What We're Watching: Orbán demands an apology, India and China escalate, UN Security Council membership change

Will Orbán loosen the reins? Back in March, Hungary's strongman prime minister Viktor Orbán irked the European Union when he used the coronavirus crisis to push through an emergency law that opened the way for him to rule by decree indefinitely. Critics saw the move – which granted Orbán unchecked power to suspend parliament, cancel elections, and jail people for five years if they spread misinformation about the pandemic – as evidence of Orbán's avowedly "illiberal" impulses. But with the outbreak on the wane in Hungary, the legislature – which Orbán's Fidesz party controls – has scrapped emergency decree. Orbán says that Brussels' opprobrium was unjustified – and called on both the EU and the "fake news" media to issue an apology. But there is in fact proof that Orbán's party used the emergency situation to legislate on issues that have nothing to do with the COVID crisis. Crucially, rights groups say that the government used the parliamentary hiatus to limit the rights of transgender people, as well as to stash documents related to a secret development project with China.


Sticks and stones will break my...border: As many as 20 Indian soldiers died on Tuesday in a snowy skirmish with the Chinese military in a contested part of the Himalayan Galwan Valley. Although no shots were fired – the brawl involved rocks and sticks – it's the most deadly border clash between the two nuclear armed Asian powers since 1967. Indian and Chinese troops have been facing off regularly for weeks now in a high-altitude game of cat-and-mouse with no immediate end in sight. Even neighboring Nepal has been drawn into the conflict over a new official map issued by Kathmandu that Delhi suspects Beijing helped redraw. China is unhappy about recent Indian infrastructure development in the region, including a road leading to an airport in Galwan which India argues is on its side of the Line of Control. The two old rivals already fought one brief war over the area in 1962 (China won). Military officials from both sides are meeting to de-escalate the situation.

UNSC campaign season: The race is on to secure the non-permanent seats on the United Nations Security Council now up for grabs. The UNSC, which has the power to authorize peacekeeping and impose sanctions, has five permanent members and ten non-permanent seats – five of which are elected each year by the full General Assembly. The seats are apportioned to specific geographic regions. Norway, Ireland and Canada are all the frontrunners for one of the seats. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has actively lobbied the Council's permanent representatives ahead of Wednesday's vote, while Ireland gave the World Health Organization, a UN body, a $10 million "gift," quadrupling its usual contribution. As the sole candidates in their respective categories, India and Mexico are all but guaranteed to pick up seats, while Kenya and Djibouti are battling it out for one seat designated for Africa.

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Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro tested positive for the coronavirus on Tuesday. To understand what that means for the country's politics and public health policy, GZERO sat down with Christopher Garman, top Brazil expert at our parent company, Eurasia Group. The exchange has been lightly edited for clarity and concision.

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The Trump administration sent shockwaves through universities this week when it announced that international students in the US could be forced to return to their home countries if courses are not held in classrooms this fall. Around 1 million foreign students are now in limbo as they wait for institutions to formalize plans for the upcoming semester. But it's not only foreign students themselves who stand to lose out: International students infuse cash into American universities and contributed around $41 billion to the US economy in the 2018-19 academic year. So, where do most of these foreign students come from? We take a look here.

For years, the Philippines has struggled with domestic terrorism. Last Friday, Rodrigo Duterte signed into law a sweeping new anti-terror bill that has the opposition on edge, as the tough-talking president gears up to make broader constitutional changes. Here's a look at what the law does, and what it means for the country less than two years away from the next presidential election.

The legislation grants authorities broad powers to prosecute domestic terrorism, including arrests without a warrant and up to 24 days detention without charges. It also carries harsh penalties for those convicted of terror-related offenses, with a maximum sentence of life in prison without parole. Simply threatening to commit an act of terror on social media can now be punished with 12 years behind bars.

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16,000: Amid a deepening economic crisis in Lebanon that has wiped out people's savings and cratered the value of the currency, more than 16,000 people have joined a new Facebook group that enables people to secure staple goods and food through barter.

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