What We're Watching: London's reckoning with gender-based violence, Merkel's party comes up short, former Bolivian leader jailed

A person stands in front of a police officer at the Parliament Square, following the kidnap and murder of Sarah Everard, in London, Britain March 14, 2021.

London's reckoning with gender-based violence: London's police chief Cressida Dick is in hot water after police used heavy-handed tactics to crack down on a protest against violence against women. Hundreds of people gathered in South London Saturday to pay tribute to 33-year old Sarah Everard, who was abducted and killed last week while walking home from a friend's house (a London police officer has since been charged with her murder.) The gruesome crime has galvanized a women's movement, which says that London's streets are unsafe for women, and that gender-based violence is widespread. Images of police manhandling vigil attendees on Saturday prompted Prime Minister Boris Johnson to weigh in, saying he was "deeply concerned" by the footage and that steps would be taken to make London's women feel safe. The uproar comes right as the UK Parliament debates a bill that would on the one hand impose stricter jail sentences for rapists and domestic abusers, but which would also broaden police powers to "control" protests. More women-led demonstrations are planned for the days ahead.


Angela Merkel's party takes a beating: German Chancellor Angela Merkel may still be one of the most popular elected politicians in the world— but it's a different story for her ruling Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party. In two crucial state elections over the weekend, the center-right CDU got clobbered, drawing its lowest local vote tallies ever as the Green Party outpaced them in Baden-Württemberg and the center-left Social Democrats gained steam in Rhineland-Palatinate. Both states are former CDU strongholds. With Merkel set to step down after a general election this September, the result raises a host of questions about what German politics looks like after she's gone. New CDU party leader Armin Laschet isn't landing well with voters just yet, and while the party is still the most popular in Germany, its 30 percent support level (the party's lowest ever) raises questions about whether it will get enough votes this fall to form a coherent government. Speculation is already flying about the possibility of what would be a very bizarre cobble up of the Greens, the Social Democrats, and the economic liberals of the Free Democratic Party. To be fair, a lot can change in the next six months, but Germany's post-Merkel politics are shaping up to be much more fragmented than we've seen in many years.

Bolivia's former interim president jailed: Jeanine Áñez, the right-winger who ran Bolivia as interim president after Evo Morales was ousted in 2019, is now behind bars, facing charges of terrorism and sedition. Prosecutors of the new government — headed by a Morales protege who won a landslide election victory last fall — say that Áñez and several other officials played a direct and illegal role in pushing Morales from power after mass demonstrations erupted in response to allegations that he had rigged a presidential vote. There is a lot of bad blood here. During her time as president, Áñez made a number of conspicuous moves to roll back the legacy of Morales, a leftwing former coca-grower union boss who ran Bolivia with support from the country's massive indigenous population from 2006 until 2019. There were also allegations that she used security forces to crack down on Morales supporters who saw the 2019 events as a coup. But the jailing of Ms Áñez on what some observers say are flimsy charges has raised questions about whether this is an act of justice or a murkier story of political revenge. Either way, for Bolivia the political and social wounds of the past two years remain wide open.

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?

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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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