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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.

Carbon has a bad rep, but did you know it's a building block of life? As atoms evolved, carbon trapped in CO2 was freed, giving way to the creation of complex molecules that use photosynthesis to convert carbon to food. Soon after, plants, herbivores, and carnivores began populating the earth and the cycle of life began.

Learn more about how carbon created life on Earth in the second episode of Eni's Story of CO2 series.

As we enter the homestretch of the US presidential election — which is set to be the most contentious, and possibly contested, in generations — Americans are also voting on 35 seats up for grabs in a battle for the control of the Senate. The 100-member body is currently held 53-47 by the Republican Party, but many individual races are wide open, and the Democrats are confident they can flip the upper chamber of Congress.

Either way, the result will have a profound impact not only on domestic policy, but also on US foreign relations and other issues with global reach. Here are a few areas where what US senators decide reverberates well beyond American shores.

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On September 23, GZERO Media — in partnership with Microsoft and Eurasia Group — gathered global experts to discuss global recovery from the coronavirus pandemic in a livestream panel. Our panel for the discussion Crisis Response & Recovery: Reimagining while Rebuilding, included:

  • Brad Smith, President, Microsoft
  • Ian Bremmer, President and Founder, Eurasia Group & GZERO Media
  • Jeh Johnson, Partner, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, LLP and former Secretary of Homeland Security.
  • John Frank, Vice President, UN Affairs at Microsoft
  • Susan Glasser, staff writer and Washington columnist, The New Yorker (moderator)

Special appearances by UN Secretary-General António Guterres, European Central Bank chief Christine Lagarde, and comedian/host Trevor Noah.

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Jon Lieber, who leads Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, offers insights on the Supreme Court vacancy:

Will Senate Republicans, who stopped a Supreme Court nomination in 2016, because it was too close to an election, pay a political price for the change in tactics this time around?

Not only do I think they won't pay a political price, I think in many cases, they're going to benefit. Changing the balance of power on the Supreme Court has been a career-long quest for many conservatives and many Republicans. And that's why you've seen so many of them fall in line behind the President's nomination before we even know who it is.

At this point, do Senate Democrats have any hope of stopping President Trump from filling the ninth seat on the Supreme Court?

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In a special GZERO Media livestream on global response and recovery amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Eurasia Group & GZERO Media president Ian Bremmer discussed the difference between Europe's unified approach to economic stimulus and the deeply divided and political nature of the current conversation in the US. While initial stimulus support was bipartisan, there is little chance of Democrats and Republicans coming together again ahead of the November 3 presidential election. "It's red state versus blue state. President Trump's saying that coronavirus isn't so bad if you take the blue states out. He's president of the blue states, you can't take the blue states out," Bremmer told moderator Susan Glasser of The New Yorker.

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Panel: How will the world recover from COVID-19?

UNGA Livestream