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– The often-ill Muhammadu Buhari, currently running for reelection as Nigeria's president, insists he has not died and been replaced by a body double.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

"I think there are certain times where you have tectonic shifts and change always happens that way."

On the latest episode of 'That Made All the Difference,' Vincent Stanley, Director of Philosophy at Patagonia, shares his thoughts on the role we all have to play in bringing our communities and the environment back to health.

For many, Paul Rusesabagina became a household name after the release of the 2004 tear-jerker film Hotel Rwanda, which was set during the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

Rusesabagina, who used his influence as a hotel manager to save the lives of more than 1,000 Rwandans, has again made headlines in recent weeks after he was reportedly duped into boarding a flight to Kigali, Rwanda's capital, where he was promptly arrested on terrorism, arson, kidnapping and murder charges. Rusesabagina's supporters say he is innocent and that the move is retaliation against the former "hero" for his public criticism of President Paul Kagame, who has ruled the country with a strong hand since ending the civil war in the mid 1990s.

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Bibi's COVID scheming: With coronavirus cases spiking, Israel has imposed a second nationwide lockdown, the first developed country to go back to draconian measures of this kind since the spring. The controversial decision, which came as Israeli Jews prepared to celebrated the Jewish High Holidays, represents a certain failure of Prime Minister Netanyahu's handling of the pandemic, in which Israel emerged as a global case study in how not to reopen after the initial lockdowns. Polls show that two-thirds of the public disapprove of Bibi's handling of the crisis. Many critics suspect the second lockdown — which bans large public gatherings — isn't only about flattening the curve, but about quelling the anti-Netanyahu protests that have gained steam throughout the country in recent months. This all comes as the Israeli government faces an unprecedented crisis: it has failed to pass a budget in two years and its economy is in free fall, sparking fears of another election by year's end (the fourth in less than two years).

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Gerald Butts, Vice Chairman & Senior Advisor of Eurasia Group, discusses reasons the rapid global response to climate change warrants optimism on UNGA In 60 Seconds.

There's a lot of doom and gloom out there about climate change. Can you give me a reason to be optimistic?

I'm going to say something you don't hear set very often when it comes to climate change. You should be an optimist. You should be a skeptical optimist, but an optimist nonetheless. Let me explain what I mean. We are scaling up climate solutions faster than even the most ardent among us thought possible a decade ago. Consider this. In 2010, about half of US electricity was generated from coal. This year less than 20% will be, and it's trending towards zero at increasing velocity.

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Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

It's UNGA week, very unusual New York to have the United Nations General Assembly meetings. You know, the city is locked down. It's almost always locked down this week, but usually you can't get anywhere because you've got all these marshals with dozens of heads of state and well over a hundred foreign ministers and their delegations jamming literally everything, Midtown and branching out across the city. This time around, the security cordon for the United Nations itself is barely a block, and no one is flying in. I mean, the weather is gorgeous, and you can walk pretty much anywhere, but nothing's really locked down aside from, of course, the fact that the restaurants and the bars and the theaters and everything else is not happening given the pandemic. And it's not just in the US, it's all around the world.

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