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a protest leader, tweeted yesterday that Lam is a "habitual liar" and points out that the bill has not been formally withdrawn from the legislative agenda.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

Emily Ademola lives in an area of Nigeria that has been attacked by Boko Haram militants in the past. Looking for water was very risky, and without access to water, the community – especially children – were at risk of waterborne diseases. Eni, in partnership with FAO, built a water well in Emily's community in 2019.

Watch Emily's first-hand account about how access to water "close to our doorsteps" has improved the quality of life for her community and her family.

There's never a great time to impose higher taxes on funeral services — but doing it in the middle of a raging pandemic is an especially bad move. Yet that was one of a number of measures that the Colombian government proposed last week in a controversial new tax bill that has provoked the country's largest and most violent protests in decades.

In the days since, the finance minister has resigned, the tax reform has been pulled, and President Iván Duque has called for fresh dialogue with activists, union leaders, and opposition politicians.

But demonstrations, vandalism, and deadly clashes with police have only intensified. Two dozen people are dead, 40 are missing, and the UN has criticized Colombian police for their heavy-handed response.

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While residents of wealthy countries are getting ready for hot vaxxed summer — COVID is still ravaging many low- and middle-income countries. The horrifying scenes coming out of India in recent weeks have gripped the world, causing governments and civil society to quickly mobilize and pledge support.

But on the other side of the globe, Brazil is also being pummeled by the pandemic — and has been for a year now. Yet thus far, the outpouring of aid and (solidarity) hasn't been as large.

What explains the global alarm at India's situation, and seeming passivity towards Brazil's plight? What are the politics of compassion?

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Paris-London face-off at sea: France and the UK are at loggerheads in the high seas this week over post-Brexit fishing access in Jersey, an island off the English Channel. Furious at regulations that they say makes it harder to fish in these lucrative waters, dozens of French fishing boats amassed near the Channel Island, threatening to block access to the port. In response, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson deployed two naval vessels — a move critics say was an unnecessary escalation, and an attempt by the PM to flex his muscles and bolster the Tory vote ahead of Thursday's regional election. France, for its part, sent its own naval ship and threatened to cut off Jersey's electricity supply, 90 percent of which comes from French underwater cables. Fishing rights was one of the final sticking points of Brexit trade negotiations, an emotive political issue for many Britons who say that they got a subpar deal when the UK joined the European Economic Community in the 1970s. Though an UK-EU Brexit agreement was finally reached in December 2020, it's clear that there are still thorny issues that need to be resolved.

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10: Joshua Wong was sentenced along with other Hong Kong democracy activists to 10 months in prison for participating in a vigil last year marking the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing. Wong is currently behind bars for participating in separate pro-democracy protests, and will only start this new sentence after that term concludes in November.

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What's the biggest foreign policy misconception that Americans have about the US's role in the world? According to international relations expert Tom Nichols, too few Americans believe that the US, in fact, has a critical role in the world, and that the things Americans enjoy, from cheap goods to safe streets, are made possible because of American global leadership. "Americans have become so spoiled and inured to the idea that the world is a dangerous place that they don't understand that the seas are navigable because someone makes them that way. They don't understand that peace between the great powers is not simply like the weather, that just happens," Nichols tells Ian Bremmer. Their conversation is featured on an episode of GZERO World, airing on US public television – check local listings.

Watch the episode: Make politics "boring" again: Joe Biden's first 100 Days

The cover story of The Economist declares that Taiwan is "The most dangerous place on Earth," because China might finally be ready to plan an invasion of the island. But are the consequences of such a move worth the many risks to China and its President Xi Jinping? Ian Bremmer breaks out the Red Pen to to explain why a US-China war over Taiwan is unlikely.

We are taking our red pen to a recent article from The Economist. The Economist, you ask, how could I? I love The Economist, I know, I know. But you'd lose respect if I give this piece a pass. In fact, it was the magazine's cover story this week, so I had no choice. The image and headline say it all. Here it is, Taiwan is now "the most dangerous place on earth" as US/China relations continue to sour in the opening months of President Biden's administration.

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Delhi-based reporter Barkha Dutt's decades of journalism couldn't prepare her for the horrific experience of covering the death of one specific COVID-19 victim: her own father. In a conversation with Ian Bremmer, Dutt recounts her desperate struggle to find an ambulance to take her father through Delhi traffic to reach the hospital, only for him to die in the ICU. Their in-depth discussion looks at India's struggle with the world's worst COVID crisis in the upcoming episode of GZERO World begins airing on US public television Friday, May 7. Check local listings.

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Would China really invade Taiwan?

The Red Pen

India’s COVID crisis hits home

GZERO World Clips
The GZERO World Podcast with Ian Bremmer. Listen now.

GZEROMEDIA

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