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Hard Numbers: Ecuador as epicenter, cocaine face masks, Libya ceasefire, Ortega returns

Hard Numbers: Ecuador as epicenter, cocaine face masks, Libya ceasefire, Ortega returns

1.3 million: British customs officials confiscated a whopping $1.3 million worth of cocaine smuggled in a shipment of face masks this week, yet another sign of the way organized crime groups are exploiting the current health crisis to maximize their profits.

34: After a 34-day absence from public view, in which conspiracies circulated that he was either dead or gravely ill, Nicaragua's leftist president Daniel Ortega reappeared Wednesday with a televised address to the nation, in which he struck back at widespread criticism that his government has done little to halt the spread of the coronavirus.

10: A 10-day ceasefire in war-torn Libya will come into effect today after the UN implored the Tripoli-based government and rival forces to cease hostilities as dozens of coronavirus cases were confirmed in that country. Libya's weak healthcare infrastructure could not withstand a serious COVID-19 outbreak, the UN warns.

1,900: In just two weeks, around 1,900 bodies were collected in Guayaquil, Ecuador's main industrial hub, for burial – a five-fold increase in that city's normal mortality rate. Guayaquil is now Latin America's coronavirus epicenter, with gruesome images emerging in recent weeks of bodies piling up in the streets because hospitals, morgues, and crematoriums have been pushed to the brink.

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.

Join us today, September 29th, at 11 am ET for a GZERO Town Hall livestream event, Ending the COVID-19 Pandemic, to learn about the latest in the global hunt for a COVID-19 vaccine.

Watch here at 11am ET: https://www.gzeromedia.com/events/town-hall-ending-the-covid-19-pandemic-livestream/

Our panel will discuss where things really stand on vaccine development, the political and economic challenges of distribution, and what societies need to be focused on until vaccine arrives in large scale. This event is the second in a series presented by GZERO Media in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Eurasia Group.

Apoorva Mandavilli, science & global health reporter for the New York Times, will moderate a conversation with:

  • Lynda Stuart, Deputy Director, Vaccines & Human Immunobiology, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Rohitesh Dhawan, Managing Director, Energy, Climate & Resources, Eurasia Group
  • Mark Suzman, CEO, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Gayle E. Smith, President & CEO, ONE Campaign and former Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development

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Sign up here to get alerts about future GZERO Media events.

On Tuesday night, you can finally watch Trump and Biden tangle on the debate stage. But you TOO can go head to head on debate night .. with your fellow US politics junkies.

Print out GZERO's handy debate BINGO cards and get ready to rumble. There are four different cards so that each player may have a unique board. Every time one of the candidates says one of these words or terms, X it on your card. First player to get five across wins. And if you really want to jazz it up, you can mark each of your words by taking a swig of your drink, or doing five burpees, or donating to your favorite charity or political candidate. Whatever gets you tipsy, in shape, or motivated, get the bingo cards here. It's fight night!

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The long-simmering conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over a region called Nagorno-Karabakh erupted over the weekend, with more than 50 killed (so far) in the fiercest fighting in years. Will it escalate into an all-out war that threatens regional stability and drags in major outside players?

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Watch Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

A new war breaking out between Armenia and Azerbaijan, not a new conflict. They've been fighting over contested territory that used to be a part of the Azeri Soviet Socialist Republic. Nagorno-Karabakh was an autonomous region. It was taken by the Armenians. It's a mostly Armenian enclave in terms of population. It's been contested since that military fight. There's been ongoing negotiations. The Azeris a number of months ago tried some shelling. They got pasted. This time around, it's war and for a few reasons.

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