Apr 27, 2019

Xi Jinping claims $64 billion in deals at Belt and Road forum

Xi Jinping speaking after the Belt and Road forum on April 27, 2019. Photo: Wang Zhao - Pool/Getty Images

Chinese President Xi Jinping said Saturday that the country's second Belt and Road forum resulted in $64 billion worth of deals among business leaders, the AFP reports.

What's new: Italy, Yemen, Equatorial Guinea, Liberia, Luxembourg, Jamaica, Peru, Barbados and Cyprus are the latest countries to join China's sprawling infrastructure initiative, which, critics say, benefits China at the expense of its partners and leads to unsustainable debt. Xi reportedly did not disclose more details about his claims of creating $64 billion in deals at the forum.

Buzz: Xi issued a joint press release at the forum's close with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, and Russia's Vladimir Putin, who took the opportunity to criticize President Trump's ongoing trade war with China. Russia has benefitted the most in the aftermath of these tariffs, along with Brazil, as China turns to other countries for imports of "animal, vegetable, paper, and mineral products" it used to get from the U.S.

What we're watching: Xi and other world leaders pledged to keep the Belt and Road initiative green amid concerns of negative environmental impact, largely due to the plan's focus on coal-fired power plants.

Go deeper: World leaders gather in Beijing for second Belt and Road forum

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O'Brien rejects intelligence report of Russia effort to re-elect Trump

National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien. Photo: Chris Usher/CBS via Getty Images

White House national security adviser Robert O'Brien repeatedly rejected on ABC's "This Week" an assessment from a congressional briefing led by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence that Russia is interfering in the 2020 election to help President Trump get re-elected.

Why it matters: The report put the Trump administration under fresh scrutiny in regard to steps it has been taking to combat the kind of interference that the U.S. encountered in 2016.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 25 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Italy becomes site of largest coronavirus outbreak outside of Asia

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus has spread to more nations as South Korea and Italy step up emergency measures in their countries amid rising case numbers on Sunday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed at least 2,462 people and infected almost 79,000 others, mostly in mainland China. South Korea increased the infectious disease alert to red, the highest possible, as its case numbers jumped to 602 and the death toll to five. Italy's government announced emergency measures as it confirmed a spike from three to 132 cases in matter of days, making it the largest outbreak outside of Asia.

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Iranian state TV: Hardliners win landslide victory in low-turnout election

Photo: Iranian Supreme Leader Press Office/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Iranian state TV announced Sunday that hardliners won a landslide victory in the country's parliamentary elections two days ago, including all 30 seats in Tehran, AP reports.

Why it matters: Voter turnout in the election only reached 42.57%, according to Iran's interior ministry, the first time turnout dipped below 50% since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. The low turnout may signal dissatisfaction with the Iranian government and the election system.

Go deeperArrow2 hours ago - World