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What We're Watching: UK's second wave, UAE-US eye arms deal, China's plans for Tibet

: Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson gestures during a visit to the Jenner Institute in Oxford, Britain, September 18, 2020

UK's new COVID restrictions: In a last-ditch effort to avoid another national lockdown, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Tuesday sweeping new restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the country that could last up to six months, including limits on the number of people that can attend social gatherings. Warning that the country has reached "a perilous turning point," Johnson said that similar measures would soon be extended to Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The PM's announcement comes as his government struggles to battle what he now admits is a second wave of the coronavirus. The UK now has the fifth highest death toll in the world and a steadily rising caseload. The new restrictions represent an about-face for the British government, which has been criticized for walking back its earlier calls for workers to return to the office. Will Johnson's move be enough to flatten the (second) curve?

UAE-US eye arms deal: After months of speculation, the US and the United Arab Emirates hope to have a solid plan in place for the sale of US-produced F-35 fighter jets to Abu Dhabi by December, according to a new report by Reuters. Once the formal contract is in place, fines may be issued to either side that violates it or pulls out. Abu Dhabi has tried to buy sophisticated F-35 fighter jets (and advanced weaponry) from Washington for years, but the US only recently acquiesced after the UAE — a close American ally — agreed to normalize ties with forever-foe, Israel. Still, there are key issues to iron out: Washington has long committed to ensuring that Israel maintains a "qualitative military edge" over its neighbors in a volatile region, and has refused to sell sophisticated weapons to some Arab states for this reason. (Israel is America's only ally in the Middle East that possesses the stealth fighter jets.) The Trump administration is reportedly working with Israeli officials to make sure that the UAE deal doesn't undermine this commitment, though details remain murky of how this might be achieved.

China's plans for Tibet: In a repressive program eerily similar to what Beijing has long been doing to ethnic Uighurs in Xinjiang, China is now forcing half a million ethnic Tibetan laborers off their land, and placing them in military-style facilities where they are being trained as factory workers under an expanded quota system that affects up to 15 percent of the region's population, according to a new report. For years, Uighurs and other ethnic minorities have been imprisoned in mass detention centers as part of what Beijing describes as a benign "deradicalization campaign," but which is widely believed to be a network of internment camps where minorities are held indefinitely without trial, and learn trades to make cheap goods for Chinese firms to sell abroad. Although ethnic Tibetan opposition to Chinese rule there has been relatively muted since Buddhist monks led a failed uprising in 2008, Beijing is likely to face Tibetan resistance if it subjects the region to the same harsh policies enacted in Xinjiang. We're watching to see how Washington responds to the bombshell report amid rising tensions between the two powers over the past week.

Empathy and listening are key to establishing harmonious relationships, as demonstrated by Callista Azogu, GM of Human Resources & Organization for Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC), an Eni subsidiary in Abuja. "To build trust is very difficult. To destroy it is very easy," says Callista, whose busy days involve everything from personnel issues to union relationships. She sees great potential for her native Nigeria not only because of the country's natural resources, but because of its vibrant and creative people.

Learn more about Callista in this episode of Faces of Eni.

Saturday will mark the beginning of an historic turning point for European politics as 1,001 voting members of Germany's Christian Democratic Union, the party of Chancellor Angela Merkel, hold an online conference to elect a new leader.

Here are the basic facts:

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They call it Einstein. It's the multibillion-dollar digital defense system the US has used to catch outside hackers and attackers since 2003. But it was no match for what's looking like one of the biggest cyber breaches in US history. Ian Bremmer breaks it down.

Watch the GZERO World episode: Cyber attack: an act of espionage or war?

Since Martin Luther King Jr delivered his iconic "I have a dream" speech in August 1963, the number of Black Americans elected to the United States Congress has dramatically increased. Still, it wasn't until 2019, more than half a century later, that the share of Black members serving in the House of Representatives reflected the percentage of Black Americans in the broader population —12 percent. To date, only six states have sent a Black representative to serve in the US Senate (recent runoff elections will make Georgia the seventh state), and many states have never elected a Black representative to either house of Congress. Here's a look at Black representation in every US Congress since 1963.

More than 32 million COVID shots have now been administered globally, raising hopes that the light at the end of the tunnel is now in sight.

The US has vaccinated 3 percent of its total population, while the UK is nearing a solid 5 percent inoculation rate. In Israel, which has been hailed as a vaccine success story, almost 24 percent of people have already received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine.

But while many countries are able to glimpse the outlines of a post-COVID world, there is a huge population of people who are being left out entirely. Refugees, as well as displaced, undocumented, and stateless people around the world remain ineligible for inoculations and vulnerable to the coronavirus.

We take a look at three case studies where powerless populations are being left in the lurch.

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The GZERO World Podcast with Ian Bremmer. Listen now.


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