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What We're Watching: Colombian Rebels Rearm

What We're Watching: Colombian Rebels Rearm

Iran – There's a lot going on with Iran this week. The UN's atomic watchdog (great band name!) said Monday that Iran has accelerated production of low enriched uranium, which brings the country closer to violating the Iran nuclear agreement. Then, during a press conference with his German counterpart, Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif issued an uncharacteristically blunt threat, warning that the US "cannot expect to stay safe" after launching what he called an "economic war against Iran." Finally, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrives in Iran today, with Trump's blessing, to try to ease growing tensions and find some basis for talks that might lead to a new US-Iran nuclear deal.

Rebels rearming in Colombia – Just two years after a landmark peace deal between the government and the leftist FARC insurgency, thousands of rebels who laid down their weapons are taking up arms again. They are frustrated at the slow pace of economic and security improvements, particularly in rural areas, that the government pledged as part of the peace accord. Rightwing President Ivan Duque recently failed in his bid to revise the peace agreement, which he sees as too lenient. But unless the government can better deliver the benefits of peace, the deal may fall apart on its own.

European tech firms cutting the world in half – Amid deepening trade and technology rivalry between the US and China, two of Europe's leading technology firms — Nokia and Ericsson — might create separate units for the Eastern and Western hemispheres, according to a report by The Sunday Telegraph. Details are murky, but the idea seems to be to shield the "Western" parts of their businesses from any concerns arising from the "Eastern" units' activities in China, while at the same time protecting the "Eastern" businesses from getting caught in the crossfire between Beijing and the West. Here's how the decoupling of Chinese and Western firms could play out for the tech sector. And here's how it could hit you in the wallet.

What We Are Ignoring

Piranha Executions in North Korea – A British tabloid claims that Kim Jong-un has executed a suspected coup plotter by slashing him with a knife and tossing him into a tank filled with Brazilian piranhas to be devoured. We are ignoring this because the article is a little fishy, so to speak, and because although Kim's brutal streak is well known, we are old enough to remember the last incorrect reports about Pyongyang purges and executions… from last week. As a side note, we think the piranha gets an unjustly bad reputation, but judge for yourself.

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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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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 person a US president taps to assume the coveted role of secretary of state, the nation's top diplomat, says a lot about that president's foreign policy ambitions and global vision.

Indeed, the selection of Henry Kissinger (Nixon and Ford), James Baker (George H.W. Bush), Hillary Clinton (Obama) and Rex Tillerson (Trump) to head the State Department, provided an early window into the foreign policy priorities — or lack thereof — of their respective bosses.

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