US versus Canada on coronavirus: Trump failed, Trudeau succeeded | Vox


Per capita, the United States is currently seeing about twice as many confirmed coronavirus cases as Canada and about 30 percent more deaths. When you look at per capita cases and deaths across the course of the entire outbreak, the comparison looks even worse: the United States has over two times as many confirmed coronavirus cases as Canada and roughly twice as many deaths.

Canadian testing rates have been consistently higher, especially during critical early stages for the two countries: In mid-March, the Canadian testing rate was roughly five times higher than the American one.

Source: US versus Canada on coronavirus: Trump failed, Trudeau succeeded – Vox

Amid Pandemic, China Is Working to Lead the World Trump Abandoned | Defense One


Crude propaganda is what China’s leaders do, both at home and abroad, and since the pandemic began they have stepped up their efforts. But even those who are mocking should beware: Anybody who knows any history will be aware that propaganda—even the most obvious, most shameless propaganda—sometimes works.

And it works not because people necessarily believe that all of it is true, but because they respect the capabilities or fear the power of the people who produced it.

Propaganda also works best in a vacuum, when there are no competing messages, or when the available alternative messengers inspire no trust.

Since mid-March, China has been sending messages out into precisely this kind of vacuum: a world that has been profoundly changed not just by the virus, but by the American president’s simultaneously catastrophic and ridiculous failure to cope with it.

Source: Amid Pandemic, China Is Working to Lead the World Trump Abandoned – Defense One

The ABCs of the post-COVID economic recovery


The economic activity of the U.S. has plummeted in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and unemployment has soared—largely the result of social distancing policies designed to slow the spread of the virus. The depth and speed of the decline will rival that of the Great Depression. But will the aftermath be as painful? Or will the economy swiftly recover once the pandemic has passed? And when will that be?

Analysts are using shorthand when discussing the shape of the recovery: Z-shaped, V-shaped, U-shaped, W-shaped, L-shaped, and even the Nike Swoosh. We explain what these mean, and which one of these appears most likely.

Source: The ABCs of the post-COVID economic recovery

Amid pandemic, U.S. renewable power sources have topped coal for 40 days | Reuters


Electricity generated by renewable sources like solar, wind and hydro has exceeded coal-fired power in the United States for a record 40 straight days, according to a report based on U.S. government data released on Monday.

The boost for renewables is due to a seasonal increase in low-cost solar and hydro power generation, alongside an overall slump in electricity demand caused by coronavirus-related stay-at-home orders, according to the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.

Coal tends to be the first power source to be cut by utilities when demand falls because subsidized renewable sources are cheaper to operate and often backed by state clean-energy mandates.

Source: Amid pandemic, U.S. renewable power sources have topped coal for 40 days – Reuters

Corona Capital: U.S. debt ceiling, Fiat Chrysler | Reuters


The U.S. Treasury Department said on Monday that it will borrow an unprecedented $3 trillion this quarter, mostly to fund virus-related aid. That’s a good excuse to close the curtain on the archaic debt ceiling, which allows Congress to set the borrowing limit for money the U.S. government has already spent.

It has become a political cudgel, raising the specter of a U.S. default and a government shutdown every few years unless it has increased or, as it currently is until next year, suspended.

Source: Breakingviews – Corona Capital: U.S. debt ceiling, Fiat Chrysler – Reuters

The Role of the European Central Bank | Council on Foreign Relations


The European Central Bank (ECB) is the central bank for the eurozone, the group of nineteen countries who use the euro common currency. Its mandate is to maintain price stability by setting key interest rates and controlling the union’s money supply.

After the emergence of the eurozone’s sovereign debt crises between 2009 and 2011, the ECB sparked controversy by undertaking a range of unorthodox monetary policies—including a program of unlimited bond buying, the use of negative interest rates, and a $3 trillion quantitative easing plan—that divided policymakers between those who thought the bank overstepped its authority and those who argued for it to take more aggressive action.

Meanwhile, the ECB has been placed at the center of an initiative to create a eurozone-wide banking union that would grant the bank new powers of supervision over Europe’s largest financial institutions.

Source: The Role of the European Central Bank | Council on Foreign Relations

India offers land twice Luxembourg’s size to firms leaving China | The Economic Times

India is developing a land pool nearly double the size of Luxembourg to lure businesses moving out of China, according to people with the knowledge of the matter.

A total area of 461,589 hectares has been identified across the country for the purpose, the people said, asking not to be identified because they aren’t authorized to speak to the media. That includes 115,131 hectares of existing industrial land in states such as Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, they said.

Source: China News: India offers land twice Luxembourg’s size to firms leaving China – The Economic Times

What’s at Stake With Rising Competition in the Arctic? | Council on Foreign Relations


The Arctic region is defined by U.S. policy as all land and ocean north of the Arctic Circle (approximately 66.5° N latitude) plus the Aleutian Islands, the Bering Sea, and portions of western Alaska. Eight nations have territory in the region: Canada, Denmark (via Greenland), Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and the United States (via Alaska).

These countries share many interests, including the need to cooperate on search-and-rescue missions, enforce maritime safety regulations, and preserve the well-being of indigenous Arctic communities.

However, there are growing divisions between Russian and the rest of the Arctic nations. China’s increasing assertiveness in the region also adds to the tension.

Source: What’s at Stake With Rising Competition in the Arctic? | Council on Foreign Relations

Size doesn’t matter: 7 tiny European nations to visit | Stripes Europe


During rather brief geography lessons as young students, we learned where the “big” European countries were — England, France, Italy, Germany, Spain and maybe a handful of others.

However, hiding among the bigger nations are smaller, almost minute locales filled with spectacular scenery, glamour and fascinating stories just waiting to be discovered. Here are seven tiny countries worth putting on your bucket list.

Source: Size doesn’t matter: 7 tiny European nations to visit | Stripes Europe

It’s Time for a New Multilateral Framework to Address COVID-19


Despite some severe turbulence and initial failures, most leaders have avoided a crash landing. With varying degrees of success, they are managing their way through the first wave of the pandemic, flattening the curve city by city. But this is by no means a satisfactory response.

Nature has no concern for nationalism or national boundaries, a fact that the novel coronavirus has ruthlessly exploited. The only way out of this crisis is a fully coordinated global response that addresses the root causes of the pandemic while mitigating both the immediate health impacts and the longer-term economic repercussions.

Yet astonishingly, three months in, a global multilateral framework to helm this response is still missing. Simply put, there is no existing international body that is currently fit for this purpose.

The 193-member United Nations General Assembly, the 15-member Security Council, the G-7, the G-20, the European Union and the United States—all are unable, unwilling or unavailable to step up and fill the leadership vacuum.

Source: It’s Time for a New Multilateral Framework to Address COVID-19