Ben White on US Elections & the Coronavirus Bill

Ben White, Chief Economic Correspondent for Politico, provides his perspective on the news in US politics:

What were the main takeaways from the first one on one Biden-Sanders debate?

Well, the takeaway is that Biden did just fine. No major blow-ups. Bernie Sanders needed to have a breakthrough moment to stop Biden's momentum. He didn't get it. It seems increasingly clear that Joe Biden will be the Democratic nominee for president, which is what we all thought from the start.

Is it possible that the coronavirus could delay the November elections?

Some rumors floating around about that, that President Trump could try to delay the election. He doesn't have the authority to do that. So that's not going to happen. It could be that the vote is spread out over a couple of days, if we're still in a bad virus situation and have social distancing and other measures could have to be taken, but the vote will happen in November.

What's in the current coronavirus bill before Congress?

Well, it's passed the House. Now before the Senate. It mainly focuses on sick leave and unemployment insurance. There are some questions whether the Senate might want changes. The White House and Treasury are already working on another bill that would be more directed towards bailing out businesses like airlines and hotels. So, we've got to get through this one and then we'll move to the next stimulus measure.

Microsoft announced earlier this year the launch of a new United Nations representation office to deepen their support for the UN's mission and work. Many of the big challenges facing society can only be addressed effectively through multi-stakeholder action. Whether it's public health, environmental sustainability, cybersecurity, terrorist content online or the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, Microsoft has found that progress requires two elements - international cooperation among governments and inclusive initiatives that bring in civil society and private sector organizations to collaborate on solutions. Microsoft provided an update on their mission, activities for the 75th UN General Assembly, and the team. To read the announcement from Microsoft's Vice President of UN Affairs, John Frank, visit Microsoft On The Issues.

Over the past eight days, the US-China relationship got notably hotter. None of the new developments detailed below is big enough by itself to kill hopes for better relations next year, but collectively they point in a dangerous direction.

US jabs over Hong Kong: On September 14, the US State Department issued a travel warning for the city because of what it calls China's "arbitrary enforcement of local laws" by police. The US is closely monitoring the case of 10 people detained by China while attempting to flee to Taiwan by boat. China's response to US criticism of its new security law in Hong Kong remains muted. That could change if relations deteriorate further.

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Trump is willing to give up Wisconsin for Belarus' democracy? When multilateralism hits the Zoom calls, we can't really tell what's real and what's not. #PUPPETREGIME

Kevin Sneader, global managing partner for McKinsey & Company, provides perspective on how the pandemic has influenced climate action:

Has the pandemic helped or harmed efforts to tackle climate change?

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In a new interview with GZERO World host Ian Bremmer, conducted on the eve of the 2020 General Assembly, UN Secretary-General António Guterres confronts the challenges of leading a multilateral organization in an increasingly nationalistic world. "I am not naïve," he tells Bremmer. "I know this is going to be a very tough ideological battle."

Watch the episode: UN Secretary-General António Guterres: Why we still need the United Nations

How has the pandemic influenced climate action?

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