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Hard Numbers: UN (virtual) birthday party, US bounty for Colombian rebel, Mali's interim PM, Swiss vote on fighter jets

United Nations turns 75. Art by Ari Winkleman

75: The United Nations marked its 75th birthday on Monday with a mainly virtual commemoration led by Secretary-General António Guterres. The anniversary comes at a pivotal moment for the UN, which is currently holding its annual General Assembly as it faces the coronavirus pandemic, the biggest global crisis since its foundation.

5 million: Two days after visiting Colombia, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the US government is offering a $5 million reward for the capture of Wilver Villegas Palomino, a leader of the National Liberation Army. Washington accuses Palomino of trafficking cocaine to the US to finance the Marxist organization, classified as a terrorist group by the US.

18: Mali's military junta has appointed Ba N'Daou, the country's former defense minister, to lead a transitional government for the next 18 months before holding an election. The Economic Community of West African States had previously demanded Mali return to civilian rule before lifting sanctions in place since the August 18 coup.

6 billion: Switzerland votes next Sunday in a national referendum on whether to spend 6 billion Swiss franc ($6.6 billion) on new fighter jets to replace its aging fleet. Although wisdom of such a move may seem odd for a traditionally neutral country that has no enemies and fought its last war over 200 years ago, a recent poll found that 58 percent of Swiss citizens are actually in favor of the move.


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