Watching/Ignoring

WHAT WE’RE WATCHING

Canada’s NAFTA deadline  Later today, we’ll find out whether Canada wants to join President Trump’s new version of NAFTA. This isn’t an easy call for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who wants to appear tough on Trump while needing a deal to avoid steep US tariffs. That said, if Trudeau calls Trump’s bluff and says no, it’s far from clear the US Congress will approve a bilateral deal with Mexico that excludes Canada.


Russian trolls, chapter 653 – Scientists at George Washington University say they have discovered a project launched on Twitter by bots and Russian trolls to spread misinformation about vaccination. The study discovered several accounts, known to belong to Russian trolls who interfered in the 2016 US elections, as well as marketing and malware bots, tweeting false information about vaccines. It’s not clear whether the project’s purpose is to generate political controversy or simply to prevent parents from vaccinating their children.

WHAT WE’RE IGNORING

British-French naval battles  “Now I am satisfied. Thank God I have done my duty.” These were the final words of Admiral Lord Nelson as he died below deck on the moment of his greatest victory at the battle of Trafalgar in 1805. His triumph ensured Napoleon would never invade Britain. The British and French are again battling at sea, this time over scallop fishing rights, and these grubby maritime hoodlums have none of Nelson’s panache.

A Kalashnikov on wheels – Russian arms maker Kalashnikov, best known for the AK-47 assault rifle, has introduced a new electric car it hopes will rival Elon Musk’s Tesla. Russia doesn’t have much track record with domestically manufactured luxury automobiles, to put it politely, and your Friday author is having trouble suspending his disbelief.

How much material do we use to send a package? Too much. Does recycling help? Yes – but not really. Packaging material often accumulates as waste, contributing to its own "polluting weight." To solve our packaging dilemma, Finland came up with RePack: a "circular" solution for the reuse of material.

Learn more about RePack in Eni's new Energy Superfacts series.

A steady increase of violence in the Sahel region of Africa over the past eight years has imposed fear and hardship on millions of the people who live there. It has also pushed the governments of Sahel countries to work together to fight terrorists.

The region's troubles have also captured the attention of European leaders, who worry that if instability there continues, it could generate a movement of migrants that might well dwarf the EU refugee crisis of 2015-2016.

But is Europe helping to make things better?

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Donald J. Trump and CorOnaVirus decide to hit the road together across the USA. Will DJT and COV discover they are more alike than different? Will their interests diverge? #PUPPETREGIME

Jon Lieber, Managing Director for the United States at the Eurasia Group, shares his perspective on US politics.

Where are US-China relations in this battle over TikTok and what is happening?

Well, this may seem like a minor deal. It's a video sharing app that the president has given 45 days to sell to a US entity or get banned in the United States. But along with WeChat, these are two of China's most successful technology companies that the US has now banned from entry into the United States and potentially banned from being used on operating systems that rely on US software inside China. So, this is a huge escalation in the geotech war between the United States and China. China for a long time has not allowed Google and Facebook and other American applications to be fully operative inside their borders. And now the US is stepping up against Chinese technology companies. The reason is that there's concerns among the US government about these tech, these apps data security practices. Members of the military, high ranking government officials aren't allowed to have these on their phones because there's concern about what China does with the data that they can harvest from those phones. This is a real warning sign to other Chinese technology companies that they may not be welcome inside the American market unless they can prove in some way, they are totally independent from the Chinese government and the Chinese military. Expect a lot of escalation in this area over the coming months and years.

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In a new interview with Ian Bremmer for GZERO World, former CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden says that the single most important step to reopening schools in the fall is to control infection in the community. But as of now, too many communities across the United States have lost control of the Covid-19 virus. Opening schools will only become a possibility once a majority of people start practicing the "Three 'W's" ("Wear a mask, wash your hands, watch your distance") and local and federal governments enforce stricter protective policies. The full episode of GZERO World begins airing on US public television on Friday, August 7, 2020. Check local listings.