Biden on the defensive \u2014 On Friday, Joe Biden publicly addressed Tara Reade\u2019s allegations of sexual assault against him for the first time. Reade, a former Senate staffer, accused Biden of sexually assaulting her when she worked in his office in 1993. Amid mounting pressure, Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, came out and denied the allegations, releasing a lengthy statement on the matter. \u201cThey aren\u2019t true. This never happened,\u201d Biden said, adding that, while women who step forward \u201cshould be heard, not silenced,\u201d their stories \u201cshould be subject to appropriate inquiry and scrutiny.\u201d Biden released his statement as President Trump\u2019s campaign is releasing a new advertisement targeting Biden\u2019s record on China as weak. With China dominating headlines for its handling of the coronavirus, President Trump appears intent on making the election at least in part a referendum on China. We\u2019ll see next week whether the advertisement has an effect, but more importantly, we\u2019ll see what the fallout is from Biden\u2019s denial of sexually assaulting Reade. States easing COVID restrictions \u2014 Some states, including Texas, Alabama, and others, are taking initial steps to relax their state-at-home orders, which were implemented to combat the coronavirus. The federal government\u2019s guidelines for social distancing expired Thursday and were replaced by recommendations that leave it up to each state to decide when and how to reopen its society. States are taking a wide variety of approaches, with more than half of the country\u2019s governors easing restrictions in some manner. New York and California, for example, are proceeding more cautiously, effectively keeping the restrictions in place, while Texas, Iowa, and Alabama began to reopen on Friday. We\u2019ll have to watch next week to see how the states that have reopened fare, and whether demonstrations continue in places that remain on lockdown. US investigating COIVD\u2019s origins, Trump considering tariffs on China \u2014\u00a0The American intelligence community is currently investigating the origins of the coronavirus pandemic, which began in China. So far, intelligence agencies have not ruled out that the virus may have accidentally leaked from a Chinese lab. The US and countries around the world have expressed outrage at China\u2019s handling of the outbreak. Several media outlets have detailed how China misled the world about the nature of the virus. President Trump is considering measures to punish China and hold it accountable for causing a local outbreak to become a global pandemic. When asked this week about reports that he could cancel America\u2019s debt obligations to China, President Trump responded, \u201cI could do the same thing but even for more money, just putting on tariffs.\u201d The US could move anytime, perhaps as early as next week, to begin imposing such measures on China. And we\u2019ll have to wait and see what the intelligence community concludes about the origins of the virus. Hong Kong protesters preparing to return to streets amid Chinese crackdown \u2014 Expect tensions between the people of Hong Kong and the Chinese government to rise. Hong Kong\u2019s pro-democracy protesters are attempting to return to the streets after hunkering down amid the coronavirus pandemic. In recent weeks, Hong Kong\u2019s government, which Beijing controls, has arrested pro-democracy activists. These activists oppose China\u2019s efforts to subjugate Hong Kong through coercion and erase the idea of \u201cone country, two systems,\u201d which is supposed to define the relationship between China and Hong Kong and ensure the latter retains much independence. It seems Beijing only wants to escalate the situation. As the Wall Street Journal reports: In recent weeks, Beijing officials have demanded that Hong Kong enact national-security legislation \u2014 which would ban treason, secession, sedition, and subversion against the Chinese government \u2014 and condemned the tactics of an opposition lawmaker who is holding up passage of a law criminalizing disrespect of China\u2019s national anthem.\u201d The report continues: \u201cTwo offices that represent the Chinese government in the city are asserting their power, wading into political debates. And local police have rounded up veteran pro-democracy figures who were involved in last year\u2019s\u00a0months-long series of mass rallies\u00a0that began in June.\u201d Beijing will continue to try to use the coronavirus to restrict large social gatherings in order to prevent mass demonstrations in Hong Kong. But the people of Hong Kong, committed to freedom and democracy, will try to protest, nonetheless. The situation will once again boil over, as it did last year, in the coming weeks. Watch for signs this coming week. Kim Jong Un\u2019s health \u2014 Last week we told you to watch for any new developments on the status of Kim Jong Un, North Korea\u2019s eccentric and tyrannical leader. Some news outlets had reported that Kim may be gravely ill following surgery. But South Korea, which has the best intelligence on the North of any country, repeated several times that Kim is \u201calive and well.\u201d Others claimed that Kim may just be recovering from surgery but not in dire shape. Amid such uncertainty, the speculation was rampant. Of course, if Kim were dead or unfit to rule for health reasons, that could have major implications for the future of North Korea. Most recently, Taiwan\u2019s intelligence chief, Chiu Kuo-cheng, said Thursday that Kim is \u201csick,\u201d and that Taiwan has emergency plans in place in case Kim dies and there is a struggle for power in North Korea. But don\u2019t be alarmed just yet. Chiu\u2019s deputy, Hu Mu-yuan, later added, \u201cFrom what we know, Kim is still in charge and in control of North Korea\u2019s military and its government.\u201d We\u2019ll have to continue our Kim watch next week and see whether we learn anything new and concrete.