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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

Go deeper

Updated 58 mins ago - World

Mexican President López Obrador tests positive for coronavirus

Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador during a press conference at National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico, on Wednesday. Photo: Ismael Rosas/Eyepix Group/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced Sunday evening that he's tested positive for COVID-19.

Driving the news: López Obrador tweeted that he has mild symptoms and is receiving medical treatment. "As always, I am optimistic," he added. "We will all move forward."

Sarah Huckabee Sanders to run for governor of Arkansas

Sarah Huckabee Sanders at FOX News' studios in New York City in 2019. Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

Former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders will announce Monday that she's running for governor of Arkansas.

The big picture: Sanders was touted as a contender after it was announced she was leaving the Trump administration in June 2019. Then-President Trump tweeted he hoped she would run for governor, adding "she would be fantastic." Sanders is "seen as leader in the polls" in the Republican state, notes the Washington Post's Josh Dawsey, who first reported the news.

Coronavirus has inflamed global inequality

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

History will likely remember the pandemic as the "first time since records began that inequality rose in virtually every country on earth at the same time." That's the verdict from Oxfam's inequality report covering the year 2020 — a terrible year that hit the poorest, hardest across the planet.

Why it matters: The world's poorest were already in a race against time, facing down an existential risk in the form of global climate change. The coronavirus pandemic could set global poverty reduction back as much as a full decade, according to the World Bank.

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