Hard Numbers: Charlie Hebdo's defiance, Belarus leader banned, India's GDP plunges, Venezuela pardons

A person holds a placard with a pencil which reads "I am Charlie" during a minute of silence in Strasbourg for victims of the shooting at the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo.

12: Charlie Hebdo republished the same 12 cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed that made the French satirical magazine a target of a deadly terror attack in early 2015. The republication came on the eve of the long-awaited trial of those accused of helping two Islamic extremists kill 12 people inside the Charlie Hebdo office in Paris, inspiring other acts of jihadist violence across France.

30: The three Baltic states (Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia) have slapped a travel ban on 30 Belarus officials, including embattled President Alexander Lukashenko, for rigging the recent presidential election and cracking down on protesters. Belarusian opposition leader Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya is currently in exile in Lithuania.

110: The Venezuelan government has approved pardons for 110 jailed political opponents of President Nicolás Maduro ahead of legislative elections scheduled for December (though most of the opposition plans to boycott anyway). The list does not include high-profile dissidents such as Leopoldo López or Julio Borges.

23.9: India's economy contracted by 23.9 percent year-on-year in the second quarter of 2020, its sharpest drop since the country started publishing GDP statistics in 1996. Coronavirus lockdowns have battered India's economy, leading to the virtual collapse of sectors like construction, manufacturing, and transport, and wiping out millions of jobs in the informal economy.

Microsoft announced earlier this year the launch of a new United Nations representation office to deepen their support for the UN's mission and work. Many of the big challenges facing society can only be addressed effectively through multi-stakeholder action. Whether it's public health, environmental sustainability, cybersecurity, terrorist content online or the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, Microsoft has found that progress requires two elements - international cooperation among governments and inclusive initiatives that bring in civil society and private sector organizations to collaborate on solutions. Microsoft provided an update on their mission, activities for the 75th UN General Assembly, and the team. To read the announcement from Microsoft's Vice President of UN Affairs, John Frank, visit Microsoft On The Issues.

Over the past eight days, the US-China relationship got notably hotter. None of the new developments detailed below is big enough by itself to kill hopes for better relations next year, but collectively they point in a dangerous direction.

US jabs over Hong Kong: On September 14, the US State Department issued a travel warning for the city because of what it calls China's "arbitrary enforcement of local laws" by police. The US is closely monitoring the case of 10 people detained by China while attempting to flee to Taiwan by boat. China's response to US criticism of its new security law in Hong Kong remains muted. That could change if relations deteriorate further.

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As global leaders turn their attention to the 75th anniversary of the United Nations and the 2020 General Assembly, GZERO Media offers a look back at one of the greatest diplomatic mysteries of the 20th century. The UN's second Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld's mysterious death in 1961, while on a mission to Congo, is the subject of a new book by investigative correspondent and New York Times correspondent Ravi Somaiya. It has the twists and turns of a Tom Clancy novel.

Trump is willing to give up Wisconsin for Belarus' democracy? When multilateralism hits the Zoom calls, we can't really tell what's real and what's not. #PUPPETREGIME

Kevin Sneader, global managing partner for McKinsey & Company, provides perspective on how the pandemic has influenced climate action:

Has the pandemic helped or harmed efforts to tackle climate change?

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How has the pandemic influenced climate action?

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