Which world leaders are out-of-office this holiday season?

Which world leaders are out-of-office this holiday season?

As anyone who's sent an email in the past, say, five days knows, 'tis the season for those mechanically polite "out-of-office" bounce-back emails. World leaders deserve time off too, so here's a look at the automatic replies that we got from a few of them...


Vladimir Putin – Hello, I'm currently out celebrating the 20th anniversary of the day I took control of Russia. Let's be serious though: I will never truly be "out of office." For non-urgent requests, contact Dmitry Medvedev. He's still Prime Minister. No, seriously. For urgent requests, you'll have to wait until I'm back in town.

Evo Morales – Gracias por su correo. Following a coup, I am now "out of office." For the moment, you can reach me in Mexico. For urgent requests, please contact my MAS party, which is planning to field some candidates who are not me in the upcoming election.

Donald Trump – Hello LOSERS, thank you. I am right now looking VERY STRONGLY at a nine iron. The RADICAL LEFT do-nothing Democrats may want me "out of office" but THEY will not SUCCEED. Sad!

Nicolas Maduro – Hola, it's actually me writing here. A year ago, some of you were sure you'd be getting an out of office reply from me before long. As it turns out, I'm still very much in office. My generals and I are looking forward to a prospero año nuevo indeed.

Kim Jong-un – Thanks for your note, you deranged and bloodthirsty foolish swine. I am currently out at a Workers Party offsite and I may follow that up with a missile-building exercise, but you will hear from me soon. If this is Xi or Putin, you know how to reach me lol.

Angela Merkel – Vielen dank für Ihre Nachricht. I have been in office for so long now I'm not even sure what being Out of Office will be like, but that could happen as soon as this year. Hopefully someone will take care of Europe -- I did my best. In the meantime you can reach me at angieunbound @ Muttimail dot com.

Mark Zuckerberg – Hi, I read your email before you even sent it. I'm not "in office" in the political sense, but I have more power than most people who are. Try to regulate me. Just. You. Try.

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Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hi, everybody. Ian Bremmer here from sunny Nantucket and going to be here for a little bit. Thought we would talk about the latest on COVID. Certainly, we had hoped we'd be talking less about it at this point, at least in terms of the developed world. A combination of the transmissibility of Delta variant and the extraordinary misinformation around vaccines and COVID treatment means that we are not in the position that many certainly had hoped we would be today.

The United States is the biggest problem on this front. We are awash in vaccines. Operation Warp Speed was an enormous success. The best vaccines in the world, the most effective mRNA, the United States doing everything it can to get secure doses for the entire country quick, more quickly than any other major economy in the world, and now we're having a hard time convincing people to take them. The politics around this are nasty and as divided as the country, absolutely not what you want to see in response to a health crisis.

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If your country had suffered decades of crippling corruption, wouldn't you want to prosecute those responsible? Of course you would. On Sunday, almost 98 percent of Mexicans who voted in a national referendum on this subject said, in so many words: "Yes, please prosecute the last five presidents for corruption!"

The catch is that turnout was a dismal 7 percent, meaning the plebiscite fell way short of the 40 percent turnout threshold required for its result to be binding.

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The COVID delta variant — which first surfaced in India earlier this year — is spreading rampantly throughout every continent, and is now the most dominant strain globally. But low- and middle-income countries, particularly in regions where vaccines have been scarce, are bearing the brunt of the fallout from the more contagious strain. We take a look at the 10 countries now recording the highest number of daily COVID deaths (per 1 million people), and their corresponding vaccination rates.

China tackles delta: China is the latest country to express serious concern over the highly contagious delta variant, after recording 300 cases in 10 days. Authorities there are trying to trace some 70,000 people who may have attended a theatre in Zhangjiajie, a city in China's Hunan province, which is now thought to have been a delta hotspot. Making matters worse, a busy domestic travel season in China saw millions recently on the move to visit friends and family just as delta infections spiked in more than a dozen provinces. Authorities have enforced new travel restrictions in many places, including in central Hunan province, where more than 1.2 million people have been told to stay in their homes for three days while authorities roll out a mass testing scheme. The outbreak has reached Beijing, too, with authorities limiting entrance to the capital to "essential travelers" only. Indeed, the outbreak has raised fresh concerns about Chinese vaccines' protection against delta, though many experts say they are still at least 55 percent effective in preventing serious illness.

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It was a weird series of events. Belarusian sprinter Kristina Timanovskaya took to Instagram to lament that her country's Olympic Committee had registered her for the 4x400 relay event at the eleventh hour (because a fellow participant had failed to pass drug screenings) despite not having trained.

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100: A scorching heat wave has caused more than 100 wildfires across Turkey's Mediterranean and Aegean coastline in recent days. Scientists say that dry conditions induced by climate change have helped spread the fires, which have already killed eight people and caused mass evacuations from tourist hotspots.

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Alcohol. It's a dangerous drug that has ruined countless lives and derailed many a global summit. But it's also humanity's oldest social lubricant, a magical elixir that can fuel diplomatic breakthroughs, well into the wee hours of the night. As Winston Churchill once quipped, "I've taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me." On GZERO World, we take a deep dive down the bottle and examine the role alcohol has played in society, politics, and global summitry—from the earliest hunter-gatherer days to that memorable Obama Beer Summit in 2009. Joining Ian Bremmer is philosopher Edward Slingerland, whose new book Drunk: How We Sipped, Danced, and Stumbled Our Way Into Civilization makes a compelling, if nuanced, case for alcohol's place in the world.

Also: since alcohol isn't the only social drug, a look at the state of marijuana legalization across the US and around the world.

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GZERO World with Ian Bremmer. Watch episodes now

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