GZERO Media logo

Coronavirus Politics Daily: Italy snubs women, the COCAINE-19 crisis, ISIS exploits pandemic in Iraq

Coronavirus Politics Daily: Italy snubs women, the COCAINE-19 crisis, ISIS exploits pandemic in Iraq

Italy's women snubbed in COVID response – Italy's COVID-19 commission, which was selected to advise the government on how to manage the crisis, has gathered for a televised briefing each night to update the public on the day's news. But in a country where more than half of doctors, and three-quarters of nurses, are women, Italians have noted a glaring omission: the 20-member body is made up entirely of men. Now, anger over gender inequality in the coronavirus response is gaining momentum: more than 70 women doctors and scientists have signed a petition demanding that the Italian government include females in the councils that govern the country's response to the pandemic. Female lawmakers have lodged a similar motion in the Senate. The absence of women in the policymaking process has led to some big mistakes, critics say: Prime Minister Conte's reopening plan, for example, fails to address childcare burdens, which disproportionately fall on the female population. The gender imbalance in the government's coronavirus response tracks broader inequalities in Italy, where only 53 percent of Italian women are represented in the workforce, the second lowest mark in the EU.


COCAINE-19: the pandemic and traffickers – The coronavirus pandemic is wreaking havoc with the global narcotics trade, scrambling its supply chains, and causing street prices for some illicit drugs to skyrocket, says a new UN report. In normal times, cartels ship most of their stuff hidden in planes and ships carrying otherwise legitimate goods. But as coronavirus lockdowns close borders, cripple air travel, and reduce maritime trade, drug producers are struggling with shortages of labor and precursor chemicals, while smuggling their final product is getting a lot riskier. Mexican opioid producers, for example, can't get the chemicals they usually import from China. Poppy farmers in South Asia are seeing demand, and prices, for their crops collapse as opportunities to export shrivel. Latin American drug lords are risking bigger shipments to Europe, which are easier to detect. Drug shortages can push down consumption, but they also raise prices on the street, which can stoke violence over smuggling routes and markets. More broadly, with the coronavirus pandemic set to plunge as many as 500 million people into poverty, the UN warns that as economies open up again, traffickers will have a huge group of willing, vulnerable recruits.

ISIS exploits Iraq's COVID crisis – We previously wrote about the fear that militant groups might take advantage of the coronavirus crisis to wreak havoc as governments are distracted. That's precisely what's playing out in Iraq, where ISIS has exploited COVID-19 lockdowns in recent weeks to launch fresh attacks in urban areas like Baghdad and Kirkuk, killing scores of Iraqi soldiers. Although ISIS holds little of the territory it once ruled (mostly in rural areas) the group has more breathing room now as Iraqi security forces are stretched thin policing the public's compliance with lockdown requirements. The surge in violence comes as the Iraqi government struggles to fill the security void left by the US decision to withdraw its own troops because of coronavirus concerns. (In a blow to the Iraqi government, US-led coalition forces that played a central role in the fight to defeat ISIS had already started withdrawing from Iraq as part of a planned troop drawdown.) Even before the COVID-19 crisis, Iraq was plagued by political instability, having failed to install a stable prime minister for five months until yesterday, while also facing rising popular unrest over corruption and economic stagnation.

The role of the public library has evolved over time. As we move online at an even faster rate, knowledge, entertainment and opportunities for education and employment are found on the internet. Those living in well-connected, affluent places may have come to take internet access for granted. But there is a digital divide in the U.S. that has left people at a disadvantage – particularly since the arrival of COVID-19.

Finding ways to overcome that divide in a sustainable, community-led way could help bring the benefits of the internet to those who need it most. One solution is to use technologies such as TV white space to facilitate wireless broadband – as Microsoft's Airband Initiative is doing. To read more about Microsoft's work with public libraries, visit Microsoft On The Issues.

Who does Vladimir Putin want to win the US election? Given the Kremlin's well-documented efforts to sway the 2016 vote in Donald Trump's favor, it's certainly a fair question. And while there's no solid evidence that Russian interference had any decisive effect on the outcome four years ago, the Trump administration itself says the Kremlin — and others — are now trying to mess with the election again.

So let's put you in Vladimir Putin's size 9 shoes as you weigh up Donald Trump vs Joe Biden while refreshing your own personal PyatTridsatVosem (FiveThirtyEight) up there in the Kremlin.

More Show less

Less than a week out from Election Day, 66 million Americans have already cast their ballots, and many of those are people who are voting "early" for the first time because of the pandemic. In fact, the early vote total alone this year is already equal to nearly half of all ballots cast in the 2016 general election, suggesting that 2020 turnout could reach historic levels. Most important, however, is how things are playing out in key battleground states where the outcome of the US election will be determined. In Texas, for instance, a huge surge in early voting by Democrats this year has raised the possibility that a state which has been won by Republican candidates since 1976 could now be up for grabs. Here we take a look at early voting in battleground states in 2020 as compared to 2016.

In a national referendum on Sunday, Chileans overwhelmingly voted in favor of a new constitution. But, why are people in this oasis of political stability and steady economic growth in South America willing to undo the bedrock of the system that has allowed Chile to prosper for so long?

More Show less

Ian Bremmer discusses the World In (more than) 60 Seconds:

One week before the US election. What do other world leaders want to happen?

Well, I mean, let's face it. Outside the United States, most of the world's leaders would prefer to see the back of Trump. An America first policy was not exactly made for non-Americans. That was not the intended demographic audience. Trump doesn't really care. In fact, to a degree, it's kind of a selling point that a lot of foreign leaders don't want Trump. It's showing that Trump is strong in negotiations and indeed is doing better for the American people.

That's largely BS, but occasionally it's true. I mean, his willingness to use American power to force the Mexican government to actually tighten up on Mexico's Southern border and stop immigration from coming through. AMLO would have much rather that not have happened, but the fact that it did was an America first policy, that rebounded to the benefits of the United States. And there are other examples of that. But generally speaking, it would be better for the US long-term, and for the world, if we had more harmonious, smoother relations with other countries around the world, certainly pretty much all the Europeans would much rather see Trump lose. The United Kingdom is the significant exception given the nature of Brexit, and the fact that Trump has been in favor of that, like being called Mr. Brexit by five or six Brits or however many did.

More Show less
UNGA banner

GZEROMEDIA

Subscribe to GZERO Media's Newsletter: Signal

Cities on the frontlines

Living Beyond Borders Articles