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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.

Urbanization may radically change not only the landscape but also investors' portfolios. Creating the livable urban centers of tomorrow calls for a revolution in the way we provide homes, transport, health, education and much more.

Our expert guests will explore the future of cities and its implications for your wealth.

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Back in 2016, presidential candidate Donald Trump presented his vision for an "America First" foreign policy, which symbolized a radical departure from the US' longtime approach to international politics and diplomacy.

In electing Donald Trump, a political outsider, to the top job, American voters essentially gave him a mandate to follow through on these promises. So, has he?

Trade

"A continuing rape of our country."

On the 2016 campaign trail, candidate Trump said that the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) — a 12 country trade deal pushed by the Obama administration — would "rape" America's economy by imperiling the manufacturing sector, closing factories, and taking more jobs overseas.

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In an op-ed titled "Iran Arms Embargo Reckoning," the Wall Street Journal editorial board argues that ending the UN arms embargo on Iran was a major flaw of the 2015 nuclear deal and questions whether Biden could do anything to contain Iran at this point. Ian Bremmer and Eurasia Group's Henry Rome take out the Red Pen to explain why this discussion misrepresents the importance of the embargo and the consequences for its expiration.

So, the US presidential election is now just days away, and today's selection is focusing on a specific aspect of foreign policy that will certainly change depending on who wins in the presidential contest—namely America's approach to Iran.

You've heard me talk before about the many similarities between Trump and Biden on some international policies, like on China or on Afghanistan. But Iran is definitely not one of those. Trump hated the JCPOA, the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal, put together under the Obama administration, and he walked away from it unilaterally. Joe Biden, if he were to become president, would try to bring it back.

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It almost didn't happen — but here we are again. President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger Joe Biden face off tonight in the final presidential debate of the 2020 US election campaign.

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Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, US President George W. Bush demanded that Afghanistan's Taliban government surrender Osama bin Laden and end support for al-Qaeda. The Taliban refused.

On October 7, US bombs began falling on Taliban forces. NATO allies quickly pledged support for the US, and US boots hit the ground in Afghanistan two weeks later.

Thus began a war, now the longest in US history, that has killed more than 3,500 coalition soldiers and 110,000 Afghans. It has cost the American taxpayer nearly $3 trillion. US allies have also made human and material sacrifices.

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