What We're Watching: Trump's motives, Hong Kong drama, big birthday surprise

Trump's Added Motivation to Win – The US criminal code sets the federal statute of limitations on obstruction of justice at five years. That appears to mean that if Donald Trump wins reelection next November, he will have presidential immunity from prosecution until it's too late ever to indict him for alleged crimes detailed in the report from former special counsel Robert Mueller. Legal experts can weigh in on the possibility of an asterisk here, but it certainly looks like voters, those who back Trump and those who want him out, will be asked to weigh this factor as they go to the polls next year.

Hong Kong – The drama in the streets of Hong Kong has become even more frightening in recent days. This week, we saw thugs armed with clubs attacking defenseless protesters. After video surfaced of a pro-government lawmaker shaking hands with some of these suspected gang members, demonstrators trashed his office. That legislator then posted social media death threats against a pro-democracy political rival. Officials in Beijing have now explicitly warned that they can send Chinese army troops into Hong Kong, and protesters say they won't be intimidated and that demonstrations will continue. In short, the stakes in Hong Kong are rising, and the escalation of promises and threats continues.

Uganda – A 37 year-old Ugandan pop star, opposition lawmaker, and self-proclaimed "Ghetto President" named Bobi Wine announced this week that he will run for president in 2021 against Yoweri Museveni, the man who has held power in Uganda since Wine was four years old. The singer, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, was arrested for treason last year, and he claims (credibly) that he was tortured while in custody. There's a lot that could go wrong here.

Alexander Kliment – Signal's own Alex Kliment is celebrating a big birthday today. We won't throw out a number, but let's call it the "gateway to early middle age." We're watching to see how Alex, creator of Puppet Regime, marks the occasion, because he's one of the funniest and most creative people in the universe, and because he's our friend. #SignalSalute

What We're Ignoring

French "perverts in the bushes" – We admit it…we only read the headline: "Perverts in bushes are ruining nude zone in Paris park, say naturists." We're ignoring this story because we just don't want to know any more about that.

Eni's luminescent solar concentrators can help smart windows and next-generation buildings generate electricity. But even Eni hadn't imagined using this technology to create eyeglasses capable of charging mobile phones and headsets.

Introducing Funny Applications, Eni's video series that imagines new, unexpected uses for technology. Watch the premiere episode.

We've written recently about how the COVID-19 pandemic will hit poorer countries particularly hard. But the burden of the virus' spread also falls more heavily on working class people even in wealthy countries, particularly in Europe and the United States. This is exacerbating the divide between rich and poor that had already upended the political establishment in countries around the world even before anyone had heard of a "novel coronavirus."

Why?

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Meet Mark Wetton, a Kentucky-based businessman who owns a dust-collection factory in Wuhan. He has been there since the beginning of the outbreak, and describes the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak there, life in lockdown, and what things are like today as the city finally begins to reopen its borders and come back to life. He also shares some lessons learned that he hopes Americans will heed.

The coronavirus is likely to hit poorer countries particularly hard, but it is also laying a bigger burden on working class people even in wealthy ones. As less affluent people suffer disproportionately not only from the disease, but also from the economic costs of containing it, we can expect a worsening of income inequalities that have already upended global politics over the past few years. Here is a look at inequality in some of the countries hardest hit by COVID-19 so far.

500 million: The economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic could plunge 500 million people into poverty, according to a new report released by Oxfam. As incomes and economies continue to contract, global poverty will increase for the first time in 30 years, the report predicts, undermining many of the gains of globalization that have pulled millions out of poverty in recent years.

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