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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a protest leader, tweeted yesterday that Lam is a "habitual liar" and points out that the bill has not been formally withdrawn from the legislative agenda.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.

Wales, early 19th century: During breaks from his law studies, William Robert Grove indulges in his passion for science to become an inventor. On his honeymoon in Europe, he learns about the new energy source everyone's talking about: electricity. After learning that electricity allows water to be broken down into its two components, hydrogen and oxygen, his intuition leads him to an idea that ends up making him a pioneer of sustainable energy production.

Watch the story of William Robert Grove in Eni's MINDS series, where we travel through time seeking scientists.

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hi, everybody. Ian Bremmer here, and as we head into the weekend, a Quick Take on, well, the first bombing campaign of the new Biden administration. You kind of knew it was going to happen. Against some Iranian-backed militias in Syria, looks like a couple of dozen, perhaps more killed, and some militia-connected military facilities destroyed. I think there are a few ways to look at this, maybe three different lenses.

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Iran rules out nuclear talks… for now: Iran has reportedly rejected an offer to join direct talks with the US and EU over its nuclear program, saying it won't start the conversation until sanctions on Iran's economy are eased. To be clear, this does NOT mean that prospects for reviving the Iran nuclear deal are dead. Europeans and the Biden administration want a return to the 2015 nuclear agreement, and Iran certainly needs the economic boost that would come from a removal of sanctions. But Tehran is going to try to maximize its leverage before any talks begin, especially since this is a sensitive election year in in the country. Iran's leaders are going to play hard to get for a while longer before edging their way back to the bargaining table. Still, it's high stakes diplomacy here between parties that have almost no mutual trust — and one misstep could throw things off track quickly.

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18: A week after threatening protesters with a severe crackdown, Myanmar's ruling junta killed at least 18 people across the country in the bloodiest day of clashes since the generals staged a coup last month.
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The country's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, joins Ian Bremmer to talk vaccines, school re-openings, and when—and how—the pandemic could finally come end. He was last on GZERO World just weeks before the pandemic hit in the fall of 2019 and he described at the time what kept him up at night: a "pandemic-like respiratory illness." This time, he'll talk about how closely that nightmare scenario foreshadowed the COVID-19 pandemic. He'll also offer some guidance about what public health measures vaccinated Americans should continue to take in the coming months (hint: masks stay on).

The GZERO World Podcast with Ian Bremmer. Listen now.

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Biden strikes Syria. Now what?

Quick Take