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What We're Watching – A Sea Goddess and Iranian Female Fighter

Taiwan's Sea Goddess Candidate – Terry Gou, a self-made billionaire and founder of electronics-maker Foxconn (a major manufacturer of iPhones), is running for president of Taiwan. (The election is scheduled for January 2020.) In contrast to current President Tsai Ing-Wen, the party Mr. Gou wants to lead, the Kuomintang, wants warmer ties with Beijing. Gou himself has strong ties to mainland China, where many of Foxconn's factories are located. Gou (pronounced "Gwor") just might win. The current president is unpopular, and Gou claims he was ordered to run by Mazu, a powerful sea goddess, who appeared to him in a dream.

An Iranian Female Boxer – Sadaf Khadem, the first Iranian woman to compete in an official international boxing match, cancelled plans to return home to Iran from Paris this week because, she says, Iranian authorities have issued a warrant for her arrest. The charge? Khadem says she's accused of violating the country's female dress code by competing in shorts and a t-shirt. (In Iran, girls as young as nine can go to prison for appearing in public without a headscarf). Having defeated her French opponent, we think that anyone who wants to arrest Sadaf Khadem should first meet her in the ring. #FloatLikeAButterfly

What We're Ignoring – Bashir behind Bars and Trump Gets a Rival

Bashir Behind Bars – Omar Bashir, Sudan's recently toppled tyrant, is now officially in jail. Last week, his military ousted him from power after months of protests against his oppressive regime. But we're ignoring Bashir's transfer to the slammer, because the protesters, still on the streets, appear unmoved. They're surely glad to see Bashir in jail, but want his military men, who continue to run the country, to pass power to a civilian government.

William Weld – Former Massachusetts Governor and 2016 Libertarian Party vice presidential candidate William Weld announced his candidacy for president this week as a Republican. President Trump has an approval rating with Republican voters that's well above 80 percent. Weld's chances of denying Trump the Republican Party nomination are about the same as your Friday author's odds of hitting the moon with a rock.

Microsoft released a new annual report, called the Digital Defense Report, covering cybersecurity trends from the past year. This report makes it clear that threat actors have rapidly increased in sophistication over the past year, using techniques that make them harder to spot and that threaten even the savviest targets. For example, nation-state actors are engaging in new reconnaissance techniques that increase their chances of compromising high-value targets, criminal groups targeting businesses have moved their infrastructure to the cloud to hide among legitimate services, and attackers have developed new ways to scour the internet for systems vulnerable to ransomware. Given the leap in attack sophistication in the past year, it is more important than ever that steps are taken to establish new rules of the road for cyberspace: that all organizations, whether government agencies or businesses, invest in people and technology to help stop attacks; and that people focus on the basics, including regular application of security updates, comprehensive backup policies, and, especially, enabling multi-factor authentication. Microsoft summarized some of the most important insights in this year's report, including related suggestions for people and businesses.

Read the whole post and report at Microsoft On The Issues.

On Tuesday night, you can finally watch Trump and Biden tangle on the debate stage. But you TOO can go head to head on debate night .. with your fellow US politics junkies.

Print out GZERO's handy debate BINGO cards and get ready to rumble. There are four different cards so that each player may have a unique board. Every time one of the candidates says one of these words or terms, X it on your card. First player to get five across wins. And if you really want to jazz it up, you can mark each of your words by taking a swig of your drink, or doing five burpees, or donating to your favorite charity or political candidate. Whatever gets you tipsy, in shape, or motivated, get the bingo cards here. It's fight night!

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GZERO Media, in partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Eurasia Group, today hosted its second virtual town hall on the hunt for a COVID-19 vaccine and the challenges of its distribution.

The panel was moderated by New York Times science and health reporter Apoorva Mandavilli and featured Gates Foundation's Deputy Director of Vaccines & Human Immunobiology, Lynda Stuart; Eurasia Group's Rohitesh Dhawan, Managing Director of Energy, Climate & Resources; Gates Foundation CEO Mark Suzman; and Gayle E. Smith, the president & CEO of ONE Campaign and former Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Watch the full video above.

Donald Trump's presidency has irked a lot of people around the world. And in fairness, that's no surprise. He was elected in part to blow up long-standing assumptions about how international politics, trade, and diplomatic relations are supposed to work.

But while he has correctly identified some big challenges — adapting NATO to the 21st century, managing a more assertive China, or ending America's endless wars in Afghanistan and Iraq — his impulsive style, along with his restrictions on trade and immigration, have alienated many world leaders. Global polls show that favorable views of the US have plummeted to all-time lows in many countries, particularly among traditional American allies in Europe.

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How was it that after decades of infighting, European nations were able to come together so quickly on an economic pandemic relief package? "I'm tempted to say because of COVID-19…because the triggering factor for the crisis was not the banks…not the bad behavior of some policy-makers somewhere in the region. It was actually this teeny tiny little virus..." European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde tells Ian Bremmer how a microscopic virus spurred the greatest show of international unity in years.


Watch the episode: Christine Lagarde, Leading Europe's United Economic Pandemic Response

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