What We're Watching: A big blast hits Iran, Serbia and Kosovo sit down again, Dominican Republic has a new president

Iran's main nuclear site gets hit: An explosion at the Natanz nuclear site, Iran's main nuclear facility, will likely set back Tehran's nuclear program by months, the Islamic Republic confirmed Sunday. A powerful bomb evidently destroyed infrastructure that Iran has used in recent years to build more advanced centrifuges to enrich uranium — fuel that can be used to make an atomic bomb. The attack has been widely attributed to Israel, though the Israeli government rarely acknowledges actions carried out by its intelligence agencies. Since President Trump walked away from the Iranian nuclear deal in 2018, isolating the US from its European allies, Iran has flouted its own commitments by ramping up its production of enriched uranium and blocking international inspectors from key nuclear facilities. Now, analysts warn that this latest episode could push Iran to move more of its enrichment programs in harder-to-find places underground.


Serbia-Kosovo to resume talks: EU-sponsored talks between longtime foes Kosovo and Serbia will resume this week, almost two years after a disagreement over territorial exchanges prompted Kosovo to slap 100 percent tariffs on Serbian products. The aim of the talks is to reach a peace deal between Serbia and Kosovo, the majority-Albanian region of Serbia that suffered a campaign of Serb-directed ethnic cleansing in the late 1990s and then declared independence with US and EU backing in 2008. Though the EU has long brokered talks between the rivals in the hopes of stabilizing the Western Balkans and strengthening their ties with the EU, the US has recently tried to play a more prominent role in overseeing a détente between the two sides, presenting a rival plan that riled the EU. Meanwhile, Kosovo's President Hashim Thaçi was forced to abandon a meeting with President Trump last month when the Hague announced they had filed war crimes charges against him.

The Dominican Republic has a new president: Opposition candidate Luis Abinader is poised to become the next president of the Dominican Republic after amassing an insurmountable lead over the incumbent, Gonzalo Castillo. Abinader, a US-educated businessman whose second surname is, as it happens, Corona, won despite having to briefly suspend his campaign to recover from the coronavirus himself. The vote had originally been planned for May but was postponed due to the pandemic. Abinader will be just the second member of the Lebanese diaspora to lead a Caribbean country after Robert Malval, who was prime minister of neighboring Haiti from 1993-1994. In addition to addressing the devastating economic blow of losing tourism inflows, Abinader will also have to manage a delicate issue with neighboring Haiti: the spread of COVID-19 in Haiti attributed to migrants returning home from the Dominican Republic.

Civil rights activist Janet Murguía joins the 'That Made All the Difference' podcast to discuss her upbringing as the daughter of immigrant parents and how that experience informs her life's work advocating for Hispanic-Latino civil rights and battling systemic inequality.

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"Go ahead, take it," President Putin says to you.

"Take what?" you ask.

"This Covid vaccine," he continues, turning a small syringe over in his hands. "It's safe. Trust me. We… tested it on my daughter."

Would you do it? Russian President Vladimir Putin is betting that a lot of people will say yes. On Tuesday he announced that Russia has become the first country to register a COVID-19 vaccine, and that mass vaccinations will begin there in October.

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20.4: The UK economy is now officially in a recession for the first time in 11 years, after British economic growth plunged by 20.4 percent quarter-on-quarter from April to June 2020. The quarterly decline — attributed to the economic crisis fueled by the coronavirus pandemic ­— is double that of the US and second only to Spain's in Europe.

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Vietnam vs coronavirus (round 2): After going three months with no local transmissions of COVID-19, Vietnam is worried about a resurgence of the disease after a recent outbreak in the coastal city of Da Nang that has already spread to 11 other locations throughout the country. Authorities in Vietnam — widely considered a global success story in handling the pandemic thanks to its aggressive testing, contact-tracing and quarantines — believe the Da Nang outbreak is tied to an influx of domestic tourism there after lockdown restrictions were recently eased by the government. As a precaution, they have converted a 1,000-seat Da Nang sports stadium into a field hospital to treat the sick in case local hospitals become overwhelmed. More than 1,000 medical personnel, assisted by Cuban doctors, have been sent there to screen residents, and the capital Hanoi plans to test 72,000 people who recently returned from Da Nang. Will Vietnam prevail again in its second battle against COVID-19?

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"First off you have to say, it's not just one epidemic. There are many outbreaks. All epidemiology is local, just like politics," former CDC director Dr. Frieden told Ian Bremmer. He expressed concerns that, although COVID-19 is relatively under control in the Northeast, outbreaks continue to rage across the South and Southwest. The real failure, Frieden argues, is at the federal level where nearly six months into a pandemic Washington still lacks the data required to understand the virus' spread, let alone control it.