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US Senate races matter... to the world

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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Supreme Court vacancy turns US election on its head

News broke across the United States on Friday evening that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had died, ending her long and distinguished career as a jurist. Tributes poured in quickly from men and women on both sides of the political spectrum. But just as quickly, her death has sharply raised the stakes for the upcoming US elections for president and the Senate, as well as the longer-term ideological balance of the nation's top court.

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What We're Watching: UK's Brexit breach, Lula mulls comeback in Brazil, Trump's Nobel nomination

UK's Brexit tweak could breach international law: Boris Johnson's government came under fire this week after signaling that it would rewrite parts of the deal negotiated with Brussels last year that set terms for the UK's exit from the European Union. That agreement allowed Northern Ireland, still part of the UK, the same trade rules and customs as the rest of the EU — a key condition of the Good Friday Agreement signed in 1998 between the UK and Republic of Ireland that ended decades of violence. The British government now says it plans to pass legislation that could upend the provision that guarantees an open Irish border. Many observers say this would breach international law, putting the Good Friday Agreement in jeopardy. In the United States, meanwhile, Democrats have warned that a future Biden administration would reject any move to create a hard border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, and that Johnson's latest move would undermine chances of negotiating any future US-UK free trade agreement. More immediately, this maneuver also undermines the trust on which ongoing UK-EU relations will depend.

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Quick Take: Why I'm not voting for Trump

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

It's after Labor Day. That means we're back to work, right? At least I hope most of us are, and if you're not, that's because you choose not to be. It's a tough time. I know. But there's also going to be a couple of months of just true head splitting craziness in my country as we are as divided as any time in my lifetime and an election is with us.

I'll tell you that one of the things that bothers me most is the vilification. The idea that if someone supports not your candidate, that they have to be an idiot. They have to be a racist. They have to be a bad person. They have to be whatever it is. I mean, I find so many people that are increasingly only spending time with that piece of the population that kind of agrees with them or at least doesn't disagree politically. And that is no way to run a country, right? I want to say, I mean, you know, anyone that's been following me knows that I've not been a big fan of President Trump in his capabilities in office. But I don't vilify half of the population, 35%, 40% of the population, that continues to support him.

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COVID is ravaging these countries: How are their leaders doing?

We're now six months into the worst public health and economic crisis most countries have seen in generations. But how is that affecting politics? We take a look at the leaders of the countries that currently have the five largest death tolls.

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