Hard Numbers: Swedish assassination solved, COVID's US hotspots, Hong Kong arrests, global gas takes a hit

34: In February 1986, Swedish prime minister Olof Palme, a towering figure in the country's postwar politics, was shot dead in central Stockholm. Now, 34 years later, police say they know who did it: a struggling graphic designer named Stig Engstrom. Because Engstrom died, possibly by suicide, in 2000, the case has now been closed.


53: Police in Hong Kong arrested 53 people during pro-democracy protests on Tuesday. Hundreds of people had taken to the streets in anger at Beijing's new security law. See our interview on the "end of democracy in Hong Kong" with pro-democracy lawmaker Dennis Kwok.

20: All 50 states of the US are now slowly emerging from coronavirus-related restrictions, 20 states are reporting a rising number of cases, according to Johns Hopkins University data. As the infection rate abates in the early epicenters of the northeast, cases are rising elsewhere. Arizona, Arkansas, Michigan, and South Carolina are being hit especially hard.

4: An unusually mild winter, coupled with worldwide coronavirus-related economic shutdowns, have cratered global demand for natural gas in recent months. The International Energy Agency now says consumption of the stuff will fall by 4 percent this year, the largest annual drop in history.

Civil rights activist Janet Murguía joins the 'That Made All the Difference' podcast to discuss her upbringing as the daughter of immigrant parents and how that experience informs her life's work advocating for Hispanic-Latino civil rights and battling systemic inequality.

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"Go ahead, take it," President Putin says to you.

"Take what?" you ask.

"This Covid vaccine," he continues, turning a small syringe over in his hands. "It's safe. Trust me. We… tested it on my daughter."

Would you do it? Russian President Vladimir Putin is betting that a lot of people will say yes. On Tuesday he announced that Russia has become the first country to register a COVID-19 vaccine, and that mass vaccinations will begin there in October.

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20.4: The UK economy is now officially in a recession for the first time in 11 years, after British economic growth plunged by 20.4 percent quarter-on-quarter from April to June 2020. The quarterly decline — attributed to the economic crisis fueled by the coronavirus pandemic ­— is double that of the US and second only to Spain's in Europe.

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Vietnam vs coronavirus (round 2): After going three months with no local transmissions of COVID-19, Vietnam is worried about a resurgence of the disease after a recent outbreak in the coastal city of Da Nang that has already spread to 11 other locations throughout the country. Authorities in Vietnam — widely considered a global success story in handling the pandemic thanks to its aggressive testing, contact-tracing and quarantines — believe the Da Nang outbreak is tied to an influx of domestic tourism there after lockdown restrictions were recently eased by the government. As a precaution, they have converted a 1,000-seat Da Nang sports stadium into a field hospital to treat the sick in case local hospitals become overwhelmed. More than 1,000 medical personnel, assisted by Cuban doctors, have been sent there to screen residents, and the capital Hanoi plans to test 72,000 people who recently returned from Da Nang. Will Vietnam prevail again in its second battle against COVID-19?

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"First off you have to say, it's not just one epidemic. There are many outbreaks. All epidemiology is local, just like politics," former CDC director Dr. Frieden told Ian Bremmer. He expressed concerns that, although COVID-19 is relatively under control in the Northeast, outbreaks continue to rage across the South and Southwest. The real failure, Frieden argues, is at the federal level where nearly six months into a pandemic Washington still lacks the data required to understand the virus' spread, let alone control it.