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Hard Numbers: US sets another COVID record, Europe's vaccine distro timeline, migrants drown off Dunkirk, Melbourne's enduring lockdown

A member of the medical personnel wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) pushes a stretcher outside the CHR Sambre-Meuse hospital, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Auvelais, Belgium October 28, 2020

500,000: The US recorded 500,000 new COVID-19 cases over the past week, the highest 7-day total since the start of the pandemic. At least 20 states recorded their highest ever seven-day averages of new cases during that period. Meanwhile, the Trump administration released a press release Tuesday noting some of its key accomplishments, which included "ending the pandemic."

4: At least four people were found dead in waters of the coastal city of Dunkirk, France, after attempting to cross the English Channel by boat. Despite efforts by French and British authorities, migrants — many of whom sought asylum elsewhere in Europe after fleeing conflict and instability in Yemen, Eritrea, Chad, Sudan, and Iraq — have long used France as a launch pad to reach the UK.

111: After 111 days, Melbourne, Australia, has lifted one of the world's longest lockdowns, paving the way for some 5 million people to reopen businesses, meet in small groups, and dine out. The opening came after the city recorded zero COVID cases on Monday and Tuesday for the first time since June.

50 million: As Europe grapples with a horrifying uptick in COVID-19 cases, Ursula von der Leyen, the head of the European Commission, said Wednesday that, according to the best-case scenario, around 50 million vaccine doses would be delivered to the EU per month starting next spring. On October 23 alone, at least 225,000 EU residents tested positive for COVID-19, the highest daily rate on record.

Knowing the secrets of the Earth requires a great deal of exploration and intellectual curiosity. Fit for this job is geologist Giuseppe Valenti, Eni's Senior Vice President, whose role is to explore below the Earth's surface and understand the history, movements and age of each single grain of sand. Today, he is able to go underground without leaving the office thanks to new technologies and advanced x-rays that relay real-time data. Though working in the lab is distinctly different from his past adventures traveling the world, Giuseppe is not nostalgic for the past. He says he will always be Indiana Jones in spirit.

Watch the latest Faces of Eni episode to learn more about Giuseppe's inspirational life.

The person a US president taps to assume the coveted role of secretary of state, the nation's top diplomat, says a lot about that president's foreign policy ambitions and global vision.

Indeed, the selection of Henry Kissinger (Nixon and Ford), James Baker (George H.W. Bush), Hillary Clinton (Obama) and Rex Tillerson (Trump) to head the State Department, provided an early window into the foreign policy priorities — or lack thereof — of their respective bosses.

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Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hey, everybody. Ian Bremmer here, happy Monday, Thanksgiving week. Things starting to look increasingly normal in terms of outlook, in terms of having all of these vaccines. I understand that the next few months in the United States are going to be incredibly challenging, but so much easier when you see that there's light at the end of the tunnel and you know where that's coming. Most recently, the AstraZeneca announcement, which for me, in some ways is a bigger deal globally, even than what we've seen from Moderna and Pfizer, because it doesn't require freezing, it's just refrigeration, which means that countries around the world that don't have the infrastructure to deal with this cold chain requirements of these vaccines will be able to use another set of vaccines with different technology. That's not just AstraZeneca, it will be Johnson and Johnson. It's the Russians. It's the Chinese.

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Although the United States and the European Union have comparable population sizes, until recently the trajectories of their COVID-19 outbreaks have been vastly different, with the EU seeming to have kept the pandemic mostly in check during the summer months. The US has now surpassed twelve million total infections as most states, particularly in the Midwest, are fighting massive outbreaks. But now Europe is doing even worse: states across the continent are seeing an uptick in average infection and mortality rates that dwarf those of the US, leading several European countries to implement fresh national lockdowns. Here's a look at the seven-day rolling average of new COVID-19 cases, and three-day rolling averages of new deaths and new deaths per capita in the EU vs the US since March.

Guatemala in crisis: In the latest unrest to hit the streets of a Latin American capital, a group of demonstrators — angry about a controversial new budget — set fire to the Guatemalan parliament building over the weekend. The budget, negotiated largely in secret while the country reels from the impact of the pandemic and back-to-back hurricanes, cuts funding for healthcare, education, and human rights organizations while boosting money for infrastructure and — get this — adds more than $50,000 for lawmakers' meal stipends. The mostly peaceful protesters, along with the Catholic Church, are demanding at a minimum that President Alejandro Giammattei veto the budget, but some on the streets are calling for him and his whole government to step down entirely. Vice President Guillermo Castillo has offered to do just that, but only if the president jumps ship with him. Can Giammattei find a solution or is this a rerun of 2015, when mass protests unseated the government of then-President Otto Perez Molina? With its economy battered by the pandemic and natural disasters, Guatemala can ill afford a prolonged crisis.

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The 2020 US Election


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