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Azerbaijan invited to G20 summit

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Italy has been given the chairmanship of the G20, which brings together the world's 20 most important countries. On paper, they represent 60% of the world's population and 80% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP). While the shaky Italian government will somehow perform this task (in the general indifference of the political system), the fact remains that this prestigious position is very deceiving: the G20 is now a very weak institution that brings no kudos to the rotating chairman.

Besides, it is actually the institution that bears the greatest part of the responsibility for the UN's decline as the body responsible for global governance, a task that the G20 has very seldom been able to face up to.

38 countries have been invited, from Azerbaijan to Chad, from Denmark to Laos, from Sweden to Zimbabwe. It is essential to mention that the G8 suspended Russia in 2014 because of its annexation of Crimea. Trump, in his inexplicable deference to Putin, asked for its readmission to the G8, and this was refused by the other countries. The G7 has kept meeting as "a steering group of the West." At the same time, the G20 meets regularly, with Russia as part of its members.

Italy has the task of inviting all those different actors, establishing the agenda and planning, and hosting a series of ministerial-level meetings, leading up to the summit of government heads. Italy has decided as agenda "The three P": People, Planet and Prosperity. This imaginative and original plan will be structured in 10 specialized meetings, like Finance (Venice July 9-10th); Innovation and Research (Trieste Aug. 5-8th); Environment, Climate, Energy (Naples, July 22nd), to give a few examples. Besides these ten specialized meetings, there will be 8 "engagement groups," which will go from business to civil society, youth, etc.

The G20 is formed by countries that are involved in different and often contradictory groups. For instance, after Trump killed the TTP (the Transatlantic Pacific Partnership), that Obama was able to put together excluding China, with a vast range of counters going from Australia to Mexico, from Canada to Malaysia, China was able to reciprocate, and crate the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, which puts together the same countries plus some others and leave outside completely the United States. This commercial bloc is the largest ever created and has 30% of the world's population and 30% of its GDP. But the European Union (to which Italy belongs) has explicitly taken a path of European nationalism to make the EU able to survive in the coming competition between China and the United States. European Union (and therefore Italy) are also NATO members, where the United States is the indispensable and fundamental partner. And in the G20, China seats with India, which is the only country that has refused to join RCEP and takes an alternative path to China's expansion in Asia. But this is also Japan'sJapan's policy, which is very active in G7, in the G20, and has entered RCEP, and considers, like South Korea, a priority to limit the Chinese expansionism.

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Global Covid cases exceed 95 mln

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The number of coronavirus cases confirmed all over the world has surpassed 95 million, while the global COVID-19 death toll stands at over two million, according to the latest data from the Johns Hopkins University's Coronavirus Resource Center.

As of 06:45 Moscow time on Monday (03:45 GMT), there are 95,003,533 confirmed coronavirus cases in the world. The global death toll from COVID-19 stands at 2,029,938. The number of recovered individuals stands at 52,269,644.

The United States, India, and Brazil remain the top three countries in terms of the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases. Russia comes fourth.
The US has registered 23,928,643 COVID-19 cases and has the largest COVID-19 death toll of all the countries in the world (397,500).

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Snake venom component protects against COVID-19

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Russian biologists have preserved a human cell cult from contracting novel coronavirus using enzymes in the venom of vipers and other snakes that belong to the phospholipase family.

According to Report, the article, which reflects the preliminary results of their experiments, was published by the electronic scientific library bioRxiv.

Russian scientists, led by Yuri Utkin, head of the laboratory at the Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry of the Russian Academy of Sciences, analyzed the structure of PLA2 molecules from the venom of several species of vipers and studied how they affect SARS-CoV-2.

It turned out that all forms of snake venom in one form or another stopped the virus from multiplying in the cell cult. The most effective was the venom of the Nikolsky viper. The poison destroyed the COVID-19 and blocked its interaction with receptors on the cell surface.

The main range of the Nikolsky snake is the European part of the Russian Federation, Ukraine, and Romania.

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EU Council, European Parliament to moot Navalny’s arrest

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European leaders have reacted to the detention of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny at Sheremetyevo Airport, who arrived in Moscow by plane from Germany.

Within half an hour of Alexei Navalny's arrest, EU Council President Charles Michel, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell, and European Parliament President David Sassoli made statements on Twitter.

The issue will be discussed by the EU Council at the level of foreign ministers on January 25 and at a meeting of the European Parliament on January 18.

Charles Michel said that Alexei Navalny's detainment upon arrival in Moscow is unacceptable and that Russian authorities should release him immediately.

Josep Borrell noted the Russian government must respect Alexei Navalny's rights and release him immediately. According to him, the politicization of the judiciary is unacceptable.

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