What We’re Watching: German Climate Skeptics and Somali Entrepreneurs

Populist Climate Skeptics – Signalista Alex Kliment spotted the trend of far-right parties rallying against the costs of mitigating climate change early in coverage of the Finnish elections. Now similar ideas have found a foothold in Germany. Ahead of elections for the European Parliament later this month, the far-right Alternative for Germany party has added charges that climate change is a hoax to its attacks on Muslim migrants.

Somali entrepreneurs – The (important) good news is that Mogadishu, Somalia's capital, is emerging from decades of war. The (much less important) bad news is that better times bring more people and heavier traffic. Not to worry. As of May 1, we now have the Go! app to help us hail a motorcycle for a quick ride through the congestion. The service helps customers order a ride online or flag down a yellow-clad driver passing by on a yellow bike.

We're Ignoring: Ugly American Politics and Beautiful North Korean Defectors

Calls to Scrap the US Electoral College – In 2016, Donald Trump became the second Republican in 16 years to be elected president while receiving fewer votes than his Democratic opponent. That has led to calls to scrap the US "electoral college," the system by which candidates win presidential elections via delegates from individual states rather than a majority of votes cast. Not surprisingly, 74 percent of Republican voters want to keep the current system, and 78 percent of Democrats want to scrap it. Unfortunately for Democrats, this change would require a constitutional amendment passed by two-thirds of the House and Senate and approved by 38 states, or a constitutional convention called by 34 states. Both are highly unlikely.

Defector Beauties – This South Korean television show centers on attractive young women who have defected from North Korea and includes the kind of zaniness designed to boost TV ratings in the Internet era. It's almost too weird to ignore. But not quite.

This time last year, world health experts were speculating about why Africa appeared to have escaped the worst of the global pandemic. Younger populations? Natural immunity created by exposure to past viruses? Something else?

They can stop wondering. Africa is now in the grip of a COVID emergency.

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Listen: Stanford historian Niall Ferguson joins Ian Bremmer on the GZERO World podcast to talk about the geopolitics of disaster. Throughout human history we seem to be unable to adequately prepare for catastrophes (natural or human-caused) before they strike. Why is that? And as we emerge from the greatest calamity of our lifetimes in the COVID-19 pandemic and look to the plethora of crises that climate change has and will cause, what can we do to lessen the blow?

Subscribe to the GZERO World Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or your preferred podcast platform to receive new episodes as soon as they're published.

Get insights on the latest news in US politics from Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi barred two Republican members from serving on the Jan. 6 commission. What's going on?

Well, the Jan. 6 commission was designed to be a bipartisan commission, taking input from members from Democrats and Republicans. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy had the opportunity to make recommendations but the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, could always veto those recommendations. In this case, she did, saying no to two members, Jim Banks and Jim Jordan, both of whom are strongly aligned with President Trump and who voted against certifying the election results in 2020. The Republicans for the most part see the Jan. 6 commission as an opportunity to score political points against them, and the Democrats say this is going to be a fair, non-biased, and nonpartisan investigation into what happened on Jan. 6, starting with a hearing next week with some of the police officers who were involved in the battle with the protesters inside the Capitol.

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In his New York Times op-ed, David Brooks says the US is facing an identity crisis — protecting liberal and progressive values at home while doing little to stop autocrats elsewhere. But has the US really abandoned its values abroad just because it's withdrawing from Afghanistan? Ian Bremmer and Eurasia Group analyst Charles Dunst take out the Red Pen to argue that the US can advance democracy without being the world's sheriff.

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When the Tokyo Olympics begin on Friday, Japan watchers will be following more than just the performance of Japan's star athletes, including tennis star Naomi Osaka. They will also be tracking the political fortunes of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who is taking a big gamble by staging the event — amid a raging pandemic — in the face of strong and longstanding opposition from the Japanese public. What are the stakes for Suga, particularly with elections on the horizon? Eurasia Group senior analyst Ali Wyne explains.

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YouTube pulls Bolsonaro's rants: Google-owned YouTube pulled down a series of videos on the channel of Brazil's populist President Jair Bolsonaro, accusing him of spreading misinformation about the pandemic. YouTube removed more than a dozen clips for touting quack cures for coronavirus or claiming, in defiance of scientific experts, that masks don't reduce COVID transmissions. Last year, Twitter and Facebook also removed some content from Bolsonaro's feeds for similar reasons. But critics say that YouTube's move is too little too late, because Bolsonaro has been spreading misinformation about COVID since the pandemic began. Many Brazilians hold him personally responsible for the country's abysmal pandemic response, which has led to almost 550,000 deaths, the second worst toll in the world. Will YouTube's move change Bolsonaro's message? His weekly address to the nation, where he converses not only with government ministers but also various conspiracy theorists and loons, is broadcast on YouTube. Surely he doesn't want to risk losing that — or does he?

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Boycotts! Bans! Protests! Drugs! Think you've got gold medal knowledge about politics at the Olympics? Test what you know with this special Tokyo Olympics Quiz. And to stay current on all the latest political stories at the Games and around the world, subscribe here to Signal, our daily newsletter. Now, without further ado, the first question is...

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