What We're Watching

Nasrin Sotoudeh – Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh has built a formidable reputation by, among other things, taking the cases of women arrested for appearing in public without headscarves. In 2012, the European Union awarded her the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. On Monday, an Iranian court ordered Sotoudeh to serve 10 years on top of a previous 28-year prison sentence for "colluding against the system"—and to receive 148 lashes.

Aggressive Australian Animals – Australia is a wonderful country filled with fantastic people, but it's a really, really dangerous place. Drop your guard for two seconds and some angry shark, anaconda, or hairy prehistoric spider will try to beat you senseless. Look what happened to this unsuspecting paraglider.

What We're Ignoring

Maduro Propaganda – Venezuela's chief prosecutor has asked the country's Supreme Court to investigate opposition leader Juan Guaidó for sabotaging the country's electrical system following a massive electricity shutdown across the country. Maduro claimed on Tuesday that the US government had used electromagnetic waves from mobile devices to knock out the nation's power system. We're watching the political impact of the power outages while ignoring laughable claims about their source.

Speculation about the Mueller Report – We've seen arguments in the media that the Robert Mueller investigation of President Trump will end within days, that it will continue for months, that Mueller will issue a report, that he won't issue a report, that he'll issue a report that we're not allowed to read, that there will be two Mueller reports, that he's already issued a report and we just missed it, and that the report will be published only in Latin. (OK, I made up that last one.) This confusion provides proof positive there are still people in Washington who can keep an important secret—and that the only authority on Robert Mueller is Robert Mueller.

Brazil's governors take on Bolsonaro: We've previously written about the tensions between local and national governments over coronavirus response, but few places have had it as bad as Brazil. As COVID-19 infections surged in Brazil, the country's governors quickly mobilized – often with scarce resources – to enforce citywide lockdowns. Brazil's gangs have even risen to the occasion, enforcing strict curfews to limit the virus' spread in Rio de Janeiro. But Brazil's president, Jair Bolsonaro, has mocked the seriousness of the disease and urged states to loosen quarantines in order to get the economy up and running again. "Put the people to work," he said this week, "Preserve the elderly; preserve those who have health problems. But nothing more than that." In response, governors around the country – including some of his allies – issued a joint letter to the president, begging him to listen to health experts and help states contain the virus. The governor of Sao Paulo, Brazil's economic powerhouse, has even threatened to sue the federal government if Bolsonaro continues to undermine his efforts to combat the virus' spread.

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The major outbreaks of coronavirus in China, Europe, and the United States have garnered the most Western media attention in recent weeks. Yesterday, we went behind the headlines to see how Mexico and Russia are faring. Today, we'll look at three other potential hotspots where authorities and citizens are now contending with the worst global pandemic in a century.

Start with India. For weeks, coronavirus questions hovered above that other country with a billion-plus people, a famously chaotic democracy where the central government can't simply order a Chinese-scale public lockdown with confidence that it will be respected. It's a country where 90 percent of people work off the books— without a minimum wage, a pension, a strong national healthcare system, or a way to work from home.

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In the end, it took the coronavirus to break the year-long deadlock in Israeli politics. Prime Minister Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu will still face corruption charges, but he has yet another new lease on political life, as he and political rival Benny Gantz cut a deal yesterday: Bibi will continue as prime minister, with Gantz serving as Speaker of the Knesset, Israel's parliament. After 18 months, Gantz will take over as prime minister, but many doubt that will ever happen.

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With large parts of the American economy shuttered because of coronavirus-related lockdowns, the number of people filing jobless claims in the US last week exceeded 3.2 million, by far the highest number on record. Here's a look at the historical context. The surge in jobless claims, which may be an undercount, is sure to cause a spike in the unemployment rate (which tells you the percent of work-ready people who are looking for a job). At last reading in February, unemployment was at a 50-year low of 3.5 percent. Economists warn that it could reach 5.5 percent in the near term. Even that would be far lower than the jobless rates recorded during previous economic crises such as the Great Depression or the Great Recession. Have a look.