What We're Watching: A year since George Floyd, G7 corporate tax, Samoa's political crisis

A man recites spoken word poetry at a makeshift memorial honoring George Floyd, at the spot where he was taken into custody, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S., June 1, 2020.

Marking a year since George Floyd's murder: May 25 marks one year since the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, which galvanized the biggest anti-racism movement in America in generations – and inspired a global reckoning with racial inequality and policing in dozens of countries around the world. Since then, former police officer Derek Chauvin has been charged with Floyd's murder, a historic development after decades of near-total impunity for police who use excessive force against Black Americans. But many say that Chauvin's' conviction is not enough and are calling for the passage of broad police reform legislation in the US Congress. While the House of Representatives passed the George Floyd Police Reform Act, the bill in its current form doesn't appear to have sufficient support to pass in the Senate. One of the biggest sticking points in the bill is over "qualified immunity," which protects government officials and law enforcement from being held personally liable for constitutional violations. Republicans oppose this structural reform, but even if they come to an agreement in the Senate, progressive House Democrats say they will not accept a watered-down version that does not eliminate this provision in at least some instances. Meanwhile, President Biden will host the Floyd family at the White House on Tuesday.


G7 to finalize global corporate tax: The G7 – a group of large economies including the US, Canada, the UK, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan – is close to finalizing global taxation rules for the world's largest companies. For years, big European nations, frustrated with American behemoths like Starbucks, Amazon, and Google that flood their markets with products yet pay almost nothing back to their governments, have been pushing for a similar global corporate tax rate, something the US has long resisted. But as countering domestic tax avoidance has emerged as a Biden administration priority, Washington is now on board with the idea. The US has called for a 15 percent minimum global tax, lower than the 21 percent backed by several European states. While the G7 agreement would not be globally enforceable, it would be a powerful first step in paving the way to formalization of a global minimum tax rate currently being negotiated in Paris at the OECD, an organization made up of 37 advanced economies. However, while the G7 could finalize a deal for taxing big corporations in the next few weeks, it could still take many months before the broader G20, which is running the talks in Paris, seals a deal, given resistance from countries with low corporate tax rates like Ireland, which has greatly benefited from operating as a tax haven for multinationals to protect their profits.

Is a coup happening in Samoa? The Pacific Island nation of Samoa held elections in early April, and things have been a mess since. The results gave a razor thin, one-seat majority to the Faith in the One True God (FAST) party, which would have ended nearly four decades of rule by the governing Human Rights Protection Party (HRPP). But just before FAST leader Fiame Naomi Mata'afa was set to be sworn in on Monday — as Samoa's first female prime minister, no less — the HRPP government cancelled the required parliamentary session, in a move that the Supreme Court swiftly called "unlawful." Undaunted, FAST held its own swearing-in ceremony for Mata'afa, in a tent. But since that was not done in accordance with the constitution, it's not clear who really runs the country now or what consequences the current PM Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi may face for flouting the country's highest court. This is the first major constitutional crisis of its kind since Samoa gained independence from New Zealand in 1962.

Okuafo Pa means good farmer in the Twi language of West Africa. Hence, the naming of the project reflects the value of good farming and the rewards it brings to the people of Ghana. The Okuafo Pa Project will support Ghana's sustainable development by promoting socio-economic growth and sustainable business models.

Watch to learn how Eni is helping youth to develop agricultural knowledge and skills.

Iranians head to the polls on Friday to vote for president, and it appears a foregone conclusion that hardliner Ebrahim Raisi, the nation's top judge, will win.

Outsiders, and many Iranians, roll their eyes at the predictability of this vote. Iran's Guardian Council, a dozen clerics and judges who answer only to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, has cleared the field for Raisi by ruling all of his credible challengers ineligible. The fix is in, and Iranians are now preparing for a moment when anti-reform conservatives, those who oppose social change inside Iran and deeper engagement with the West, will for the first time ever control the country's presidency, parliament, courts, and much of the media.

But simmering beneath the cynicism and predictability of this event is a deepening anxiety over Iran's future as it enters a potentially momentous period in the Islamic Republic's 42-year history. The Supreme Leader, in power for 32 years, is now 82 years old. Very few people know the true state of his health. Even if he outlives Raisi's presidency, which could last four or eight years, preparations for a historic, uncertain, and potentially dangerous leadership transition will intensify soon.

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Jon Lieber, Managing Director of the United States for the Eurasia Group, shares updates on recent policy developments:

With the Supreme Court's recent decision, is the Affordable Care Act here to stay?

Yes, this was the Court's third ruling on the Affordable Care Act upholding its constitutionality. This challenge was brought by Republican attorneys general who argued that the repeal of the individual mandate tax undermined the court's previous justification for allowing the law to stand. They were unsuccessful, yet again. And the political salience of the Affordable Care Act has really diminished in the last several years, with Republicans moving on to fight other issues and the Court signaling very strongly they don't want to get involved in overturning this piece of legislation. The Affordable Care Act will be here at least until Congress wants to legislate on it again.

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Iranians head to the polls on June 18, in what's widely perceived to be a foregone outcome. Analysts predict that popular disillusionment with Iran's political class will make this one of the lowest turnout elections in Iran's post-revolution history. According to one poll taken by the Iranian Students Polling Agency, as few as 42 percent of the eligible voting population is expected to show up. We take a look at contemporary Iran's demographics, and how this year's vote turnout might compare to previous elections.

Latin America needs vaccines: The World Health Organization has called on the G7 countries that pledged to donate a billion COVID vaccine doses to the developing world to prioritize Latin America, with WHO officials pointing to the fact that out of the top 10 countries with the highest COVID death tolls per capita over the past week, nine are in Latin America, where many health systems are overstretched and vaccines are scarce. This call comes as Latin America's COVID death toll has surpassed 1 million. Cases and deaths are soaring in Argentina and Colombia, for instance, while Brazil has fully vaccinated just 11 percent of its population despite recording the world's second highest death toll. Even Chile, which has carried out Latin America's most successful vaccination campaign to date, has been forced to delay reopening due to a recent surge in infections among unvaccinated younger people. The WHO says prioritizing the region for vaccine donations makes sense in order to stop large sustained outbreaks that may spur potentially more infectious COVID variants that'll cross borders and wreak havoc in populous states. Most of the donated shots will be distributed through the COVAX facility, which is a problem for countries like Venezuela, shut out from COVAX because of payment problems.

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3: China has launched three astronauts into orbit in its first space mission since 2016. The astronauts will spend three months aboard the country's new space station, demonstrating China's resolve to become a space power following successful earlier missions to collect soil samples on the Moon and land a wheeled robot on Mars.

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In 2019, Ethiopia's fresh Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed accepted a Nobel Peace Prize for his role in brokering a peace treaty with neighbor and longtime foe Eritrea. At the time, Abiy was hailed by the Western media as a reformist who was steering Ethiopia, long dominated by ethnic strife and dictatorial rule, into a new democratic era.

But barely two years later, Abiy stands accused of overseeing a campaign of ethnic cleansing in the northern Tigray region, putting the country on the brink of civil war.

It's against this backdrop that Ethiopians will head to the polls on June 21 for a parliamentary election now regarded as a referendum on Abiy's leadership. But will the vote be free and fair, and will the outcome actually reflect the will of the people? Most analysts say the answer is a resounding "no" on both fronts.

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Marietje Schaake, International Policy Director at Stanford's Cyber Policy Center, Eurasia Group senior advisor and former MEP, discusses trends in big tech, privacy protection and cyberspace:

Cyber issues took center stage at the G7 summit. Is there a consensus among world leaders on how to handle cyberweapons?

Well, depending on who is included, there is a growing consensus that the escalations of conflict in cyberspace must stop. And G7 leaders that are now all representing democracies did call on Russia to hold perpetrators of cybercrime that operate from within its borders to account. So, I guess hope dies last because laws in Russia prevents the extradition of suspects to the US, even if Vladimir Putin answered positively when Joe Biden asked for cooperation on that front. And when it comes to limiting the spread of tools that are used for hacking, surveillance and infiltration, the EU has just moved ahead and adopted new dual use regulations which reflect the concerns for human rights violations when journalists are targeted the way that Jamal Khashoggi was. So ending the proliferation of systems that are used to attack would be an urgent but also obvious step for democratic nations to agree on.

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