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Good morning, this is Stephanie in New York City, where you can usually find me reporting from the United Nations headquarters - although I’ve only been physically at the UN a handful of times since March, as digital diplomacy has become a dominant feature of the UN since the beginning of the pandemic.

Diplomats are anxiously hoping the transfer of power is going to be smooth and peaceful in Washington, especially after the shock of the events at the US Capitol on 6 January.

What should be different, this time around, is that security in the American capital is at its maximum this week, the city is still in a State of Emergency, and President-elect Biden has asked specifically for his supporters not to come to Washington, while President Trump asked everyone to protest peacefully.

photo journaliste

Stephanie Fillion,

20.01.2021


On my radar


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Flags on the National Mall in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

✋📘 A historic moment, and a historic snub. President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration is going to be like no other in history. It’s the first time in 152 years that the sitting president is not going to attend the ceremony to pass the torch to the next, as President Trump announced in early January he is not going to the event. Roughly 1000 people will attend, including three former presidents (Obama, Bush, and Clinton) and Vice-President Mike Pence.

New York Magazine (EN)

📤 Biden's long to-do list of executive orders. Following today's inauguration, Joe Biden has promised to quickly roll up his sleeves and start working on his electoral promises, with plans to sign a series of executive orders. His administration has promised to reverse Trump’s immigration ban on citizens from some Muslim-majority countries, rejoin the Paris Climate Accord, mandate mask-wearing on federal property and during inter-state travel, and not long after, push to pass his $1.9 trillion virus relief bill in Congress.

Politico (EN)

🌐 Restoring multilateralism. The last four years have been marked by uncertainty between Washington and international organisations, including the WTO. While Joe Biden has promised to return to multilateralism, US allies are careful, as they are aware of the risk of a return to Trumpism in four or eight years. The following article explores what the Biden administration will have to do to return to a full-fledged UN ally.

PassBlue (EN)

Here's what else is happening


Person of the day


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Amanda Gorman (Kelia Anne/Sun Literary Arts via AP)

Introducing the youngest poet to read at a presidential inauguration. At the age of 22, Amanda Gorman will make history today by becoming the youngest known poet in memory to speak at the swearing-in ceremony. Already an established writer, Gorman's work earned her the title of America's first National Youth Poet Laureate in 2017.

AP News (EN)

Spotlight


🎧 UN - Scripted | Behind the scenes at the United Nations. If you’d like to follow the UN more closely, UN-Scripted follows the ins and outs of the headquarters, with exclusive interviews with the President of the Security Council every month, as well as other deep dives into the work of the UN and the politics of it.

UN-Scripted (EN)

Next on the agenda


22 January | UN treaty banning nuclear weapons to finally enter into force, 90 days after the 50th country in the world - Honduras - ratified the treaty. UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres said the entry-into-force “is a tribute to the survivors of nuclear explosions and tests, many of whom advocated for this Treaty.“

UN News (EN)

Out of office, out of immunity. It’s not because President Trump is out of office that he will stop making the headlines. But this time, it’s his legal hurdles that are likely to keep him busy. As The Economist reports, “at the stroke of noon on 20 January, the legal shield that Trump has wielded to stave off lawsuits will vanish, exposing him to an abundance of civil and criminal legal peril.”

The Economist (EN)

A bit more in the long-term. Here in New York, everybody is talking about the recent announcement that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is going to run for a second term. While human rights organisations say Guterres is too soft on human rights violators, others say any secretary-general who has managed the Trump administration hostility towards the UN deserves a second term. Others just demand that the selection process be inclusive and transparent.

PassBlue (EN)

What the polls say


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How Europeans view America - and Biden. Most Europeans rejoiced when Joe Biden was elected but do not think he can help America make a comeback as the pre-eminent global leader. That's according to a poll of more than 15,000 people in 11 countries. What's more, 32 per cent say that after electing Donald Trump as president in 2016, Americans can no longer be trusted.

European Council on Foreign Relations (EN)

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