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How long will COVID-fueled inflation last?

Everybody's talking about inflation these days. Rising prices are affecting people from all walks of life, all around the world.

In the US, buying a used car now costs on average 45 percent more than it did in January. Europeans are bracing for a tough winter with soaring natural gas prices that come at the worst possible time.

Asian investors mentioned the word "inflation" on calls this quarter the most times since 2003, when the SARS epidemic battered China's economy. In Lebanon, whose annual rate of inflation is now the world's highest, surpassing Venezuela and Zimbabwe, most people buy local not to support local businesses but rather because they can't afford imports.

Inflation, however, isn't always bad, and is actually a sign of a healthy economy as long as it stays around an annual 1.5-2 percent. But now in most countries it's creeping up too much due to the economic fallout from the ongoing pandemic.

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What We're Watching: Cuba's internet crackdown, Erdogan woos Ethiopia, Merkel's Russia-Ukraine tour

Cuba's internet crackdown: Just weeks after Cubans used social media to mobilize the biggest anti-government protests in decades, the communist regime will now criminalize using social media to criticize the government. The new law states that Cubans cannot use any telecommunications to undermine the country's "public order," and that internet providers must monitor users' activities and even shut down service when deemed necessary. Clearly, this move is a guise for the government to crack down on all dissent, and to codify what they've already been doing. But many emboldened Cubans, who only got online on their smartphones in 2018, say they will not back down on criticizing the government of Miguel Díaz-Canel for lack of food, medicine and general economic stagnation that's thrust millions into poverty. During recent mass protests, the government staged a brutal crackdown and shut down the internet, prompting the Biden administration to sanction Cuban officials and the police force for human rights abuses. The US has also said that it's looking for alternative ways to provide internet access to Cubans, possibly through VPN technology, a workaround solution that could not be penetrated by the draconian Cuban regime. But they are not there yet, the Biden administration says.

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Biden goes to Europe, but is America really “back”?

As he packs his bags for his first foreign trip, US President Joe Biden has some convincing to do.

On Wednesday he leaves on a weeklong journey to Europe, where he will meet with European allies, visit NATO headquarters, attend the G7 meetings in Cornwall, and hold a face-to-face with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva.

Biden's European hosts will be glad to see him. After four years of a Trump administration that treated most of them with contempt, here comes a US president who values Washington's traditional alliances and seems interested in working with US partners to tackle big global issues like climate change, technology regulation, a rising China, and a revanchist Russia. "America," Biden has said, "is back."

But there are thorny items on the agenda too.

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What We’re Watching: WhatsApp sues India, US to (re)probe COVID origins, mob boss vs Turkish president

WhatsApp sues India: First it was TikTok. Then Facebook and Twitter. Now WhatsApp is the latest target of India's crackdown on online free speech. The social media messaging app, used by hundreds of millions of Indians daily, has filed a lawsuit against the Indian government to stop a new law that would require WhatsApp to trace users' encrypted messages. The law grants Delhi sweeping powers to block or remove any content that threatens national security, public order, or whatever the Indian government considers to be decency or morality. WhatsApp argues this would violate privacy rights, and is willing to fight it out in court. So far, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been successful in stifling online criticism of his government, especially over its handling of the country's ongoing COVID crisis. But WhatsApp's immense popularity among Indians gives the Facebook-owned tech firm considerable leverage, and at a moment when his approval rating has already hit all-time lows, Modi may fear a backlash if the messaging app suddenly goes offline.

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Podcast: Biden’s recognition of Armenian genocide: ramifications for Turkey, Armenia & the US

Listen: In a special GZERO conversation, Ian Bremmer examines the impact of President Biden's recent statement recognizing Armenian genocide at the hands of Ottoman Empire, an atrocity that began 106 years ago during World War I. What are the ramifications for US/Turkey relations going forward and how will Biden's recognition affect Armenia? Ian Bremmer discusses with two prominent Armenian voices: Varuzhan Nersesyan, Armenia's ambassador to the United States and Nina Hachigian, Deputy Mayor for International Affairs in Los Angeles, the metropolitan area with the largest number of Armenians in the US.

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.

China overhauls Hong Kong elections; Brazil & Turkey under pressure

Ian Bremmer discusses Hong Kong's election changes, Bolsonaro's latest cabinet reshuffle, and Turkey's economic problems on World In 60 Seconds.

China has overhauled elections in Hong Kong. Now what?

Well, now nobody that would be in the democratic opposition would really want to run for election in Hong Kong because it's just a titular body that serves mainland China. There is no more one state, two systems policy in Hong Kong. The UK, the United States are angry about it. We've put some sanctions on individual leaders, but that's about it. And China increasingly integrates the small Hong Kong economy into the mainland, and it's considered a domestic sovereign issue. Sorry, it kind of sucks if you're from Hong Kong, and there's not much work we can or are going to do about it.

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EXCLUSIVE: Biden administration to officially acknowledge Armenian genocide

EXCLUSIVE: White House sources tell Ian Bremmer the Biden administration will recognize Armenian genocide - the first US president to recognize genocide by the Ottoman Empire during World War 1. Ian explains in this Quick Take:

Hi everybody. Ian Bremmer here, kicking off the week. Gorgeous outside, it is spring, and I thought we'd focus today on some breaking news out of the United States on Turkey. Those of you following Turkey, know it's been a tough couple of weeks, couple of months, year for President Erdogan. A lot of things going wrong for Turkey right now. They just pulled their country out of the Istanbul Conventions, European agreement that meant to protect women. And he also just sacked his new central bank governor. That's four central bank governors in two years. The economy is not doing well. The Turkish lira is getting crushed, his domestic popularity not going well. And as a consequence, he's cracking down on the pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party, the HDP. In fact, they're making a legal effort to just close it down right now, the second biggest opposition party in the country and a bunch of other stuff.

But the big news, is that Erdogan is about to face another diplomatic challenge, which is from the United States. As I've heard from the White House, that President Biden is going to recognize the 1915 killing of Armenians under the Ottomans' rule as a genocide.

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Turkey and Russia's Middle East power grabs

Turkey and Russia are asserting their influence in the Middle East like never before. That's according to Johns Hopkins University Middle East Scholar Vali Nasr, who joins Ian Bremmer on GZERO World to unpack the changing power dynamics in the Middle East and the American government's eagerness to pivot away from the region altogether. And while Russian leader Vladimir Putin's designs on the Middle East have been evident long before he started propping up Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, Nasr says that Turkey is less of an open book. "We actually don't have a handle on where Turkey's going in the Middle East. If it comes to a blow, either with Israel, with Iran, with Russia, what does it mean for NATO?" Nasr spoke with Ian Bremmer on an episode of GZERO World.

Watch the episode: Is the US Misjudging the Middle East's Power Shifts? Vali Nasr's View

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