Non-coronavirus news: Brazilian streets, US-Iran provocations, and a cool breeze

Non-coronavirus news: Brazilian streets, US-Iran provocations, and a cool breeze

Bolsonaro's supporters take to the streets On Sunday, supporters of far-right Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro will hit the streets to vent frustration with what they see as efforts by the Congress and Supreme Court to "blackmail" the president's agenda. Bolsonaro has recently clashed with lawmakers over a tougher crime bill, as well as budget issues. Critics of the protests say they are an anti-democratic exercise meant to intimidate the legislative and judicial branches of government, and they point to calls for the closure of congress and the courts that have been widely shared on social media accounts that support the protests. Bolsonaro has egged on his followers, by sending a video made by protest organizers to hundreds of his associates. There has long been concern about the outspoken Bolsonaro's commitment to democracy -- he has spoken fondly of Brazil's period of military dictatorship (1964-1985) and expressed admiration for the regime of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. We're watching to see how many people show up Sunday, and what broader effects the protests have on an already toxic relationship between the president and lawmakers.

Iran-US: the next round? Two Americans and one British serviceman were killed in Iraq Wednesday night when their military camp, north of Baghdad, came under intense rocket fire attributed to an Iran-backed militia. US officials cautioned that the death toll could rise after a dozen people sustained serious injuries in the strike, and US Defense Secretary Mark Esper warned Thursday that President Trump had authorized further responses: "All options are on the table," Esper said. Confrontations between Tehran and Washington, which have mostly taken place in Iraq, peaked in January when the US killed a top Iranian general. Now it looks like things are escalating again. A deadly coronavirus surge prompted Iran to ask the IMF for financial aid this week for the first time in six decades— a request the US can veto. Can Tehran really afford a major escalation with Washington?

The Wind: Everything about this award-winning German advert for wind power is brilliant. Everything. It's twelve years old, but new to us.

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Soothing the market panic: As global stock markets continue their swan dive, we wanted to offer something useful that we hope will reassure you. Check out this bit of common sense investment advice in the time of coronavirus...from VOX's estimable Matthew Yglesias.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this piece incorrectly stated that the protests in Brazil are explicitly calling for the closure of Congress and the Supreme Court. The protest organizers have not officially made these demands, although many of their followers have. We regret the error and provide more context in the revised version of the piece.

We pay little attention to the waves of the sea, yet they are the greatest unused source of renewable energy in the world. Meet ISWEC and Power Buoy, two interesting new technologies used to harness this energy. Learn more about the extraordinary power of waves in this episode of Eni's Energy Shot series, where we investigate interesting facts and trends about energy.

Ukraine is once again in a tough spot.

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A controversial new World Health Organization report on the origins of the coronavirus that suggests it likely originated from a bat but transferred to humans via an intermediary animal. Could the virus have emerged from a Chinese lab, as former CDC Director Robert Redfield recently suggested? That's the least likely scenario, says the WHO's chief scientist, Dr. Soumya Swaminathan. "The betacoronaviruses are very, very common in bats and there's a lot of genetic similarity between the SARS-CoV2 and many of the viruses in the...bat species," Dr. Swaminathan told Ian Bremmer in an interview on GZERO World, airing on US public television stations starting April 9. Check local listings.

Watch the episode: Vaccine nationalism could prolong the pandemic

2.8 billion: Chinese regulators fined e-commerce giant Alibaba a record $2.8 billion — about four percent of its 2019 revenue — for abusing its dominant market position and forcing merchants to operate exclusively on its platform. Alibaba founder Jack Ma has fallen out with Beijing in recent months after the billionaire publicly criticized China's regulators for stifling innovation in technology.

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Vaccine nationalism, where countries prioritize their own citizens before the rest of the world, has been effective for rich nations like the United States and Israel. But leaving behind so much of the global population isn't just a humanitarian issue. It could prolong the pandemic, according to the World Health Organization's Chief Scientist, Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, who argues that what the global vaccination effort most urgently lacks are doses, not dollars. In a wide-ranging interview with Ian Bremmer on GZERO World, she calls for a large increase in the global vaccine supply in order to prevent the rise of more dangerous and vaccine-evading super-variants. She also weighs in on a controversial new WHO report investigating the origins of COVID-19 and suggests we may be seeing alternative vaccine forms, like nasal sprays, sooner than we think.

Listen: Soumya Swaminathan calls for a massive increase in the global vaccine supply in order to prevent the rise of more dangerous and vaccine-evading super-variants, in a wide-ranging interview with Ian Bremmer on the GZERO World podcast. Dr. Swaminathan, Chief Scientist at the World Health Organization, argues that vaccine nationalism, where countries prioritize their own citizens ahead of the rest of the world, will only prolong the pandemic because a virus does not stop at any national border. She also weighs in on a controversial new WHO report investigating the origins of COVID-19 and discusses when she thinks the world's children should get vaccinated. In addition, she suggests we may see alternative vaccine forms, like nasal sprays, sooner than we think.

Subscribe to the GZERO World Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or your preferred podcast platform to receive new episodes as soon as they're published.

India, the world's third largest emitter of carbon dioxide, is one of the countries worst affected by climate change. But it takes issue with those now asking it to clean up its act. Why, the Indians ask, should we give up our right to get rich by burning fossil fuels like you developed economies have done for generations?

That's precisely the message that India's energy minister had for the US and other wealthy nations at a recent Zoom summit after they pressured Delhi to set a future deadline for net zero emissions. For India, he explained, such targets are "pie in the sky" aspirations that do little to address the climate crisis the country faces right now.

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The Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics are nearly a year away, but discussion of a potential boycott is already stoking tensions on both sides of the US-China relationship. Officials in Washington and other Western capitals are coming under mounting pressure from activists to respond to human rights abuses in China. An increasingly assertive Beijing, meanwhile, vigorously rejects any foreign criticism of what it regards as internal issues.

The last time the US boycotted an Olympics was in 1980, when it withdrew from the Summer Olympics in Moscow to protest the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan. Four years later, the Soviet Union repaid in kind by skipping the Games in Los Angeles. Would the US and its allies do something like that again? And how might China respond? Eurasia Group analysts Neil Thomas and Allison Sherlock explain the drivers of the boycott movement and its possible fallout.

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