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5 minutes | Nov 28, 2022
Doha and the World Cup
If you tour Doha, the capital of Qatar, the men's football World Cup is all around. There's a FIFA installation every few meters, flags and soccer balls line the pavements, and the streets shine bright with Qatar 2022-branded lights. But none of this matters because Qatar hosts a big party for wealthy Arabs. Most have flown in from neighboring countries to experience a once-in-a-lifetime event. Dressed in team colors complete with face paint, drums, and other swag, the energy of the wealthy Arabs can perhaps outdo any Western country. Since money is no object, post-match celebrations go on well into the wee hours of the morning.
5 minutes | Nov 23, 2022
Saudi World Cup win is a victory for all Arabs — and a BIG PR for the Kingdom
Saudi Arabia's incredible victory over Argentina on Tuesday was one of the greatest upsets in World Cup history. The game made the entire Kingdom proud — and sent long-awaited ripples of soccer joy throughout the Arab world.
9 minutes | Nov 22, 2022
Watch out for Kazakhstan!
Since it invaded Ukraine, Russia hasn't just been making enemies and losing friends. Some Central Asian countries – considered part of Russia's backyard thanks to their Soviet heritage – have begun distancing themselves from Moscow. Astana wants to diversify its trade and diplomacy. Still, the country's proximity to Russia – compounded by political, cultural, and economic ties – means Kazakhstan will struggle to escape Russia's sphere of influence entirely.
7 minutes | Nov 18, 2022
Will politics or football win Qatar's World Cup?
This Sunday- just two days from today - is the day half the world has eagerly awaited for four years. The men's football or soccer (for my American Audience) World Cup — the most-watched event of the most popular sport on the planet — kicks off in, of all places, Qatar. For one thing, it's not the first time a World Cup host has had a dodgy human rights record. After all, Argentina won its first trophy at home in 1978 while the country was run by a fearsome military junta. For another, the political stuff usually stops when the ball starts rolling. Once the game is underway, most fans' attention will switch quickly from human rights to the human magic expected from the feet of megastars like Leo Messi, Kylian Mbappé, or Neymar. (We'd mention Cristiano Ronaldo too, but he's in a bit of a slump these days.) The smart money seems to be on Argentina and Brazil, but there are plenty of underdogs — hello, Senegal — with a shot at going all the way.
7 minutes | Nov 16, 2022
Donald Trump is Running for 2024 Race!
Despite lowering the anticipated “Red Wave” to a mere trickle in the midterms last week, he’s running. Despite an upcoming Georgia Senate runoff that hangs in the balance, Mr. Trump is actually running. Trouble is brewing within the GOP itself. Trump might be too toxic to win a general election himself now, but without his voters, no Republican stands a chance in 2024. His presence threatens a crack in the republican party whereby a bunch of Republican voters who are needed to win in a general election take their ball and go home if Trump isn't the guy. So the problem the Republicans face is that they can't win with Trump and can't win without him.
11 minutes | Nov 14, 2022
The BIG meeting: Joe Biden and Xi Jinping
Today, US President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart President Xi Jinping are having their first face-to-face meeting since Joe Biden was elected in 2020. Since they last met in 2011, when both were vice presidents, tensions between Washington and Beijing have only escalated. Stabilizing the world’s most important bilateral relationship is essential to China, the US, and the rest of the world. Checks and balances limit Biden's executive powers to deal with Xi’s China. The same can't be said for President Xi.
8 minutes | Nov 11, 2022
From Inflation and the Crazy Crypto Market to China and Trade
As we are closing the week, the big news is happening on the economic and political fronts around the world. The American economy got some good news yesterday: Monthly inflation in October dropped to 7.7%, down from 8.2% in September, and is now at its lowest since January 2022. The crypto market's really poor run got even worse this week after FTX, a major crypto exchange, imploded - big time.... added by billionaire crypto-star Sam Bankman-Fried, FTX was revealed to be in a bad financial position earlier this week, and Binance, the largest exchange, and an FTX competitor considered bailing FTX out, but dropped the idea at the eleventh hour when it became clear FTX was insolvent, and its customers couldn't withdraw assets. Last but not least, President Joe Biden, meanwhile, will be on-site in Bali for G20, where he plans to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday for their first in-person chat since Biden moved into the White House. But don't expect significant results for the meeting.
8 minutes | Nov 10, 2022
Bad Things are Happening in Argentina!
The world is suffering from uncomfortably high inflation as economies adjust to the troubles brought by the pandemic and the war in Ukraine, and all other crazy stuff happening around the world, but several countries are dealing with double- or triple-digit price increases or inflation. In Argentina, for example, a rapid acceleration of price gains in recent months has many economists predicting inflation will reach 100% this year and next year.
8 minutes | Nov 8, 2022
Election Day in America! Buckle Up!
Midterm elections are always a referendum on incumbency, as demonstrated by the fact that the party in control of the White House has lost Congressional seats in 36 out of 39 midterm races since the Civil War. It’s nearly impossible to satisfy voters – particularly those caught in a painful spiral of inflation and recession worries – by advocating for the status quo. That’s the challenge for Democrats: trying to defend their own track record while simultaneously recognizing what remains to be done. Economic turmoil has forever been a toxic agent that gives the underdog (Republicans in this Midterm) an abundance of ammunition to oust the incumbent party. If Democrats lose big on Tuesday, paving the way for a slate of GOP newcomers, it will be a significant gift to Donald Trump as he looks ready to announce a run for the White House in 2024.
8 minutes | Nov 7, 2022
Let's Start the Week with 3 Questions (US Mid-term, Twitter and COP27)
Let's start the week with three questions. Will US Voters show up on Tuesday? Will wealthy countries compensate or pay poor ones for climate change? What is going on with Elon Musk and Twitter? Most Americans already have firm views of the Republican and Democratic parties, and their midterm votes have been set in stone for some time. In close races, however, the difference will be decided by whether the politically indifferent demographic chooses to vote. On COP27, rising inflation has forced governments to cut back on fossil fuels, making the International Energy Agency optimistic that COP27 might be a "turning point" in the global transition to clean energy. And there is a possibility that Elon Musk might have a shorter tenure than former British PM Liz Truss. Also, for Russia, buying a few thousand verified Twitter accounts at $8/pop to promote disinformation feels like a no-brainer."
7 minutes | Nov 5, 2022
From Assassination Attempt in Pakistan and German Chancellor's Visiting China to the Last Push in Pennsylvania as America is Getting Ready to VOTE!
Pakistan's former PM Imran Khan — aka "Kaptaan" for his cricket awards and lead-from-the-front style of populist politics — survived an assassination attempt on Thursday during his "Long March" to Islamabad. Mr. Khan, who was removed from office last April, has been demanding snap elections, but he's been ignored so far. Despite his party-sweeping by-elections, mass rallies, and his summoning of exceptional support against the military, the political establishment hasn't blinked. Will this attack force their hand? On another topic, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz made a very controversial trip to Beijing on Friday as the first prominent European leader to visit China since Russia invaded Ukraine. It was a swift one – Scholz's team didn't even spend the night in Beijing due to China's zero-COVID policy. For the leader of the EU's largest economy (that's Germany), the trip is all about business (people), which explains why top German CEOs accompanied Mr. Scholz. But for the rest of Europe, going to Beijing right after Xi Jinping's coronation at the 20th Congress of China's ruling Communist Party sends the wrong political message right when Brussels wants to reduce its economic and trade dependence on China — like it's done with Russian fossil fuels over Ukraine. Last but not least, In the final stretch of the midterm race, Democrats and Republicans are pushing hard in Pennsylvania. On the blue side, President Joe Biden and his old boss Barack Obama will hold an event in Philadelphia on Saturday (Today) to get out the vote due to fears that turnout could lag, particularly among communities of color. Meanwhile, on team red, former President Donald Trump will also stop in southwest Pennsylvania over the weekend to campaign for Senate candidate Mehmet Oz and state Senator Doug Mastriano, trailing Democrat Josh Shapiro in the race for governor.
6 minutes | Nov 4, 2022
America is getting ready for the Mid-term on Nov 8th, but the bigger battle is in the State Court System!
American voters are getting ready for the mid-term elections. President Biden blamed former President Donald Trump's "big lie" about the 2020 election being stolen and called out the violent attack on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's husband, Paul. In response to the speech, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell tweeted that the President was "desperate to change the subject from inflation, crime, and open borders." We'll find out exactly what Americans think after next Tuesday. In recent years views on court bias and whether it plays an outsized role in politics reached fever-pitch for many this summer with the overturning of Roe v. Wade, a move disapproved by 57% of Americans. While Republicans seem to have understood these dynamics for some time, Democrats have caught up with the trend in recent years. In the 2019-2020 election cycle, a collective $97million was spent on state court races nationwide. This cycle, parties are investing heavily in partisan judicial races in Ohio, Illinois, and North Carolina. With an increased number of election deniers on Republican ballots, debates over the nature of American democracy will gain steam over the next few years – and those battles will be waged in state courts. Prepare to see a lot more money enter state judicial races. So buckle up!
8 minutes | Nov 3, 2022
Bad News from China and the Korean Peninsula ... but some good News from Ukraine and Ethiopia!
Bad news in Asia. China’s manufacturing sector is in a tailspin this week after several enormous production lines were shut down due to the country’s restrictive zero-COVID policy. North Korea released its largest-ever, one-day flurry of missiles on Wednesday, firing 23 ballistics into the sea. Why? Supreme leader Kim Jong Un detests being forgotten. To get attention! Some good news in Europe and Africa. Russia has (again) reversed itself on a deal allowing Ukrainian food exports to cross the Black Sea toward international markets, this time by reaffirming its support for safe passage. The government of Ethiopia and rebels from the Tigray region agreed on Wednesday to “permanently” end their civil war.
7 minutes | Nov 2, 2022
Four Trouble Spots Around the World This Week!
We are Back! In this episode of RoozCast, we will examine the recent lunch date between Venezuela and Columbia. We then move to Israel to see what Bibi Netanyahu is doing, and he is getting closer to political victory. We then move to another tense spot, Saudi Arabia, which is being threatened by Iran. Last but not least, we moved to Brazil, where the country held its presidential election, and Mr. Balsenaro had some hard choices.
6 minutes | Mar 7, 2021
Covid Vaccine and India
In this episode, I discuss how India is dealing with the second-highest confirmed COVID cases in the world. India is competing with China in its vaccine diplomacy and struggling to protect a sizable portion of its 1.4 billion population.
6 minutes | Mar 5, 2021
What's China up to in Afghanistan?
Could China succeed where other outsiders (British, Russian, and American) have lost – and without a costly and dangerous military occupation? Is the hope of profitable trade and investment enough to guarantee a power-sharing deal among Afghanistan's fighting factions? Over the years, China's rulers have seen other major powers stuck in Afghanistan without an exit strategy. Those are mistakes no one in Beijing is keen to repeat.
8 minutes | Mar 1, 2021
Vaccine Rollout Around the World
The most ambitious global immunization drive in history is in action. Over the past three months, more than 250 million COVID shots have been administered in over 100 countries, and the vaccination rate is gradually increasing. At the current rate, around 6.3 million doses are being administered daily. It's a rare moment of good news after over a year of collective suffering, grief, despair, and anxiety. So where do things stand, and what's preventing the world from getting to herd immunity sooner?
5 minutes | Feb 25, 2021
The Other Passport (COVID Passport)
It's not just about that vacation you've been dreaming of since the pandemic shut down travel. Many organizations, institutions, and employers could begin requiring proof of vaccination before they hire you — or even to let you in the office for an interview. Are vaccine passports a good idea? People, governments, and businesses need to know who might set off a new COVID wave and who is safe. But are we moving toward a New World where the holders of vaccine passports become an unjustly privileged class of people?
6 minutes | Feb 22, 2021
Donald Trump and the Future of the Republican Party
Donal Trump continues to be a powerful political force. Even in defeat, he won 74 million votes for president last year, the second-highest total of any candidate in US history. In this episode, I discuss the future of the GOP. What does this mean for the party? The GOP has plunged into an all-out civil war that will rage for years to come.
7 minutes | Feb 20, 2021
Joe Biden and the Middle East
The US president's priorities may be COVID, economic recovery, climate change, and China, but the Middle East problems are still following him — and the US is deeply involved in the region, whether President Biden likes it or not. In this episode, I discuss Biden's priorities in the Middle East.
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