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What We're Watching & What We're Ignoring

Ukraine and Russia – In October, the Orthodox Christian Church patriarch in Istanbul announced he would recognize a new Ukrainian church that's independent of Russia. This news has triggered intense debate within the Ukrainian church and angered the Kremlin.


Tomorrow, Ukrainian religious leaders are set to hold a "unification assembly" to establish the new church and choose its leader. Watch for provocations, even confrontation, in coming days between Russia and Ukraine in breakaway regions of Ukraine and in the Black Sea.

A "Cyber-attack" on China – Despite encouraging signs of compromise in the US-China trade war, we're watching for a possible US escalation against suspected Chinese hacking after revelations of a massive Beijing-sponsored infiltration of the US hotel chain Marriott. In coming days, the US may claim China has violated the cyber-espionage agreement Chinese President Xi Jinping made with former president Barack Obama. That might lead to an indictment of hackers accused of working for Chinese security services, a significant escalation in the broader US-China standoff over cyber-security.

WHAT WE'RE IGNORING

Russian Robots – During its coverage of a technology forum held each year to celebrate "future intellectual leaders of Russia," a Russian state television channel praised the highly modern design of "Robot Boris," which demonstrated a few interesting dance moves in front of a live audience and bragged that it "knows mathematics well." Turns out "Robot Boris" was a guy in a robot suit.

Chicken logs – On Thursday, US fast-food chain KFC announced the grand unveiling of the "KFC 11 Herbs and Spices firelog." Light this thing up, and it smells like fried chicken. Reaction in our office ranged from "Where can I get one?" to "That's the most disgusting thing I've ever heard." Your Friday author considers this "firelog" an affront to human dignity, but I'm ignoring this debate because my time is better spent watching for fake robots and trying to figure out Brexit.

Khant Thaw Htoo is a young engineer who works in Eni's Sakura Tower office in the heart of Yangon. As an HSE engineer, he monitors the safety and environmental impact of onshore and offshore operations. He also looks out for his parents' well-being, in keeping with Myanmar's traditions.

Learn more about Khant in the final episode of the Faces of Eni series, which focuses on Eni's employees around the world.

Over the weekend, some 40,000 people in Moscow and thousands more across Russia braved subzero temperatures to turn out in the streets in support of imprisoned Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny. More than 3,000 protesters were arrested, and Navalny called on his followers to prepare for more action in the coming weeks.

But just who is Alexei Navalny, and how significant is the threat that he may pose to Vladimir Putin's stranglehold on power in Russia?

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9.2 trillion: COVID vaccine hoarding by rich countries and uneven global access to the jabs will draw out the global recovery from the pandemic. In fact, it'll cost the world economy as much as $9.2 trillion, according to a new study by the International Chamber of Commerce.

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The United States has never been more divided, and it's safe to say that social media's role in our national discourse is a big part of the problem. But renowned tech journalist Kara Swisher doesn't see any easy fix. "I don't know how you fix the architecture of a building that is just purposely dangerous for everybody." Swisher joins Ian Bremmer to talk about how some of the richest companies on Earth, whose business models benefit from discord and division, can be compelled to see their better angels. Their conversation was part of the latest episode of GZERO World.

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take (part 1):

Ian Bremmer here, happy Monday. And have your Quick Take to start off the week.

Maybe start off with Biden because now President Biden has had a week, almost a week, right? How was it? How's he doing? Well, for the first week, I would say pretty good. Not exceptional, but not bad, not bad. Normal. I know everyone's excited that there's normalcy. We will not be excited there's normalcy when crises start hitting and when life gets harder and we are still in the middle of a horrible pandemic and he has to respond to it. But for the first week, it was okay.

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The GZERO World Podcast with Ian Bremmer. Listen now.

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