Following a court proceeding that Amnesty International, a rights group, described as “fast-tracked” and a “show trial,” Iran executed Vahid Mazloumin (pictured above), a currency trader, this week for the crime of “spreading corruption on Earth.” He was accused of hoarding two tons of gold coins to manipulate gold prices on local markets. An accused accomplice was also killed, and at least 32 other people face jail time in this case. Mazloumin’s defense argued that Iran has no law against hoarding gold coins.

Gold is a particularly sensitive subject in a country where the currency has lost nearly three-quarters of its value against the dollar in recent weeks, and Mazloumin is not the first to be hanged for financial crimes. In August, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ordered the creation of special courts for these types of offenses, and at least seven people have since been executed, according to Amnesty. The trials are often televised.

At a time of new US sanctions and intensifying economic hardship, the Supreme Leader wants Iran’s people to see a decisive state determined to protect them from financial predators, not a government that can’t manage an economy.

Microsoft announced earlier this year the launch of a new United Nations representation office to deepen their support for the UN's mission and work. Many of the big challenges facing society can only be addressed effectively through multi-stakeholder action. Whether it's public health, environmental sustainability, cybersecurity, terrorist content online or the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, Microsoft has found that progress requires two elements - international cooperation among governments and inclusive initiatives that bring in civil society and private sector organizations to collaborate on solutions. Microsoft provided an update on their mission, activities for the 75th UN General Assembly, and the team. To read the announcement from Microsoft's Vice President of UN Affairs, John Frank, visit Microsoft On The Issues.

Over the past eight days, the US-China relationship got notably hotter. None of the new developments detailed below is big enough by itself to kill hopes for better relations next year, but collectively they point in a dangerous direction.

US jabs over Hong Kong: On September 14, the US State Department issued a travel warning for the city because of what it calls China's "arbitrary enforcement of local laws" by police. The US is closely monitoring the case of 10 people detained by China while attempting to flee to Taiwan by boat. China's response to US criticism of its new security law in Hong Kong remains muted. That could change if relations deteriorate further.

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As global leaders turn their attention to the 75th anniversary of the United Nations and the 2020 General Assembly, GZERO Media offers a look back at one of the greatest diplomatic mysteries of the 20th century. The UN's second Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld's mysterious death in 1961, while on a mission to Congo, is the subject of a new book by investigative correspondent and New York Times correspondent Ravi Somaiya. It has the twists and turns of a Tom Clancy novel.

Trump is willing to give up Wisconsin for Belarus' democracy? When multilateralism hits the Zoom calls, we can't really tell what's real and what's not. #PUPPETREGIME

Kevin Sneader, global managing partner for McKinsey & Company, provides perspective on how the pandemic has influenced climate action:

Has the pandemic helped or harmed efforts to tackle climate change?

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How has the pandemic influenced climate action?

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