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North Korea blows up the relationship. Why?

First, they stop taking your calls. Then they blow up the house. But this isn't a love affair gone wrong, it's what's happening right now along one of the tensest borders in the world, between North and South Korea. Last week Pyongyang quit answering a daily phone call from the South that was set up in 2018 to keep the peace and further reconciliation. Then, yesterday, North Korea quite literally blew up a building just north of the border which both sides had used for the past two years as a meeting place for officials from the North and the South.

Why now?

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Kim-less Korea

The speculation continues: Where is Kim Jong-un? We'd all grown used to new photos of the North Korean dictator smiling and pointing at things, or galloping up snowy mountaintops, but we haven't seen him at all since April 11.

By now you've heard the rumors. Is he dead? In a vegetative state? Sick or injured? In coronavirus quarantine? Lounging in luxury with a belly laugh at our expense? If you know the answer, please email us here. We promise to keep your wild rumors secret.

But today we'll look beyond these questions, because whenever a secretive, authoritarian state misplaces its strongman, there are larger, longer-term issues to consider. Here are a few questions and tentative answers to advance the discussion.

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Bolsonaro in Brazil; Kim Jong-un health speculation; COVID-19 in Africa

What is going on in Brazil? Is it at a tipping point?

I'm not sure it's tipping point for Brazil, but it's a tipping point for Bolsonaro. When he came in, it was after years of political scandal, Lava Jato. You had impeachments, ministers getting thrown out of office. Former President Lula in jail. Dilma Rousseff impeached. Finally, somebody clean who has the former federal justice who helped put away a lot of these ministers as the new minister of justice. Now, a president that mishandled coronavirus, attacked the governors as fake news, you can't have shut downs, and cases in Brazil are spiraling much higher per capita than in other major Latin American economies; now he's gotten rid of his minister of justice. He's resigned, said Bolsonaro is interfering with investigations, getting too close to his family. That is the opposite of what you want in the midst of the worst economic contraction, maybe in Brazil's democratic history. His approval ratings are dropping, down in the low 30s. He might end up getting impeached. He'd have to lose more support. But, the idea that he governs effectively in Congress with a reformist coalition is off the table. He is in a lot of trouble. This is the beginning of what I suspect will eventually be the end of Bolsonaro. It's much harder to imagine him getting another term. Even lasting the full term.

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Anna Fifield on the legacy and leadership of North Korea's Kim Jong Un

The Washington Post's Beijing Bureau Chief Anna Fifield discusses the legacy of Kim Jong Un, and what has defined his governing style, compared to his father (Kim Jong Il) and grandfather (Kim Il Sung), in an interview on GZERO World with Ian Bremmer.

Watch the GZERO World episode.

Uncoordinated Global Coronavirus Response; Kim Jong-un; US Immigration

What's the coronavirus update? Is there global coordination yet fighting this pandemic?

Global coordination is completely absent. There is a level of harmonization from the central bank governors because they are mostly technocratic and independent. And because they all basically hail from Western advanced industrial countries. The Chinese don't have a convertible currency. So, it's a wholly different story, monetary policy.

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