Speaking of that Trump-Kim summit, an interesting thing has happened in North Korea: The propaganda boys have gone soft. No more talk of drowning dotards in a sea of fire. On ubiquitous street corner posters, storm clouds and bayonets are now out; blue skies and white doves are in. Newspapers that once presented the United States as monstrous now describe it as a more-or-less normal country.

Yet, state propaganda is not the only, or even the most important, source of news for ordinary North Koreans. Most recent available data (2012) shows that 71 percent of North Koreans say “word of mouth” is an important source of information. Just 38 percent said the same for state television. Other major sources of information inside North Korea include smuggled DVDs and South Korean radio. The probable result is that, confused as the rest of us are about what to expect next, North Koreans must be especially confused.

North Korea’s government, meanwhile, may still be hedging its bets on the future of peace negotiations. 38 North, part of Washington’s Stimson Center, reports that satellite photos show North Korea is making visible improvements to the Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center. Images show several new buildings, fresh work on a cooling water reservoir, and an apparently active radiochemical laboratory.

It’s too early to know whether North Korea is playing a cynical double game or just “hoping for the best while preparing for the worst.” In either case, North Korea’s people will be the last to know.

We're used to seeing electric, gas and wood-burning ovens, but can you imagine baking pizza in a solar-powered oven? That technology was invented in the latest episode of Funny Applications, where Eni's budding researchers imagine new uses for technology.

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It looks like China's leadership has finally had enough of Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement.

In a speech on Thursday to the national people's congress, a symbolic confab of the country's ruling elite, Premier Li Keqiang announced a new national security law that would outlaw secessionist activity and criminalize foreign influence in Hong Kong. The measure, an explicit response to recent pro-democracy protests there, would also permit mainland China's security agencies to operate openly in the city.

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Indonesia becomes an epicenter: Indonesia, the world's fourth most populous country, is now considered an epicenter of the pandemic, after it suffered its biggest daily surge in cases Thursday with over 900 new infections. The country of 260 million has the largest outbreak in Southeast Asia, recording about 20,000 cases and 1,300 deaths, though a recent study suggested that as few as 2 percent of the country's coronavirus infections may have been reported. When pressed on why Indonesia is experiencing a surge in cases while the curve appears to be flattening in neighboring countries, Indonesian health authorities blamed the public's flouting of social distancing guidelines. But critics say the government has sent wishy-washy messages on how to stop the disease's spread, as demonstrated by the fact that only four of Indonesia's 34 provinces have applied widespread social-distancing restrictions. Meanwhile, as the country's 225 million Muslims prepare to celebrate the end of Ramadan this weekend, popular markets have been overwhelmed by shoppers buying food and clothing, with little guidance or enforcement of large-scale social distancing measures. Indonesia's public health system is grossly underfunded, and experts warn that given the shortage of hospital beds, medical equipment and staff, the situation could deteriorate fast in the coming weeks.

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This is not the 2020 that Vladimir Putin had in mind.

As the year started, Russia's president was crafting plans for changes to the constitution that would permit him to stay in power for (at least) another 16 years. A rubber stamp public referendum was to be held in April. Then, in May, he was to welcome foreign leaders to Moscow for a grand celebration (parades, concerts, fireworks, and a reviewing stand atop Lenin's Mausoleum) marking the 75th anniversary of the Soviet Union's triumph over Nazi Germany in the Great Patriotic War.

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Have you ever read a major op-ed and thought to yourself, "no! no! no! That's just not right!" Us too. This week, Ian Bremmer is joined by analysts Kelsey Broderick and Jeffrey Wright to take the Red Pen to former World Bank president Robert B. Zoellick's Wall Street Journal op-ed.

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