What We're Watching: Rwandan "justice," ISIS-K hits the Taliban, Canada's vote, COVID vaccines for kids, the UNGA podium

: Paul Rusesabagina, portrayed as a hero in a Hollywood movie about Rwanda's 1994 genocide, is escorted in handcuffs from the courtroom in Kigali, Rwanda September 25, 202

Hotel Rwanda hero given 25-year sentence: It's been more than a year since Paul Rusesabagina — the former hotel manager credited with saving more than 1,200 Tutsis and Hutus during the 1994 Rwandan genocide as portrayed in the film Hotel Rwanda — was misled into boarding a plane that eventually flew him to Kigali, where he was arrested. Now, Rusesabagina, a Belgian citizen and US permanent resident who received a Presidential Medal of Freedom from George W. Bush in 2006, has been sentenced to 25 years in prison on terrorism charges. Rwandan authorities say Rusesabagina's punishment is for his support for the Rwandan Movement for Democratic Change, a group accused of coordinating a string of attacks in southern Rwanda in 2018. But supporters of Rusesabagina say the trial is simply retaliation for his public criticism of President Paul Kagame, who has ruled the country since the civil war ended in the mid-1990s and has been dubbed a "benevolent dictator." Western governments have criticized Kagame for targeting Rusesabagina, and President Biden could bring up his case directly with the Rwandan president when the two leaders attend a G20 summit in Rome next month.


ISIS-K strikes in Afghanistan again: At least seven people were killed, and scores were injured, in attacks on Kabul and Jalalabad in eastern Afghanistan over the weekend, after ISIS-K planted explosive devices aimed at targeting their Taliban rivals. The Taliban confirmed that at least 35 members were killed or injured. This latest attack comes a month after ISIS-K, an Islamic State offshoot that expanded into Central Asia in 2015, killed 13 US service members and more than 100 Afghans in an attack on Kabul's airport during the chaotic US withdrawal from Afghanistan. ISIS-K and the Taliban, both hardline Sunni Islamist groups, are sworn enemies. Indeed, infighting within the Taliban, ISIS-K violence, and isolation from the global financial system will make governing Afghanistan much harder for the Taliban than the seizing of cities before they were in power.

Why did Canada hold an election? Preliminary results from Canada's snap election held on Monday show that PM Justin Trudeau will keep his job and enjoy a third term in office but likely not win a parliamentary majority, the reason he called the early vote in the first place. What's more, his ruling Liberal Party is likely to end up with almost the same number of seats (156) as it does right now — in part because the opposition Conservative Party again won the popular vote but nowhere near enough seats to oust the PM. Trudeau emerges from the election — which most Canadians didn't want in the first place — with his political future shaken, as the gamble could have cost Trudeau the premiership. Still, he has enough votes to continue leading a minority government, as he has since 2019.

The kids are alright (for vaccines), says Pfizer: The drug maker Pfizer said Monday that its coronavirus vaccine had safely produced a strong antibody response in kids aged 5 to 11. With children now accounting for one in five new cases of COVID-19 in the US, this is welcome news for people who want to vaccinate their kids, and for elementary schools who want to require that they do so. But that doesn't apply to all parents or schools: More than 40 percent of parents polled recently said they would keep their kids at home rather than send them to schools where a COVID vaccine is required. Pfizer and partner BioNTech plan to ask the FDA to authorize the shot for 5-11 year olds by the end of this month. If that approval is granted, buckle up for the next wave of "culture wars" over the vaccine.

The UNGA podium: A number of world leaders will take the podium at the UN General Assembly Tuesday. An increasingly beleaguered Joe Biden will try to convince the world that, really, "America is Back" (cue eyeroll in French), while Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro will first try to convince the UN to let his unvaccinated self into the building, before taking the podium. Two others to keep an eye on are Turkish President Recep Erdogan who is aiming to be a power broker in post-US Afghanistan as well as Libya. And Mexico's Andrés Manuel López Obrador may have words of caution about attempts to pressure his fellow left-wingers in Latin America.

In a new episode of That Made All the Difference, Savita Subramanian, head of ESG Research, BofA Global Research, explains why ESG factors are critical to why some companies succeed and some fail.

"I think 10 years from now, we won't even call it 'environmental, social and governance,' or ESG investing. We won't call it sustainable. It'll just be part of investing," she says.

Link to the episode here.

Less than a year after the world started putting COVID vaccines into people's arms, most regions have immunized at least half their populations, but Africa still lags behind. With industrialized nations hoarding jabs and the COVAX facility faltering, barely five percent of the African population is fully vaccinated.

Some enterprising South African scientists are now making a bold bid to change that, with an experiment that could benefit not only Africa's 54 nations and billion people, but the entire world: Afrigen Biologics and Vaccines, a Cape Town-based startup, has developed a plan to reverse-engineer Moderna's mRNA shot and manufacture it for priority distribution on the continent.

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Right now, only one region of the world is reporting an increase in new daily COVID cases. Here's a hint: it's one of the places where vaccines are, for the most part, easiest to get.

It's Europe. According to the World Health Organization, the region last week notched a 7 percent uptick in new daily infections, the third week in a row that infections rose there.

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Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, shares insights on US politics:

How are Democrats going to finance their $2 trillion spending bill?

Well, I don't know. And the Democrats don't know either. The original idea was to undo a lot of the Trump tax cuts from 2017. This is a very unpopular tax bill that every Democrat voted against, but moderate Senator Kyrsten Sinema told the White House earlier this month that she's against any and all tax rate increases. This takes the top individual income tax rate going up off the table. And it takes the top corporate rate going up off the table. And it probably takes capital gains rates going up off the table. So, now the Democrats are scrambling to backfill that revenue that they can no longer raise through rate increases with other ideas. One of those ideas is a tax on the unrealized gains of billionaires.

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The US is the world's largest economy. It's also the only one among the top 10 that has no national paid parental leave scheme. If you or your partner have a baby in the US the message is clear: you're on your own. Compare that to many European countries, which offer cushy paid leave schemes for new parents – more generously for women. Even countries that don't have a robust social safety net offer paid parental leave in some form. We take a look at how the US stacks up on paid parental leave (or lack thereof) compared to the world's largest economies.

From overall health and wellness to representation in the global workforce, women and girls have faced serious setbacks over the past 18+ months. They also hold the key to more robust and inclusive growth in the months and years ahead: McKinsey & Company estimates that centering recovery efforts on women could contribute $13 trillion to global GDP by 2030.

On October 28th at 12pm ET, as part of our "Measuring What Matters" series, GZERO Media and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will look beyond traditional indicators of economic recovery to examine COVID-19's impact on girls and women, specifically in the areas of health and employment.

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How can we go from "fine words" to "fine deeds" at the upcoming COP26 climate summit in Glasgow? For Inger Andersen, head of the UN Environment Program, it's actually quite simple. The world's top 20 economies, she says, are responsible for over three-quarters of global carbon emissions, so if they "make the requisite shifts, frankly we are out of the climate crisis." Watch her interview with Ian Bremmer on the upcoming episode of GZERO World.

On 30-31 October, the world's top leaders will gather in Rome for this year's G-20 Summit. After the pandemic forced them to meet last year by videoconference, the heads of state will once again be attending in person, allowing for the type of parallel, one-on-one meetings that have proven more productive in the past. Still, many critics of the G-20 have come to see the forum as a talk shop, a place where a lot is said but nothing really happens. Will this year be any different, given the long list of challenges the world faces, from COVID to climate change? We talked with Eurasia Group expert Charles Dunst to set the stage and find out where things are going.

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