What We're Watching: Peru deports, Jakarta sinks

Deportations in Peru – Peru's immigration police deported 40 Venezuelan refugees this week that they said either had criminal records or were living in the country illegally. We are watching this because it's the first mass deportation of Venezuelans we've heard of since their country fell into crisis several years ago, prompting an exodus of some 3 million people. Peru alone hosts more than 700,000 Venezuelan refugees, most of whom arrived in the past year. So far Latin America has mostly avoided the kind of social and political disruptions that large-scale refugee flows have caused in Europe. Is that starting to change?

A new Indonesian capital – Indonesia has announced an ambitious project to move the country's capital away from Jakarta, which is famously traffic-choked, polluted, and steadily sinking into the sea. Relocation of the capital has been discussed for decades, but we are watching to see if it really happens this time and, if it does, whether President Joko Widodo can realize this project without corrupt bureaucrats and builders making it impossibly expensive. Massive construction projects and endemic corruption generally go together like peas in a pod (see "Odebrecht").

What We're Ignoring: Modi's Mangos, Fishy Russian Whales

Modi's Mangos – Journalists have a tough time getting to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but a Bollywood film star recently pinned him down for an hour-long interview about his personal life, tastes, and approaches to eating mangos, reports the FT. We are ignoring this in part because we like South American mangos better than India's famous Alphonsos (don't @ us), but mainly because we think voters' choices in the largest election in history should be determined by the issues rather than by Bollywood hagiographies or interviews of Mr. Modi.

Russian whale spies – Espionage experts claim that a white whale that approached a Norwegian fishing boat this week wearing a harness fitted with a GoPro camera holder and a label sourcing it to St. Petersburg is a Russian navy-trained spy. We're not impressed by this Bourne Beluga. Somebody sent secret squirrels into Iran in 2007. And the US Navy has trained dolphins to spot underwater mines for decades. We know everyone is on the lookout for Russians these days, but this doesn't cut it.

Carbon has a bad rep, but did you know it's a building block of life? As atoms evolved, carbon trapped in CO2 was freed, giving way to the creation of complex molecules that use photosynthesis to convert carbon to food. Soon after, plants, herbivores, and carnivores began populating the earth and the cycle of life began.

Learn more about how carbon created life on Earth in the second episode of Eni's Story of CO2 series.

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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For many, Paul Rusesabagina became a household name after the release of the 2004 tear-jerker film Hotel Rwanda, which was set during the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

Rusesabagina, who used his influence as a hotel manager to save the lives of more than 1,000 Rwandans, has again made headlines in recent weeks after he was reportedly duped into boarding a flight to Kigali, Rwanda's capital, where he was promptly arrested on terrorism, arson, kidnapping and murder charges. Rusesabagina's supporters say he is innocent and that the move is retaliation against the former "hero" for his public criticism of President Paul Kagame, who has ruled the country with a strong hand since ending the civil war in the mid 1990s.

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From climate change to connecting more people to the Internet, big companies like Microsoft are seeing an increasing role within multilateral organizations like the UN and the World Health Organization. John Frank, Microsoft's VP of UN Affairs, explains the contributions tech companies and other multinational corporations are making globally during this time of crisis and challenge.

7: Among the 10 nations showing the highest COVID-19 death rates per 100,000 people, seven are in Latin America. Weak health systems, frail leadership, and the inability of millions of working poor to do their daily jobs remotely have contributed to the regional crisis. Peru tops the global list with nearly 100 fatalities per 100,000 people. Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, and Colombia are also in the top 10.

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