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Non-coronavirus news: Joe vs Bernie, Russia vs Saudi

Non-coronavirus news: Joe vs Bernie, Russia vs Saudi

What's next for the Democrats? Joe Biden swept primaries in Florida, Illinois and Arizona on Tuesday night, racking up a wide margin of victory against Senator Bernie Sanders, his main opponent in the race for the Democratic nomination for president. Sanders would now need to win about 6 in 10 of all remaining delegates to gain the party's nod. That's improbable given Biden's strong support, particularly among older voters, who turned out despite coronavirus fears. Sanders will now be under intense pressure to exit the race, to allow the Democratic party's presumptive nominee to focus his time and resources on defeating Donald Trump at a time when traditional political rallies have become impossible and daily life for millions of Americans is being turned rapidly upside-down. We're watching to see what Bernie decides to do.

Russia-Saudi oil price war: Last week, Saudi Arabia and Russia got into an oil price war, after a longstanding agreement between the two world's largest exporters to keep a lid on crude output fell apart. Taken together with the coronavirus' economic effects, the resulting collapse in oil prices is hammering stock markets, where energy companies have a big presence. Despite early hopes that Moscow and Riyadh would smooth things over after some crude chest-puffing, it looks like they are both digging in. Far from being fazed by Saudi Arabia's decision to slash prices and boost production, Russia, which has about $150 billion in a rainy-day fund, has announced fresh measures to stabilize its economy. This could go on for a while, and the strong personalities of Russia's President Putin and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman may push this fight further than is good for either of their oil-dependent economies.

Carbon has a bad rep, but did you know it's a building block of life? As atoms evolved, carbon trapped in CO2 was freed, giving way to the creation of complex molecules that use photosynthesis to convert carbon to food. Soon after, plants, herbivores, and carnivores began populating the earth and the cycle of life began.

Learn more about how carbon created life on Earth in the second episode of Eni's Story of CO2 series.

As we enter the homestretch of the US presidential election — which is set to be the most contentious, and possibly contested, in generations — Americans are also voting on 35 seats up for grabs in a battle for the control of the Senate. The 100-member body is currently held 53-47 by the Republican Party, but many individual races are wide open, and the Democrats are confident they can flip the upper chamber of Congress.

Either way, the result will have a profound impact not only on domestic policy, but also on US foreign relations and other issues with global reach. Here are a few areas where what US senators decide reverberates well beyond American shores.

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On September 23, GZERO Media — in partnership with Microsoft and Eurasia Group — gathered global experts to discuss global recovery from the coronavirus pandemic in a livestream panel. Our panel for the discussion Crisis Response & Recovery: Reimagining while Rebuilding, included:

  • Brad Smith, President, Microsoft
  • Ian Bremmer, President and Founder, Eurasia Group & GZERO Media
  • Jeh Johnson, Partner, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, LLP and former Secretary of Homeland Security.
  • John Frank, Vice President, UN Affairs at Microsoft
  • Susan Glasser, staff writer and Washington columnist, The New Yorker (moderator)

Special appearances by UN Secretary-General António Guterres, European Central Bank chief Christine Lagarde, and comedian/host Trevor Noah.

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Jon Lieber, who leads Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, offers insights on the Supreme Court vacancy:

Will Senate Republicans, who stopped a Supreme Court nomination in 2016, because it was too close to an election, pay a political price for the change in tactics this time around?

Not only do I think they won't pay a political price, I think in many cases, they're going to benefit. Changing the balance of power on the Supreme Court has been a career-long quest for many conservatives and many Republicans. And that's why you've seen so many of them fall in line behind the President's nomination before we even know who it is.

At this point, do Senate Democrats have any hope of stopping President Trump from filling the ninth seat on the Supreme Court?

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In a special GZERO Media livestream on global response and recovery amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Eurasia Group & GZERO Media president Ian Bremmer discussed the difference between Europe's unified approach to economic stimulus and the deeply divided and political nature of the current conversation in the US. While initial stimulus support was bipartisan, there is little chance of Democrats and Republicans coming together again ahead of the November 3 presidential election. "It's red state versus blue state. President Trump's saying that coronavirus isn't so bad if you take the blue states out. He's president of the blue states, you can't take the blue states out," Bremmer told moderator Susan Glasser of The New Yorker.

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Panel: How will the world recover from COVID-19?

UNGA Livestream