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What We’re Watching: Chinese Karaoke and May vs. May

Patriotic Chinese Karaoke – In response to Trump's tariff war, China's leaders have tried for months to keep things civil. No need to fuel a fire they might not be able to contain by directing state-run media to broadcast insults and threats toward Washington. Their approach now appears to be changing. Last week, Communist Party mouthpiece People's Daily promoted the following slogan on social media: "Talks, sure! Fight to the finish! Bully us, think again!" Last Friday, a singable Chinese propaganda song turned up on mobile messenger WeChat. Its message—"Feel bitter hatred for the enemy… If the perpetrator wants to fight, we'll beat him out of his wits"—has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times. There's even a music video that goes with it. Looks like the Chinese may be digging in for a long fight.

What Comes After May? - The news this morning is that UK Prime Minister Theresa May could not survive the month of May. Repeated failure to win a majority in the House of Commons for her Brexit plan has finally done her in, and she announced this morning that she'll step down on June 7. Who has the charisma and grit to take on this seemingly impossible job? And who will succeed her? Here's one idea. #TimeForLarry

What We're Ignoring: Mini-Trump and North Korean Insults

The Next Donald Trump – In the past few days, we've learned that the president's eldest son, Donald Trump Jr, has secured a book deal and may be mulling a run for mayor of New York. Your Friday author is convinced he's readying a future run for president. Who has the audacity, charisma, mastery of the rally, and media manipulation skills to become the next Donald Trump? We're pretty sure it's NOT Donald Trump Jr.

North Korean Insults – In response to an unflattering reference to Kim Jong-un during a recent campaign speech, North Korea's official news agency says Joe Biden is a "snob bereft of elementary quality as human being" who is "self-praising himself as being the most popular presidential candidate." Biden's candidacy, according to the North Koreans, "is enough to make a cat laugh." We're not betting on Biden quite yet, but this just feels gratuitous, even by North Korean News Agency standards. (Remember when Kim Jong-Un took on William Shakespeare?)

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.

Afghanistan frustrated nineteenth-century British imperialists for 40 years, and ejected the Soviet army in 1989 after a bloody decade there. And though American and NATO forces ousted the Taliban government in 2001 over its support for al-Qaeda, there's no good reason for confidence that nearly 20 years of occupation have brought lasting results for security and development across the country.

But… could China succeed where other outsiders have failed – and without a costly and risky military presence? Is the promise of lucrative trade and investment enough to ensure a power-sharing deal among Afghanistan's warring factions?

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In the fall of 2019, weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic would change the world, Ian Bremmer asked Dr. Fauci what kept him up at night and he described a "a pandemic-like respiratory infection." Fast-forward to late February 2021 and Dr. Fauci tells Ian, "I think we are living through much of that worst nightmare." Dr. Fauci returns to GZERO World to take stock of the nightmare year and to paint a picture of what the end of the pandemic could look like—and when it could finally arrive.

Catch the full episode of GZERO World, where Dr. Fauci discusses the latest in vaccine roll out, schools re-openings, and plenty more, on US public television stations nationwide, beginning Friday, February 26. Check local listings.

The most ambitious global vaccination drive in history is in motion. Over the past three months, more than 213 million COVID-19 shots have been administered across 95 countries, and the vaccination rate is slowly increasing. At the current rate, around 6.11 million doses are being administered daily.

It's a rare bit of hopeful news after 15 months of collective misery. So where do things stand at the moment, and what's keeping the world from getting to herd immunity faster?

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Egypt and Sudan want some dam help: Cairo and Khartoum have called on the US, EU, and UN to intervene in their ongoing dispute with neighboring Ethiopia over that country's construction of a massive hydroelectric dam on the Nile. Egypt and Sudan, which are downstream of Ethiopia and worry about their farmers losing water, want binding targets and dispute resolution mechanisms, while Ethiopia, which sees the dam as a critical piece of its economic future, wants more flexibility and has given little ground in talks. Efforts by the African Union to mediate have failed as Ethiopia presses ahead with filling the dam even after being sanctioned by the Trump administration last year for doing so. The dispute over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, as it is called, has threatened to spill into military conflict at several points in recent years. Can the "international community" turn things around?

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The GZERO World Podcast with Ian Bremmer. Listen now.

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