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Forecast Podcast: Leaders Summit on Climate, CDC panel meets to discuss J&J vaccine, ASEAN Summit on Myanmar, Italy eases COVID restrictions, Chad unrest

Listen to the full podcast episode here:


Intro: [music: ‘Factal Theme’ by Andrew Gospe]

Jimmy: “Welcome to the Factal Forecast, a look at the week’s biggest stories and what they mean from the editors at Factal. I’m Jimmy Lovaas.” 

“Today is April 22nd.”

“This week we’ll be taking a look at a world summit on climate change, a CDC panel on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, Southeast Asian leaders’ response to the Myanmar coup, Italy’s coronavirus recovery, and recent unrest in Chad”   

“You can read about these stories and more in our weekly newsletter, which you can find a link to in the show notes.”

Leaders Summit on Climate

US President Joe Biden speaks at the President Joe Biden at the Leaders Summit on Climate on April 22, 2021 (Photo: The White House / Facebook)
US President Joe Biden speaks at the President Joe Biden at the Leaders Summit on Climate on April 22, 2021 (Photo: The White House / Facebook)

“Today, President Joe Biden will begin meeting virtually with 40 world leaders he’s invited to discuss action to stave off climate change.”

“The two-day conference — which will be live-streamed — will bring together the world’s biggest polluters, including the United States, China, Russia and India, and some of its hardest-hit nations, like Indonesia, Brazil and Antigua and Barbuda.”

“And while antagonism has often defined the US-China relationship in recent years, the two countries announced last week they would work together to cut carbon emissions. 

“The United States is expected to announce a list of measures to reduce its pollution output, as well as commit to “an ambitious 2030 emissions target” under the Paris Agreement it rejoined this year.”

“The US will also use the summit and the promise of financial aid to push developing countries to reduce their pollution output.”

“The summit will try to persuade participants to adopt policies to limit global temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius per year. That’s the level scientists believe needs to be achieved to avoid the most severe impact of climate change.”

CDC panel meets to discuss Johnson & Johnson vaccine

“On Friday, The CDC’s advisory committee on vaccines will meet to review evidence and provide a recommendation on the use of the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine.”

“Use of the single-dose vaccine has been paused in the United States since April 13th, following a recommendation by the CDC and FDA after six cases of rare and severe blood clots were reported in women between the ages of 18 and 48.”

“Distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has also been impacted by manufacturing issues at a Baltimore facility, forcing millions of doses to be discarded last month.”

“As the only single-dose shot authorized in the U.S., it’s still considered to be a key component of the country’s vaccination efforts.” 

“Infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said he expects use of the vaccine will likely resume, it will just with either a warning or restriction.” 

Special ASEAN Summit on Myanmar

“On Saturday, leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations will be meeting in Jakarta to discuss the Myanmar coup.” 

“Myanmar’s military junta leader General Min Aung Hlaing is expected to attend the meeting.”

“It’s been nearly three months since the military coup that deposed former leader Aung San Suu Kyi and Myanmar’s military council remains in control of the country.” 

“This, despite persistent crackdowns on protesters and intensified fighting against the country’s many insurgent movements.” 

“At least 738 people have been killed by security forces and thousands more have been detained.”

“Work stoppages, the flight of multinational capital and severely restricted internet access have also ground the country’s economy to a halt.”

Italy plans to ease COVID restrictions

“On Monday, Italy will begin easing its coronavirus restrictions, with outdoor activities reinstated first.”

“The current rules adopted by the Italian government include four levels of restrictions that correspond to the number of coronavirus infections in the area.”

“While most of the country has been in the two most restrictive levels since Easter, the new phase that begins Monday will allow many regions to move into the two least restrictive levels.”

“The less-severe tiers will allow outdoor dining to resume, the opening of cinemas and theaters with limited capacity, and the reopening of schools.”

“The easing of restrictions will begin earlier than expected, in part due to Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s response to recurring protests by business owners.” 

“The acceleration of the country’s vaccination campaign and a decline of coronavirus cases have also contributed to the early announcement.”

“Still, despite general optimism in the government’s predictions, Italy has been one of the hardest hit countries.”

“The prime minister has asked Italians to exercise caution, and to respect the rules, in order to allow a gradual, but definitive, reopening.”

Chad unrest

Jimmy: “Our last item for this forecast concerns unrest in the central African country of Chad.” 

“For more on that I recently caught up with Senior Factal Editor Sophie Perryer.”

“Hi, Sophie, thanks for taking the time to catch us up on the situation in Chad.”

Sophie: “Hi, Jimmy. Yeah, happy to there’s been a lot of developments there lately.”

Jimmy: “Is it just me, or have things there kind of rapidly changed.”

Sophie: “They absolutely have in fact, Chad went from being one of the central Africa’s most stable countries to now facing a very uncertain political future. Following the death of President Idriss Deby Itno. He died on Tuesday of injuries sustained in combat with the rebel group Front for Change and Concord, according to a statement made by the country’s army on national television.”

Jimmy: “Wow, I can’t even recall the last time a world leader was killed in battle. Do we know why he was in battle? He was like 68 years old.”

Sophie: “It’s certainly a rare occurrence. And we don’t have a huge amount of information on why he was in battle at the moment. But what makes the news even more surprising is that his death comes just a day after he was reelected for a sixth term, with 79% of the vote in the presidential election, although that election was marred by allegations of opposition oppression, and corruption with regards to revenues from the country’s oil industry.”

Jimmy: “So who’s actually running the country then?”

Sophie: “So Deby has been replaced by his son Mahamat. He’s going to lead a transitional Military Council for the next 18 months, and the council has then pledged to hold elections to return the country to civilian rule.”

Jimmy: “Other than his death have there been any changes.”

Sophie: “Several so the new ruling body has dissolved the country’s constitution. They’ve dissolved the National Assembly and they have dissolved government. So they’re now the sort of ultimate ruling body so to speak. They’ve also imposed a night curfew, and they had closed all of Chad’s land and air borders for 24 hours following Deby’s death, although I believe those have now reopened.”

Jimmy: “Has anybody heard from the rebels that presumably killed President Deby?”

Sophie: “We have they put out a statement shortly after his death, rejecting the military transition plan, and they said they’re marching towards Chad’s capital N’Djamena and this has led some residents to flee to neighboring countries such as Cameroon, because there are fears that clashes might break out between the rebels and the country’s army.”

Jimmy: “What’s been the reaction from the international community?”

Sophie: “Well, the US State Department had previously ordered non essential diplomatic staff to leave the country that was in relation to the clashes between the rebels and the army over the weekend. But following Deby’s death, there’s been lots of reaction from other African leaders who have praised his reputation, particularly with regards to Chad’s intervention in counterterrorism operations in the Sahel region, which covers Chad and also neighboring countries like Mali and Niger. France in particular is very concerned about the implication that Deby’s debt might have for this counterterrorism operation because they have counter terror troops, which are headquartered in N’Djamena, and are supported by the Chadian army.”

Jimmy: “I see. Well, what do you think is going to happen? What comes next?”

Sophie: “It’s very unclear. To be honest, Deby’s son, Mahamat has not said whether the support will continue. And it’s not clear at all what the new administration plans to do with regards to counter terror operations in the Sahel region. Although if they were to revoke the support for the French counter terror force there, it would have a significant knock on effect for other countries in that region, and could potentially allow jihadist groups to gain a further foothold.”

Jimmy: “Well, that’s a pretty concerning proposition right there. Chad’s been a pretty stable nation.”

Sophie: “It has it’s sort of traditionally seen as one of the bastions of stability within the Central African region. And this could also have an effect on neighboring countries which are not so stable themselves. Chad has been a site where refugees have flocked from neighboring countries as a result of conflicts there most recently from Darfur in Sudan. The UN said just a couple of days ago, that most 2000 refugees had crossed over the border into Chad from the Darfur region. And there is now a risk that if Chad phases a period of instability or potentially conflict that throws into question the passage for refugees into Chad as a sort of safe haven.”

Jimmy: “Wow. That’s a truly frightening and concerning situation right there. Well, thanks for catching us up to speed on what’s going on. It’s kind of amazing how fast things can change.”

Sophie: “It absolutely is. But we’ll be monitoring this closely for further developments. Thanks for having me.”

Jimmy: “Thank you. Take care.”

Outro: [music: ‘Factal Theme’ by Andrew Gospe]

Jimmy: [fade out music after speaking] “Thanks for listening to the Factal Forecast. We publish our forward-looking podcast each Thursday to help you get a jump-start on the week ahead. You can, of course, subscribe for free. And if you have feedback, suggestions or events we’ve missed, drop us a note by emailing