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.

Building on its previous commitment, Walmart is investing an additional $350 billion in products made, grown and assembled in America - supporting more than 750,000 new jobs by 2030. This pledge will aim to avoid more than 100M metric tons of CO2 emissions, advance the growth of U.S. based suppliers, and provide opportunities for more than 9,000 entrepreneurs to become Walmart suppliers and sellers through Walmart's annual Open Call.

"The people are stronger," pro-democracy demonstrators chanted as news broke that the Sudanese military had staged a coup Monday, overthrowing the joint civilian-military government and dashing hopes of democracy in the war-torn country.

The backstory. In 2019, Omar al-Bashir – a despot who ruled Sudan with an iron fist for 30 years – was deposed after a months-long popular uprising.

Al-Bashir was a bad guy: he cozied up to terrorists like Osama bin Laden and dropped barrel bombs on his own people. He also embezzled truck loads of money from oil production while millions of Sudanese went hungry, and oversaw a genocide in the Darfur region that left 300,000 people dead and displaced 1.6 million.

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Sort of, but governments haven't lost all control yet. On the one hand, The Atlantic CEO Nicholas Thompson says that governments can still push tech companies for transparency in their algorithms, while Microsoft has partnered with the US government to together fight hackers "so the company is seen as a champion for freedom and democracy." On the other, over time Thompson expects tech firms in the US and China to gradually become more powerful as the state becomes less powerful toward them. Watch his interview with Ian Bremmer on the latest episode of GZERO World.

Watch this episode of GZERO World with Ian Bremmer: Big Tech: Global sovereignty, unintended consequences

As COP26 nears, the need for real climate action has never been more urgent. There are reasons for hope, but many scientists believe the ambitious goal of net zero emissions by 2050 is unattainable without immediate and significant change. Governments, financial institutions, and private sector companies alike have all recognized the need for a multistakeholder approach to solving this crisis of a lifetime.

Watch "Climate Crisis: Is net zero really possible?" a one-hour virtual livestream, hosted by GZERO Media and Microsoft as part of the Global Stage series, to hear scientists, corporate leaders and policymakers debate this question and offer critical perspectives on the way forward. Live on Tuesday, November 2nd at 11am ET, we'll break down what "net zero" means, take stock of where the world is on the path to carbon neutrality, and discuss critical steps needed to make real progress.

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Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hey everybody and happy Monday. Back in the office, getting a little cool. So I've got my sweater going on. It's the first time I've had a sweater on. What do you do with that? Discussing fashion, as I talk to you about what is on my mind this week?

And what's on my mind this week, Facebook. Facebook is on my mind. It's a tough week for Facebook. There are all sorts of whistleblowers out there. There's testimony going on. There's calls for regulation. Everybody seems unhappy with them. Indeed, you even got the government relations types, Nick Clegg, who I've known for a long time back when he was a policymaker in the UK saying that the headlines are going to be rough, but we're are going to get through it. But I will say, first of all, I'm kind of skeptical that any of this goes anywhere in terms of impact on how Facebook actually operates.

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Turkey's Erdogan ups the ante with the West: Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared diplomats from 10 Western countries "persona non-grata" after the group — which includes the US, France, and Germany — called on Ankara to release Osman Kavala, a Parisian-born Turkish businessman who's been held in jail since 2017 but hasn't been charged with a crime. Erdogan says that Kavala was involved in an attempted coup against the government in 2016. This latest move is a sign of Turkey's authoritarian drift in recent years, which has seen Erdogan's government increasingly crack down on opposition members as well as journalists. It also reflects Turkey's increasingly fraught relations with the West: things got particularly bad between Washington and Ankara after Turkey purchased missile defense systems from the Russians in 2019. The Council of Europe (the continent's leading human rights organization) had previously warned that Ankara has until November to release Kavala or it would impose "infringements," though it's unclear what those would be.

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ASEAN gets tough(ish) with Myanmar: The leaders of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations meet Tuesday for their annual summit with one notable absence: the head of Myanmar's military junta. It's a rare snub from ASEAN, a regional bloc that's gotten a lot of heat in the past for giving tyrants a free pass. The junta says ASEAN violated its traditional principles of deciding by consensus by disinviting its leader, and non-interference in domestic affairs for demanding the bloc's special envoy meet detained former leader Aung San Suu Kyi. For their part, the other ASEAN members have grown visibly alarmed at Myanmar's rapidly deteriorating political and economic situation since the February coup, and they're worried about the spillover effects of Myanmar becoming a failed state. More importantly, Myanmar is a big thorn in ASEAN's side as it walks a fine line between keeping warm ties with the US — which most members want cash and security from — and getting along with China, one of Myanmar's few remaining friends and viewed with suspicion by most ASEAN members over its South China Sea shenanigans.

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149: The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere reached a record-high 413.2 parts per million in 2020, 149 percent above pre-industrial levels. A new report by the UN weather agency released ahead of the COP26 climate summit found that last year's lower emissions due to COVID-related lockdowns had no impact on the overall amount of greenhouse gases causing global warming.

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