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What We're Watching: Mass Arrests, Libya's Spiral, A Floating Unicorn

What We're Watching: Mass Arrests, Libya's Spiral, A Floating Unicorn

Mass Arrests in the US – On Sunday, US immigration police will begin a multi-day, nationwide operation to arrest thousands of people believed to be living in the United States illegally, according to press leaks from US officials. If this happens—similar plans have been postponed before—President Trump will say he is simply enforcing US law. His critics will insist he's capsizing the lives of thousands of people, including children, for political gain. The less predictable part of this story is the human drama that thousands of arrests will create—and the political firestorm that will surely follow.


Libya's Downward Spiral – A new report suggests that Libya's civil war is becoming bloodier and that the country is now "spiraling further downward." There's no end in sight to the fight between the internationally-recognized, UN-backed Government of National Accord and the so-called Libyan National Army, led by former Libyan general Khalifa Haftar and reportedly backed by Egypt, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Russia. On July 5, the UN Security Council formally condemned an airstrike on a migrant detention camp in a suburb of Tripoli that killed 53 people. No one has admitted responsibility for that attack. A bid by Haftar to capture Tripoli has bogged down. And despite a UN arms embargo in place since 2011, Libya remains "awash with weapons."

Miracles on Italian Beaches – Imagine: You're a newlywed enjoying a holiday on a beautiful Sardinian beach. You're floating on an inflatable unicorn. But then you fall into the water, which is unexpectedly cold, and your medical condition makes it impossible for you to move your legs. A strong wind then blows away your unicorn. You are now swallowing large amounts of salt water, and you begin to lose consciousness. Not to worry, because Olympic bronze medal-winning swimmer Filippo Magnini, sunbathing on the beach with his TV star girlfriend, has been alerted to your plight, and he's only too happy to save you. Apparently, this is the sort of thing that actually happens on Italian beaches.

Off to the races – You can, and should, experience the thrills of the annual World Wife-Carrying Championships right here. But then there's also this excellent T-Rex race. We're watching for your responses to know which race you like better and why.

What We're Ignoring:

Putin's Love of Birds – In a recent speech, Russia's president warned that wind turbines are dangerous: "Wind-powered generation is good, but are birds being taken into account in this case? How many birds are dying?" Research from the London School of Economics estimated in 2014 that there could be anywhere from 9,600 and 106,000 bird deaths a year from wind energy in the UK by 2020. (That's a fairly broad guess.) Their research also found that about 55 million British birds are killed each year by British housecats. We're not doubting Putin's well-documented love of birds, but maybe his position as president of one of the world's leading producers of oil, gas, coal, and nuclear energy has skewed his judgment on this one.

Wales, early 19th century: During breaks from his law studies, William Robert Grove indulges in his passion for science to become an inventor. On his honeymoon in Europe, he learns about the new energy source everyone's talking about: electricity. After learning that electricity allows water to be broken down into its two components, hydrogen and oxygen, his intuition leads him to an idea that ends up making him a pioneer of sustainable energy production.

Watch the story of William Robert Grove in Eni's MINDS series, where we travel through time seeking scientists.

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hi, everybody. Ian Bremmer here, and as we head into the weekend, a Quick Take on, well, the first bombing campaign of the new Biden administration. You kind of knew it was going to happen. Against some Iranian-backed militias in Syria, looks like a couple of dozen, perhaps more killed, and some militia-connected military facilities destroyed. I think there are a few ways to look at this, maybe three different lenses.

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Listen: The country's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, joins Ian Bremmer to talk vaccines, school re-openings, and when—and how—the pandemic could finally come end. He was last on GZERO World just weeks before the pandemic hit in the fall of 2019 and he described at the time what kept him up at night: a "pandemic-like respiratory illness." This time, he talks about how closely that nightmare scenario foreshadowed the COVID-19 pandemic. He also offers some guidance about what public health measures vaccinated Americans should continue to take in the coming months (hint: masks stay on).

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.

Afghanistan frustrated nineteenth-century British imperialists for 40 years, and ejected the Soviet army in 1989 after a bloody decade there. And though American and NATO forces ousted the Taliban government in 2001 over its support for al-Qaeda, there's no good reason for confidence that nearly 20 years of occupation have brought lasting results for security and development across the country.

But… could China succeed where other outsiders have failed – and without a costly and risky military presence? Is the promise of lucrative trade and investment enough to ensure a power-sharing deal among Afghanistan's warring factions?

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Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden, shares his perspective from Stockholm on Europe In 60 Seconds:

Is there a military coup ongoing in Armenia?

Well, it isn't a military coup as of yet, but it's not far from it either. This is the turmoil that is resulting from the war with Azerbaijan, which Armenia took a large death loss. What happened was that the head of the armed forces asked for the prime minister to resign. That was not quite a coup, but not very far from it. Now, the prime minister sacked the head of the armed forces, there's considerable uncertainty. Watch the space.

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The GZERO World Podcast with Ian Bremmer. Listen now.

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Biden strikes Syria. Now what?

Quick Take