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SnapshotsJan 22, 2021 | 22:03 GMT
A photo taken on Oct. 21, 2020, shows the logos (left to right) of Google, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok on a computer screen.
Australia’s Proposed Media Code Turns Up the Heat on Google and Facebook
Australia’s pursuit of a media code that would force Facebook and Google to pay for sharing content from local media companies risks pushing the U.S. tech giants to pull some of their services from the country. During a Jan. 22 Australian Senate hearing, Google’s Managing Director for Australia and New Zealand Mel Silva said that if the country’s News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code is implemented in its current form, Google would have no choice but to remove Google Search from Australia. Later in the day, Facebook representatives echoed these remarks, threatening to pull Facebook News from Australia. In response to Google’s ultimatum, Prime Minister Morrison said that his country does not respond to threats.
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SnapshotsJan 21, 2021 | 22:07 GMT
Spanish newspapers show images of newly sworn-in U.S. President Joe Biden on Jan. 21, 2021, in Madrid, Spain.
The EU Welcomes Biden, But Some Disputes Will Remain
Joe Biden’s presidency portends greater U.S.-EU coordination on areas like climate change, COVID-19 and human rights. But Washington and Brussels will likely still spar over trade, tech policy and defense spending. On the day of Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration, European Council President Charles Michel called for a “founding pact” between the United States and the European Union based on five priorities: boosting multilateral cooperation, fighting against COVID-19, tackling climate change, rebuilding the global economy with a digital transformation, and joining forces on security and peace. Also on Jan. 20, the European Union’s chief diplomat, Joseph Borrell, invited Biden’s new Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, to a meeting with EU foreign ministers in Lisbon, Portugal, on March 4-5 to restart cooperation.
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SnapshotsJan 20, 2021 | 23:12 GMT
Houthi supporters hold up firearms as they protest the U.S. decision to designate the Houthi movement as a terrorist organization outside the closed American embassy on Jan. 18, 2021, in Sana'a, Yemen.
The Risks of the U.S. Dash to Declare Houthis Terrorists in Yemen
The former administration of U.S. President Donald Trump’s last-minute move to designate Houthi rebels as terrorists will leave its successor to manage the fallout in Yemen, which will likely include a more severe humanitarian crisis, more complicated intra-Yemeni political negotiations, and ultimately, a more entrenched civil conflict. On  Jan. 19, U.S. State Department designated the Houthi rebel movement in Yemen as a foreign terrorist organization and three of its leaders as “Specially Designated Global Terrorists.” The designations will trigger new financial sanctions that are intended to hold the Houthi movement “accountable for its terrorist acts, including cross-border attacks threatening civilian populations, infrastructure and commercial shipping.” The State Department made clear in a Jan. 10 statement that the terrorism designation was also aimed at freeing Yemen from “Iranian interference” as part of the then-Trump administration’s firm anti-Iran strategy. 
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AssessmentsJan 19, 2021 | 22:45 GMT
Journalists and supporters of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny gather near the police station where Navalny was held after being detained at the Moscow airport on Jan. 18, 2021, in Khimki, Russia.
Navalny’s Jailing Will Solidify Russia’s Standoff With the West
Russian authorities’ attempts to silence opposition leader Alexei Navalny affirm their determination to extinguish dissent, which could complicate Moscow’s foreign policy goals by further deteriorating its relations with the West. On Jan. 18, just a day after Navalny returned home for the first time since being poisoned in a suspected assassination attempt by Russian security services in August, a makeshift Russian court ordered that he be jailed for the next 30 days. Navalny faces a potential three-and-a-half-year prison sentence for allegedly breaching the terms of a suspended sentence related to a 2014 fraud conviction, which he says is politically motivated. A court hearing on the matter is scheduled for Feb. 2.
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AssessmentsJan 18, 2021 | 10:00 GMT
Supporters of the neo-Nazi Nordic Resistance Movement chant slogans during a demonstration in Stockholm, Sweden on Aug. 25, 2018.
Russia’s Role in Stoking Right-Wing Extremism in the West
To undermine the West and increase its influence, Russia will continue to promote right-wing extremism in ways that largely stop short of direct support for violence by exploiting existing societal tensions and pro-Russia sentiment in certain circles. The violent siege of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 renewed attention on the increasingly prominent activities of right-wing extremists (RWEs) in the West and the role of foreign influence in peddling the ideologies that have fueled a number of lethal terrorist attacks in recent years. U.S. officials have not accused Russia of being behind the U.S. Capitol insurrection, which was fueled largely by election grievances. However, Moscow’s sustained efforts to undermine U.S. democracy -- most notably through its well-documented interference in the 2016 presidential election -- raise questions about its complicity in indirectly strengthening the RWE movement behind the Capitol takeover.
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AssessmentsJan 12, 2021 | 21:55 GMT
Destroyed homes are seen in the village of Aldeia da Paz outside Macomia, Mozambique, after a militant attack on Aug. 24, 2019.
In Mozambique, Militants Will Gain Ground Until They Threaten the Government
Militants in Mozambique will continue to gain ground near the liquified natural gas (LNG) park under construction in the country’s north until the government deems the economic and political threat large enough to warrant foreign support. On Jan. 1, the French supermajor Total evacuated some of its personnel from its $20 billion LNG project being built on the Afungi Peninsula in Mozambique’s northernmost province of Cabo Delgado, effectively freezing work at the site. The decision came after the Islamic State affiliate in Mozambique, Ahlu Sunnah Wa-Jama (ASWJ) -- which is also a part of Islamic State’s Central African Province -- attacked a village less than one kilometer from the facility’s airstrip.
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AssessmentsJan 8, 2021 | 22:31 GMT
A large group of pro-Trump protesters stands on the steps of the U.S. Capitol after storming the building’s grounds on Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington D.C.
For U.S. Rivals, the Capitol Siege Offers a Window of Opportunity
U.S. adversaries are likely to see the recent Capitol siege as an opportunity to quickly take action against U.S. interests ahead of Inauguration Day, calculating that a distracted Washington will be ill-equipped to respond to provocations that may strengthen their negotiating leverage with President-elect Joe Biden’s incoming administration. Since Jan. 6, multiple key national security officials have announced their resignations, reducing the cadre of security experts who have longstanding relationships with President Donald Trump. To avoid anything close to a repeat of the Jan. 6 siege, national security officials in Washington will be laser-focused on guaranteeing the safety of the events surrounding Inauguration Day on Jan. 20, though doing so will risk diverting resources and attention from potential foreign threats. 
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SITUATION REPORTJan 7, 2021 | 21:45 GMT
Hong Kong: Arrested American Released on Bail as U.S. Threatens Sanctions
Hong Kong authorities granted bail to 50 pro-democracy activists who were arrested in yesterday’s mass raid, including U.S. lawyer John Clancey, the South China Morning Post reported Jan. 7. Responding to the arrests, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the White House was considering new sanctions on individuals and entities involved in the detentions, along with potential restrictions on the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Offices in the United States.
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AssessmentsJan 6, 2021 | 19:01 GMT
Peruvians wearing masks to protect themselves from COVID-19 wait outside a bank to collect government aid bonuses in Iquitos, Peru, on June 15, 2020.
Peru's Economy Gets a Wake-Up Call. Will Its Leaders Listen?
Peru is a rare emerging market country that has time to address long-term issues without putting immediate growth at risk -- but only if it takes advantage of that grace period to act. Peru’s primary economic headwinds include reduced growth momentum, with concerns about the country’s long-term financial prospects and political stalemates delaying crucial economic reforms. Such headwinds could hamper fiscal deficit reduction if Peru cannot legislate tax increases or resist spending pressure. In addition, global GDP growth will determine the demand for commodities and metals prices.
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ReflectionsJan 5, 2021 | 21:49 GMT
Supporters of Lebanon’s Future Movement party wave the party’s flag alongside the country’s national flag during a parade in the southern Lebanese city of Sidon on Oct. 22, 2020.
In Lebanon, Time Is Running Out to Avoid a Total Unraveling
After a year of severe economic and political instability, Lebanon is edging closer toward a full-blown crisis that could overwhelm even the most entrenched members of its ruling elite, raising the specter of widespread unrest or another civil war. Little about Lebanon is tenable, with its economy in shambles, its national budget unsustainable, its infrastructure in disrepair, and its security at constant threat from extremists, regional conflicts and internal unrest. But with no checks on their power, Lebanon’s various political factions are still finding ways to ritualize this dysfunction, scrambling to stay one step ahead of a disaster that upends their place in power -- and with it, the remaining threads keeping the country from coming apart at the seams. 
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SITUATION REPORTJan 4, 2021 | 22:05 GMT
Belarus: President Allegedly Approved Foreign Assassinations in 2012
Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko allegedly authorized political killings abroad in 2012, according to an audio recording obtained and published by EUobserver on Jan. 4. The attacks never took place, but the recording purports to reveal the then-chairman of Belarus' intelligence service, Vadim Zaitsev, briefing members of a special task force about killing three opposition leaders living in exile in Germany and a journalist living in Russia.
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Annual ForecastsJan 3, 2021 | 21:37 GMT
An image of the COVID-19 vaccine, President-elect Joe Biden, the Huawei logo, and a stock market sign
2021 Annual Forecast
The geopolitical environment in 2021 will be shaped by two global developments: the trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic and the efforts by U.S. President-elect Joe Biden's administration to restore collaborative relationships across the globe.
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