What We're Watching: India's citizenship law challenged

India's supreme court to weigh in on citizenship law – India's southern state of Kerala filed a lawsuit in India's Supreme Court, claiming that a contentious new citizenship law that's caused nationwide protests is discriminatory and violates India's secular constitution. Kerala is the first state to legally challenge the new law backed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist party, which opens a path to Indian citizenship for migrants from neighboring countries— provided that they are not Muslims. In addition to the Kerala action, at least some of the 60 petitions filed by individuals and political parties are also likely to be heard by the court next week. Amid a climate of deepening uncertainty for India's 200 million Muslims, we're watching closely to see how the court rules.


Human rights leaders killed in Colombia – Almost four years ago, the Colombian government signed an historic peace accord with the FARC, the largest of the guerilla-narcotrafficking groups that had waged war on the state for half a century. But since then, the government hasn't been able to re-establish a strong presence in many of the remote, rural areas surrendered by the rebels. As a result, other, smaller armed groups have swept into the vacuum, putting local human rights leaders at extreme risk. According to the United Nations, as many as 120 such activists were murdered in 2019, after 115 were killed the previous year. We are watching to see how the government of President Ivan Duque, who was elected on a platform that was critical of the peace accords, plans to address the problem. Signing the accords was one thing, securing the peace remains quite another.

Impeachment politics – The Senate begins the impeachment trial of President Trump next week, and though the Republican Party's Senate majority assures a verdict in Trump's favor, the proceedings might matter for the November presidential election. First, new evidence that Trump played a direct role in trying to coerce Ukraine's government to help him discredit Joe Biden, the Democratic Party presidential frontrunner, creates trouble for Trump backers who want a quick trial without the testimony of fresh witnesses who could embarrass the president. On the other hand, during the trial, three Democratic presidential contenders—Senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Amy Klobuchar—must be present for the trial while Biden, Pete Buttigieg and other candidates are free to campaign in early primary states.

What We're Ignoring

Bazooka doubters – A five-year-old cat named Bazooka began an "epic weight loss" journey in the US state of North Carolina this week. Bazooka currently weighs 35 lbs. (That's nearly 16 kilos for you kilo fans.) Catch a glimpse of Bazooka now before his medical care, prescription diet, and workout plan render him unrecognizable—and much healthier. We'll be watching Bazooka closely—but ignoring those who doubt his power to embrace change.

Eni's luminescent solar concentrators can help smart windows and next-generation buildings generate electricity. But even Eni hadn't imagined using this technology to create eyeglasses capable of charging mobile phones and headsets.

Introducing Funny Applications, Eni's video series that imagines new, unexpected uses for technology. Watch the premiere episode.

We've written recently about how the COVID-19 pandemic will hit poorer countries particularly hard. But the burden of the virus' spread also falls more heavily on working class people even in wealthy countries, particularly in Europe and the United States. This is exacerbating the divide between rich and poor that had already upended the political establishment in countries around the world even before anyone had heard of a "novel coronavirus."

Why?

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Meet Mark Wetton, a Kentucky-based businessman who owns a dust-collection factory in Wuhan. He has been there since the beginning of the outbreak, and describes the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak there, life in lockdown, and what things are like today as the city finally begins to reopen its borders and come back to life. He also shares some lessons learned that he hopes Americans will heed.

The coronavirus is likely to hit poorer countries particularly hard, but it is also laying a bigger burden on working class people even in wealthy ones. As less affluent people suffer disproportionately not only from the disease, but also from the economic costs of containing it, we can expect a worsening of income inequalities that have already upended global politics over the past few years. Here is a look at inequality in some of the countries hardest hit by COVID-19 so far.

500 million: The economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic could plunge 500 million people into poverty, according to a new report released by Oxfam. As incomes and economies continue to contract, global poverty will increase for the first time in 30 years, the report predicts, undermining many of the gains of globalization that have pulled millions out of poverty in recent years.

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