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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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Kushner: Palestine's Mahmoud Abbas is no 'great dealmaker or statesman'

White House senior advisor Jared Kushner, who masterminded the Trump administration's new Mideast peace proposal, had tough words for Mahmoud Abbas, the President of the Palestinian Authority, accusing him of being more interested in "flying around" the world than running his government efficiently for his people.

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Kushner on Israeli annexation plans: not now

To understand Jared Kushner's comments in a broader context, here are a few things to consider:

What are the settlements? In the 1967 Six Day War, Israel captured the West Bank from neighboring Jordan, and soon after began setting up communities of Jewish settlers on this land. The West Bank is now home to over 400,000 Jewish Israelis, living in settlements among some 1.9 million Palestinians who, in turn, are not considered citizens of Israel and who must regularly pass through Israeli military checkpoints.

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Kushner to Palestinians: 'Put up or shut up' on peace plan

White House Senior Advisor Jared Kushner, author of the Trump administration's newly announced Middle East peace plan, had tough words today for Palestinian leaders who immediately rejected the proposal. In a lengthy interview with GZERO Media's Ian Bremmer, he said that Palestinians have long played "the victimhood card," and that for the first time a "practical, rational plan" is on the table for them. Throughout the interview, Kushner hammered home his belief that the political power of the Palestinian leaders, including President Mahmoud Abbas, has been greatly diminished.

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Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak

This week Ian interviews Ehud Barak, the former Prime Minister of Israel and the most highly decorated soldier in the country’s history. Given the news out of that part of the Middle East this week, his timing could not be better.

+Gaza Deep Dive +China Trade +Iraq Elections

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