Coronavirus in Wuhan; Tanzanian Papayas; Maduro's Strength in Venezuela

With new coronavirus cases emerging in Wuhan, what does that mean for China?

Well, it means that transmission is very much a concern, even in a country that has the most draconian capacity to keep people in place, quarantine and track and surveil them. So, you've got, I guess, 11 new cases already that they're telling us about. Almost certainly more than that. And they're saying that they're going to test 11 million people in Wuhan in the coming six days. Let's see if they're able to actually get that done. But to be very clear, there is no country in the world that would be able to do broader and more immediate mandatory testing than the Chinese. And what they really want to show, I mean, for all of the backlash internationally for being responsible for the original cover up and the pandemic and also for not handling international leadership well, a lot of the mask diplomacy was more about propaganda than really making a difference for countries that needed the help, but at least in terms of getting the economy running again, while the Americans and Europeans are still locked down, the Chinese are not. And indeed, the supply chain is back up. And that really does matter. And that's what they want to focus on, both for domestic purposes and internationally. So, I think that's a big deal. And we're going to see that China will do everything possible to allow for continued confidence in their supply chain. That matters immensely for Xi Jinping's tenure.


What is going on in Tanzania?

There are definitely leaders around the world who make Donald Trump and Boris Johnson's early efforts look downright Churchillian. And Tanzania may well take the cake, where the president has initially locked a bunch of things down, but not any international flights and not local restaurants and bars and perhaps most importantly, not churches. In fact, he said everyone should go to church because coronavirus cannot live in the body of Christ. Now, this is a PhD in chemistry who is actually saying this. He's also saying that there are very few deaths from coronavirus in the country. He's made it illegal for people to talk about it. And there's been all sorts of military and public security who have been seen hiding away dead bodies, taking them away in the middle of the night. Clearly, this is a much bigger problem on the ground in Tanzania than they want to admit. And the people are suffering from a president who is actively promoting fake news. But the best part of the story is that the way that they know that people are faking positives in cases is that he had a papaya and a goat sent to get tested, samples, and they both came back positive. And so, you know, at the very least, do not eat Tanzanian papayas. That's the one piece of news I can definitely take away from this. I'm certainly not going to. I just want to be clear on that.

After the botched invasion of Venezuela, is Maduro's hand strengthened?

No. His economy is a disaster and his oil is worthless. And the people are very unhappy, but they're also exhausted. The Cuban intelligence is still supporting them on the ground. The Americans aren't going to do very much aside from continuing to strangle the economy. Not like we need a lot of help on that front. And the military is with him. So, I mean, I think his hand was strong and his hand is strong. I mean, it's kind of like Assad right now. You've got a bunch of really horrible leaders around the world and it doesn't matter how disastrous the economy is for the people, their ability to rebel against it just isn't there. Now, I mean, if the army in Venezuela starts feeling like they're not getting fed and the economic implosion starts impacting them, well, fear by itself probably isn't going to keep Maduro in place. You do need the military to have oil. But for now, we don't see that changing. And the opposition is in utter disarray.

Jon Lieber, Managing Director of the United States for Eurasia Group, shares updates on recent COVID-19 policy developments:

The Biden administration extended an eviction moratorium even after the Supreme Court said they couldn't, what's next?

Well, the CDC imposed a nationwide eviction moratorium in light of increased risk from evicted people because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Supreme Court in June ruled that they (CDC) overextended their authority in doing so and mandated that the moratorium expire on schedule in July. A group of progressive activists weren't happy about this and raised a huge stink in Congress, but Congress recessed for their August vacation before they could solve the problem, putting big pressure on President Biden to extend the moratorium even though he said he didn't think that it would pass constitutional muster. The CDC did it anyway, extending the moratorium until October 3rd, which is a time that's short enough to probably avoid it being overturned by lawsuits, but long enough that Congress has time to figure out how to either extend it on a bipartisan basis or put more money into a rental assistance fund that few people have taken advantage of so far. This whole incident shows the power of progressive activists in the Biden administration who were able to elevate the profile of this issue and potentially prevent millions of people from losing their homes this summer.

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This week, the market value of Tencent, China's biggest video game company, nosedived after a state media outlet suggested that online gaming was as addictive and destructive as opium. Tencent immediately pledged to cap the number of hours people can play, and to keep minors off its platforms.

It's the latest example of a months-long crackdown on major Chinese technology firms that until recently were viewed as some of the world's most powerful and successful companies, as well as a source of national pride. Beijing's about-face on its own tech titans could have big implications for China, and beyond.

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Iran was involved in two naval incidents in the Gulf of Oman in recent days. The US, UK, and Israel have blamed Iran for a drone attack that killed two European nationals. Iran has rejected the accusations. Iran is also suspected in the "potential hijack" of a tanker off the coast of the United Arab Emirates.

These provocations are happening just as Iran inaugurates a new president, Ebrahim Raisi, and as talks continue over the possible US re-entry into the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. What's the connection between these events? We asked Henry Rome, Eurasia Group's deputy head of research and a director covering global macro politics and the Middle East.

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Whenever Burkina Faso is in the news, it's often about how the crisis-ridden country has got caught up in the crosshairs of horrific jihadist violence plaguing the Sahel.

But this week, the nation of 20 million was celebrating because Hugues Fabrice Zango won its first-ever Olympic medal after finishing third in the men's triple jump in Tokyo.

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Should people get COVID vaccine booster shots? Not yet, says the World Health Organization, which is pushing for rich nations or those with access to jabs to hold off until at least the end of September so all countries get to fully vaccinate at least 10 percent of their populations before some jump ahead with boosters. But the WHO's call has fallen on deaf ears in nations like Israel, France, Germany and Russia, which are already planning to offer boosters, in part to better protect people against the more contagious delta variant. What's more, mRNA vaccine makers Pfizer and Moderna are recommending supplemental doses for the same reason. The problem is that, beyond the obvious moral imperative for equal access to vaccines, if the rich continue hoarding jabs while vaccination rates stay low elsewhere, the virus will continue to thrive — and mutate into new, potentially even more infectious variants that sooner or later will reach every corner of the planet.

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80: If polar ice caps continue to melt at their current pace due to climate change, 80 percent of all emperor penguins will be wiped out by the end of the century because they need the ice for breeding and keeping their offspring safe. American authorities want to list emperor penguins, which only live in Antarctica, as an endangered species so that US fishing vessels will be required to protect them when operating in their habitat.

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On GZERO World, Ian Bremmer takes a look at the yin and the yang of alcohol's role in high-level diplomacy and society at large. Alcohol can bring people together just as easily as it can tear them apart. From a 1995 Clinton/Yeltsin Summit where a drunk Yeltsin almost derailed Bosnian peace talks, to Obama's Beer Summit and the recent G7 Summit, booze plays a part in how world leaders interact. Globally, alcohol consumption has been steadily increasing, by over 70 percent between 1990 and 2017, according to one report. . Low and middle-income nations like Vietnam, India, and China are a driving force behind that trend, with drinking in Southeast Asia rising by over 34 percent between 2010 and 2017. And yet, amidst this global booze boom, the world has only grown more and more divided.

Watch the episode: The (political) power of alcohol

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Does alcohol help bring the world together?

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