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What We're Watching: A Polish rainbow, Macron in Lebanon, Bolsonaro must protect indigenous communities

What We're Watching: A Polish rainbow, Macron in Lebanon, Bolsonaro must protect indigenous communities

A Polish rainbow: When Poland's ultra-conservative president Andrzej Duda was sworn in for his second term on Thursday, he was greeted by a show of colors, as members of the opposition coordinated their outfits to reflect the rainbow flag that symbolizes solidarity with the gay community. Duda, an ally of the nationalist ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, who beat Warsaw Mayor Rafał Trzaskowski by a hair, made gay rights a major political issue in the campaign, repeatedly denouncing "LGBT ideology," as a threat to the nation. Meanwhile, several rural Polish towns that support PiS have declared themselves "LGBT free," prompting infuriated officials in Brussels to threaten to withhold EU funding. Indeed, this episode is just the latest flashpoint in the worst culture war in Poland since the end of the Cold War.


Macron's pledge to Lebanon: When French President Emmanuel Macron visited Beirut's shattered downtown on Thursday, he was swarmed by disillusioned Lebanese who had a clear message: "the people demand the fall of the regime." Visiting the former French colony, Macron met with Lebanese political forces from different factions, whose corruption, negligence, and mismanagement are to blame for Tuesday's explosions as well as the country's spiraling economic crisis. Speaking to Lebanese who swarmed the French delegation downtown — many of whom begged the French president to "please help us" — Macron pledged to create "a new political pact in Lebanon," and said he would return to the crisis-ridden country in September to follow up on its progress. Macron also vowed that the current flow of international aid will not be used to line corrupt politicians' pockets but will be directed towards rebuilding the battered capital. Will Macron succeed where successive internal and external efforts have repeatedly failed?

Brazil must protect Amazon tribes from pandemic: Whether he likes it or not — and evidently he does not — Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro must take measures to protect his country's sizable indigenous population from the ravages of the coronavirus. The Supreme Court said as much in a ruling handed down on Wednesday, just hours after a well-known indigenous leader died of the disease. Last month, Bolsonaro — who has questioned the pandemic's severity and wants to see more development of the Amazon rainforest where many indigenous communities live— vetoed parts of a bill containing measures to protect those groups from the spread of COVID-19, citing budgetary concerns. The Supreme Court ruling is likely to inflame ongoing tensions between Bolsonaro (and his followers) and the courts.

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.

El Salvador's President Nayib Bukele is an unusual politician. The 39-year old political outsider boasts of his political triumphs on TikTok, dons a suave casual uniform (backwards-facing cap; leather jacket; tieless ), and refuses to abide by Supreme Court rulings.

Bukele also enjoys one of the world's highest approval ratings, and that's what helped his New Ideas party clinch a decisive victory in legislative elections on February 28, securing a close to two-third's supermajority (75 percent of the vote had been counted at the time of this writing).

His triumph will resonate far beyond the borders of El Salvador, Central America's smallest country, home to 6.5 million people. Now that Bukele has consolidated power in a big way, here are a few key developments to keep an eye on.

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Now that millions of high-priority Americans have been vaccinated, many people in low-risk groups are starting to ask the same question: when's my turn? Dr. Anthony Fauci, America's top infectious diseases expert, has an answer, but probably not the one they're hoping for: "It probably won't be until May or June before we can at least start to get the normal non-prioritized person vaccinated." On GZERO World, Dr. Fauci also addresses another burning question: why aren't schools reopening faster? And while Dr. Fauci acknowledges that reopening schools must be a top priority, he has no quick fixes there, either. In fact, that's kind of a theme of the interview.

Watch the GZERO World episode: Dr. Fauci's Pandemic Prognosis

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

I thought I would talk today, I haven't spoken much about former President Trump since he's no longer president and I intend to continue that practice. But given this weekend and the big speech at CPAC and the fact that in the straw poll, Trump won and won by a long margin. I mean, DeSantis came in number two, but he's the Governor of Florida, CPAC was in Orlando, so that's a home court bias. In reality, it's Trump's party. And I think given all of that, it's worth spending a little bit of time reflecting on what that means, how I think about these things.

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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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The GZERO World Podcast with Ian Bremmer. Listen now.

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Biden strikes Syria. Now what?

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