What We're Watching: Turkey targets Iraqi Kurds, virus back in NZ, Irish government deal

Iraqi Kurds, beware of "Claw Eagle:" Turkish special forces have crossed into northern Iraq as part of a new offensive — dubbed "Operation Claw Eagle" by Ankara — to fight Kurdish militants there. The latest move follows Turkish airstrikes against Kurdistan People's Party forces earlier this week in response to attacks by Kurdish militants on army bases and police stations in southern Turkey. The Turkish military has battled rebel Kurds in northern Iraq for decades, but this time signs of Iranian air support suggest close cooperation between Ankara and Tehran, which is also keen to keep a lid on the ambitions of ethnic Kurds inside Iran.


New Zealand loses its zero status: Barely a week after declaring itself COVID-free, New Zealand has ordered the military to oversee border quarantine facilities after two people with coronavirus were prematurely released into the country after arriving from the UK. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who has been praised for her deft and compassionate handling of the epidemic, acknowledged the "unacceptable failure" and appointed the armed forces to audit and enforce the country's strict quarantine policy for people arriving from abroad. Dozens of countries around the world still have travel restrictions in place, but as they begin cautiously reopening their borders to tourism and commerce, the challenges of detecting and containing coronavirus outbreaks will be immense.

From rivals to (government) partners: In the latest example of established parties striking strange alliances in order to keep anti-establishment parties from taking power, Ireland's two main political parties, the rival center-right Fianna Fail and the center-left Fine Gael, have reached a deal to form a coalition government for the first time ever. The move, after months of political impasse, is designed to keep left-wing Sinn Fein, traditionally ostracized over its former ties to IRA terrorists in Northern Ireland, out of government. Sinn Fein achieved its best-ever results in the February election, coming in second overall, but fell short of a majority to form a government. Fianna Fail and Fine Gael — which have taken turns in power since Irish independence in 1905 — will rotate the position of Taoiseach (prime minister) for the next four years.

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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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