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.

"I knew that history was my life's calling."

On Bank of America's That Made All the Difference podcast, Secretary of the Smithsonian Lonnie Bunch shares his journey and present-day work creating exhibits that inspire visitors to help our country live up to its ideals.

A few weeks ago, a Signal reader emailed me to ask why so much of our coverage of the world is so damn dark. Aren't there any good news stories out there?

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There's a lot of doom and gloom in the world these days, and much cause for pessimism. Still, the advent of new technologies and scientific advancements has lifted billions out of poverty and increased quality of life for many over the last half century. Since 1990, global average life expectancy has increased by eight years to 73, while GDP per capita has also grown exponentially, doubling over the past decade alone. We take a look at how life expectancy and GDP per capita have evolved globally from 1960-2019.

Get insights on the latest news in US politics from Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington:

Why can't President Biden order a vaccine mandate for all Americans?

Well, the reason is it's out of his powers. The one of the fundamental challenges in the pandemic is that the federal government has actually been fairly limited in the steps they can take to stop the spread of the virus. So, that's why you've seen President Biden order masks on transit, mass transit, airplanes, and the like. But he can't order masks in workplaces because that's not within his power. That power lies within state governments. State governments and other entities, like employers, can require vaccinations before you come into their buildings, or you come back to school, or you go to work in your office. But the federal government can't do that. What Biden is doing is, allegedly, supposedly going to announce a mandate for federal workers to get vaccinated.

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American gymnast Sunisa "Suni" Lee, 18, stunned spectators around the world with her breathtaking performance in Tokyo Thursday that earned her the gold.

Here are some interesting facts about Suni Lee, the gymnast queen:

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"Super Mario" takes his chances: Less than five months after becoming Italy's consensus prime minister, Mario Draghi's coalition government is on shaky ground over Draghi's proposed judicial reforms. "Super Mario" — as he's known for saving the Eurozone as European Central Bank chief during the financial crisis — wants to dramatically speed up Italy's famously slow courts. But his push to reduce judicial backlogs is opposed both by the populist 5-Star Movement, the coalition government's biggest party, and by prosecutors because many cases could be scrapped before reaching a verdict. Draghi, upset that this resistance is stalling his other initiatives to cut Italian red tape, has decided to roll the dice anyway: he'll put his plan to overhaul the courts to a no-confidence vote in parliament. If Draghi wins, he gets the reforms passed without debate; if he loses, the PM technically has to resign, but he'll keep his job because he has enough votes even if the 5-Star Movement bows out of the coalition.

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700: Roughly 700 people arrested for joining the unprecedented July 11 anti-government protests in Cuba are still being held by the regime. They may now face mass show trials as Havana continues to crack down on dissent following the biggest challenge to its power in decades.

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Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden, shares his perspective from Europe:

What is going on in Bosnia with Bosnian Serbs boycotting all major institutions?

Well, it's a reaction against a decision that was taken by the outgoing high representative during his very last days, after 12 years of having done very little in this respect, to have a law banning any denial of Srebrenica and other genocides. But this issue goes to very many other aspects of the Bosnian situation. So, it has created a political crisis that will be somewhat difficult to resolve.

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