What We’re Watching: Irish PM rotation begins, Karachi stock exchange attacked, Poles go to runoff

Ireland has a new Taoiseach: Mícheál Martin was elected on Saturday by parliament as Ireland's new "taoiseach" (prime minister). Martin, leader of the center-right Fianna Fáil, will head a coalition government with the center-left Fine Gael and the Green Party. Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael — which have taken turns in power since 1905 — will rotate the prime minister position in the latest example of mainstream parties striking odd deals to exclude anti-establishment forces, in this case the far-left Sinn Féin. The new coalition now has five years to show voters it can be more than a "green" version of business-as-usual.


Separatists target Pakistan stock exchange: At least seven people died after armed militants from a local separatist group stormed Pakistan's stock exchange in Karachi on Monday. The attack was claimed on social media by the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), which demands self-determination for this mineral-rich province. The BLA has traditionally targeted Chinese interests in the region, but there have been more recent clashes with the Pakistani military. There is also growing suspicion that the BLA is conducting joint operations with their former rivals from the Balochistan Liberation Front.

Poland presidential vote goes to runoff: President Andrzej Duda won the first round of Poland's presidential election on Sunday, but fell short of the 50 percent majority needed to avoid a July 12 runoff against Rafal Trzaskowski, the liberal mayor of Warsaw. Exit polls showed Duda — an ally of the governing Law and Justice party — got almost 42 percent of the vote, while Trzaskowski from the centrist Civic Platform party received over 30 percent. Despite Duda's double-digit lead, the runoff is expected to be very tight in a high-stakes election for Poland, and for the country's tense relationship with the European Union. The Polish president is less powerful than the prime minister but can refuse to sign legislation, and the ruling party doesn't have enough votes to override a veto if Trzaskowski wins.

What We're Ignoring

Iran wants Trump in handcuffs: Iran on Monday asked Interpol to detain US President Donald Trump after issuing an unprecedented arrest warrant for Trump and nearly 40 other US officials Teheran links to the killing of Qassim Suleimani earlier this year. Suleimani, the former leader of Iran's Revolutionary Guards' Quds Force, was killed by a US drone strike in Iraq in a targeted assassination that brought both sides to the brink of war. Brian Hook, US envoy for Iran, dismissed the move as a "publicity stunt," while Interpol flatly refused to honor the request. Iran said it will continue to pursue the matter even after Trump leaves office.

In Italy, stacks of plastic boxes in supermarkets and stores are not garbage - they are collected and reused, thanks to a consortium that specializes in recycling them for food storage. How do these "circular" plastic boxes help reduce energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions?

Learn more in this episode of Eni's Energy SUPERFACTS series.

Over the past few years, we've seen three major emerging powers take bold action to right what they say are historical wrongs.

First came Crimea. When the Kremlin decided in 2014 that Western powers were working against Russian interests in Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin ordered Russian troops to seize the Crimean Peninsula, which was then part of Ukraine. Moscow claimed that Crimea and its ethnic Russian majority had been part of the Russian Empire for centuries until a shameful deal in 1954 made Crimea part of the Ukrainian Soviet Republic. Americans and Europeans imposed sanctions on Russia. But Ukraine is not part of NATO or the EU, and no further action was taken.

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"Neither America first, which is ultimately America alone, nor America the world's policeman," Sen. Chris Coons told Ian Bremmer in describing VP Joe Biden's approach to foreign policy should he win the presidential election in November. In the latest episode of GZERO World with Ian Bremmer, Sen. Coons provides details of how U.S. relationships with foreign governments and multilateral alliances could change in a Biden presidency. He also defended President Obama's track record, saying "I think it is a mischaracterization of the Obama-Biden foreign policy for President Trump to say that we were picking up the tab and fighting the world's wars and that we were disrespected." Coons stated that Biden would work to restore U.S. involvement in alliances like NATO, and shore up global support to pressure China on labor and environmental standards. The exchange is part of a broad conversation with the Senator about COVID response and economic relief, Russian interference in elections, and the 2020 presidential race. The episode begins airing nationally in the U.S. on Friday, July 10. Check local listings.

Jon Lieber, managing director for the United States at Eurasia Group, shares his insights on US politics:

How is coronavirus jeopardizing the legitimacy of a 2020 presidential election?

Well, what coronavirus is doing is a lot of states are worrying about people who aren't going to want to come to the polling places in the fall, and they're worried about a shortage of polling workers who are going to want to come out and volunteer to get sick by interacting with a bunch people in person. So, what they're doing is they're looking at making a shift to vote-by-mail. Most states allow some form of absentee balloting today. Five states just automatically mail you a ballot and they don't do any in-person voting. But the challenge here is that a lot of states are unprepared for the sharp increase that's expected. In the last election, 25% of ballots were cast by mail. You may see 50, 60 or even more percent of ballots cast by mail this time, which could overwhelm election administration, which happens at the state level.

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The United States and the European Union have comparable population sizes, but their COVID-19 death toll trajectories have diverged. As of July 8, the average number of new deaths every three days in the EU had fallen 97 percent since peaking at the beginning of April. The US number, however, has fallen only 67 percent over the same period. That means that although both regions' death tolls peaked with only two weeks difference, the EU has flattened its COVID-19 fatality curve faster than America. Some experts attribute the difference to EU countries' more robust public health systems and better compliance with mask-wearing and other social distancing measures.