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WATCHING/IGNORING

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– The often-ill Muhammadu Buhari, currently running for reelection as Nigeria's president, insists he has not died and been replaced by a body double.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.

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.

Listen: 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 talks about how closely that nightmare scenario foreshadowed the COVID-19 pandemic. He also offers some guidance about what public health measures vaccinated Americans should continue to take in the coming months (hint: masks stay on).

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.

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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Afghanistan frustrated nineteenth-century British imperialists for 40 years, and ejected the Soviet army in 1989 after a bloody decade there. And though American and NATO forces ousted the Taliban government in 2001 over its support for al-Qaeda, there's no good reason for confidence that nearly 20 years of occupation have brought lasting results for security and development across the country.

But… could China succeed where other outsiders have failed – and without a costly and risky military presence? Is the promise of lucrative trade and investment enough to ensure a power-sharing deal among Afghanistan's warring factions?

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Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden, shares his perspective from Stockholm on Europe In 60 Seconds:

Is there a military coup ongoing in Armenia?

Well, it isn't a military coup as of yet, but it's not far from it either. This is the turmoil that is resulting from the war with Azerbaijan, which Armenia took a large death loss. What happened was that the head of the armed forces asked for the prime minister to resign. That was not quite a coup, but not very far from it. Now, the prime minister sacked the head of the armed forces, there's considerable uncertainty. Watch the space.

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The GZERO World Podcast with Ian Bremmer. Listen now.

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Biden strikes Syria. Now what?

Quick Take