What We're Watching & What We're Ignoring

WHAT WE'RE WATCHING

US nuclear tech for Saudis? A new report from a congressional oversight committee charges that senior White House officials have pushed a plan to share nuclear technology with Saudi Arabia over the objections of key national security advisors. Any such deal with the Saudis appears to violate US law. On the surface, this is just one more front in the widening and intensifying battle between the White House and Democratic lawmakers, but proliferation experts warn that sharing this tech with the Saudis could create a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.

Israeli elections Prime Minister Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu's road to reelection just got a bit tougher. Former army chief Benny Gantz and centrist TV reporter-turned-politician Yair Lapid formed an alliance this week to challenge Bibi's Likud-led alliance in national elections set for April 9. Gantz and Lapid say they'll rotate as prime minister if they win. Netanyahu, meanwhile, has partnered with the far-right Jewish Home party and the extremist Jewish Power party to boost his electoral strength. In the background, the Israeli attorney general is considering whether to accept a police recommendation to indict Netanyahu on fraud and bribery charges.



Gifts fit for a prince – During his visit to Pakistan this week, a group of local lawmakers presented Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman with a gold-plated submachine gun and a portrait of himself. #CharmOffensive

WHAT WE'RE IGNORING

The Very Latest in Fake News – Meet Xin Xiaomeng, which we believe is the world's first AI news anchor. China's state news outlet Xinhua has announced it has partnered with search engine company Sogou to create this "product." Xin will make its debut early next month. Because the world needs less human accountability in its journalism.

The Oscars – The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will be handing out trophies this Sunday. But for the best in film from the past year, skip the red carpet and TV blah blah blah and head straight for a movie theatre near you. Your Friday author humbly submits two films for your consideration: Alfonso Cuarón's Roma (surpasses the considerable hype) and Hirokazu Kore-eda's Shoplifters (a rare gem). Both are films about unconventional families, and both are brilliant and beautiful. Or you can revisit some of the great work of recently departed master actors Albert Finney and Bruno Ganz.

We believe in access for everyone.

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Visa: We believe in access for everyone. Image of a small, diverse group of people, smiling

Gaps in economic opportunities have made it hard for all individuals to take part in the global payments ecosystem. To address those gaps, society needs public policies to empower citizens, small businesses, and economies. That’s why, in 2021, the Visa Economic Empowerment Institute (VEEI) started conducting research and publishing reports about fostering digital equity and inclusion, unlocking growth through trade, and imagining an open future for payments. In 2022, we hope you’ll visit the VEEI for insights and data on the future of inclusive economic policies. See our newest stories here.

A year of Biden

Joe Biden’s first year as US president included two major historic accomplishments and a series of (often bitter) disappointments that has his party headed toward likely defeat in November’s midterm elections. Biden’s own political future is increasingly uncertain.

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Two children and a robot. We have to control AI before it controls us, warns former Google CEO Eric Schmidt.

Listen: Tech companies set the rules for the digital world through algorithms powered by artificial intelligence. But does Big Tech really understand AI? Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt tells Ian Bremmer that we need to control AI before it controls us.

What's troubling about AI, he says, is that it’s still very new, and AI is learning by doing. Schmidt, co-author of “The Age of AI: And Our Human Future,” worries that AI exacerbates problems like anxiety, driving a human addiction cycle that leads to depression.

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.

COVID has accelerated our embrace of the digital world. The thing is, we don't always know who’s running it.

Instead of governments, Ian Bremmer says, so far a handful of Big Tech companies are writing the rules of digital space — through computer algorithms powered by artificial intelligence.

The problem is that tech companies have set something in motion they don't fully understand, nor control.

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If omicron makes cases explode in China, the country's leaders will have to choose between weathering short-term or long-term pain.

Yanzhong Huang, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, predicts that sticking to the zero-COVID approach at all costs will hurt the Chinese and global economy. In his view, learning to live with the virus is the way to go.

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The Graphic Truth: How do US presidents do in their first year?

Joe Biden's approval rating has taken a big hit during his first year as US president. Biden is now just slightly more popular than his predecessor Donald Trump at the same point in his presidency. While Biden has made a series of policy and political blunders that might be reflected in polling, this is also a sign of the times: US politics are now so polarized that presidential approval has a low ceiling. We compare the approval ratings of the last five US presidents in their first year.

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with his Iranian counterpart Ebrahim Raisi in Moscow, Russia January 19, 2022.

Iran and Russia heart each other. The presidents of Iran and Russia have little in common personally, but they share many geopolitical interests, including in Afghanistan and Syria. They also have a common resolve in countering "the West.” These issues are all on the agenda as Vladimir Putin and Ebrahim Raisi held their first in-person meeting in Moscow. Raisi is a hardline cleric who leads a theocracy with nuclear ambitions. Vladimir Putin, meanwhile, is a wily autocrat who enjoys provoking America and Europe, and has ambitions to return to the glory days of the territorially expansive Soviet Union — as seen with the Kremlin's recent provocations on the Ukrainian border. With the Iran nuclear talks on life support and Joe Biden already bracing for Russian troops crossing into Ukraine, Tehran and Moscow now have even more reasons to scheme and cooperate. Indeed, Moscow and Tehran have increasingly been cooperating on energy and security issues (Iran might be buying Russian military technology) as their respective relations with the West deteriorate.

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Namibian citizen Phillip Luhl holds one of his twin daughters as he speaks to his Mexican husband Guillermo Delgado via Zoom meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa, April 13, 2021

2: Namibia’s High Court ruled against two gay couples seeking legal recognition of their marriages. The judge said she agreed with the couples, who are seeking residency or work authorizations for foreign-born spouses, but is bound by a Supreme Court ruling that deems same-sex relationships illegitimate.

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A year of Biden

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Can we control AI before it controls us?

GZERO World Clips

Should China learn to live with COVID?

GZERO World Clips

China vs COVID in 2022

GZERO World Clips

GZEROMEDIA

Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter: Signal