Hell of a Party, Guys!

What does an evangelical judge accused of pedophilia have in common with a one-time anti-Apartheid hero who faces 783 counts of corruption? Both Roy Moore, the failed Republican candidate for Senate in Alabama, and Jacob Zuma, freshly-ousted leader of South Africa’s ANC, are at the center of deep internal divisions within their respective political parties. Those parties aren’t the only ones in power that are suffering deep internal divisions right now…


The Republicans: Since the late 1960s the GOP (Grand Old Party, as it’s known in the US) has united social conservatives and economic liberals, but now the party is under fire from within as former Trump strategist Steven Bannon leads a “populist, nationalist, conservative revolt” against party leaders. Trump and Bannon, who runs the ultranationalist media “killing machine” Breitbart, endorsed Roy Moore, so his loss was a setback. But look for this GOP fissure to be a defining theme in the 2018 midterm elections and beyond.

The ANC: The reformist union-leader-turned-businessman Cyril Ramaphosa has just won a hotly contested race to lead the ANC into the 2019 presidential election. As Willis wrote last Friday, this outcome leaves current President Jacob Zuma, who faces hundreds of corruption and racketeering charges, dangerously exposed to prosecution. Ramaphosa’s victory is a win for the more investor-friendly faction of the ANC. But Zuma’s faction won’t simply accept a defeat that leaves him in real legal jeopardy. The ANC infighting has only just begun.

The Tories: The UK’s traditional conservative party is deeply divided over Brexit — some members want the UK to keep close economic ties with the continent even after it leaves the EU, while others favor a sharper break that gives the UK greater economic flexibility. This divide is crippling Prime Minister Theresa May’s ability to reach any deal at all with Brussels before the clock runs out on Brexit talks…

Brazil’s PSDB: Brazil’s largest center-right party is split over support for scandal-wracked president Michel Temer’s market-friendly reforms. Younger members say steer clear, while older heads want to work with him so his PMDB party will support a PSDB candidate in next year’s presidential election. New PSDB leader Geraldo Alckmin has sided the party with Temer for now, but the deeper divisions will persist, weakening the party as the presidential campaign heats up.

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.