"Men make history and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still." — Harry S. Truman

The former US president's warning feels particularly prescient as world leaders prepare to gather at the 76th United National General Assembly in New York City, the first such in-person event in over 18 months. The importance of apt leadership in determining societies' ability to cope — and survive — has been on full display since COVID-19 enveloped the globe, decimating communities and killing some 4.5 million people.

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On Monday, Canada's liberal hunk of a PM heads into early elections that no one seems to have wanted... except for him.

When Justin Trudeau announced the move back on August 15, many people questioned the wisdom of holding a national election amid the economic and public health upheavals of the pandemic. "Read the room, Justin," was a common quip, with many saying the early vote was irresponsible from a public health perspective.

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Many countries with broad access to COVID shots are grappling with a major problem: despite 18 months of death and destruction, many people still aren't willing to roll up their sleeves. This trend is most pronounced in Russia — despite developing its very own Sputnik V vaccine and using it as a diplomatic tool — and in the US, which has the second highest percentage of vaccine skeptics, in large part because of partisan politics. We take a look at the countries with the highest percentage of people uncertain or unwilling to get the shot to date, as well as their respective (partial) vaccination rates.

Norway's climate election result: Most votes have now been counted from Norway's parliamentary election, and the left-leaning Labour party, headed by former FM Jonas Gahr Støre, has reaped 46 out of 168 seats up for grabs, ousting the conservative government led by PM Erna Solberg. Støre will now try to form a coalition government that's expected to include the agrarian Centre Party as well as the Socialist Party. The election was broadly seen as a referendum on climate change policy, given that oil accounts for more than 40 percent of Norway's exports and employs 7 percent of the entire workforce — though Norway itself has rolled out an ambitious green agenda at home. Støre says that he'll limit new oil explorations, but has ruled out getting rid of fossil fuels, saying that oil revenues could help fund the transition away from oil in the long run. Importantly, the Greens, the only political party that called for an end to all oil exploration, reaped only 4 percent of the vote, and is therefore unlikely to yield enough (or any) influence. Regardless, Støre may need to incorporate some smaller left-wing parties in his coalition that could force him to take a more forceful stance on climate change, like raising carbon taxes.

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Things were looking good for Joe Biden for a while. A big economic relief package passed in March, coupled with a stellar vaccine rollout in the spring and summer, helped boost his approval ratings, which almost reached 55 percent in late May. But since then, a spike in inflation as the economy tries to rebound has hurt Biden's poll numbers, which took a further hit amid the chaotic and widely-criticized withdrawal from Afghanistan last month. Excluding Donald Trump, Biden currently has an approval rating lower than his five predecessors during this same period in their presidencies. We take a look at Biden's approval and disapproval ratings against the backdrop of relevant milestones.

The world's fifth largest economy votes: Voters in the US state of California will vote Tuesday on whether to fire the state's Democratic Governor, Gavin Newsom, and replace him with someone else. Some 46 candidates have put their names on the ballot to take the governor's mansion from Newsom, the former San Francisco mayor who has been broadly criticized for his pandemic policies — in particular his decision to keep many public schools closed last year, as well as dining out at an exclusive restaurant while telling Californians to stay home. But while the recall effort initially had steam, low projected turnout and an uninspiring group of replacement options — including right wing shock-jock Larry Elder and Caitlyn Jenner of Kardashian fame — mean that Newsom will likely survive. The vote has national implications: there is increasing pressure on the state's 88-year old Senator Diane Feinstein to retire before her term is up in 2024, and it would be up to the governor to appoint her replacement. With the Senate currently divided 50-50, a Republican governor could flip control back to the GOP. But that's a long-shot: Republicans only make up 24 percent of the electorate, compared to 35 percent in 2003, the last time the state recalled its Democratic governor. Who took over after that? The Terminator.

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100: According to preliminary results after Norwegians headed to the polls Monday (93 percent of the vote counted), the Labor Party and its left-wing bloc are set to win around 100 out of 169 parliamentary seats, booting out the incumbent center-right government of Erna Solberg after eight years in power. (Read GZERO Media's recent recap of what's at stake in Norway's election.)

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25 billion: Both the public and private sectors have invested around $25 billion to reconstruct New York City's Ground Zero, including the 9/11 memorial, transforming the area into a popular tourist destination. Two remaining projects could put the bill over $30 billion.

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