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An Afghan man works in a poppy field in Nangarhar province in 2016.

REUTERS/Parwiz/File Photo

Hard Numbers: Afghans' fewer poppies, Trump's lead in key states, Lake Titicaca’s lower water level, New Delhi's smog, Japan's new frigates, Swifties' tents


95: Once the world’s top opium supplier, Afghanistan has slashed its cultivation of opium poppies by a whopping 95%, according to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime. The drop follows a Taliban edict banning opium cultivation.

5: Former President Donald Trump is leading in five of six battleground states in the run-up to the 2024 presidential election, according to new polls by The New York Times and Siena College. The numbers indicate that Biden is trailing among registered voters in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, and Pennsylvania. The president remains ahead in Wisconsin by the smallest of margins: two percentage points.

29: Over the past seven months, Lake Titicaca’s water level at the Peru-Bolivia border has fallen 29 inches to near-record lows. According to scientists, climate change is exacerbating this year’s El Nino phenomenon, layering heat on top of heat in South America’s largest freshwater lake.

471: In more bad environmental news, primary schools in New Delhi have been closed through Nov. 10 due to high pollution levels. On Sunday, the capital recorded an Air Quality Index reading of 471, a level considered hazardous.

12: The Japanese Ministry of Defense will acquire a total of 12 new Mogami class frigates over the next five years. The vessels will be used to defend the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea, which are controlled by Japan but also claimed by China and Taiwan.

5: Die-hard Taylor Swift fans have been camped out in tents for 5 months for a chance at front-row seats to the singer’s Eras Tour concerts in Buenos Aires on Nov. 9, 10, and 11. Some Bad Blood has been reported between the tent dwellers and locals who say the Swifties should get jobs rather than spend days waiting for their idol – but despite the potentially Delicate situation, fans appear able to Shake it Off.

A group of demonstrators burns an image of the Prime Minister of Israel, BENJAMÍN NETANYAHU, during a protest in front of the Israel Embassy in Santiago, Chile, for his military actions in Gaza.

Joshua Arguello/NurPhoto via Reuters

South American countries recall Israel envoys over Gaza

Colombia and Chile recalled their ambassadors to Israel, and Bolivia severed relations with the country entirely in reaction to the scorched-earth tactics used by Israeli forces in Gaza. All three governments fall under a left-wing tradition in Latin America that is heavily pro-Palestinian.

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T-50 supersonic training planes take off for training at an airforce base in Gwangju, south of Seoul

Reuters

Hard Numbers: US bombers soar in Asia, Bolivia’s car theft culture, deafening penalties for 3M, Europe’s Russian gas habit persists

10: For the 10th time this year, the US deployed a strategic B1-B bomber for military exercises with South Korea. Washington also sent two of the planes to fly with Japan. The moves come just weeks after US President Joe Biden hosted a landmark trilateral security summit with Japan and South Korea. North Korea, as usual, was enraged by the bomber flights.
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People transport a man injured by a blast in Bajaur, Pakistan, on Sunday.

REUTERS/Fayaz Aziz

Hard Numbers: Pakistan suffers blast, Phoenix melts, Bolivia embraces yuan, US aids Taiwan, Barbie rakes it in

45: At least 45 people were killed and over 150 injured in a bomb blast Sunday in Pakistan at a convention of the country’s conservative Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Party in Bajaur ahead of this year’s elections. No group has claimed responsibility, but a local branch of the Islamic State group in Pakistan is believed to have launched recent attacks in Bajaur.

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What We're Watching: Myanmar's election, Bolivia's new president, Biden's COVID crew

Myanmar's "democratic" elections: Voters in Myanmar voted overwhelmingly on Sunday in support of the National League for Democracy party led by Aung San Suu Kyi, ensuring that it will remain the dominant force in parliament. It was only the second time that voters headed to the polls in a country that's been experimenting with democracy after more than 50 years of military rule. While voter turnout was high, critics say that some 1.5 million people were prevented from voting as part of a deliberate tactic by the joint civilian-military government to disenfranchise voters from ethnic minority states (the election was even cancelled in some of them). The country's ever-powerful military has long been accused of persecuting minority groups (this was reflected in its ethnic cleansing campaign in Rakhine State against Muslim Rohingyas, which were also not allowed to vote). Suu Kyi, for her part, has been accused of turning a blind eye to the genocide despite her credentials as a human rights "warrior." Indeed, the National League for Democracy has its work cut out for it as COVID-19 continues to rip through a country with one of the world's weakest healthcare systems.

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The other 2020 elections
The Other 2020 Elections | GZERO World

The other 2020 elections

Of course, the United States presidential election isn't the only major race on the world stage this year. Ian Bremmer takes a look at a number of highly important elections around the globe this year, including those in New Zealand, Israel and South Korea. One thing is clear - for most democratic political contests in 2020, no matter whose name is on the ballot, coronavirus is on voters' minds. Elections right now are as much a referendum on pandemic response as they are on the politicians running.

Watch the episode: What could go wrong in the US election? Rick Hasen on nightmare scenarios & challenges

What We're Watching: New US Supreme Court justice, Morales can go back to Bolivia, Nile dam talks resume

SCOTUS battle rages on: In a major victory for US President Donald Trump just a week out from the presidential election, the Republican-controlled Senate confirmed Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, who was then swiftly sworn into office at a nighttime ceremony at the White House. Barrett, a conservative who was tapped to replace deceased Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg just 46 days out from the presidential election, is the first Supreme Court justice to be confirmed in over 150 years without the support of a single member of the minority party. Democrats are furious, saying that Republicans — who blocked Obama from filling a Supreme Court vacancy in 2016, arguing at the time that the seat should only be filled after the next US president was elected some nine months later — have cynically backtracked on their own assertions. Democrats have also called the rushed confirmation process "illegitimate." Pressure is now mounting on Joe Biden (specifically, from the progressive wing of his party) to expand the size of the Supreme Court should he win in November, so Democrats can install liberal justices to offset the crucial court's hard-right shift.

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Thailand's monarchy, Nigeria protests, Bolivia's new president & COVID latest
Thailand's Monarchy, Nigeria Protests, Bolivia's New President & COVID | World In :60 | GZERO Media

Thailand's monarchy, Nigeria protests, Bolivia's new president & COVID latest

Watch Ian Bremmer discuss the World In (more than) 60 Seconds:

With Thailand's anti-government movement growing, is the monarchy in danger?

No, the monarchy is not in danger. The prime minister, Prayut, is in massive danger. These people want him out. That could lead to, yet another, military coup. By the way, markets don't tend to move because it happens a lot in Thailand all the time. This is a lot of demands for economic reform. A lot of demands for incompetence in the country. The economy has been hit massively. Thailand is massively dependent on tourism and something that is certainly not happening with coronavirus going on. It's extraordinary. There has been a fair amount of anti-monarchy sentiment and willingness to go after them in the demonstrations, which is illegal to do in Thailand, but there's still a lot of support. The royalist at military coordination is very high. That's not going to change the resources they have that they're able to spread around the country for patronage is massive. It is nowhere near the popularity that the former very long-lasting king had, but the monarchy in Thailand, no, is not in danger.

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