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What we're watching

Curiosity about Kamala – So many Democrats have announced plans to run against Donald Trump in 2020 that their party will hold debates in pairs on back-to-back nights to ensure everyone gets time to talk. There's no obvious frontrunner yet, but new data on recent Google searches reveals intense interest in California Senator Kamala Harris.

"Unsustainable Architecture" – The 6,000 workers who occupy the building that houses the Netherlands' foreign ministry and other government offices have been warned not to dance in the staff restaurant, install heavy cabinets in offices, or even stack too much photocopy paper in any one place for fear that suspect construction materials might lead the building's floors to collapse. Ironically, this building won an award for "sustainability" not long after it opened in 2017. We're watching with great interest to see how workers react, because your Signal team would never give up the notoriously raucous lunch-hour polka break that we enjoy here at GZERO Media headquarters.

What we're ignoring

Admonishing Erdogan – New Zealand's government is not happy that Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who faces important local elections on March 31, has tried to win votes for his party by showing the Christchurch mosque terrorist's own live-streamed video of the attack. We'll ignore any possibility this story will doing anything other than make angry people angrier, because Erdogan's response so far has been to criticize the governments of Australia and New Zealand for sending troops to fight Ottoman Turks during World War I.

Russian California – A Russian official reportedly told a state-run news agency this week that he thinks his government should ask the United States to "return" California to Russia, presumably because groups of Russians settled near Sonoma County during the early 19th century. The move would certainly provide a nice boost for Russia's economy—California's GDP ($2.7 trillion) is nearly twice as large as Russia's ($1.5 trillion). We doubt, however, that this idea will catch on with Californians.

Signal Salute

Ichiro — Signal hails one of the world's great athletes and a beloved icon on both sides of the Pacific. After many successful years with the Seattle Mariners, Ichiro Suzuki completed his remarkable baseball career yesterday, fittingly, to the cheers of both Japanese and American fans in the Tokyo Dome. #FirstBallotHallOfFame


Carbon has a bad rep, but did you know it's a building block of life? As atoms evolved, carbon trapped in CO2 was freed, giving way to the creation of complex molecules that use photosynthesis to convert carbon to food. Soon after, plants, herbivores, and carnivores began populating the earth and the cycle of life began.

Learn more about how carbon created life on Earth in the second episode of Eni's Story of CO2 series.

As we enter the homestretch of the US presidential election — which is set to be the most contentious, and possibly contested, in generations — Americans are also voting on 35 seats up for grabs in a battle for the control of the Senate. The 100-member body is currently held 53-47 by the Republican Party, but many individual races are wide open, and the Democrats are confident they can flip the upper chamber of Congress.

Either way, the result will have a profound impact not only on domestic policy, but also on US foreign relations and other issues with global reach. Here are a few areas where what US senators decide reverberates well beyond American shores.

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On September 23, GZERO Media — in partnership with Microsoft and Eurasia Group — gathered global experts to discuss global recovery from the coronavirus pandemic in a livestream panel. Our panel for the discussion Crisis Response & Recovery: Reimagining while Rebuilding, included:

  • Brad Smith, President, Microsoft
  • Ian Bremmer, President and Founder, Eurasia Group & GZERO Media
  • Jeh Johnson, Partner, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, LLP and former Secretary of Homeland Security.
  • John Frank, Vice President, UN Affairs at Microsoft
  • Susan Glasser, staff writer and Washington columnist, The New Yorker (moderator)

Special appearances by UN Secretary-General António Guterres, European Central Bank chief Christine Lagarde, and comedian/host Trevor Noah.

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Jon Lieber, who leads Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, offers insights on the Supreme Court vacancy:

Will Senate Republicans, who stopped a Supreme Court nomination in 2016, because it was too close to an election, pay a political price for the change in tactics this time around?

Not only do I think they won't pay a political price, I think in many cases, they're going to benefit. Changing the balance of power on the Supreme Court has been a career-long quest for many conservatives and many Republicans. And that's why you've seen so many of them fall in line behind the President's nomination before we even know who it is.

At this point, do Senate Democrats have any hope of stopping President Trump from filling the ninth seat on the Supreme Court?

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In a special GZERO Media livestream on global response and recovery amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Eurasia Group & GZERO Media president Ian Bremmer discussed the difference between Europe's unified approach to economic stimulus and the deeply divided and political nature of the current conversation in the US. While initial stimulus support was bipartisan, there is little chance of Democrats and Republicans coming together again ahead of the November 3 presidential election. "It's red state versus blue state. President Trump's saying that coronavirus isn't so bad if you take the blue states out. He's president of the blue states, you can't take the blue states out," Bremmer told moderator Susan Glasser of The New Yorker.

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Panel: How will the world recover from COVID-19?

UNGA Livestream