What we're watching: "Unfare" protests in Chile

What we're watching: "Unfare" protests in Chile

"Unfare" protests in Chile: You wouldn't think a 3 percent fare hike to ride the metro would plunge one of Latin America's most prosperous countries into days of deadly protests, looting, and fires. But that's the scene in Chile right now, where the government of President Sebastian Piñera has imposed a state of emergency to contain the chaos. He's already cancelled the fare hike, but this explosion of anger is about more than the take at the turnstile. Chile, long one of Latin America's most stable and steadily growing economies, has run into a common problem with rapid growth: as incomes rise and a middle class emerges, consumers expect access to good schools, hospitals, and roads—and affordable public transport. If government doesn't deliver, expectations become frustrations, with huge political consequences. It wasn't so long ago that similar protests over a 10-cent hike for bus fares in Sao Paulo plunged Brazil into its worst political and economic crisis in a generation.


Trudeau hangs on in Canada: The embattled Canadian leader will return as prime minister, albeit leading a minority government, after his Liberals won a plurality of seats in Monday's national elections. This was a tough fight for Trudeau, whose image as a competent torch-bearer for pro-immigration, pro-free-trade liberalism in a time of rising nationalism and trade wars has been marred by a political influence scandal and revelations that he had appeared in blackface as a younger man. But with 99 percent of the votes counted in the wee hours on Tuesday, his Liberals looked set to hold onto 157 seats – 13 short of a governing majority – while holding off a resurgent Conservative Party led by the opposition leader Andrew Scheer. Although, Trudeau appears to have lost the popular vote, 33 percent vs Conservatives' 34 percent. A chastened Trudeau won't find it as easy to govern in his second term as he is forced to ally with Canada's smaller, left-leaning New Democratic Party to make progress on individual issues like climate change and social reforms. But for now, he's still standing.

Lebanon's "revolution": Hundreds of thousands of anti-government protestors across Lebanon are in the streets demanding the resignation of the current government and an end to political corruption. There's plenty to protest: Public debt has ballooned, and a withering economy has forced young people to leave the country to find good jobs abroad. But it was last week's announcement of a new tax on calls made using free internet messaging services, including WhatsApp and FaceTime, that pushed many over the edge. Protestors from across Lebanon's sectarian groups have pledged to continue a general strike, Lebanon's largest in almost two decades, despite the resignations of four members of the government, sharp cuts in the salaries of top officials, and the passage of other major economic reforms. They've now called for a "revolution," and we're watching to see what might change their minds. We are also listening to the music at this protest-turned-rave in Tripoli.

Haiti's Implosion: A year-long political standoff between President Jovenel Moïse and an opposition movement demanding his ouster has now closed roads, shuttered schools, hospitals, and businesses, and brought the economy to a standstill. Food, fuel, and patience are in short supply. Haiti, one of the world's poorest countries, is no stranger to political dysfunction, but this is a political and economic crisis that is slowly strangling its most vulnerable citizens.

What We're Ignoring

"Iranian" hackers: Cyber analysts in the UK and US have uncovered evidence that cyber-attacks designed to steal secrets from more than 35 countries were not, as it initially seemed, carried out by Iranians. A Russian organization, in fact, had hacked into an Iranian group's system, stolen its tools, and ran its operations in ways meant to look like Iran was behind them. We are paying attention to this as an example of how cyberthreats are growing as national governments get deeper into the hacking game. But we're ignoring this particular attack by Iranians because this particular attack wasn't by Iranians.

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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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.

Two big Andean elections: This Sunday, Ecuadorians go to the polls for the second time this year in a close presidential runoff, while Peruvians will vote in the first round of their own presidential election. In Ecuador, the matchup is between the leftwing-populist frontrunner Andrés Arauz, who has pledged to blow up the country's IMF agreements and boost national oil production, and Guillermo Lasso, a pro-business candidate who is seen as the choice of continuity with the current market-friendly government. Voter abstention is likely to be high, and the final result could very well be close and contested in a polarized country that was struggling with massive social unrest even before the pandemic struck. Meanwhile in Peru — which recently went through three presidents in the space of a week — the candidate field is hugely fragmented. Those with a decent shot to make it to the second round include "change" candidates like the leftist former lawmakers Yohny Lescano and Verónica Mendoza, as well as the prominent neoliberal economist Hernando De Soto, who has recently risen in the polls. Former soccer star George Forsyth is also in the mix, as is Keiko Fujimori, daughter of authoritarian former president Alberto Fujimori. Both of this Sunday's elections will serve as a kind of bellwether for the political mood in a region that has been devastated by the public health and economic impact of the pandemic.

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