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Hard Numbers: Laura pummels Louisiana, Iran admits inspectors, COVID soars in Argentina, South China Sea missiles

Hard Numbers: Laura pummels Louisiana, Iran admits inspectors, COVID soars in Argentina, South China Sea missiles

470,000: Hurricane Laura made landfall on the US state of Louisiana on Thursday, threatening some 470,000 homes on the Gulf Coast. Eerily, the date marks 15 years since the arrival of Hurricane Katrina, which killed over 1,200 people in the region, caused $125 billion in damage, and left thousands homeless in New Orleans. Laura has already caused four deaths in Louisiana, and is expected to cause massive damage as it moves inland and towards other states in its path.

2: Iran will allow inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency to inspect two nuclear sites supposedly used by Tehran in violation of the 2015 deal to suspend its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. The move comes after the UN Security Council this week rejected a US proposal to "snap back" all sanctions on Iran for its non-compliance with the agreement (which the Trump administration itself ditched in 2018).

10,000: Argentina — initially lauded for its response to the coronavirus — reported over 10,000 new COVID-19 infections for the first time on Wednesday, the country's highest daily caseload since the pandemic started. Residents in the country's main cities have been under lockdown since March, although some restrictions were recently lifted soon after a mass anti-government rally in Buenos Aires.

24: The US Commerce Department has blacklisted 24 Chinese companies for allegedly helping China build artificial islands in the disputed South China Sea. Beijing responded to the news by firing missiles — including one that could sink an aircraft carrier -- into the contested waters. Washington does not recognize China's maritime sovereignty claims.

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.

As we enter the homestretch of the US presidential election — which is set to be the most contentious, and possibly contested, in generations — Americans are also voting on 35 seats up for grabs in a battle for the control of the Senate. The 100-member body is currently held 53-47 by the Republican Party, but many individual races are wide open, and the Democrats are confident they can flip the upper chamber of Congress.

Either way, the result will have a profound impact not only on domestic policy, but also on US foreign relations and other issues with global reach. Here are a few areas where what US senators decide reverberates well beyond American shores.

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On September 23, GZERO Media — in partnership with Microsoft and Eurasia Group — gathered global experts to discuss global recovery from the coronavirus pandemic in a livestream panel. Our panel for the discussion Crisis Response & Recovery: Reimagining while Rebuilding, included:

  • Brad Smith, President, Microsoft
  • Ian Bremmer, President and Founder, Eurasia Group & GZERO Media
  • Jeh Johnson, Partner, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, LLP and former Secretary of Homeland Security.
  • John Frank, Vice President, UN Affairs at Microsoft
  • Susan Glasser, staff writer and Washington columnist, The New Yorker (moderator)

Special appearances by UN Secretary-General António Guterres, European Central Bank chief Christine Lagarde, and comedian/host Trevor Noah.

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Jon Lieber, who leads Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, offers insights on the Supreme Court vacancy:

Will Senate Republicans, who stopped a Supreme Court nomination in 2016, because it was too close to an election, pay a political price for the change in tactics this time around?

Not only do I think they won't pay a political price, I think in many cases, they're going to benefit. Changing the balance of power on the Supreme Court has been a career-long quest for many conservatives and many Republicans. And that's why you've seen so many of them fall in line behind the President's nomination before we even know who it is.

At this point, do Senate Democrats have any hope of stopping President Trump from filling the ninth seat on the Supreme Court?

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In a special GZERO Media livestream on global response and recovery amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Eurasia Group & GZERO Media president Ian Bremmer discussed the difference between Europe's unified approach to economic stimulus and the deeply divided and political nature of the current conversation in the US. While initial stimulus support was bipartisan, there is little chance of Democrats and Republicans coming together again ahead of the November 3 presidential election. "It's red state versus blue state. President Trump's saying that coronavirus isn't so bad if you take the blue states out. He's president of the blue states, you can't take the blue states out," Bremmer told moderator Susan Glasser of The New Yorker.

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Panel: How will the world recover from COVID-19?

UNGA Livestream