In this latest issue of my weekly podcast, we discuss the threat of Covid-19 adaptive mutations. Moderna-NIH just released their new study on the effectiveness of the Moderna vaccine against the South African mutation. Yes, the vaccine protects against the new variant, but the antibodies' strength is reduced by 4 to 6X. This is the first sign that vaccines will most likely need to be updated in the future.
Suga's public approval plummets. The Japanese PM's approval rating has fallen from 74% in September to 42% in January. This is the result of pandemic missteps, a slow vaccine rollout, and lack of charisma. Come the September elections, his party may look for a replacement.
Conte resigns. After surviving a confidence vote in parliament but failing to secure a majority, PM Giuseppe Conte has resigned in attempts to create a new government. If he fails, the two largest parties will be given a chance to make their own government. But if they too fail, it will trigger new nationwide elections. Salvini can't wait.
Tensions over Taiwan heat up. Over the weekend, China flew eight H6K bombers near Taiwan's airspace, making it the 20th flyby this month. The Biden administration publicly declared support for Taiwan and moved the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt into the South China Sea. Taiwan remains a lively flashpoint between Xi-led China and Biden-led America.
Protests break out in Russia. Over the weekend, jailed opposition leader Alexie Navalny released a YouTube documentary accusing Putin of using government funds to build a pleasure palace on the Black Sea. This led to widespread protests throughout the country; over 40,000 demonstrators took to the streets of Moscow. In an unprecedented move, Putin held a press conference to deny the accusations.
Most Europeans now believe the U.S. political system is "broken." New data show that Europeans are turning away from their traditional transatlantic security ties and, in the event of a conflict between America and China or Russia, would prefer to remain neutral.
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