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Why is Julian Assange in the news again?
Why is Julian Assange in the news again? | Ian Bremmer | World In :60

Why is Julian Assange in the news again?

Ian Bremmer shares his insights on global politics this week on World In :60.

What's left to sanction with Russia and have existing sanctions been effective?

There's very little left to sanction with Russia that the Americans and their allies want to sanction. I mean, you could try to cut off Russian oil exports to, say, India, but no one wants to do that because that would cause a global recession. Food, fertilizer, same thing. At the end of the day, the sanctions that the West can put on Russia without a massive impact to themselves and the world they've already put. But because Biden said there'd be hell to pay if anything happened to Navalny in jail and he's dead now, and it's pretty clear the Russians, the Kremlin killed him. That means they have to sound tough. But ultimately, the only thing that is changing Russian behavior is the provision of significant military support to the Ukrainians, and that is determined by US Congress going forward.

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The Graphic Truth: How low will the Russian ruble go?

In an emergency meeting on Tuesday, Russia’s central bank raised interest rates to 12% (up from 8.5%) after its currency reached an almost 17-month low against the US dollar. Clearly the Kremlin is spooked that the Russian ruble has lost 25% of its worth against the greenback over the past seven months alone.

The ruble – which this week slid past 101 against the US dollar, before recovering slightly to 98 on Tuesday – has ebbed and flowed since Russian forces invaded Ukraine in Feb. 2022. For context, when oil prices were soaring last July (bolstered by the Kremlin's capital controls), the ruble touched around 61 to the dollar. But many analysts are skeptical that this move will be able to stabilize the ruble, warning that Western sanctions will make it very difficult for Moscow to attract foreign investment.

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Prime ways to evade sanctions
Prime ways to evade sanctions | PUPPET REGIME | GZERO Media

Prime ways to evade sanctions

Iran's Supreme Leader has figured out a great way to get around sanctions, until he realizes someone has been stealing his packages...

Watch more of GZERO's award-winning comedy series PUPPET REGIME!

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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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6 months of Russia's war in Ukraine

Wednesday marks 31 years since Ukraine declared independence from the former Soviet Union. But it’s also the grim six-month anniversary of Russia bringing total war back to Europe with its invasion of Ukraine. The EU and US responded by vowing to apply maximum pressure on the Kremlin to get the Russian military to back down.

So far, the results have been mixed. What have both sides gained – and lost – since war erupted?

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From left to right, the presidents of Russia (Vladimir Putin), Iranian (Ebrahim Raisi), and Turkey (Recep Tayyip Erdogan) hold talks in Tehran.

utnik/Sergei Savostyanov/Pool via REUTERS

What We're Watching: Tehran trilateral, EU food jitters, Sri Lankan presidential vote

Putin, Raisi & Erdogan in Tehran: friends with differences

Leaving the former Soviet region for the first time since he ordered the invasion of Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin met in Tehran on Tuesday with his Iranian and Turkish counterparts. The conflict in Syria, where Russia and Iran are on the opposite side of Turkey, was the main item on the agenda, but little of substance was announced beyond a pledge to rid the country of terrorist groups and to meet again later this year. Importantly, Turkey’s recent threat to invade northern Syria to destroy Kurdish militant groups based there still hangs in the air — a point underscored by Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s call for Russia and Iran to be more “supportive” of Turkey’s security concerns. Still, both Moscow and Tehran have warned him against an invasion. Putin and Erdogan also failed to close the remaining gaps on a UN-backed plan to restart Ukraine’s seaborne grain exports. Lastly, while Putin and the Iranians traded shots at NATO and the West, there was no public mention of the current, fast-fading efforts to revive the long-stalled 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

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A natural gas pipe in front of EU and Russian flags.

REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

What We're Watching: Russia-EU pipeline repairs, AMLO in the (White) House, Sri Lanka's new leader

Will Russia turn the taps back on?

“Trust us,” Russia is saying, “we’re just doing routine maintenance.” Moscow has just shut off its Nord Stream 1 pipeline, a major source of natural gas for Germany, for 10 days of summer repairs. Annual checkups to these pipelines are normal, but this is no normal year. Berlin worries the Kremlin might leave the pipes closed as a way to retaliate against the EU for the bloc’s Ukraine-related sanctions. Nord Stream 1 carries about 55 billion cubic meters of gas annually to Germany, equaling about half of the country’s yearly consumption. If Moscow keeps the line shut, Europe would struggle to store up enough gas supplies ahead of next winter. Natural gas prices in Europe are already soaring, and although the EU is moving to wean itself off of Russian energy, any further shortfalls would further stoke already-high inflation, with unpredictable political consequences across the continent. Putin, of course, knows this. Keep an eye on that “closed for repairs” sign hanging on Nord Stream 1.

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Putin attends a meeting with Senegal's President and African Union chair Macky Sall in Sochi.


Are the West’s efforts to isolate Russia doomed?

In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the US and Europe have launched a concerted campaign to punish Russia economically and isolate it politically. The West wants to send a strong message to other powers that might be tempted to violate the so-called rules-based international order. But many developing countries across Asia, Africa, and Latin America are reluctant to go along, blunting the effectiveness of this campaign. We spoke to Eurasia Group expert Christopher Garman to better understand the reasons for their skepticism, and what the consequences are likely to be.

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