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Combination images of Madeleine Albright, secretary of state in the Clinton administration, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. Photos: David M. Russell/CBS via Getty Images and Getty Images

Liberal democracy is at risk from the coronavirus pandemic, warns an open letter signed by prominent figures including former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, ex-Trump national security adviser H.R. McMaster and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R).

Details: The letter, also signed by Nobel Prize winners and current and former leaders from around the world, notes democratically elected governments are "amassing emergency powers that restrict human rights and enhance state surveillance," with little oversight.

"Parliaments are being sidelined, journalists are being arrested and harassed, minorities are being scapegoated, and the most vulnerable sectors of the population face alarming new dangers as the economic lockdowns ravage the very fabric of societies everywhere."

Of note: Signatories to the letter, organized by the Stockholm-based think tank IDEA, pointed to restrictions in China, where the pandemic began, "where the free flow of information is stifled and where the government punished those warning about the dangers of the virus."

The big picture: Governments across the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and the wider Asia-Pacific region have passed emergency measures in response to the pandemic. Israel, South Korea and Singapore are among the countries to have introduced "invasive" coronavirus tracking methods, per the New York Times.

  • Authorities in China, Egypt, Turkey, Bangladesh, Thailand, Cambodia and Bolivia have censored during the outbreak critics, who live under the threat of arrest or who have been detained, according to Human Rights Watch.
  • Meanwhile, the U.S., EU states and the U.K. have "increased collection of visa and immigrant data and counter-terrorism powers," Reuters notes.

Read the letter in full via DocumentCloud:

Go deeper: Coronavirus is being used to suppress press freedoms globally

Go deeper

Sep 2, 2020 - World

Thailand goes 100 days with no local coronavirus cases

Thai students wear face masks and sit at desks with plastic screens used for social distancing at the Wat Khlong Toey School in Bangkok, Thailand, in August after lockdown measures eased. Photo: Lauren DeCicca/Getty Images

Thailand on Wednesday marked 100 days with no detected local coronavirus cases, per the health ministry.

Why it matters: The Southeast Asian country joins a small club of places "like Taiwan where the pathogen has been virtually eliminated," Bloomberg notes. Thailand was the first country outside China to report a COVID-19 case.

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. sounds alarm on Ukraine

Conscripts line up at a Russian railway station yesterday before departing for Army service. Photo: Sergei Malgavko/TASS via Getty Images

The Biden administration is "deeply concerned" by new intelligence — detailed for Axios and other outlets — showing Russia stepping up preparations to invade Ukraine as soon as early 2022.

Why it matters: Most of this was known from public sources and satellite imagery, but the administration is sending a stronger signal by releasing specific details from the intelligence community.

CNN fires Chris Cuomo

Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for CNN

CNN said Saturday evening it has fired one of its star anchors, Chris Cuomo, following new revelations from a legal review made by the company into Cuomo's involvement in the management of his brother's sexual harassment scandal.

Why it matters: Saturday's firing speaks to how much pressure CNN was under by employees and critics to address Cuomo's behavior.

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