What We're Watching: Walter Reed's door, Sudan's peace, Nagorno-Karabakh's war

President Donald Trump surrounded by images of the coronavirus

What's next for patient Trump? After four days of confusion about the state of President Trump's health following a positive test for COVID-19, the US President was discharged from Walter Reed Medical Center on Monday evening — just 29 days before the US election. Before falling ill (the president reportedly required both oxygen support and a cocktail of experimental medications only used in severe cases of COVID) and being forced off the campaign trail, Trump trailed challenger Joe Biden by significant margins in some important swing states. With just four weeks until Election Day — and millions of Americans already voting by mail — we are watching the pace of President Trump's recovery and how quickly he'll return to his signature large rallies. And if Trump recovers quickly and fully, will his claim of having "beaten the virus" resonate with the undecided voters whose support could help save his campaign?


Sudan formalizes landmark peace deal: After years of conflict that led to hundreds of thousands of deaths and displaced some 2 million people, Sudan's transitional government has now formalized a peace deal with rebel factions to stabilize the country. The accord comes a year after Sudan's joint civilian-military government — which came to power after popular protests ousted the country's long time strongman President Omar al-Bashir in 2019 — and the Sudanese Revolutionary Front, a rebel bloc, began negotiating conditions of a peace deal. Terms that were particularly hard to iron out include the integration of rebels in the nation's armed forces, as well as establishing a blueprint for greater political representation and equitable land rights for different ethnic groups, long a point of contention in Sudan. The deal has backing from global heavyweights including the European Union and the African Union, who both signed the agreement as "guarantors." But the refusal of two influential rebel groups to sign it underscores the continuing challenges to stabilizing a country long-gripped by economic crisis, natural resource wars, and ethnic discord.

Fighting intensifies in Nagorno-Karabakh: Despite ongoing calls from NATO, Russia, and the United Nations for a ceasefire, fighting between the Azeris and Armenians over the contested Nagorno-Karabakh region has only intensified in recent days, with both sides accusing the other of targeting urban enclaves and civilian areas. Nagorno-Karabakh is internationally recognized as Azerbaijani territory but controlled by ethnic Armenian separatists. Azerbaijan's President, Ilham Aliyev, said on Sunday that his forces would not back down until they reclaimed land seized by ethnic Armenians three decades ago. The clashes, which began in late September, are the most intense confrontation in the South Caucasus (where Armenia and Azerbaijan are located) since the sides fought a years-long war in the 1990s that killed 30,000 people and displaced more than a million. The latest escalation suggests positions are hardening on both sides, and that the conflict — which has drawn in outside players including Russia and Turkey — will only intensify in the weeks ahead.

We pay little attention to the waves of the sea, yet they are the greatest unused source of renewable energy in the world. Meet ISWEC and Power Buoy, two interesting new technologies used to harness this energy. Learn more about the extraordinary power of waves in this episode of Eni's Energy Shot series, where we investigate interesting facts and trends about energy.

Ukraine is once again in a tough spot.

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Listen: Soumya Swaminathan calls for a massive increase in the global vaccine supply in order to prevent the rise of more dangerous and vaccine-evading super-variants, in a wide-ranging interview with Ian Bremmer on the GZERO World podcast. Dr. Swaminathan, Chief Scientist at the World Health Organization, argues that vaccine nationalism, where countries prioritize their own citizens ahead of the rest of the world, will only prolong the pandemic because a virus does not stop at any national border. She also weighs in on a controversial new WHO report investigating the origins of COVID-19 and discusses when she thinks the world's children should get vaccinated. In addition, she suggests we may see alternative vaccine forms, like nasal sprays, sooner than we think.

Subscribe to the GZERO World Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or your preferred podcast platform to receive new episodes as soon as they're published.

India, the world's third largest emitter of carbon dioxide, is one of the countries worst affected by climate change. But it takes issue with those now asking it to clean up its act. Why, the Indians ask, should we give up our right to get rich by burning fossil fuels like you developed economies have done for generations?

That's precisely the message that India's energy minister had for the US and other wealthy nations at a recent Zoom summit after they pressured Delhi to set a future deadline for net zero emissions. For India, he explained, such targets are "pie in the sky" aspirations that do little to address the climate crisis the country faces right now.

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The Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics are nearly a year away, but discussion of a potential boycott is already stoking tensions on both sides of the US-China relationship. Officials in Washington and other Western capitals are coming under mounting pressure from activists to respond to human rights abuses in China. An increasingly assertive Beijing, meanwhile, vigorously rejects any foreign criticism of what it regards as internal issues.

The last time the US boycotted an Olympics was in 1980, when it withdrew from the Summer Olympics in Moscow to protest the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan. Four years later, the Soviet Union repaid in kind by skipping the Games in Los Angeles. Would the US and its allies do something like that again? And how might China respond? Eurasia Group analysts Neil Thomas and Allison Sherlock explain the drivers of the boycott movement and its possible fallout.

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In two weeks, US President Joe Biden will be hosting an online "climate summit" to mark Earth Day. He'll ask China and India to sign up to America's ambitious new plan to slow down climate change. Will they go for it? China is the world's largest polluter, but Beijing is rolling out solar and wind power as fast as it's burning coal. India, meanwhile, is loathe to pick up the slack for rich countries that polluted their way to wealth and now want everyone else to agree to emissions cuts. No matter what happens, any successful plan to reduce global emissions will require buy-in from these three nations which, along with the European Union, account for almost 60 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions nowadays. Here's a look at emissions by the world's top polluters compared to everyone else over the last two decades.

Two big Andean elections: This Sunday, Ecuadorians go to the polls for the second time this year in a close presidential runoff, while Peruvians will vote in the first round of their own presidential election. In Ecuador, the matchup is between the leftwing-populist frontrunner Andrés Arauz, who has pledged to blow up the country's IMF agreements and boost national oil production, and Guillermo Lasso, a pro-business candidate who is seen as the choice of continuity with the current market-friendly government. Voter abstention is likely to be high, and the final result could very well be close and contested in a polarized country that was struggling with massive social unrest even before the pandemic struck. Meanwhile in Peru — which recently went through three presidents in the space of a week — the candidate field is hugely fragmented. Those with a decent shot to make it to the second round include "change" candidates like the leftist former lawmakers Yohny Lescano and Verónica Mendoza, as well as the prominent neoliberal economist Hernando De Soto, who has recently risen in the polls. Former soccer star George Forsyth is also in the mix, as is Keiko Fujimori, daughter of authoritarian former president Alberto Fujimori. Both of this Sunday's elections will serve as a kind of bellwether for the political mood in a region that has been devastated by the public health and economic impact of the pandemic.

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Nasal sprays, oral vaccines, and other new types of COVID-19 vaccines may be ready soon, according to Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, Chief Scientist at the World Health Organization. She previews some of these needle-less vaccines and notes that the possibility of being able to store vaccines at room temperature could be a game-changer for vaccinating poorer nations. The advantage of nasal sprays, she explains, is that they "would generate local mucosal immunity in addition to systemic immunity." Dr. Swaminathan's conversation with Ian Bremmer is featured on the latest episode of GZERO World, airing on US public television stations starting this Friday, April 9. Check local listings.

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