What they’re thankful for

What they’re thankful for

Tomorrow, millions of people will gather around dining tables across the United States to celebrate Thanksgiving – a day traditionally reserved for food, football, and reflecting on life's blessings. There'll be turkey and stuffing. And pie. But also: political conversations with relatives. To get you ready, we've imagined what some of the most important world leaders are thankful for this year:


Donald Trump: Mueller, the Ukraine scandal, impeachment proceedings. It's been a miserable year. Ok? Thankfully the economy is very, very strong – unemployment near 50-year lows, and just look at the stock market. Record highs! Senate Republicans will never vote to impeach me with the economy humming like this. So much to be grateful for, America! All thanks to me. You're welcome! Enjoy!

Vladimir Putin: On New Year's Eve I will mark 20 years in power in Russia. I am thankful to have made Russia great again after the humiliation by the West in the 1990s. I'm grateful for the internet and social media, which help me sow confusion and undermine my rivals; but most of all, this year, for the US withdrawal from Syria, which has confirmed Russia's status as a major power broker in the Middle East.

Xi Jinping: Yes, my economy is slowing. Yes, Hong Kong is a mess. And those leaked files on Uighur detention camps are terrible for China's overseas image. But I'm still the country's most powerful leader since Mao, with an ability to invest and mobilize state resources that few, if any, Western leaders can match. Thank goodness for that.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan: Gratuitous Turkey reference on Thanksgiving, huh? Ok, I'll play. Like Vlad, I'm grateful that Trump withdrew those troops from Kurdish-controlled northern Syria: without that I'd never have been able to clear the buffer zone I need to resettle millions of Syrian refugees who are causing me political headaches.

Boris Johnson: I couldn't have asked for a weaker opponent in next month's general election than my friend, Jeremy Corbyn. Three years of Brexit omnishambles should have voters lining up to punish my Tory Party when they hit the polls on December 12, but the Labour leader's hard-left policies and fence-sitting on Brexit have given Remain voters a difficult choice. If I can maintain our comfortable lead in the polls, we'll be out of the EU, with a deal, by January. Then the real negotiations over the UK's future relationship with the EU can begin. Thanks, Jeremy!

Theresa May: I'm so thankful I no longer have to deal with this.

Carrie Lam: I'm thankful that once my term is up, or Beijing finally lets me resign, no one can force me to run for Hong Kong chief executive again. Staying in Hong Kong might be tough. Maybe I can apply for one of those new UK skills visas.

Mark Zuckerberg: Sorry, this content is not available to our community right now. This year Priscilla and I have decided we'll only be sharing what we are thankful for with a small group of family and friends in an encrypted WhatsApp chat.

Each month, Microsoft receives about 6,500 complaints from people who've been victims of tech support scams. But it's not just Microsoft's brand that the scammers leverage; fraudsters have pretended to be from a number of other reputable tech companies and service providers. These scams will remain an industry-wide challenge until sufficient people are educated about how they work and how to avoid them.

To measure the scope of this problem globally, Microsoft commissioned YouGov for a new 2021 survey across 16 countries. Results from the 2021 survey reveal that, globally, fewer consumers have been exposed to tech support scams as compared to the 2018 survey. However, those people who continued with the interaction were more likely to have lost money to the scammers than we saw in our previous survey. To read the highlights of the survey, visit Microsoft on the Issues.

Next week, Ebrahim Raisi, a hardliner who is ideologically and personally close to Iran's 82 year-old supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, will be inaugurated as Iran's president. This power transition comes as the country experiences a fresh wave of protests that started in Iran's southwest over water shortages earlier this month and has since spilled over into dozens of provinces.

Some close observers of Iranian society and politics say that popular discontent there is now more widespread than it has been in years, making the Iranian regime more vulnerable than ever.

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Was the world so focused on climate change that warning signs about the COVID-19 pandemic were missed? Historian and author Niall Ferguson argues that, while the climate crisis poses a long-term threat to humanity, other potential catastrophes are much more dangerous in the near future. "We took our eye off that ball," Ferguson says about COVID, "despite numerous warnings, because global climate change has become the issue that Greta Thunberg said, would bring the end of the world. But the point I'm making in DOOM [his new book] is that we can end the world and a lot of other ways, much faster." Ferguson spoke with Ian Bremmer in an interview for GZERO World.

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

Tunisia, the only country that emerged a democracy from the Arab Spring, is now in the middle of its worst political crisis since it got rid of former autocrat Zine El Abidine Ben Ali over a decade ago.

On Sunday, the 64th anniversary of the country's independence from France, President Kais Saied responded to widespread protests over the ailing economy and COVID by firing embattled Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi and suspending parliament for 30 days. Troops have surrounded the legislature, where rival crowds faced off on Monday, with one side chanting in support of the move and the other denouncing it as a coup.

How did we get here, do we even know who's really in charge, and what might come next?

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Ian Bremmer shares his perspective on global politics this week:

As COVID-19 cases rise, are vaccine mandates coming?

Oh, you just want to get me in more trouble. Yeah, some mandates are coming, but they're not national mandates in the United States. In some cases, you're looking at federal and state employees, in some cases you're looking at lots of individual corporations, universities, and such. I mean I've already been to a number of events where vaccines have been mandated in New York. You've got this Excelsior Pass if you want to go to the Brooklyn Nets games, as I certainly do. You show it off and that gets you in with your vaccine. So I think it's really going to be a decentralized process. But clearly, given Delta variant and the number of people that are getting sick and dying because they're not vaccinated, you're going to see moves towards more mandates, as a consequence.

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Castillo takes over in Peru: After almost two months of protests, baseless allegations of fraud from his rival in the runoff election, and even rumblings of a coup, Pedro Castillo will be sworn in as president of Peru on Wednesday. A former rural school-teacher famous for riding on horseback, wearing a cowboy hat and waving a giant pencil to show how much he cares about education, Castillo has big plans to achieve big change. But he won by just a razor-thin margin in a deeply divided country, and Peru's dysfunctional political system will likely hobble his attempts to get major legislation passed. Moreover, despite having moderated his positions, half of the country still sees him as a communist who might turn Peru into another Venezuela. Castillo's most immediate task is dealing with the twin crises of a deadly pandemic and a COVID-fueled economic crisis that has hit poor Peruvians — his base — the hardest.

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13: The two Koreas have restored their communication hotline almost 13 months after Pyongyang abruptly cut it in response to Seoul not doing enough to prevent North Korean defectors from sending propaganda leaflets across the shared border. The hotline was established in 2018 following a historic meeting between North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

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Now that the Tokyo Olympics are finally underway, your Signal crew will be bringing you some intriguing, uplifting, and quirky facts about the Games that have many people on edge.

Today — what's the smallest country (by population) to win a gold medal in a summer Olympics?

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