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What we are watching: An election do-over in Turkey, and al-Sisi's latest power grab

Istanbul's mayoral election rerun – In recent local elections, Turkish President Recep Erdogan's ruling AKP party narrowly lost the mayoralty of Istanbul for the first time in more than two decades. Erdogan, who started his career as mayor of Istanbul, was not happy. Yesterday, the AKP cried "do over!" submitting a formal request to re-run the election. The first go-round was decided by less than 15,000 votes in a city of 15 million, but it's a risky strategy for the AKP – there's no guarantee that a fresh election will return a better result, and it might just serve up a worse one.

Al-Sisi's plans to hang out for a while – Egypt's autocratic President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has opened the way to stay in office for another eleven years. The country's rubber stamp parliament has approved constitutional amendments that extend the presidential term and expand executive control over the judiciary. We're watching the upcoming popular referendum on the changes, but only to see how comically high the YES vote is in a country where the president rang up 97 percent in the last election. That said, note: holding on to power forever is a great plan until it isn't, as al-Sisi's recently deposed neighbors in Algeria and Sudan can attest.

What we are ignoring: Another Trump-Kim summit, and Cantonese opera

The clamor for a new US-North Korea summit – Speculation about a new meeting between President Trump and his North Korean counterpart is growing after North Korean state media reported last week that Kim Jong-un was open to another tete-a-tete, provided the US came with the "right attitude." Over the weekend, Mr. Trump said a third summit to discuss denuclearization and the removal of US sanctions "would be good." We're ignoring this, because it's not clear if anything material has changed since the two sides walked out of the last round of talks in February, and if Kim is waiting for President Trump to change his attitude, he's going to be waiting a long time.

"Trump on Show" – A three-and-a-half-hour Cantonese opera that premiered in Hong Kong last weekend featured a drunken Richard Nixon, a clone of Chairman Mao, and a young Donald Trump in search of his long-lost twin brother, all set to the tones of traditional Chinese stringed instruments. Your US-based Signal crew is intrigued by this attempt to revitalize the 500-year-old traditional art form, but we missed the show's sold-out four-day run. From what we've been able to piece together from social media, it sounded pretty epic.

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