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Representation of Ethereum, with its native cryptocurrency ether.

Reuters

Hard Numbers: Crypto upgrade, Angolan inauguration, Iran’s SCO bid, soaring US mortgage rates, enthusiasm for omicron boosters

99: Ethereum, the world's no. 2 cryptocurrency after Bitcoin, successfully completed a long-awaited software upgrade that will reduce carbon emissions linked to its mining by 99%. Crypto fans hope “the merge” will help get environmentalists off their backs and end the crypto price slump they’ve suffered since May.

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How China Decides to Handle Omicron Will Have Global Implications – Yanzhong Huang | GZERO World

How China decides to handle omicron will have global implications – Yanzhong Huang

The arrival of omicron could be disastrous for China, Yanzhong Huang, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, tells Ian Bremmer in a GZERO World interview.

Xi Jinping's zero-COVID approach faces its toughest test to date; the country lacks mRNA jabs which are more effective against the new variant, and so few Chinese people have gotten COVID that overall protection is very low.

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Russia's Actions Towards Ukraine Are Strengthening NATO | World In :60 | GZERO Media

Russia's actions towards Ukraine are strengthening NATO

Ian Bremmer shares his insights on global politics this week on Russian escalation of Ukraine strengthening NATO, omicron and the end of COVID-19, and on the most recent military coup in West Africa — Burkina Faso:

How will Russian escalation of Ukraine strengthen NATO?

Well, NATO over the last 10, 20 years even was increasingly beset by problems. You had the US unilateralism focused more on Asia. You had the old mission of defending against the Russians less relevant. The French wanting strategic autonomy. Macron leaning into that. Now, of course, Merkel's gone, too. But the proximate reality in danger of the Russians invading Ukraine, actually, as much as the Europeans are more dependent on the Russians for their economy and their gas, they're also more concerned about Russia in terms of national security. That has driven a lot of coordination, including announcements of a lot more troops and material from being sent by NATO states to Ukraine and also to defend NATO borders, like in the Baltic states as well as Bulgaria and Romania. I would argue that what Putin's been doing so far has had no impact greater than bolstering NATO, and it's one of the reasons why I'm skeptical that a full-on invasion is something that Putin has in the cards because that would frankly do more than anything else out there to make NATO, focused on Russia, a serious and going concern.

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Should China Learn to Live With COVID? | GZERO World

Should China learn to live with COVID?

If omicron makes cases explode in China, the country's leaders will have to choose between weathering short-term or long-term pain.

Yanzhong Huang, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, predicts that sticking to the zero-COVID approach at all costs will hurt the Chinese and global economy. In his view, learning to live with the virus is the way to go.

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China vs COVID in 2022 | GZERO World

China vs COVID in 2022

Omicron has arrived. It's more contagious, but less severe. Some parts of the world are even looking forward to the pandemic becoming endemic.

Not China. Xi Jinping's zero-COVID strategy has worked wonders until now, but it's unlikely to survive omicron, explains Ian Bremmer on GZERO World.

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COVID at the Beijing Winter Olympics | GZERO World

COVID at the Beijing Winter Olympics

China's zero-COVID strategy will be put to its biggest test to date with the Beijing Winter Olympics approach.

Yanzhong Huang, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, says Chinese officials think they are taking the safest approach, but that may not be enough against the more transmissible omicron variant.

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COVID Immunity Gap Could Spell Disaster for China — Global Health Expert | GZERO World

COVID immunity gap could spell disaster for China — global health expert

China’s homegrown COVID vaccines were once crucial — but they're not as effective against omicron as mRNA jabs.

What's more, with with local cases near zero for the better part of the pandemic, most Chinese have no natural immunity. That could spell disaster for Beijing as omicron surges.

Yanzhong Huang, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, warns that the highly transmissible new variant will make zero COVID harder and harder to sustain.

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