Hard Numbers: Slovak far-right conviction, Japan's to go carbon-neutral, Turkish lira falls, al-Shabaab taxes Somalis

Marian Kotleba, leader of the far-right People's Party Our Slovakia (LSNS), attends an election campaign rally in Topolcany, Slovakia. Reuters

52: Slovak far-right lawmaker Marian Kotleba has been sentenced to 52 months in jail for handing out checks with Nazi references to mark the founding of Slokavia's client state under the Third Reich. Kotleba belongs to the neo-Nazi People's Party Our Slovakia, which has an openly racist agenda and wants to pull the country out of the EU and NATO.

2050: Japan has pledged to cut greenhouse gases to zero and become carbon-neutral by 2050, a decade before China aims to reach the same goal. The announcement by Japan's new Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga represents a major shift in climate change policy for the world's fifth-largest emitter of carbon dioxide.

8.15: The Turkish lira has plummeted to a historic low of 8.15 against the US dollar. Turkey's economy is in a deep crisis due to sky-high inflation and the central bank's refusal to raise interest rates, while analysts worry that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’ recent tirade against NATO allies France and the US, and Turkey's involvement in multiple regional conflicts — are deterring investment.

15 million: The al-Shabaab militant group in Somalia currently collects about $15 million in taxes each month, almost as much as the Somali government. Most of the revenue comes from dues on shipping containers and a 2.5 percent zakat religious levy that al-Shabaab enforces in the parts of the country it controls.

In a new episode of That Made All the Difference, Savita Subramanian, head of ESG Research, BofA Global Research, explains why ESG factors are critical to why some companies succeed and some fail.

"I think 10 years from now, we won't even call it 'environmental, social and governance,' or ESG investing. We won't call it sustainable. It'll just be part of investing," she says.

Link to the episode here.

This weekend, world leaders will open the COP26 climate summit, the UN's annual climate change conference, in Glasgow. Some insist this event is crucial to the multinational fight to limit the effects of climate change; others dismiss it as a circus that will feature politicos, protesters and celebrities competing for attention – one that's long on lofty promises and short on substance.

What's on the agenda?

Political leaders and negotiators from more than 120 countries will gather to talk about two big subjects. First, how to reduce the heat-trapping carbon emissions that scientists warn can inflict catastrophic damage on millions of people. This is where they'll offer their "nationally determined contributions," diplomatic jargon for their updated promises on their climate goals. Second, how to help poorer countries pay for adaptation to the climate damage that's already unavoidable.

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Less than a year after the world started putting COVID vaccines into people's arms, most regions have immunized at least half their populations, but Africa still lags behind. With industrialized nations hoarding jabs and the COVAX facility faltering, barely five percent of the African population is fully vaccinated.

Some enterprising South African scientists are now making a bold bid to change that, with an experiment that could benefit not only Africa's 54 nations and billion people, but the entire world: Afrigen Biologics and Vaccines, a Cape Town-based startup, has developed a plan to reverse-engineer Moderna's mRNA shot and manufacture it for priority distribution on the continent.

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11: Hit by a massive new COVID wave, Moscow has issued an 11-day lockdown of schools, businesses, and all "non-essential" services. Russia is now one of the countries hardest hit by the pandemic, having recorded 400,000 deaths by some estimates. Russia's high rate of vaccine skepticism isn't helping.

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Marietje Schaake, International Policy Director at Stanford's Cyber Policy Center, Eurasia Group senior advisor and former MEP, discusses trends in big tech, privacy protection and cyberspace:

Has Russian behavior in cyber changed after President Biden and President Putin's meeting earlier this year?

Well, unfortunately, we see ongoing assertiveness and aggression from the Russian side, targeting the US government, but also US tech companies. And the fact that there is so little accountability probably keeps motivating. Shortly before the Russian elections, Apple and Google removed an app built by opposition parties, to help voters identify the best candidate to challenge Putin's party. The company sided pressure on their employees in Russia, but of course, the pressure on the Russian population is constant. And after these dramatic events, the silence from Western governments was deafening.

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No government today has the toolbox to tinker with Big Tech – that's why it's time to start thinking of the biggest tech companies as bona fide "digital nation states" with their own foreign relations, Ian Bremmer explains on GZERO World. Never has a small group of companies held such an expansive influence over humanity. And in this vast new digital territory, governments have little idea what to do.

Watch this episode of GZERO World with Ian Bremmer: Big Tech: Global sovereignty, unintended consequences

Right now, only one region of the world is reporting an increase in new daily COVID cases. Here's a hint: it's one of the places where vaccines are, for the most part, easiest to get.

It's Europe. According to the World Health Organization, the region last week notched a 7 percent uptick in new daily infections, the third week in a row that infections rose there.

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