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37: Sub-Saharan Africa will account for 37 percent of the world’s births by 2050, according to UN forecasts, up from 27 percent today and 16 percent in the 1990s. The surging birthrate will make Africa’s population the fastest-growing on the planet in coming decades, putting pressure on the continent’s governments to provide economic opportunities, health care, and other essential services for more than a billion new citizens.


 

34: Donald Trump’s speech at the UN General Assembly on Tuesday clocked in at 34 minutes, longer than the 15 minute voluntary time limit set by the UN, but roughly in line with other recent UN speeches by US presidents. Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro set the record for the longest officially-timed speech at the UN -- 4 hours, 29 minutes -- in 1960, though Indian statesman VK Krishna Menon once spoke for nearly eight hours over the course of two days (and one hospitalization!) in 1957.

 

32: Turkey’s foreign minister said the country has already spent $32 billion feeding, sheltering and educating refugees, including more than 3.5 million Syrians displaced by the country’s long civil war. A looming Syrian assault on a rebel stronghold near the Turkish border threatens to swell those refugee numbers further.

 

5: After serving a 30-day jail sentence, Russian opposition figure Aleksei Navalny was free for just five seconds before being taken back into police custody on charges of organizing illegal street protests. Amnesty International estimates that Navalny, an anti-corruption campaigner who has become the highest-profile domestic critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has served 110 days in jail over the past year, mostly for administrative infractions.

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On Wednesday, Joe Biden will become president because eighty-one million Americans, the highest tally in US history, voted to change course after four years of Donald Trump's leadership. Like all presidents, Biden and his vice president, Kamala Harris, take office with grand ambitions and high expectations, but rarely has a new administration taken power amid so much domestic upheaval and global uncertainty. And while Biden has pledged repeatedly to restore American "unity" across party lines — at a time of immense suffering, real achievements will matter a lot more than winged words.

Biden has a lot on his agenda, but within his first 100 days as president there are three key issues that we'll be watching closely for clues to how effectively he's able to advance their plans.

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We're only a few weeks into 2021 and that 'fresh new start' that so many had been hoping for at the end of 2020 has not exactly materialized. But what gives World Bank President David Malpass hope for the coming year? "The promise of humanity and of technology, people working together with communication, where they can share ideas. It allows an incredible advance for living standards." His wide-ranging conversation with Ian Bremmer was part of the latest episode of GZERO World.

It wasn't pretty, but we made it to Inauguration Day. These last four years have taught the US a lot about itself — so what have we learned?

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Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hi everybody. Ian Bremmer here, and it is the last full day of the Trump administration. Extraordinary four years, unprecedented in so many ways. I guess the most important feature for me is how much more divided the United States is, the world is, as coming out of the Trump administration than it was coming in. Not new. We were in a GZERO world, as I called it well before Trump was elected president. The social contract was seen as fundamentally problematic. Many Americans believed their system was rigged, didn't want to play the kind of international leadership role that the United States had heretofore, but all of those things accelerated under Trump.

So perhaps the most important question to be answered is, once Trump is gone, how much of that persists? It is certainly true that a President Biden is much more oriented towards trying to bring the United States back into existing multilateral architecture, whether that be the Paris Climate Accord, or more normalized immigration discussions with the Mexicans, the World Health Organization, the Iranian Nuclear Deal, some of which will be easy to do, like Paris, some of which will be very challenging, like Iran. But nonetheless, all sounds like business as usual.

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The GZERO World Podcast with Ian Bremmer. Listen now.

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