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Hard Numbers: HK vote hopefuls out, US economy tanks, Chileans dip into pensions, Russian mercs in Belarus

Hard Numbers: HK vote hopefuls out, US economy tanks, Chileans dip into pensions, Russian mercs in Belarus

12: The pro-Beijing Hong Kong government has disqualified 12 pro-democracy candidates from running in September's parliamentary election, where the opposition was expected to win a majority of seats. The list includes high-profile activists like Joshua Wong and also Dennis Kwok, an outspoken pro-democracy lawmaker who recently discussed China's new security law for Hong Kong on GZERO World with Ian Bremmer.


32.9: The US economy contracted by 9.5 percent in the second quarter of the year, an annualized rate of 32.9 percent for 2020, the sharpest decline in America's history. The coronavirus pandemic has obliterated many US businesses and made unemployment surge above 15 percent, and the economic crisis may get even worse if more states reimpose lockdowns to contain the spread of COVID-19.

1 million: More than 1 million Chileans started lining up on Thursday to withdraw up to 10 percent of their pension funds. The government has passed a controversial new law allowing citizens to tap into part of their state-mandated retirement savings to mitigate the impact of the pandemic-fueled economic crisis.

33: Belarus has detained 33 Russian private security contractors, accusing them of being mercenaries aiming to disrupt the country's upcoming presidential election. It's the latest sign of a growing rift between two authoritarian presidents — Belarus' Alexander Lukashenko and Russia's Vladimir Putin — who used to be close allies but are not getting along lately.

Urbanization may radically change not only the landscape but also investors' portfolios. Creating the livable urban centers of tomorrow calls for a revolution in the way we provide homes, transport, health, education and much more.

Our expert guests will explore the future of cities and its implications for your wealth.

Learn more.

We live on an (increasingly) urban planet. Today, for the first time in human history, more than half of the world's population (55 percent) lives in cities. By 2050, that figure will rise to more than two-thirds, with close to 7 billion people living in urban areas. Cities have always been centers of opportunity, innovation, and human progress. But they are also often on the front lines of the major political and social challenges of the day. Here are three areas in which that's true right now.

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Europe's second wave: After a brutal spring in which Europe emerged as a coronavirus epicenter, the outbreak largely subsided across the continent in the summer, allowing many Europeans to travel and gather in large groups. But now, a second wave of infection is wreaking havoc across Europe, with the region reporting more than 1.3 million cases this past week alone, according to the World Health Organization, the highest seven-day increase to date. Former coronavirus hotspots like France, Italy, Spain, and the UK are again grappling with a record number of new cases that could soon dwarf the out-of-control outbreaks seen this past spring. Meanwhile, countries like Germany, Poland, and the Czech Republic that staved off massive outbreaks in the spring are also seeing an unprecedented number of new daily cases. As Europe now accounts for around 22 percent of all new COVID infections worldwide, hospitals in many cities are being swamped as many struggle to source life-saving equipment. As a result, Spain declared a national state of emergency Sunday, imposing nighttime curfews, while Italy imposed its strictest lockdown since May. Europe's Center for Disease Prevention and Control warned against complacency, noting that while transmission is mostly between younger people, keeping the death rate low, that could swiftly change if Europe doesn't get the virus in check.

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3: Armenia and Azerbaijan, currently at war over the contested Nagorno-Karabakh region, traded accusations of violating a new ceasefire just hours after it came into effect on October 26. This marks the third ceasefire that's been breached since violence flared last month.

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Nicholas Thompson, editor-in-chief of WIRED, helps us make sense of today's stories in technology:

Why is the Department of Justice suing Google?

Well, they are suing Google because Google is a giant, massive company that has a dominant position in search. In fact, on your phone, you almost can't use any other search engine or at least your phone is preloaded with Google as a search engine and you probably don't know how to change it. The Department of Justice alleges that Google has used its power and its muscle to maintain its position, and that violates the antitrust laws.

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