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The history of disasters

It's easy to judge the Pompeiians for building a city on the foothills of a volcano, but are we really any smarter today? If you live along the San Andreas fault in San Francisco or Los Angeles, geologists are pretty confident you're going to experience a magnitude 8 (or larger) earthquake in the next 25 years—that's about the same size as the 1906 San Francisco quake that killed an estimated 3,000 people and destroyed nearly 30,000 buildings. Or if you're one of the 9.6 million residents of Jakarta, Indonesia, you might have noticed that parts of the ground are sinking by as much as ten inches a year, with about 40 percent of the city now below sea level.

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The 2020 pandemic was hardly “unprecedented,” says historian Niall Ferguson

"We've been dealing with pandemics from the earliest recorded history. Thucydides writes about a pandemic in the history of the Peloponnesian War. So the last thing 2020 was, was unprecedented," Stanford historian Niall Ferguson told Ian Bremmer on GZERO World. Ferguson, whose new book, "Doom: The Politics of Catastrophe," believes that the world should have been better prepared for the COVID-19 pandemic based on the numerous health crises of the 20th century, from the 1918 Spanish flu to influenza and HIV/AIDS. He provides perspective on how the COVID crisis stacks up compared to other pandemics throughout history.

Watch the episode: Predictable disaster and the surprising history of shocks

Merkel's White House visit will have symbolism and substance

Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden, shares his perspective from Europe:

Why is the United Kingdom opening up and what's happening in the rest of Europe?

Well, I mean, my personal view is that there's an element of complacency in Europe and elsewhere. The Delta variant is spreading rather fast. We'll see an increase in infections in a number of countries. Remains to be seen how this will be handled.

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What does “build back better” even mean (and can we do it)?

What does President Biden's "build back better" slogan really mean? Well, it implies the world before the pandemic already needed some fixing. In fact, it's kind of like "Make America Great Again." And there's a reason why those phrases hit home. A lot of people DO think the system is broken. But beyond catchy slogans, how do we actually fix it?

Watch the episode: Is modern society broken?

Vaccine nationalism could prolong the pandemic

Vaccine nationalism, where countries prioritize their own citizens before the rest of the world, has been effective for rich nations like the United States and Israel. But leaving behind so much of the global population isn't just a humanitarian issue. It could prolong the pandemic, according to the World Health Organization's Chief Scientist, Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, who argues that what the global vaccination effort most urgently lacks are doses, not dollars. In a wide-ranging interview with Ian Bremmer on GZERO World, she calls for a large increase in the global vaccine supply in order to prevent the rise of more dangerous and vaccine-evading super-variants. She also weighs in on a controversial new WHO report investigating the origins of COVID-19 and suggests we may be seeing alternative vaccine forms, like nasal sprays, sooner than we think.

Why the pandemic has been worse for women: UN Women's Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka

The global fight for gender equality wasn't a resounding success before the pandemic hit, but progress was being made. In many corners of the world, however, COVID-19 turned back that clock significantly. Violence against women—especially in the home—has been skyrocketing over the past year, says Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women and the UN's top advocate for gender equality. And the toll on girls has been just as severe, says Mlambo-Ngcuka, with the UN estimating that as many as 11 million girls who left school during the pandemic will never return. At the same time, it has been women who have shepherded the world through the worst pandemic, as they occupy the majority of frontline healthcare jobs. Mlambo-Ngcuka joins Ian Bremmer on GZERO World.

Podcast: Why the pandemic has been worse for women: insights from UN Women's Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka

Listen: Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director for UN Women, joins Ian Bremmer on the GZERO World podcast to discuss the toll COVID-19 has taken on the global fight for gender equality, especially on girls. In fact, the UN estimates that as many as 11 million girls who left school because of the pandemic will never return. At the same time, it is women who occupy the majority of frontline and healthcare jobs.

Subscribe to the GZERO World Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or your preferred podcast platform to receive new episodes as soon as they're published.

How the pandemic has increased violence against women and worsened inequality

This week's horrific Atlanta shooting, which took the lives of six women of Asian descent, stirred outrage and fear across the US at a time when Asian and Asian American women are facing an onslaught of verbal and physical violence. But violence against women has been skyrocketing across the world since the start of the pandemic, says Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women. Mlambo-Ngcuka joined Ian Bremmer on GZERO World to talk about how COVID-19 has turned back the clock on the global fight for gender equality and the toll that it has taken on girls, in particular.

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