What We Are Watching

Michael Cohen Goes to Washington – Donald Trump's long-time personal attorney, Michael Cohen, is testifying before three congressional committees this week, one of them publicly. He'll tell lawmakers the president of the United States has committed felonies. Cohen must report to prison on May 6 because he's been convicted of, among other things, lying to Congress. So, beyond the salacious details, we'll be watching to see what evidence he'll offer to support his claims—evidence Democrats might use to try to impeach the president and that state prosecutors might one day use to indict Trump when he's no longer in office.

Iranian Foreign Minister's (Attempted) Resignation – Iranian President Rouhani has rejected the resignation of his foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif. As a key architect and backer of the Iran nuclear deal, Mr. Zarif has come under pressure from hardliners in Iran who see little point in sticking with the agreement now that the US has left. As a result, the prospect of Zarif's departure immediately raised concerns that Tehran itself may ditch the deal. For now it seems like Zarif is staying put, but we are watching for signs of further political infighting in Tehran.

What We Are Ignoring

Russian nuclear threats – During an encore performance at its Defender of the Fatherland Day holiday concert last weekend, the St. Petersburg Concert Choir broke out into a satirical 1980s tune about Soviet submariners and bomber pilots preparing to launch a nuclear attack on the US. We're ignoring this musical tomfoolery, along with the recent, more serious step-up in official Russian nuclear rhetoric, including a state TV broadcast explaining how a new hypersonic missile developed by Moscow could hit the Pentagon and Camp David in under five minutes, because India and Pakistan have already given us enough to worry about.

The orders of the Brazilian education minister – Earlier this week, the Brazilian government asked schools to film students singing the national anthem and repeating the campaign slogan of right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro: "Brazil above everything, God above everyone." Bolsonaro, elected in part as a reaction to years of corruption and mismanagement by the leftwing Workers Party, has said he wants to "purge" leftist ideas from the classroom. Critics point out that schools were ideologically policed under Brazil's 1964-1985 dictatorship, a period that Bolsonaro has spoken fondly of. We are ignoring this story – for now – because we are unruly students and also because the education minister rescinded the order amid criticism. But the left-right polarization in Brazil will continue to deepen.


How will our cities and lives change in the future? What about a structure with a roller skating rink above a swimming pool, made out of transparent solar panels that power the entire park? This was the innovation invented by Eni's young researchers based on Luminescent Solar Concentrators, developed through Eni's research.

Watch the latest episode of Funny Applications, Eni's video series that imagines new uses for technology.

For 30 years, citizens of Hong Kong have gathered in Victoria Park on the evening of June 4 to honor the peaceful protesters massacred in Beijing's Tiananmen Square on that date in 1989. It has been the only public Tiananmen commemoration permitted on Chinese soil.

This year, the park was surrounded by barricades to keep people out. The officially stated reason for the shut-down? Crowds spread coronavirus. (In this city of more than 7 million, COVID has so far killed four people.)

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In an interview with GZERO World host Ian Bremmer, Hong Kong lawmaker Dennis Kwok, an outspoken pro-democracy advocate, expresses his concerns that the current "draconian" laws China's leadership is forcing upon his city has expedited the end of the "one country, two systems" policy established in 1997.

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Big news, of course, that former Secretary of Defense Mattis comes out with a public statement basically calling Trump's rule, his actions, unconstitutional and unfit for office, more divisive than any president he's ever seen.

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French protests over racial injustice: The George Floyd protests in the United States have sparked solidarity demonstrations around the world, with people flocking to US embassies in Berlin, London and elsewhere to express their outrage. But they have also inspired other countries to reexamine racial justice within their own societies. In France, where street demonstrations are practically a national pastime, thousands of people have gathered in support of the family of Adama Traoré, a 24-year old black man who died in police custody back in 2016. At least 20,000 Parisians demonstrated Wednesday, despite coronavirus bans on public gatherings. Protesters adopted similar language to the Floyd protests, demanding accountability for the officers who violently pinned down Traoré during a dispute over an identity check, leading to his death. Renewed focus on this case, which has become a potent symbol of police brutality in France, comes as coronavirus lockdowns have recently stoked tensions between the police and the mostly-minority residents of Paris' banlieues (low-income suburbs).

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