Reports, we visit a secret Eurovision watch party outside of Kyiv, a drag party in New York City, and look at how Eurovision is more political than you – or those wolves, astronauts, and vampires – could imagine.

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A world in need of music therapy: Renée Fleming at Davos
A World in Need of Music Therapy: Renée Fleming at Davos | GZERO World

A world in need of music therapy: Renée Fleming at Davos

You never know who you're going to meet wandering around in Davos, including opera legend Renée Fleming, who was honored this week by the Forum.

The four-time Grammy-winning Soprano, who has performed on six continents, was presented in Davos with the prestigious Crystal Award—not for her singing, but for the voice she's lending to help people understand how music impacts the human brain.

"What I've seen firsthand has really convinced me of the effects of art therapies on disorders relating to aging. So, Alzheimer's and dementia, as well as Parkinson's, other movement disorders, brain trauma, or anyone who's had a horrible accident."

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British pianist's velvety tones soothe Thailand's hungry monkeys

November 23, 2020 4:55 PM

The macaques are instantly drawn as he plays Greensleeves, Beethoven's Fur Elise and Michael Nyman's Diary of Love.

K-pop band BTS delivers 'message of hope' at 75th UN General Assembly

September 24, 2020 2:00 AM

NEW YORK (REUTERS) - South Korean K-pop band BTS delivered a "message of hope" in a pre-recorded video posted by the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) on Wednesday (Sept 23) as part of the 75th UN General Assembly.

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