Hard numbers: “Illegal Music and Debauchery” in Iran

67: Botswana's High Court struck down a law this week criminalizing gay sex. Some 67 countries around the world — including upwards of two dozen countries in sub-Saharan Africa — still have laws on the books that make homosexuality a punishable crime.

547: Over the span of 10 days, Iranian authorities closed 547 restaurants and cafes in Tehran for their failure to adhere to "Islamic principles." The Iranian police listed among the violations "unconventional advertising in cyberspace, playing illegal music and debauchery."

41: Forty-one of 77 districts in the former East Germany are expected to lose 30 percent or more of their working-age citizens by 2035 as birthrates have collapsed following the fall of the Berlin Wall. The lack of people, jobs and prospects has turned the region into a stronghold for the country's far-right, anti-migrant AfD party.

44.5: UK government bean-counters revealed this week that the British economy shrank 0.4 percent between March and April, driven by a 44.5 percent drop in car production as automakers shuttered factories in anticipation of Brexit. While Brexit is yet to come, its economic consequences are already here. Er, there.

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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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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In a new interview with GZERO World host Ian Bremmer, conducted on the eve of the 2020 General Assembly, UN Secretary-General António Guterres confronts the challenges of leading a multilateral organization in an increasingly nationalistic world. "I am not naïve," he tells Bremmer. "I know this is going to be a very tough ideological battle."

Watch the episode: UN Secretary-General António Guterres: Why we still need the United Nations

How has the pandemic influenced climate action?

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