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What We're Watching: Tanzania's new leader, big global economic  recovery (for some), more bloodshed in Darfur

Tanzania's U-turn on COVID, press freedom: Tanzania's new President Samia Suluhu Hassan announced on Tuesday that she'll appoint a committee to determine whether the country should start responding to the pandemic, though she stopped short of implementing any sweeping changes. While it's late in the game more than a year since the pandemic was declared, it's still a big deal considering that her late predecessor John Magufuli, who she served under as deputy for six years, was a COVID denier who shunned masks and vaccines, refused to implement pandemic-related restrictions, and declared Tanzania virus-free thanks to prayers from its citizens. (Magufuli died last month, officially from heart complications but it's widely suspected he contracted COVID-19). Hassan, who has been criticized for embracing her former boss' authoritarian tendencies at times, also plans to lift Magufuli's bans on critical media outlets, another major shift for a nation where journalists are often prosecuted over social media posts critical of the government, and citizens are regularly denied access to independent sources of information. We're watching to see if Hassan delivers on her promise of change for Tanzania.

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What We’re Watching: Biden takes (executive) action, Dutch curfew, Darfur bloodshed

Biden's first-day blitz: Just hours after taking the oath of office as the 46th US president, Joe Biden hit the ground running, signing a whopping 17 executive actions, most of which reverse the Trump administration's policies. The main areas of focus are COVID (reorganizing the federal response coordination structure, returning to the World Health Organization), climate change (rejoining the Paris Climate Accord, cancelling the Keystone KL pipeline), and immigration (ending the travel ban for certain Muslim-majority countries, stopping construction of the southern border wall, and giving more protection to so-called "Dreamers," undocumented people who entered the country when they were children). He also signed orders directing US federal agencies to root out discrimination and barriers to opportunity in their hiring and policies. We're watching how many of these actions will be challenged in the courts — as a lot of Trump's were four years ago — and whether they will hamper Biden's ability to get moderate Republican support for key legislation he can't get done just with the stroke of his pen.

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What We're Watching: India has the world's fastest growing epidemic, clashes in Darfur, US election calendar

COVID-19 pummels India: India, home to 1.3 billion people, passed a grim milestone recently as the country with the fastest growing epidemic in the world, according to Bloomberg's COVID tracker. Reporting over 1.43 million cases on Monday, a 20 percent week-on-week increase, it now trails only the US and Brazil in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases. Indeed, several factors have complicated India's efforts to contain the virus. Workers who toil in the country's robust informal sector do not have the luxury of working from home. Meanwhile, social distancing and hygienic upkeep are all but impossible for millions of people living in crowded slums. On Monday, India recorded one of its highest daily caseloads, with almost 50,000 reported infections, likely a gross undercount considering that the country still has one of the lowest testing rates in the world. (India is testing around 12 people per 1,000, compared to 153 in the US, 130 in the UK, and 184 in Russia.)

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