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What We’re Watching: Duterte’s meltdown, Bulgaria blocks North Macedonia, Middle East prepares for Biden

Duterte's typhoon troubles: As the Philippines struggles with the aftermath of Typhoon Vamco, which killed almost 70 people and submerged parts of the main island of Luzon, tough-talking President Rodrigo Duterte defended himself from accusations of poor disaster management by lashing out at Vice President Leni Robredo on live TV. The president, unleashing a barrage of sexist remarks at the Veep, falsely claimed that his political rival Robredo — the Philippines elects the VP separately from the president — had criticized him for being absent at the height of the storm, when Duterte was (virtually) attending a regional meeting of Southeast Asian leaders. Robredo, for her part, called the president a misogynist, and said she's not competing with him after Duterte threatened to be her "nightmare" if she ran in the next presidential election. We're watching to see if the typhoon disaster — or Duterte's meltdown about it — will make a dent in his popular support, which remains strong despite growing discontent over his handling of this latest crisis and the coronavirus pandemic.

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A deal on the EU Recovery Fund? North Macedonia and the EU

Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden, with the view from Europe:

Is it likely that there will be a deal on the EU Recovery Fund at the summit this weekend?

That remains to be seen. There's a huge amount that needs to be decided, both concerning the immensely big recovery fund and also the entire seven-year budget for the entire European Union. And there are significant divergences between views, so far. So, there might be a deal, but it might also be somewhat delayed. I'm quite certain at the end of the day there will be the deal.

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