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Hard Numbers: Australia rescues stranded whales, Nigeria's economic hit, Netherlands' COVID surge, US-EU row over Iran

Pod Of 250 Pilot Whales Stranded In Macquarie Harbour, Tasmania

270: Australian coastal authorities have launched a massive recovery effort to rescue some 270 pilot whales that became stranded off the coast of the southern island of Tasmania, a third of which are already believed to have died. Mass strandings like this, which are extremely rare, sometimes happen when a pod follows a sick leader or they are pursuing prey that enters shallow waters and get stuck on the beach, scientists say.


6.1: Nigeria's economy, the largest in Africa, contracted by 6.1 percent during the second quarter of this year because of the pandemic-induced economic crisis. After thirteen consecutive quarters of growth, this hit represents the country's biggest economic dip in over a decade.

13,471: The Netherlands recorded its highest number of new COVID-19 cases in the week leading up to September 22, hitting 13,471 cases in seven days, a 60 percent week-on-week increase. Despite the uptick, Dutch authorities recorded a relatively low death rate of around 30 during that period.

27: The US government imposed economic sanctions on 27 additional Iranian businesses and individuals on Monday, and has demanded that European powers jump on the bandwagon. But France, the UK and Germany have pushed back, arguing that Washington does not have the mandate to compel them to enforce the new sanctions, which include a complete embargo on arms sales to Tehran.

A decade ago, Bank of America established the Global Ambassadors Program with Vital Voices, and the results are phenomenal. We've provided 8,000 hours of training and mentoring, engaging 400 women from 85 countries and helping women around the world build their businesses.

Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, US President George W. Bush demanded that Afghanistan's Taliban government surrender Osama bin Laden and end support for al-Qaeda. The Taliban refused.

On October 7, US bombs began falling on Taliban forces. NATO allies quickly pledged support for the US, and US boots hit the ground in Afghanistan two weeks later.

Thus began a war, now the longest in US history, that has killed more than 3,500 coalition soldiers and 110,000 Afghans. It has cost the American taxpayer nearly $3 trillion. US allies have also made human and material sacrifices.

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US and Russia buy time to talk arms control: Americans and Russians are close to agreeing on a one-year extension of their last remaining nuclear arms control agreement. For months the two sides have been unable to settle on terms to extend the New START treaty, an agreement limiting long-range nuclear weapons that was hammered out by the Kremlin and the Obama administration back in 2011, and expires next February. One of the main points of contention was the Trump administration's insistence that Russia bring China into any new arms control pact. But Beijing has no interest in capping its nuclear arsenal at levels far lower than what the US and Russia have, while the Kremlin says that if China is part of it, then other Western nuclear powers like the UK and France should join as well. But those disputes will be shelved now, as Moscow and Washington have agreed to freeze their nuclear arsenals for one year and to keep talking about an extension in the meantime. Of course, the Kremlin — which proposed the one-year extension as a stopgap — can't be sure just whom they'll be talking to on the US side after January…

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It almost didn't happen — but here we are again. US President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger Joe Biden face off tonight in the final presidential debate of the 2020 campaign.

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Three years ago, long before anyone had ever heard of COVID-19, a different kind of virus spread around the world: a piece of malicious software code launched by a nation state. It paralyzed computer networks in hundreds of countries, disrupted global shipping, forced pharmaceutical factories to shut down, and inflicted an estimated $10 billion of economic damage.

On the physical battlefield, a widely accepted set of rules, backed by international law, governs conduct, with the aim of protecting soldiers and civilians. Establishing common rules or guardrails is much harder in cyberspace, where borders can't be easily defined and the tools and tactics of combat are always changing. But it has never been more urgent.

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