All They Want For Christmas

Not everyone celebrates Yuletide, sure. But now that the White House is #winning its war against the “War On Christmas”, people everywhere can solicit Santa. We peeked at some of our favorite world leaders’ private missives to Saint Nick.


Donald Trump: Dear Santa, as you know, nobody knows more about giving gifts than I do, billions and billions of gifts, and if the media weren’t so dishonest you would probably, and so by the way you are welcome for the fact that it’s ok to say Merry Christmas again, but you are waging economic aggression on America by hiring elves instead of Americans.

Rodrigo Duterte: Dear Santa, Now that China is sending me weapons, I don’t need your help to eliminate all naughty boys from my list any more. Thanks.

Vladimir Putin: Dear Santa, if we don’t get what we want in 2018 we’re giving Wikileaks a copy of every letter you’ve ever received.

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador: Dear Santa, I don’t ask for much. Just keep Donald Trump right where he is until July 1.

Edward Snowden’s Cat: Dear Santa, help.

Nancy Pelosi: Dear Santa, please give us more to work with than evangelicals accused of pedophiliac sexual misconduct, otherwise we’ll probably still be snowed under in 2020.

Paolo Gentiloni: Caro Babbo Natale, come stai? Can you send me 4 stars this year instead of 5?

Recep Tayyip Erdogan: Dear Santa, I don’t believe in you, but the Christians do — please gift them the impression that I am leader of the Muslim world.

Kim Jong-un: Dear Santa, please give me more credit for stuff that Russia is getting all the credit for.

Xi Jinping: Dear Santa, you and I are both out of business if Trump follows through on this trade war stuff. Can I interest you in a new belt or road?

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.