What We're Watching: India's citizenship law challenged

India's supreme court to weigh in on citizenship law – India's southern state of Kerala filed a lawsuit in India's Supreme Court, claiming that a contentious new citizenship law that's caused nationwide protests is discriminatory and violates India's secular constitution. Kerala is the first state to legally challenge the new law backed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist party, which opens a path to Indian citizenship for migrants from neighboring countries— provided that they are not Muslims. In addition to the Kerala action, at least some of the 60 petitions filed by individuals and political parties are also likely to be heard by the court next week. Amid a climate of deepening uncertainty for India's 200 million Muslims, we're watching closely to see how the court rules.


Human rights leaders killed in Colombia – Almost four years ago, the Colombian government signed an historic peace accord with the FARC, the largest of the guerilla-narcotrafficking groups that had waged war on the state for half a century. But since then, the government hasn't been able to re-establish a strong presence in many of the remote, rural areas surrendered by the rebels. As a result, other, smaller armed groups have swept into the vacuum, putting local human rights leaders at extreme risk. According to the United Nations, as many as 120 such activists were murdered in 2019, after 115 were killed the previous year. We are watching to see how the government of President Ivan Duque, who was elected on a platform that was critical of the peace accords, plans to address the problem. Signing the accords was one thing, securing the peace remains quite another.

Impeachment politics – The Senate begins the impeachment trial of President Trump next week, and though the Republican Party's Senate majority assures a verdict in Trump's favor, the proceedings might matter for the November presidential election. First, new evidence that Trump played a direct role in trying to coerce Ukraine's government to help him discredit Joe Biden, the Democratic Party presidential frontrunner, creates trouble for Trump backers who want a quick trial without the testimony of fresh witnesses who could embarrass the president. On the other hand, during the trial, three Democratic presidential contenders—Senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Amy Klobuchar—must be present for the trial while Biden, Pete Buttigieg and other candidates are free to campaign in early primary states.

What We're Ignoring

Bazooka doubters – A five-year-old cat named Bazooka began an "epic weight loss" journey in the US state of North Carolina this week. Bazooka currently weighs 35 lbs. (That's nearly 16 kilos for you kilo fans.) Catch a glimpse of Bazooka now before his medical care, prescription diet, and workout plan render him unrecognizable—and much healthier. We'll be watching Bazooka closely—but ignoring those who doubt his power to embrace change.

Civil rights activist Janet Murguía joins the 'That Made All the Difference' podcast to discuss her upbringing as the daughter of immigrant parents and how that experience informs her life's work advocating for Hispanic-Latino civil rights and battling systemic inequality.

Listen now.

It's the decision that could kickstart intra-Afghan dialogue, and pave the way to ending the US occupation in Afghanistan after 20 bloody years.

On Sunday, after days of deliberations that involved thousands of Afghan delegates packing into one tent (what's COVID again), President Ashraf Ghani agreed to release hundreds of Taliban prisoners from government jails. The move opens the way to intra-Afghan dialogue under a deal that the US brokered directly with the Taliban earlier this year.

The Trump administration has touted this development as a major step towards peace, but after nearly two decades of war, the relevant players are still miles apart when it comes to laying out a common vision for the conflict-ridden country. What do they all want?

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Just days after an explosion tore through the heart of Beirut, journalist and born-and-raised resident Kim Ghattas describes where she was when the blast happened - and what she actually thinks was the cause. This episode of GZERO World with Ian Bremmer begins airing Friday, August 14 on US public television. Check local listings.

"Go ahead, take it," President Putin says to you.

"Take what?" you ask.

"This Covid vaccine," he continues, turning a small syringe over in his hands. "It's safe. Trust me. We… tested it on my daughter."

Would you do it? Russian President Vladimir Putin is betting that a lot of people will say yes. On Tuesday he announced that Russia has become the first country to register a COVID-19 vaccine, and that mass vaccinations will begin there in October.

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20.4: The UK economy is now officially in a recession for the first time in 11 years, after British economic growth plunged by 20.4 percent quarter-on-quarter from April to June 2020. The quarterly decline — attributed to the economic crisis fueled by the coronavirus pandemic ­— is double that of the US and second only to Spain's in Europe.

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