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Hard Numbers: World Bank's COVID vaccine plan, Wisconsin ballot counting, Fukushima payout, Nigeria turns 60

Coronavirus vaccine testing. Reuters file photo

12 billion: The World Bank is considering spending $12 billion to help poor and middle-income countries gain access to a COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available and is proven to be safe. The multilateral lender previously committed to a $160 billion global coronavirus aid package.

6: A US federal appeals court in Wisconsin on Wednesday rejected a challenge by the Republican Party to extend counting of absentee ballots up to six days after the November 3 election, as requested by the Democrats. Wisconsin — where mail-in votes can be received until the end of Election Day itself and polling stations are bracing for a massive surge in absentee voting due to COVID1-19 — is a must-win battleground state for President Donald Trump.

9.5 million: A Japanese court has ruled that the government and the country's main power utility must pay $9.5 million in damages to the survivors of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. The twin disasters caused a meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear power plant that led to the world's worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl in 1986.

60: Nigeria celebrates 60 years of independence on October 1. The anniversary comes as Africa's most populous country and largest economy grapples with a pandemic-fueled economic crisis and still struggles to eradicate widespread poverty despite its fabulous oil riches.

A decade ago, Bank of America established the Global Ambassadors Program with Vital Voices, and the results are phenomenal. We've provided 8,000 hours of training and mentoring, engaging 400 women from 85 countries and helping women around the world build their businesses.

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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US and Russia buy time to talk arms control: Americans and Russians are close to agreeing on a one-year extension of their last remaining nuclear arms control agreement. For months the two sides have been unable to settle on terms to extend the New START treaty, an agreement limiting long-range nuclear weapons that was hammered out by the Kremlin and the Obama administration back in 2011, and expires next February. One of the main points of contention was the Trump administration's insistence that Russia bring China into any new arms control pact. But Beijing has no interest in capping its nuclear arsenal at levels far lower than what the US and Russia have, while the Kremlin says that if China is part of it, then other Western nuclear powers like the UK and France should join as well. But those disputes will be shelved now, as Moscow and Washington have agreed to freeze their nuclear arsenals for one year and to keep talking about an extension in the meantime. Of course, the Kremlin — which proposed the one-year extension as a stopgap — can't be sure just whom they'll be talking to on the US side after January…

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

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Three years ago, long before anyone had ever heard of COVID-19, a different kind of virus spread around the world: a piece of malicious software code launched by a nation state. It paralyzed computer networks in hundreds of countries, disrupted global shipping, forced pharmaceutical factories to shut down, and inflicted an estimated $10 billion of economic damage.

On the physical battlefield, a widely accepted set of rules, backed by international law, governs conduct, with the aim of protecting soldiers and civilians. Establishing common rules or guardrails is much harder in cyberspace, where borders can't be easily defined and the tools and tactics of combat are always changing. But it has never been more urgent.

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