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

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.

The role of the public library has evolved over time. As we move online at an even faster rate, knowledge, entertainment and opportunities for education and employment are found on the internet. Those living in well-connected, affluent places may have come to take internet access for granted. But there is a digital divide in the U.S. that has left people at a disadvantage – particularly since the arrival of COVID-19.

Finding ways to overcome that divide in a sustainable, community-led way could help bring the benefits of the internet to those who need it most. One solution is to use technologies such as TV white space to facilitate wireless broadband – as Microsoft's Airband Initiative is doing. To read more about Microsoft's work with public libraries, visit Microsoft On The Issues.

Who does Vladimir Putin want to win the US election? Given the Kremlin's well-documented efforts to sway the 2016 vote in Donald Trump's favor, it's certainly a fair question. And while there's no solid evidence that Russian interference had any decisive effect on the outcome four years ago, the Trump administration itself says the Kremlin — and others — are now trying to mess with the election again.

So let's put you in Vladimir Putin's size 9 shoes as you weigh up Donald Trump vs Joe Biden while refreshing your own personal PyatTridsatVosem (FiveThirtyEight) up there in the Kremlin.

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"The 'American exceptionalism' that I grew up with, the 'American exceptionalism' of the Cold War…I do think has outlived its usefulness." Those words coming from Anne-Marie Slaughter, a former top State Department official under President Obama, indicate how much the world has changed in the past few decades. Her conversation with Ian Bremmer is part of the latest episode of GZERO World.

Watch the episode: How a "President Biden" could reshape US foreign policy

Less than a week out from Election Day, 66 million Americans have already cast their ballots, and many of those are people who are voting "early" for the first time because of the pandemic. In fact, the early vote total alone this year is already equal to nearly half of all ballots cast in the 2016 general election, suggesting that 2020 turnout could reach historic levels. Most important, however, is how things are playing out in key battleground states where the outcome of the US election will be determined. In Texas, for instance, a huge surge in early voting by Democrats this year has raised the possibility that a state which has been won by Republican candidates since 1976 could now be up for grabs. Here we take a look at early voting in battleground states in 2020 as compared to 2016.

In a national referendum on Sunday, Chileans overwhelmingly voted in favor of a new constitution. But, why are people in this oasis of political stability and steady economic growth in South America willing to undo the bedrock of the system that has allowed Chile to prosper for so long?

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