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What We're Watching

Orban vs Soros in Hungary – Hungary's nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban seems to have won his ongoing fight to shut down Central European University.


CEU, an institution founded by his Hungarian-born critic George Soros, has announced it is relocating most of its operations to Vienna. Orban's government says CEU violated the law by issuing US degrees without having a US campus. But CEU is affiliated with Bard College in New York, where it offers courses. CEU and its defenders say Orban wants to quash critics and academic freedom as part of his broader "illiberal" agenda. CEU's departure marks the first time a university has been forced to leave an EU country.

The Climate in Katowice – The problem of climate change can't be addressed without shared sacrifice among nations, a hard political sell even in the most harmonious times. But President Trump's assault on the 2015 Paris Agreement has inspired others—like Brazil's newly-elected president—to throw cold water on efforts to jointly combat global warming. This week, delegates to a UN climate change conference in Katowice, Poland will try to define workable carbon emission targets for the Paris signatories. If they can't make progress, will it fall to regions, cities, or even companies to set their own goals?

WHAT WE'RE IGNORING

Angela Merkel's cheat sheet – German Chancellor Angela Merkel was caught taking a cheat sheet into her entering meeting with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison this weekend. The document explains who he is and what he looks like. As a number of Australians have pointed out, it's only fair: Mr. Morrison is the sixth different Australian prime minister to hold office since Merkel became Germany's chancellor in 2005.

Nigeria's Clone President – The often-ill Muhammadu Buhari, currently running for reelection as Nigeria's president, insists he has not died and been replaced by a body double. "It's the real me, I assure you," said Buhari, or maybe his clone. We're ignoring this for two reasons: We're 98 percent sure that's really Buhari and, if he is a clone, the clone Buhari would have a clear incentive to lie about it.

Visit Microsoft on The Issues for a front-row seat to see how Microsoft is thinking about the future of sustainability, accessibility, cybersecurity and more. Check back regularly to watch videos, and read blogs and feature stories to see how Microsoft is approaching the issues that matter most. Subscribe for the latest at Microsoft on the Issues.

Not everyone celebrates the US holiday of Thanksgiving, but we've all got something to be grateful for in this awful year, right? So as Americans gather around the table — or the Zoom — to give thanks on Thursday, here's what a few world leaders are grateful for at the moment.

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Joe Biden has had one of the longest political careers in American history, but his most important act is yet to come. Can decades of experience in Washington prepare him to lead the most divided America since the end of the Civil War?

Watch the GZERO World episode: What you still may not know about Joe


With President Trump and most of the Republican Party still refusing to acknowledge that Joe Biden has won the election, it seems pretty likely that the partisan gridlock that has paralyzed Washington for at least the past four years is not going anywhere any time soon. How will President-elect Biden deal with Donald Trump once the latter is, eventually, out of the White House? And how will Biden deal with Mitch McConnell and a Republican party hellbent on opposing him? "If you get past the theater for a second," suggests Biden biographer and New Yorker staff writer Evan Osnos, "you see that there is something deeply different in the relationship that Biden has with McConnell that Obama never had with McConnell." Osnos' conversation with Ian Bremmer is featured on GZERO World.

Watch the GZERO World episode: What you still may not know about Joe

Hong Kong pro-democracy activists plead guilty: The name Joshua Wong has become synonymous with Hong Kong's once-dynamic pro-democracy movement. But the democrats' momentum has all but fizzled since Beijing imposed a draconian national security law back in May, outlawing secessionist activity and criminalizing foreign influence in Hong Kong. Now Wong, who was instrumental in the 2014 pro-democracy "Umbrella Movement," is pleading guilty in a Hong Kong court to organizing and taking part in pro-democracy protests that gripped the semi-autonomous city for much of 2019. He and his two co defendants — all of them in their 20's — have been remanded until sentencing, scheduled for December 2, and are likely to face prison terms of various lengths. Wong, for his part, said he decided to switch his plea to "guilty" after consulting with his lawyer. (Knowing that the trial would mostly be a sham, the trio decided to plead guilty in order to speed up the process, according to reports.) This internationally watched court case comes as Beijing has increasingly cracked down on Hong Kong's pro-democracy camp in recent months, prompting the US to impose sanctions on Hong Kong's leader Carrie Lam, and several Western governments to terminate special economic relationship with the city. To date, there have been more than 2,000 prosecutions linked to last year's protests.

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The 2020 US Election

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