World leaders came together, virtually, on Monday to mark the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, as the deadly coronavirus pandemic and tensions between the United States and China challenge the effectiveness and solidarity of the 193-member body. As COVID-19 began to spread around the world earlier this year, forcing millions of people to shelter at home and devastating economies, countries turned inward and diplomats say the United Nations struggled to assert itself.
Donald Trump has raced to cement a conservative majority on the US supreme court before the presidential election on 3 November, and Democrats’ hopes of keeping the seat empty have faded as two Republican senators signaled their support for moving quickly. The president said on Monday he would name his third supreme court nominee on Friday or Saturday.
A former Chinese property executive who openly criticized Beijing’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic was sentenced to 18 years in prison on corruption charges Tuesday, a court announced. Ren Zhiqiang, former chairman of a state-owned real estate group, disappeared from public view in March, after publishing an essay online that appeared to refer to President Xi Jinping as a “clown.”
Arctic sea ice has melted to its second lowest level on record as a result of heat waves and forest fires, scientists have said. On 15 September, ice in the Arctic Ocean measured 1.44 million square miles (3.74 million square kilometres), the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC) said. This is the second lowest summer melt since satellite records began in 1979.
A New York City Police Department officer has been charged with acting as an illegal agent for China. Tibet-born Baimadajie Angwang is accused of reporting on the activities of Chinese citizens in the New York area and assessing potential sources of intelligence in the Tibetan community. The naturalized US citizen, who worked for the police department’s community affairs unit, was arrested on Monday.