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.

"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.

More Show less

In an interview with Eurasia Group Vice Chairman Gerald Butts, Nicolas de Rivière cautions against an overly halcyon view of the UN's history. The Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations explains that throughout its 75 years the organization has confronted adversity. This moment is no exception, but "we have no other choice" than cooperation in order to address today's biggest crises, he explains. Rivière also discusses the global pandemic response, a need for greater commitments to climate action, and a recent move by the US to push for renewed sanctions against Iran.

One of the biggest threats to 21st century international peace is invisible. It recognizes no borders and knows no rules. It can penetrate everything from the secrets of your government to the settings of your appliances. This is, of course, the threat of cyberattacks and cyberwarfare.

During the coronavirus pandemic, cyberattacks have surged, according to watchdogs. This isn't just Zoom-bombing or scams. It's also a wave of schemes, likely by national intelligence agencies, meant to steal information about the development and production of vaccines. Attacks on the World Health Organization soared five-fold early in the pandemic.

More Show less

Malaysian political drama: Malaysia's (eternal) opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim says he finally has enough votes in parliament to be appointed prime minister, seven months after the coalition that was going to support him collapsed amid an internal revolt that also forced out 95-year-old Mahathir Mohamed as head of the government. Two years ago, Mahathir — who governed Malaysia from 1980 to 2003 — shocked the country by running in the 2018 election and defeating his former party UMNO, which had dominated Malaysian politics since independence in 1956. After winning, Mahathir agreed to hand over power to Anwar — a former protégé with whom he had a falling out in the late 1990s — but Mahathir's government didn't last long enough to do the swap. Will Anwar now realize his lifelong dream of becoming Malaysia's prime minister? Stay tuned for the next parliamentary session in November.

More Show less
UNGA banner

GZEROMEDIA

Subscribe to GZERO Media's Newsletter: Signal