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Hard Numbers: India's soaring COVID caseload, torture in Venezuela, US ranks lowest in pandemic response, next year's global economic recovery

People wait in line to board a bus amidst the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Mumbai

5 million: After a massive uptick in new daily COVID-19 cases on Wednesday (more than 90,000), the Indian government said the country's coronavirus caseload has now surpassed 5 million. As demand for life-saving treatment has soared, hospitals in large states like Maharashtra, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh are scrambling to provide oxygen for gravely ill patients.


3: A three-member UN-appointed panel found that Venezuela's strongman president Nicolás Maduro ordered arbitrary killings, sexual violence, and torture against political dissidents. The panel focused on events in the country since 2014, when a sizable opposition to the Maduro regime gained momentum and his security forces employed brutal measures to quash dissent.

13: In a new 13-nation Pew poll, all states polled said the US has handled the coronavirus pandemic worse than any other country in the survey, which includes hard-hit nations like Spain, the UK, and Italy. In contrast, nearly all countries say the World Health Organization and the European Union have done a "good job" managing the pandemic.

-4.5: The global economy will contract by 4.5 percent this year according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), a group of advanced countries. That's less than the 6 percent dip the group projected back in June. The OECD now predicts a significant rebound in 2021, with the global economy growing by 5 percent.

A century after the rise and destruction of Tulsa's Greenwood neighborhood, Greenwood Rising is turning the site of a tragedy into a vibrant community hub, supported by a $1 million grant from Bank of America.

Greenwood, or Black Wall Street, was a thriving community of Black-owned businesses until the race-fueled massacre of 1921 that killed hundreds of Black residents and wiped out the neighborhood's homes and businesses. Nearing the 100th anniversary of this tragedy, focused activity in the neighborhood—including a history center—is bringing to life the spirit of Black Wall Street.

The most ambitious global vaccination drive in history is in motion. Over the past three months, more than 213 million COVID-19 shots have been administered across 95 countries, and the vaccination rate is slowly increasing. At the current rate, around 6.11 million doses are being administered daily.

It's a rare bit of hopeful news after 15 months of collective misery. So where do things stand at the moment, and what's keeping the world from getting to herd immunity faster?

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Ian Bremmer shares his perspective on global politics this week:

With protests growing, where does that leave the Myanmar coup?

Well, certainly no feeling on the part of the military that they need to back down under either domestic or international pressure. There's been relatively limited violence, thankfully so far. A few protesters have been killed. They've used tear gas, they've used water cannons, but much less of a crackdown than certainly they're capable of or that we've seen from the Myanmar military historically. That, of course, gives the protesters on the ground more incentive to think that they have success, and they can continue.

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Reducing carbon emissions is good for the planet and good for your lungs, but there's one group of countries that might not be so keen on green: those that rely heavily on oil and gas exports to run their economies. As the rest of the world gets closer to "Net Zero" in the coming decades, these petrostates will be in big trouble unless they diversify their economies — fast. So, how vulnerable are the world's top oil and gas producers to a low-carbon future? We look at how the treasuries of the 20 most hydrocarbon-dependent nations will fare over the next two decades under what the Carbon Tracker Initiative refers to as a scenario in which global demand for oil and gas will be much lower than today.

US to release Khashoggi report: The Biden administration's intel chief is expected to release on Thursday a report on the murder of Saudi dissident journalist — and US resident — Jamal Khashoggi. In line with previously reported findings, the assessment will say that Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman was involved in the plot to kill and dismember Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018. Aside from a sprinkling of new details, we don't expect much from the report itself, but we are keen to see how it shapes US-Saudi relations under Joe Biden, who has promised to take a harder line with Riyadh over human rights and security issues than his predecessor did. Part of that new approach is that the US president will no longer speak directly to the Crown Prince himself as Trump did — from now on, only his dad, King Salman, gets calls from the White House.

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