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An image of the victims of the Uvalde school shooting displayed at a House hearing on gun violence on Capitol Hill.

Jason Andrew/ Reuters

What We’re Watching: United States of Guns, Ukrainian strategy, Iran censured

The United States of Guns

The US House of Representatives kicked off a grueling two-day hearing on gun violence in America on Wednesday, just two weeks after a school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, claimed the lives of 19 children and two teachers. Miah Cerrillo, 11, whose classroom was attacked, recounted how she painted herself with a classmate’s blood and played dead. Kimberly Rubio, whose daughter Lexi was killed, recalled how she ran miles barefoot looking for her daughter that fateful day. The hearing is part of the Congressional debate on how to respond to a spate of recent deadly shootings, most notably in Uvalde, as well as at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, where Black Americans were targeted by a white supremacist. Senate Democrats, in coordination with the White House, are working on narrow legislation that could get the support of at least 10 Republicans needed to pass. Proposals center on addressing mental health issues in young males and incentivizing states to introduce their own “red-flag laws” to remove guns from dangerous owners. The Democrat-controlled House, meanwhile, has advanced a bill with eight gun-control measures – including banning large-capacity magazines – but it's unlikely to pass the Senate, where Dems hold a razor-thin majority. It’s a busy week for the House, which will also launch hearings on the Jan. 6 riots on Thursday. Check out what Eurasia Group's lead US analyst, Jon Lieber, has to say about how the Dems hope to use these hearings to gain an edge in the midterms here.

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In 1992, supporters of abortion rights mingle with abortion opponents at a State House rally marking the 19th anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade decision legalizing abortion.


What We're Watching: Roe in trouble, Russia Victory Day, ISIS-K terrorizes Afghanistan, Macron vs the left

US Supreme Court reportedly set to overturn Roe vs. Wade

The US Supreme Court is set to overturn the landmark abortion rights decision of Roe vs. Wade, according to a leaked draft of the decision reported by Politico late Monday. The draft, written by Justice Samuel Alito, explains the court’s apparent plan to reverse the 1973 ruling, noting that “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start” and that it’s time to “return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.” If true, this means the court is siding with Mississippi in its push to ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. While SCOTUS drafts do not always reflect final decisions, Eurasia Group’s lead US political analyst Jon Lieber believes the draft is a sneak peek of what’s to come. “Court watchers seem to think the document is a legitimate draft, and given the makeup of the court it sure reads like the majority decision I expected to see,” Lieber says. “So I think this is both real and reflects the reality that Roe vs. Wade will be overturned this year."

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Protests in New York against the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Richard B. Levine/ Reuters

Hard Numbers: Americans back Ukraine, New Zealand’s grand reopening, Muslims attacked in Ethiopia, Kenya’s minimum wage rise

73: A solid majority of Americans – 73% – back tough sanctions on Russia and ongoing aid to Ukraine, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. Support for punitive measures on Moscow remains high despite the fact that 66% of respondents are also concerned that sanctions are contributing to cost of living pressures at home.

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Has Biden ditched the environment?

Back in 2020, candidate Joe Biden vowed to be the greenest president in the history of the United States. This was not a nod to his political coming of age – the soon-to-be octogenarian has been around the block – but rather a reference to Biden’s super ambitious climate agenda.

Fast forward 15 months, and Biden, facing an unprecedented energy crisis, has been accused of doing an about-face on climate, veering into drill, baby, drill territory to encourage more oil production to boost dwindling global supplies.

Promises made, (some) promises kept. Focused on uniting a divided Democratic Party upon taking office, Biden vowed to go big on climate change mitigation. He followed through immediately with a series of executive orders, first rejoining the Paris Climate Accords ditched by his predecessor, realigning the US with nearly 200 countries that agreed to cooperate on keeping global warming levels below 2 degrees Celsius.

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Plumes of smoke rise after a fire erupts at an oil depot in Bryansk, Russia.


What We're Watching: Flames go up in Russia, UN-Russia summit, Kim Jong-un's parade

Flaming coincidences in Russia

Fires, explosions, train derailments, dead executives — there’s a lot of weird stuff happening in Russia lately. Earlier this week, two major oil depots went up in flames in the city of Bryansk, a major support hub for Russian forces just a few hours north of the Ukrainian border by car. Russia says it’s investigating, but top military analysts say the blaze looks like the result of sabotage or an attack by Ukraine. Just three days earlier, a locomotive derailed while traveling along a nearby stretch of rail used to supply the Russian army. That, meanwhile, happened on the same day that fires erupted at a major defense research institute and a chemical plant, both within 100 miles of Moscow. The research institute blaze, which was blamed on faulty wiring, claimed half a dozen lives. Fires in Russia’s poorly maintained Soviet-era buildings aren’t uncommon, but the chattering has begun: were these Ukrainian operations? Sabotage by disgruntled employees? False flag “attacks” staged to rally opinion against Ukraine? We’re watching to see if the trend continues. Meanwhile, another oddity: Russian executives turning up dead in apparent murder-suicides with their families. That fate recently befell former executives from energy giant Gazprombank and Novatek, Russia’s largest independent gas producer. Their deaths are among a number of high-profile oligarch deaths in recent weeks.

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An array of currencies.


What We're Watching: Advanced economies' crucial decision making, Russia’s war and the US economy

How advanced economy decisions can hurt (or help!) emerging markets

As the US and Europe grapple with inflation at levels unseen since “Eye of the Tiger” was a chart-topper, policymakers in emerging and developing markets, which are also facing high prices, are on edge about what the US Fed and other major central banks are going to do next. After all, hiking interest rates in the advanced economies can prompt investors to pull money out of developing and emerging market countries, which often depend heavily on capital inflows from abroad to keep their economies running smoothly.

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French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen


What We're Watching: France's decision, Putin's scoreboard, Johnson on tour

Will the far-right candidate win in France?

Vive la différence! In Sunday’s second and final round of the French presidential election, incumbent Emmanuel Macron and National Rally Party leader Marine Le Pen present very different visions of France’s future. Will France choose Macron’s promise of an open France, a strong EU, and continued streamlining of state spending? Or will it bend toward Le Pen’s idea of tighter immigration controls, a weaker EU, and more protectionism? Polls indicate that this is Macron’s race to lose (he’s 10 percentage points ahead following Wednesday's televised debate), and Eurasia Group Europe analyst Mujtaba Rahman believes Macron will win. “It’s always hazardous to call an election three days out,” he tweeted, “but this one looks like it’s all over but for the voting.”

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All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club, Wimbledon, England.

REUTERS/Toby Melville

Wimbledon to ban Russians & Belarusians

The All England Tennis Club, reportedly under pressure from the British government, has decided with “deep regret” to ban all Russian and Belarusian players from this year’s Wimbledon tennis tournament. A number of sporting events, including tennis, have banned Russian teams while allowing individual players to compete with no official acknowledgment of their country affiliation. But Wimbledon’s decision is highly unusual – the oldest of the Grand Slam tennis tournaments hasn’t banned individual players from competition since just after World War II. We have questions, and we’d be interested to read your answers via email. Is this a welcome public refusal to continue life as normal following an invasion condemned by the governments of 141 countries? Should sports and politics be kept separate? Is it fair to blame tennis players for the actions of their governments? Should the players’ expressed opinions on the invasion matter? What do you think? Write to us here.

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