What We're Watching: Trump and the Uighurs, Maduro tightens his grip, George Floyd's impact in Indonesia

What We're Watching: Trump and the Uighurs, Maduro tightens his grip, George Floyd's impact in Indonesia

Does Trump support the Uighurs or not? President Trump signed a law Wednesday that would allow the United States to sanction Chinese officials involved in the detainment of that country's Uighur Muslim minority in Xinjiang province, a scheme long deemed to be a gross human rights violation by the United Nations. More than one million Uighurs are believed to have been locked up since 2017 as part of what Beijing describes as a benign "deradicalization campaign," but is widely believed to be a network of internment camps where minorities are held indefinitely without trial. President Trump said the measure is proof that his administration is "tough on China", and Chinese leaders have vowed retaliation. But the signing came on the same day as fresh allegations from former national security adviser John Bolton that Trump had at one point given the green light to Chinese President Xi Jinping to build the Uighur camps and asked for help with his own re-election campaign. The Trump administration says Bolton's claims, which are difficult to prove, are the lies of a "sick puppy."


Maduro tightens the noose around the opposition: It's been well over a year now since most of the world's democracies recognized Venezuelan National Assembly speaker Juan Guaidó as "interim president." But despite that slight, and a deepening social and economic crisis, strongman president Nicolas Maduro remains firmly in power, while Guaidó seems more and more like a spent force. Now Maduro is laying the groundwork to undercut Guaidó further after a Supreme Court packed with regime cronies replaced the heads of two major opposition parties this week, placing them under the control of figures loyal to Maduro. While Guaidó's own party isn't affected, the two parties in question control nearly a third of the National Assembly seats, a major reason why the body remains the only branch of government that is not under Maduro's control. Taken together with last week's move to seat a new electoral commission under the control of Maduro loyalists, it looks like the regime wants to make it nearly impossible for the opposition to keep control over the Assembly in elections that are to be scheduled later this year. Both the US and EU — which recognize Guaidó as the country's legitimate interim president — have condemned the moves, but what are they prepared to do about it?

George Floyd's impact on a verdict in Indonesia: US protests against police brutality and racism have reverberated around the world in many ways, but did they even echo into an Indonesian courtroom? A leader of the decades-old movement for Papuan independence and one of the "Balikpapan Seven" was found guilty of treason this week, for leading 2019 rallies in response to a viral video of Indonesian police using racial slurs against ethnic West Papuan students. But the sentence was only 11 months behind bars, much less than the 17 years demanded by the prosecution. According to one Papuan activist — who spent over 10 years in prison for waving the (banned) Morning Star flag — the judge was influenced by the global anti-racism protests sparked by George Floyd's death.

We pay little attention to the waves of the sea, yet they are the greatest unused source of renewable energy in the world. Meet ISWEC and Power Buoy, two interesting new technologies used to harness this energy. Learn more about the extraordinary power of waves in this episode of Eni's Energy Shot series, where we investigate interesting facts and trends about energy.

Ukraine is once again in a tough spot.

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2.8 billion: Chinese regulators fined e-commerce giant Alibaba a record $2.8 billion — about four percent of its 2019 revenue — for abusing its dominant market position and forcing merchants to operate exclusively on its platform. Alibaba founder Jack Ma has fallen out with Beijing in recent months after the billionaire publicly criticized China's regulators for stifling innovation in technology.

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Vaccine nationalism, where countries prioritize their own citizens before the rest of the world, has been effective for rich nations like the United States and Israel. But leaving behind so much of the global population isn't just a humanitarian issue. It could prolong the pandemic, according to the World Health Organization's Chief Scientist, Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, who argues that what the global vaccination effort most urgently lacks are doses, not dollars. In a wide-ranging interview with Ian Bremmer on GZERO World, she calls for a large increase in the global vaccine supply in order to prevent the rise of more dangerous and vaccine-evading super-variants. She also weighs in on a controversial new WHO report investigating the origins of COVID-19 and suggests we may be seeing alternative vaccine forms, like nasal sprays, sooner than we think.

Listen: Soumya Swaminathan calls for a massive increase in the global vaccine supply in order to prevent the rise of more dangerous and vaccine-evading super-variants, in a wide-ranging interview with Ian Bremmer on the GZERO World podcast. Dr. Swaminathan, Chief Scientist at the World Health Organization, argues that vaccine nationalism, where countries prioritize their own citizens ahead of the rest of the world, will only prolong the pandemic because a virus does not stop at any national border. She also weighs in on a controversial new WHO report investigating the origins of COVID-19 and discusses when she thinks the world's children should get vaccinated. In addition, she suggests we may see alternative vaccine forms, like nasal sprays, sooner than we think.

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.

India, the world's third largest emitter of carbon dioxide, is one of the countries worst affected by climate change. But it takes issue with those now asking it to clean up its act. Why, the Indians ask, should we give up our right to get rich by burning fossil fuels like you developed economies have done for generations?

That's precisely the message that India's energy minister had for the US and other wealthy nations at a recent Zoom summit after they pressured Delhi to set a future deadline for net zero emissions. For India, he explained, such targets are "pie in the sky" aspirations that do little to address the climate crisis the country faces right now.

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The Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics are nearly a year away, but discussion of a potential boycott is already stoking tensions on both sides of the US-China relationship. Officials in Washington and other Western capitals are coming under mounting pressure from activists to respond to human rights abuses in China. An increasingly assertive Beijing, meanwhile, vigorously rejects any foreign criticism of what it regards as internal issues.

The last time the US boycotted an Olympics was in 1980, when it withdrew from the Summer Olympics in Moscow to protest the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan. Four years later, the Soviet Union repaid in kind by skipping the Games in Los Angeles. Would the US and its allies do something like that again? And how might China respond? Eurasia Group analysts Neil Thomas and Allison Sherlock explain the drivers of the boycott movement and its possible fallout.

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In two weeks, US President Joe Biden will be hosting an online "climate summit" to mark Earth Day. He'll ask China and India to sign up to America's ambitious new plan to slow down climate change. Will they go for it? China is the world's largest polluter, but Beijing is rolling out solar and wind power as fast as it's burning coal. India, meanwhile, is loathe to pick up the slack for rich countries that polluted their way to wealth and now want everyone else to agree to emissions cuts. No matter what happens, any successful plan to reduce global emissions will require buy-in from these three nations which, along with the European Union, account for almost 60 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions nowadays. Here's a look at emissions by the world's top polluters compared to everyone else over the last two decades.

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