WHAT WE'RE WATCHING & IGNORING

What We're Watching

Mercenary appeals – Sizable groups of Russian mercenaries claim Moscow is keeping them at arm's length, and they're not happy about it. Members of more than a dozen Russian "private military companies," supported by Russian military veterans, filed a petition last month with the International Criminal Court (ICC) demanding an investigation of their sponsors.


They claim hundreds of Russian fighters have died in eastern Ukraine, the Middle East, Asia, and Africa without any legal protections or official recognition from the Russian state. Kremlin critics claim the Russian government uses mercenaries to achieve foreign policy goals while deflecting charges of direct intervention. The Russian government has declined to comment on this case.

Kids with snowballs – In other legal news, nine-year-old Dane Best of Severance, Colorado won a landmark victory this week that lifts his town's ban on snowball fights. "The children of Severance want the opportunity to have a snowball fight like the rest of the world," he said during a passionate three-minute presentation to the Town Board. "Today's kids need a reason to play outside." We're watching Mr. Best, because we don't like being wet and cold, and this kid looks like he has good aim.

WHAT WE'RE IGNORING

"Operation Netanyahu Shield" The Israeli military launched a significant operation along the Lebanese border this week to destroy tunnels it says were dug by Hizbullah to allow the group to attack Israeli civilians. Critics of embattled Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu say this operation is intended mainly to bolster his popularity and have dubbed it "Operation Netanyahu Shield." Yes, this action might well give Netanyahu a political boost. But his current headaches are legal as well as political. Police recommended last weekend the prime minister be indicted for bribery, and the army can't help with that. We're watching the military operation, but ignoring the political warnings.

North Korean Footwear During careful recent inspection of a shoe store in North Korea, Kim Jong-un reportedly insisted that his country's shoemakers provide "diverse patterns and decent colors," to meet the "aesthetic tastes of our people." It's just really hard to get our hopes up on this one.

Any day can be payday when enabled with Visa Direct.

https://ad.doubleclick.net/ddm/trackimp/N6024.4218512GZEROMEDIA/B26379324.311531246;dc_trk_aid=504469522;dc_trk_cid=156468981;ord=[timestamp];dc_lat=;dc_rdid=;tag_for_child_directed_treatment=;tfua=;gdpr=${GDPR};gdpr_consent=${GDPR_CONSENT_755};ltd=

Commerce today looks different than it used to. It's not all 9-to-5s and bimonthly paychecks, and gig workers need fast, flexible access to their money. Visa is the invisible engine operating behind the scenes, enabling leading apps that gig workers already use to take on jobs and complete tasks and helping dog walkers, personal shoppers, drivers, delivery workers, and more get paid. So buyers can send money seamlessly, and workers can get their wages as they earn them. Meet Visa. A network working to make every day payday.

Learn more about Visa Direct here.

This weekend, world leaders will open the COP26 climate summit, the UN's annual climate change conference, in Glasgow. Some insist this event is crucial to the multinational fight to limit the effects of climate change; others dismiss it as a circus that will feature politicos, protesters and celebrities competing for attention – one that's long on lofty promises and short on substance.

What's on the agenda?

Political leaders and negotiators from more than 120 countries will gather to talk about two big subjects. First, how to reduce the heat-trapping carbon emissions that scientists warn can inflict catastrophic damage on millions of people. This is where they'll offer their "nationally determined contributions," diplomatic jargon for their updated promises on their climate goals. Second, how to help poorer countries pay for adaptation to the climate damage that's already unavoidable.

More Show less

Less than a year after the world started putting COVID vaccines into people's arms, most regions have immunized at least half their populations, but Africa still lags behind. With industrialized nations hoarding jabs and the COVAX facility faltering, barely five percent of the African population is fully vaccinated.

Some enterprising South African scientists are now making a bold bid to change that, with an experiment that could benefit not only Africa's 54 nations and billion people, but the entire world: Afrigen Biologics and Vaccines, a Cape Town-based startup, has developed a plan to reverse-engineer Moderna's mRNA shot and manufacture it for priority distribution on the continent.

More Show less

11: Hit by a massive new COVID wave, Moscow has issued an 11-day lockdown of schools, businesses, and all "non-essential" services. Russia is now one of the countries hardest hit by the pandemic, having recorded 400,000 deaths by some estimates. Russia's high rate of vaccine skepticism isn't helping.

More Show less

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:

Has Russian behavior in cyber changed after President Biden and President Putin's meeting earlier this year?

Well, unfortunately, we see ongoing assertiveness and aggression from the Russian side, targeting the US government, but also US tech companies. And the fact that there is so little accountability probably keeps motivating. Shortly before the Russian elections, Apple and Google removed an app built by opposition parties, to help voters identify the best candidate to challenge Putin's party. The company sided pressure on their employees in Russia, but of course, the pressure on the Russian population is constant. And after these dramatic events, the silence from Western governments was deafening.

More Show less

No government today has the toolbox to tinker with Big Tech – that's why it's time to start thinking of the biggest tech companies as bona fide "digital nation states" with their own foreign relations, Ian Bremmer explains on GZERO World. Never has a small group of companies held such an expansive influence over humanity. And in this vast new digital territory, governments have little idea what to do.

Watch this episode of GZERO World with Ian Bremmer: Big Tech: Global sovereignty, unintended consequences

Right now, only one region of the world is reporting an increase in new daily COVID cases. Here's a hint: it's one of the places where vaccines are, for the most part, easiest to get.

It's Europe. According to the World Health Organization, the region last week notched a 7 percent uptick in new daily infections, the third week in a row that infections rose there.

More Show less

Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter, Signal

GZEROMEDIA

Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter: Signal

GZEROMEDIA

Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter: Signal