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Two weeks ago, Russia secured a deal to build a naval base in Sudan, its first new military facility in Africa since the end of the Cold War. The accord is a major milestone in Moscow's wider push to regain influence, and income, on a continent where the Kremlin was once a major player.

But with the ideological and military contests of the Cold War long over, what is Moscow doing in Africa today?

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One is "snow-covered." Another is named for the "virgin queen" of England. A third means "near the great-little mountain." Many of the names of US states come from Spanish, English, and French — the languages of the empires that colonized North America. But by far the greatest number derive from the languages of the Native American peoples who were displaced or killed as part of that sweep of history. Here's a look at where the names of the 50 US states come from.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of the graphic mistakenly identified Delaware as being a name of Native American/Indigenous origin. In fact, the state — like the river and bay — was named for the Baron of De La Warr, a British peerage title held by Thomas West, colonial governor of neighboring Virginia. History buffs will note that De La Warr is itself a title of French origin, but insofar as the state was named for a British lord, we have coded it as such.



Although the United States and the European Union have comparable population sizes, until recently the trajectories of their COVID-19 outbreaks have been vastly different, with the EU seeming to have kept the pandemic mostly in check during the summer months. The US has now surpassed twelve million total infections as most states, particularly in the Midwest, are fighting massive outbreaks. But now Europe is doing even worse: states across the continent are seeing an uptick in average infection and mortality rates that dwarf those of the US, leading several European countries to implement fresh national lockdowns. Here's a look at the seven-day rolling average of new COVID-19 cases, and three-day rolling averages of new deaths and new deaths per capita in the EU vs the US since March.

No reform for Thai monarchy: Defying the wishes of thousands of pro-democracy activists and protesters, Thailand's parliament declined to move forward constitutional reforms that would curb the powers of the king. The vote had been delayed until Wednesday due to violent clashes between protesters, royalists and the police that left 55 people injured and put inflatable rubber ducks in the crossfire. Shortly after parliament's decision, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha warned that he would use "all available laws" to end the protests, which have been going on for months, signaling that he might start enforcing Thailand's draconian lèse majesté law, which punishes any offense of perceived insult to the royal family with up to 15 years in prison. Will the streets stand down, or is the situation about to get worse?

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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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16,700: Migrant arrivals to Spain's Canary Islands, which lie off the West African coast, have topped 16,700 so far this year, more than ten times the amount reported the same time a year ago. The surge of migrants from sub-Saharan Africa has overwhelmed Spanish authorities, who have been criticized for housing thousands of migrants in empty hotels and evicting hundreds from a makeshift camp near the port city of Arguineguín.

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On Sunday, 15 Asia-Pacific countries inked the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, considered the biggest regional trade agreement ever signed. The RCEP includes China, which was left out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, another mega regional trade deal pushed by the Obama administration in the US... until President Trump walked out of it on his first day in office in 2017. While the RCEP is a much wider agreement, covering more countries and around 2.2 billion consumers, it lacks the depth of the TPP, which carried strong protections for labor, the environment, and intellectual property. With the US, it would also have accounted for a larger share of global GDP than today's RCEP. Here we compare the RCEP to the current TPP, and to what the TPP would look like if the US had stayed in it.

EU budget in peril: The European Union now faces an unexpected budget crisis after Hungary and Poland vetoed the bloc's 1.8 trillion euro ($2.14 trillion) spending proposal that will help steer the bloc's pandemic recovery, and fund the Union through 2027. Budapest and Warsaw balked after the EU included a provision that made disbursement of funds contingent on respecting EU rule-of-law norms — including on issues like judicial independence and human rights — which both countries vehemently oppose. The twin veto came as a surprise for many in Brussels, which had recently compromised on this issue by agreeing to only cut funding if the rule-of-law threat directly affects how EU money is spent, and if a simple majority of member states approve. Those terms were seen as narrow enough for Budapest and Warsaw to accept, but the EU's two "illiberal" states are playing hardball. We're watching to see how long Hungary and Poland — which often flout EU democratic norms — are willing to hold the EU budget hostage, or if the bloc will cave to their demands in order to release 750 billion euros in coronavirus relief funds that other member states are desperate to get their hands on.

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