What We’re Watching: Mexico boosts the minimum wage again

What We’re Watching: Mexico boosts the minimum wage again

Maximizing Mexico's Minimum Wage – Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador took office as Mexico's president last year on promises to reduce income inequality in his country. To accomplish this, he raised Mexico's unusually low minimum wage last year by 16 percent. On January 1, the wage will rise another 20 percent, roughly seven times the current rate of inflation. Supporters say the move will boost purchasing power and alleviate poverty. Critics warn that it will stoke inflation and discourage companies from hiring new workers. For perspective, even after these two hikes, the Mexican minimum wage will still be barely US $6.50… per day.


North Koreans Outside North Korea – There are almost 100,000 North Koreans working outside their home country, mainly in China and Russia. The NK government wants them to stay put, because the money they send home to their families helps keep North Korea's economy afloat. But a United Nations resolution, introduced two years ago in response to North Korean missile tests, says all these workers have to go home by December 22. Think they'll go?

Vito the Bionic Cat – If you've read reviews of the new film adaptation of "Cats," the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, you know there's a solid chance it's the worst movie ever made. Like your Friday author, you probably had no intention of seeing it anyway. Fortunately, there has been good news this week in the world of real cats. For the first time in history (we think), veterinary surgeons have successfully attached prosthetic legs on an Italian cat. Vituzzo—his friends call him Vito—lost both hind legs in a car accident. Today, his new bionic legs have made him an Internet superstar. Somebody should make a movie about that.

What We're Ignoring

Impeachment Games – Reportedly, some Democrats want House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to refuse to send the freshly-passed Articles of Impeachment to the Senate until Mitch McConnell, leader of the Republican Senate Majority, agrees to allow more witnesses and evidence into the proceedings. We can ignore this proposal, because the Democrats have zero leverage here. Republicans are happy to delay the trial because the uncertainty would create turmoil for the presidential campaigns of Democratic Senators Warren, Sanders, Klobuchar, and Booker—and because it will appear to some voters that Democrats are playing games with a process they've thus far tried to treat with solemnity.

Carbon has a bad rep, but did you know it's a building block of life? As atoms evolved, carbon trapped in CO2 was freed, giving way to the creation of complex molecules that use photosynthesis to convert carbon to food. Soon after, plants, herbivores, and carnivores began populating the earth and the cycle of life began.

Learn more about how carbon created life on Earth in the second episode of Eni's Story of CO2 series.

As we enter the homestretch of the US presidential election — which is set to be the most contentious, and possibly contested, in generations — Americans are also voting on 35 seats up for grabs in a battle for the control of the Senate. The 100-member body is currently held 53-47 by the Republican Party, but many individual races are wide open, and the Democrats are confident they can flip the upper chamber of Congress.

Either way, the result will have a profound impact not only on domestic policy, but also on US foreign relations and other issues with global reach. Here are a few areas where what US senators decide reverberates well beyond American shores.

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On September 23, GZERO Media — in partnership with Microsoft and Eurasia Group — gathered global experts to discuss global recovery from the coronavirus pandemic in a livestream panel. Our panel for the discussion Crisis Response & Recovery: Reimagining while Rebuilding, included:

  • Brad Smith, President, Microsoft
  • Ian Bremmer, President and Founder, Eurasia Group & GZERO Media
  • Jeh Johnson, Partner, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, LLP and former Secretary of Homeland Security.
  • John Frank, Vice President, UN Affairs at Microsoft
  • Susan Glasser, staff writer and Washington columnist, The New Yorker (moderator)

Special appearances by UN Secretary-General António Guterres, European Central Bank chief Christine Lagarde, and comedian/host Trevor Noah.

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Jon Lieber, who leads Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, offers insights on the Supreme Court vacancy:

Will Senate Republicans, who stopped a Supreme Court nomination in 2016, because it was too close to an election, pay a political price for the change in tactics this time around?

Not only do I think they won't pay a political price, I think in many cases, they're going to benefit. Changing the balance of power on the Supreme Court has been a career-long quest for many conservatives and many Republicans. And that's why you've seen so many of them fall in line behind the President's nomination before we even know who it is.

At this point, do Senate Democrats have any hope of stopping President Trump from filling the ninth seat on the Supreme Court?

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In a special GZERO Media livestream on global response and recovery amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Eurasia Group & GZERO Media president Ian Bremmer discussed the difference between Europe's unified approach to economic stimulus and the deeply divided and political nature of the current conversation in the US. While initial stimulus support was bipartisan, there is little chance of Democrats and Republicans coming together again ahead of the November 3 presidential election. "It's red state versus blue state. President Trump's saying that coronavirus isn't so bad if you take the blue states out. He's president of the blue states, you can't take the blue states out," Bremmer told moderator Susan Glasser of The New Yorker.

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Panel: How will the world recover from COVID-19?

UNGA Livestream