How will our cities and lives change in the future? What about a structure with a roller skating rink above a swimming pool, made out of transparent solar panels that power the entire park? This was the innovation invented by Eni's young researchers based on Luminescent Solar Concentrators, developed through Eni's research.
Watch the latest episode of Funny Applications, Eni's video series that imagines new uses for technology.
For 30 years, citizens of Hong Kong have gathered in Victoria Park on the evening of June 4 to honor the peaceful protesters massacred in Beijing's Tiananmen Square on that date in 1989. It has been the only public Tiananmen commemoration permitted on Chinese soil.
This year, the park was surrounded by barricades to keep people out. The officially stated reason for the shut-down? Crowds spread coronavirus. (In this city of more than 7 million, COVID has so far killed four people.)
<p>Many in Hong Kong doubt the official explanation, and thousands decided to <a href="https://www.vox.com/2020/6/4/21280440/tiananmen-square-massacre-hong-kong-vigil-china-anthem" target="_blank">ignore the ban</a> on gatherings and hold their candlelight vigil anyway. Outside a few incidents involving <a href="https://thehill.com/policy/international/501159-pepper-spray-fired-during-tiananmen-square-memorial-in-hong-kong" target="_blank">pepper spray</a>, police look to have kept their distance. Many of Thursdays protesters appeared to have observed rules on social distancing. </p><p>But on this June 4, Hong Kong's legislative council also voted to criminalize "insults" to China's national anthem. And late last month, China announced a new security law that would criminalize "sedition" and "subversion" — as defined by Beijing. Now, for the first time, Chinese security forces will be allowed to operate in Hong Kong and enforce those laws. </p><p>A group called the <a href="https://www.facebook.com/hka8964/posts/3296011273766614?__cft__%255b0%255d=AZXvMxRzJqnsxFUSHAcj6XsTwL4SbDr3n8WGK6QcwTFKs7iR2H8Zr-mfi0TwzgB9ULxHGGZ6SFyIQvl82chjQAEsbsP8fiTlrZ2OpZuB7EGrUunbjCNqnkAlXiA43ElCkj1UTAzH7snxaWZkPvyWKbt_EpDF8yPjDWPm-xsd3wCsXg&__tn__=%252CO%252CP-R" target="_blank">Hong Kong Alliance</a> put it like this: "The National Security Law is like a knife to the neck of all Hong Kong people. Even if it only cuts a few, it threatens the freedom of all 7 million people. It is the implementing of rule by fear in Hong Kong."</p><p>Back in 1997, when Hong Kong formally passed from Britain to China, Beijing agreed in an international treaty to allow Hong Kongers to keep their rights to freedom of speech and assembly. The new security laws would allow Chinese soldiers to strip Hong Kong's people of those rights. This year the excuse to block peaceful protest is COVID-19. Next year, democracy activists warn, Beijing will come up with something else. And after months of demonstrations and crackdowns over the mainland's attempts to gain firmer control over Hong Kong, there is almost no trust now between pro-democracy activists, police, and Beijing. </p><p>This is a landmark moment in Hong Kong's history. The city's residents are left to wonder what's next for their streets and how the outside world will respond. Earlier this week, seven former UK foreign secretaries <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-52872131" target="_blank">called on</a> Prime Minister Boris Johnson to form a global alliance in support of Hong Kong, and Johnson later announced plans to create a "route to citizenship" for millions of Hong Kongers who want to leave the territory. China's foreign minister <a href="https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/06/china-warns-uk-interfering-hong-kong-affairs-backfire-200603110612365.html" target="_blank">responded</a>: "We advise the UK to step back from the brink, abandon their Cold War mentality and colonial mindset, and recognize and respect to the fact that Hong Kong has returned" to China.</p><p>For Hong Kong, lines have been drawn and crossed—and the city will never be the same. </p>
More Show less
Subscribe to GZERO Media's Newsletter: Signal
In an interview with GZERO World host Ian Bremmer, Hong Kong lawmaker Dennis Kwok, an outspoken pro-democracy advocate, expresses his concerns that the current "draconian" laws China's leadership is forcing upon his city has expedited the end of the "one country, two systems" policy established in 1997.
Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:
Big news, of course, that former Secretary of Defense Mattis comes out with a public statement basically calling Trump's rule, his actions, unconstitutional and unfit for office, more divisive than any president he's ever seen.
<p>I mean, you know, on the one hand, stuff that a lot of people have been saying about Trump, some of which I've been saying about Trump for some time. But from his former secretary defense, the adult in the room, Mad Dog Mattis, four-star general respected by everyone, lends a veneer, a sheen of both credibility and respectability to the Trump cabinet in the early years. Of course, then he leaves, but does not say anything negative about the president and refuses to go on the media tour that so many other former cabinet officials have done and was under massive pressure for doing so. So many people calling on him, "why are you not making any statements?" Now, of course, the GOP not making any statements either, but still, Mattis is someone who was seen to be above the fray and particularly well respected in the middle of a national security crisis with so many protesters on the streets, a fair amount of violence, the police brutality and the country so incredibly divided.</p><p>The timing, I think, especially after President Bush made his statement, something that President Bush really did not want to do and I thought, a very effective statement, a very unifying statement. I think the amount of personal pressure that Mattis would have been under in the last 24-48 hours would have been extraordinary and so he decided finally he needed to say something. I will tell you, I personally don't think this is going to have much of an effect on Trump's reelection possibilities. I don't see Mattis as someone who is going to become a leading voice on CNN or MSNBC. I think it will make news over the course of this weekend and by next week it'll be gone. But I do think it's important for people to understand that the national security complex in the United States, including those people that report to the commander-in-chief, are not automatons and they will not simply do his bidding. </p><p>And I think that perhaps the more important piece of news in the last 24 hours was not the Mattis letter, but was actually the letter from the chief, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mark Milley, who was seen in, you know, fatigues and camos out on Lafayette Square and walking around the White House, quite unusual, but then sent a memo to all of his direct reports saying that their duty is to uphold the Constitution, making it very clear where their loyalties are. And, of course, highly unusual. Why would you need to send out a letter that is, on the one hand, so obvious? What's the reason for it? What's the timing? Well, precisely because there is this open question of the constitutionality of dispersing a peaceful protest on public land with no advance notification. And the head of the Joint Chiefs making very clear that they do not serve the president, they serve the Constitution. That's where their loyalty is. Now, he didn't mention President Trump in that memo, but the point was very clear, which is that the United States is not an authoritarian country, is not in danger of becoming an authoritarian country. And that as divided as the country is and as unequal and unrepresentative as America's institutions are, it is not a dictatorship. </p><p>And I think the consistent thing that we can say about Trump's lead not only is, you know, his level of incompetence or his unfitness to rule, but also how constrained he continues to be. This is not about Trump able to wield power no matter what. It's actually Trump continually needing to bolster himself up precisely because he's constrained. He has to go to the bunker. Why does he go to the bunker? Because there's a national security threat against him. He didn't want to go to the bunker. He had to go to bunker. It gets reported. It gets out. So, then he has to say, "oh, I was inspecting the bunker. I didn't need, it wasn't because I was scared." No. Any president of the United States, no matter how brave you were, is going to be in the bunker at that point. That's it. That's the way it works. That's what happens when you are the president of a democracy with rule of law. But Trump can handle it. So, he makes it seem like he's stronger than he actually is. </p><p>And I think it's important for those that dislike him to understand that we're not on the path to dictatorship. We're not on the path of implosion. We are an incredibly divisive and increasingly dysfunctional country that doesn't know exactly what we stand for and therefore has a hard time leading internationally as well. Both capability and desire. </p><p>I will say that a bigger part of the problem is what I saw from Senator Republican Senator Murkowski, who came out just in the last few hours and said, "I completely support everything Mattis just said. It was overdue and it was true. It was correct." In other words, yes, the president is unfit. Yes, unconstitutional. Yes, he shouldn't serve. And she also said, "and therefore, I am struggling mightily with the question of whether or not to support him in November." Now, I mean, you can imagine that's big news, right? A Republican senator saying, "I'm struggling with whether or not to support Trump," but that's actually not the news. Actually, the news is that with the exception of Mitt Romney, who usually votes with Trump, but voted against him in the impeachment, the sole Republican vote, and who is personally very wealthy, very secure and has a lot of personal history and enmity towards President Trump. Aside from him, there has been no one on the Republican side that has gone out and said, "Trump, that's it, I'm breaking from you." And the reason for that is because they are focused on their jobs and the GOP above everything else. </p><p>And by the way, the Democrats do this, too. It's just the Democrats don't happen to have a president who is massively unfit. If they did, I suspect they would behave the same way. But they don't. The Republicans do. And that is a serious problem because it means that despite all the unfitness, President Trump could still win. He still has 42 percent approval ratings right now, which is where he was when the unemployment rate was at record lows, and when the economy was doing really well. And now we've got pandemic and 105,000 to 110,000 Americans dead, and continuing to grow. We've got 25% unemployment. And just today, another couple, well over a million new unemployment receipts, higher than the markets expected persisting. Six to eight percent contraction of the U.S. economy this year. And yet Trump is still at 42%. And among Republicans, he's done exceptionally well. He's easily polling consistently high 80s, low 90s with Republican voters in the United States. And that is what drives Senator Murkowski and many others to say, "yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, but..." And the but is the driver of action. Important to recognize that. Some insight into just how divided America presently is. </p> I hope everyone's doing well. Please avoid people. If you can't avoid people, socially distance, wear your masks. My goodness, I completely understand. I'm deeply sympathetic and supportive of all of the protesters that have been out there over the last few days. But please, please, please, not mass gatherings where you can't socially distance. You're putting yourself in danger. And I worry about that. I really hope we don't have a secondary outbreak that leads us to have to shut things down again. So many more people will suffer as a consequence of that. And we know who's going to suffer the worst, it will be the people that can least afford it, including a lot of the people out there that are protesting. So, that's a little bit of inequality and injustice in the world order as we see it right now.
More Show less
What We're Watching: French anti-racism protests, Sudan-Ethiopia border dispute, Pentagon checks Trump
June 04, 2020
French protests over racial injustice: The George Floyd protests in the United States have sparked solidarity demonstrations around the world, with people flocking to US embassies in Berlin, London and elsewhere to express their outrage. But they have also inspired other countries to reexamine racial justice within their own societies. In France, where street demonstrations are practically a national pastime, thousands of people have gathered in support of the family of Adama Traoré, a 24-year old black man who died in police custody back in 2016. At least 20,000 Parisians demonstrated Wednesday, despite coronavirus bans on public gatherings. Protesters adopted similar language to the Floyd protests, demanding accountability for the officers who violently pinned down Traoré during a dispute over an identity check, leading to his death. Renewed focus on this case, which has become a potent symbol of police brutality in France, comes as coronavirus lockdowns have recently stoked tensions between the police and the mostly-minority residents of Paris' banlieues (low-income suburbs).
<p><span style="background-color: initial;"><strong>Sudan's new defense minister walks into a firestorm: </strong></span><span style="background-color: initial;">Sudan has sworn in a new defense minister, just days after Sudanese forces </span><a href="https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/05/sudan-summons-ethiopia-envoy-deadly-cross-border-attack-200530154306068.html" target="_blank">clashed</a><span style="background-color: initial;"> with militias from neighboring Ethiopia, sparking a diplomatic standoff between the two states. The two countries have l</span><span style="background-color: initial;">ong</span><span style="background-color: initial;"> been locked in a bitter border dispute that's given rise to sporadic bursts of violence. More than 1,700 Ethiopians live on Sudanese farmland, a source of tension that the two sides had hoped to settle as part of a border demarcation process to be completed in March 2021. But tensions have resurfaced during thorny negotiations over Ethiopia's planned construction of the </span><a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-ethiopia-dam-factbox/factbox-key-facts-about-ethiopias-giant-nile-dam-idUSKBN1XG21L" target="_blank">Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam</a><span style="background-color: initial;">.</span><span style="background-color: initial;"> The hydropower project, which would draw </span><span style="background-color: initial;">waters from the Nile, </span><span style="background-color: initial;">is largely opposed by both Egypt and Sudan, which are downstream from Addis Ababa.</span><br/></p><p><strong>The Pentagon checks Trump: </strong>President Trump has repeatedly threatened to deploy the US military to quell unrest in American cities, after 10-days of both peaceful anti-racism protests and some riots. In recent days, however, pushback against the president's proposal has come from a powerful source: <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/despite-suggestions-from-trump-pentagon-chief-says-he-does-not-support-invoking-insurrection-act/2020/06/03/8e8dad2e-a59e-11ea-8681-7d471bf20207_story.html" target="_blank">the Pentagon</a> itself. After Trump floated using the Insurrection Act, which allows the US president to use active-duty troops domestically, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/03/us/politics/esper-milley-trump-protest.html" target="_blank">distanced himself</a> from his boss, saying that such a move would be misguided as anything but a far-off last resort – a position also supported by the current chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and <a href="https://www.npr.org/2020/06/02/867565338/governors-push-back-on-trumps-threat-to-deploy-federal-troops-to-quell-unrest" target="_blank">many of the nation's governors</a>. Meanwhile, Esper's predecessor, retired general Jim Mattis, who has refrained from weighing in on politics since leaving the Pentagon 18-months ago, penned a searing <a href="https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2020/06/james-mattis-denounces-trump-protests-militarization/612640/" target="_blank">op-ed</a> Wednesday, where he warned that calling in US troops would cause "chaos" and accused President Trump of trying "to divide us." The ensuing debate over the army's proper role in American politics has exposed a growing rift between the White House and the Pentagon, as an increasing number of armed forces personnel accuse the president of politicizing the military.</p>
More Show less