Has the coronavirus become an epidemic?

Will the US be more active in Venezuela after Juan Guaido attended the State of the Union as a guest of Trump?

The answer is: not really. Guaido was dissed, didn't meet with President Trump in Miami, could have a one on one. That looked really bad. The fact that he's at the State of the Union means that he's not in disgrace in the US, but he's lost a lot of influence in Venezuela. His popularity is about 50 percent of what it was, opposition getting divided. And Bolton, of course, is near the top of Trump's crap list. He was the guy that was driving a more assertive policy. Romney's probably on top of that list, right now though.


What's the coronavirus update? Is it a pandemic?

Clearly getting worse. Impact on the Chinese economy is growing. The fact that we don't trust the data and the quarantine continues to expand. Plus, most importantly, China's economy is so much greater. Majority of global growth comes from China as the second largest economy in the world. Vastly different than when we had the SARS pandemic. Which means impact on the global economy: potentially half a point, maybe even a point of global growth. Could be the thing that knocks us into a global recession. I really hope not.

What's the story in Lesotho?

Well, the prime minister's wife apparently killed his ex-wife, who was first lady. They were getting divorced, but she didn't want a divorce, even though they were living separately because she wouldn't be first lady. She'd lose all the resources that came with that. Now, it says that the new first lady killed her. 40 years younger than the actual prime minister, never looks good. You got Lesotho in the news; how do you like that?

In Italy, stacks of plastic boxes in supermarkets and stores are not garbage - they are collected and reused, thanks to a consortium that specializes in recycling them for food storage. How do these "circular" plastic boxes help reduce energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions?

Learn more in this episode of Eni's Energy SUPERFACTS series.

British economist Jim O'Neill says the global economy can bounce back right to where it was before, in a V-shaped recovery. But his argument is based on a lot of "ifs," plus comparisons to the 2008 recession and conditions in China and South Korea that may not truly apply. Ian Bremmer and Eurasia Group's Robert Kahn take issue with O'Neill's op-ed, on this edition of The Red Pen.

Today, we're taking our Red Pen to an article titled "A V-Shaped Recovery Could Still Happen." I'm not buying it. It's published recently by Project Syndicate, authored by British economist named Jim O'Neill. Jim O'Neill is very well known. He was chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management. He's the guy that coined the acronym BRICS, Brazil, Russia, India, China. So, no slouch. But as you know, we don't agree with everything out there. And this is the case. Brought to you by the letter V. We're taking sharp issue with the idea that recovery from all the economic devastation created by the coronavirus pandemic is going to happen quickly. That after the sharp drop that the world has experienced, everything bounces back to where it was before. That's the V. Economists around the world are debating how quickly recovery will happen to be sure. But we're not buying the V. Here's why. W-H-Y.

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Over the past few years, we've seen three major emerging powers take bold action to right what they say are historical wrongs.

First came Crimea. When the Kremlin decided in 2014 that Western powers were working against Russian interests in Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin ordered Russian troops to seize the Crimean Peninsula, which was then part of Ukraine. Moscow claimed that Crimea and its ethnic Russian majority had been part of the Russian Empire for centuries until a shameful deal in 1954 made Crimea part of the Ukrainian Soviet Republic. Americans and Europeans imposed sanctions on Russia. But Ukraine is not part of NATO or the EU, and no further action was taken.

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Nicholas Thompson, editor-in-chief of WIRED, provides his perspective on technology news:

Will the new audit of Facebook civil rights practices change the way the company operates?

Yes. It came under a lot of pressure from civil rights activists who organized an advertising boycott. And then an internal audit on Facebook's effect on civil rights came out. It was quite critical. Those two things, one after the other, will surely lead to changes at the company.

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The United States and the European Union have comparable population sizes, but their COVID-19 death toll trajectories have recently become very different. Since the beginning of July, the average number of both new fatalities and new deaths per 1 million people is rapidly increasing in the US while it remains mostly flat in the EU. We compare this to the average number of new cases each seven days in both regions, where the US trend continues upward but is not surging like the death toll. EU countries' robust public health systems and citizens' willingness to wear masks and maintain social distance could explain the disparity.