What we are watching: What Does “Dead” Mean in Hong Kong?

What we are watching: What Does “Dead” Mean in Hong Kong?

More Trouble in Hong Kong — The headlines say that Chief Executive Carrie Lam has declared the proposed extradition law that has triggered massive (sometimes violent) protests to be "dead," but demonstrators remain defiant. Joshua Wong, a protest leader, tweeted yesterday that Lam is a "habitual liar" and points out that the bill has not been formally withdrawn from the legislative agenda. As we've seen in other countries in recent years, demonstrations driven by a single grievance can abruptly become a broader expression of public anxiety, frustration, and fury. At this point, it appears many protesters won't believe anything Lam says, and Beijing will remain on high alert to ensure Hong Kong doesn't become ungovernable.

A Big Resignation in Mexico — Since taking office, Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has tried to pursue a leftwing economic agenda without scaring off the financial markets whose investment is critical for the country's economic stability. On Tuesday, that balancing act got much harder when his Finance Minister Carlos Urzua, a former economics professor seen as a bulwark against Lopez Obrador's more extravagant spending impulses, abruptly quit, citing differences of opinion with the president and fiscal incompetence among top officials. We are watching to see if Lopez Obrador tries to restore investor confidence, or if he is willing to take a much riskier gamble on Mexico's future now.

The court case that could break the internet — On Tuesday, the European Court of Justice heard arguments in a case that could determine whether it's legal for internet users' personal data to cross the Atlantic. The case stems from a complaint brought by 31-year-old Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems, who argued that the US mass electronic surveillance programs revealed by the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden should be enough to prohibit Facebook from scooping up Europeans' personal data, according to the bloc's tough data protection laws. He has already won one court case back in 2015, and now the court will rule on whether two widely-used legal mechanisms for transferring data outside the EU offer sufficient protections to the bloc's citizens. If the answer is no, it would throw internet business models into turmoil and rile US-EU relations. The court is expected to rule on the case later this year.

What we are ignoring:

President Donald Trump's social media summit – Tomorrow, the White House will host a group of "digital leaders for a robust conversation on the opportunities and challenges of today's online environment." On the guest list: A gaggle of media personalities and political activists who have long accused sites like Twitter and Facebook of suppressing conservative views. Not on the guest list, according to recent media reports: Twitter or Facebook. There are plenty of tech issues worth discussing here — including tech companies' growing influence over the way information flows through democratic societies. But this looks more like a fact-free reality TV stunt than a serious attempt at a conversation.

"I knew that history was my life's calling."

On Bank of America's That Made All the Difference podcast, Secretary of the Smithsonian Lonnie Bunch shares his journey and present-day work creating exhibits that inspire visitors to help our country live up to its ideals.

Alcohol. It's a dangerous drug that has ruined countless lives and derailed many a global summit. But it's also humanity's oldest social lubricant, a magical elixir that can fuel diplomatic breakthroughs, well into the wee hours of the night. As Winston Churchill once quipped, "I've taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me." On GZERO World, we take a deep dive down the bottle and examine the role alcohol has played in society, politics, and global summitry—from the earliest hunter-gatherer days to that memorable Obama Beer Summit in 2009. Joining Ian Bremmer is philosopher Edward Slingerland, whose new book Drunk: How We Sipped, Danced, and Stumbled Our Way Into Civilization makes a compelling, if nuanced, case for alcohol's place in the world.

Also: since alcohol isn't the only social drug, a look at the state of marijuana legalization across the US and around the world.

A few weeks ago, a Signal reader emailed me to ask why so much of our coverage of the world is so damn dark. Aren't there any good news stories out there?

More Show less

Listen: A deep dive down the bottle to examine the role alcohol has played in society, politics, and global summitry—from the earliest hunter-gatherer days to that memorable Obama Beer Summit in 2009. Joining Ian Bremmer on the GZERO World podcast is philosopher Edward Slingerland, whose new book Drunk: How We Sipped, Danced, and Stumbled Our Way Into Civilization makes a compelling, if nuanced, case for alcohol's place in the world.

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.

There's a lot of doom and gloom in the world these days, and much cause for pessimism. Still, the advent of new technologies and scientific advancements has lifted billions out of poverty and increased quality of life for many over the last half century. Since 1990, global average life expectancy has increased by eight years to 73, while GDP per capita has also grown exponentially, doubling over the past decade alone. We take a look at how life expectancy and GDP per capita have evolved globally from 1960-2019.

Get insights on the latest news in US politics from Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington:

Why can't President Biden order a vaccine mandate for all Americans?

Well, the reason is it's out of his powers. The one of the fundamental challenges in the pandemic is that the federal government has actually been fairly limited in the steps they can take to stop the spread of the virus. So, that's why you've seen President Biden order masks on transit, mass transit, airplanes, and the like. But he can't order masks in workplaces because that's not within his power. That power lies within state governments. State governments and other entities, like employers, can require vaccinations before you come into their buildings, or you come back to school, or you go to work in your office. But the federal government can't do that. What Biden is doing is, allegedly, supposedly going to announce a mandate for federal workers to get vaccinated.

More Show less

American gymnast Sunisa "Suni" Lee, 18, stunned spectators around the world with her breathtaking performance in Tokyo Thursday that earned her the gold.

Here are some interesting facts about Suni Lee, the gymnast queen:

More Show less

"Super Mario" takes his chances: Less than five months after becoming Italy's consensus prime minister, Mario Draghi's coalition government is on shaky ground over Draghi's proposed judicial reforms. "Super Mario" — as he's known for saving the Eurozone as European Central Bank chief during the financial crisis — wants to dramatically speed up Italy's famously slow courts. But his push to reduce judicial backlogs is opposed both by the populist 5-Star Movement, the coalition government's biggest party, and by prosecutors because many cases could be scrapped before reaching a verdict. Draghi, upset that this resistance is stalling his other initiatives to cut Italian red tape, has decided to roll the dice anyway: he'll put his plan to overhaul the courts to a no-confidence vote in parliament. If Draghi wins, he gets the reforms passed without debate; if he loses, the PM technically has to resign, but he'll keep his job because he has enough votes even if the 5-Star Movement bows out of the coalition.

More Show less

Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter, Signal

GZERO World with Ian Bremmer. Watch episodes now

GZEROMEDIA

Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter: Signal

The history of disasters

GZERO World Clips
GZERO World with Ian Bremmer. Watch episodes now

GZEROMEDIA

Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter: Signal