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Hard Numbers

410,000: The online shop of the French presidential residence sold around $410,000 worth of memorabilia, including mugs decorated with President Emmanuel Macron’s face, in just three days. Unfortunately, much coveted kitsch will do little to alleviate Macron’s woeful polling numbers, which recently hit a record low.


150: More than 150 new embassies have been established in sub-Saharan Africa since 2010, according to the University of Denver’s Diplomatic Project. While the US still leads the pack with embassies in 48 African nations, Turkey opened up 16 new diplomatic posts and Qatar 12 there in the past eight years.

95: Oil exports from the southern Iraqi city of Basra account for 95 percent of the country’s state revenues, and yet more than a quarter of young people in the area are jobless, higher than the national average of 20 percent. Such disparities have contributed to long simmering anti-government protests there that have turned violent in recent days.

80: Around 80 percent of Yemen’s people need some sort of humanitarian aid, according to the UN. The world’s worst humanitarian crisis continues to deepen, with around 8 million at risk of famine, including many children.

5: The reimposition of US sanctions on Iran has caused a drought of dollars in the Islamic Republic but proven a godsend for currency traders in neighboring Afghanistan. Every day, according to a Bloomberg report, they smuggle some $5 million into Iran, sell the greenbacks in exchange for Iranian rials at a huge markup on the black market, and then take those Iranian rials back home to Afghanistan where they fetch another premium of 30 percent.

Carbon has a bad rep, but did you know it's a building block of life? As atoms evolved, carbon trapped in CO2 was freed, giving way to the creation of complex molecules that use photosynthesis to convert carbon to food. Soon after, plants, herbivores, and carnivores began populating the earth and the cycle of life began.

Learn more about how carbon created life on Earth in the second episode of Eni's Story of CO2 series.

As we enter the homestretch of the US presidential election — which is set to be the most contentious, and possibly contested, in generations — Americans are also voting on 35 seats up for grabs in a battle for the control of the Senate. The 100-member body is currently held 53-47 by the Republican Party, but many individual races are wide open, and the Democrats are confident they can flip the upper chamber of Congress.

Either way, the result will have a profound impact not only on domestic policy, but also on US foreign relations and other issues with global reach. Here are a few areas where what US senators decide reverberates well beyond American shores.

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On September 23, GZERO Media — in partnership with Microsoft and Eurasia Group — gathered global experts to discuss global recovery from the coronavirus pandemic in a livestream panel. Our panel for the discussion Crisis Response & Recovery: Reimagining while Rebuilding, included:

  • Brad Smith, President, Microsoft
  • Ian Bremmer, President and Founder, Eurasia Group & GZERO Media
  • Jeh Johnson, Partner, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, LLP and former Secretary of Homeland Security.
  • John Frank, Vice President, UN Affairs at Microsoft
  • Susan Glasser, staff writer and Washington columnist, The New Yorker (moderator)

Special appearances by UN Secretary-General António Guterres, European Central Bank chief Christine Lagarde, and comedian/host Trevor Noah.

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Jon Lieber, who leads Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, offers insights on the Supreme Court vacancy:

Will Senate Republicans, who stopped a Supreme Court nomination in 2016, because it was too close to an election, pay a political price for the change in tactics this time around?

Not only do I think they won't pay a political price, I think in many cases, they're going to benefit. Changing the balance of power on the Supreme Court has been a career-long quest for many conservatives and many Republicans. And that's why you've seen so many of them fall in line behind the President's nomination before we even know who it is.

At this point, do Senate Democrats have any hope of stopping President Trump from filling the ninth seat on the Supreme Court?

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In a special GZERO Media livestream on global response and recovery amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Eurasia Group & GZERO Media president Ian Bremmer discussed the difference between Europe's unified approach to economic stimulus and the deeply divided and political nature of the current conversation in the US. While initial stimulus support was bipartisan, there is little chance of Democrats and Republicans coming together again ahead of the November 3 presidential election. "It's red state versus blue state. President Trump's saying that coronavirus isn't so bad if you take the blue states out. He's president of the blue states, you can't take the blue states out," Bremmer told moderator Susan Glasser of The New Yorker.

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Panel: How will the world recover from COVID-19?

UNGA Livestream