Graphic Truth

Tokyo 2020 is set to be the most expensive summer Olympics ever, and will likely exceed the original budget by a lot once all costs of the one-year delay due to COVID are tallied up. But cost overruns are actually a given for the Games, which since 1960 have always gone over budget — roughly by 173 percent on average. Given that national governments end up footing most of the bill, it's no surprise that in recent years fewer cities have competed to host the Games, and that Brisbane's 2032 bid was unopposed. We rank the last 15 Olympics by how much their final cost exceeded their initial budget.

The COVID delta variant — which first surfaced in India earlier this year — is spreading rampantly throughout every continent, and is now the most dominant strain globally. But low- and middle-income countries, particularly in regions where vaccines have been scarce, are bearing the brunt of the fallout from the more contagious strain. We take a look at the 10 countries now recording the highest number of daily COVID deaths (per 1 million people), and their corresponding vaccination rates.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and US President Joe Biden have both been in politics for a long time. Biden was first elected to the US Senate in 1972, when Merkel was still studying physics in communist East Germany. But she became Germany's leader 15 years before Biden won the White House in 2020. The two have a warm personal relationship, dating back to when Biden was Obama's VP. But they won't overlap for much longer because Merkel is stepping down in September. The two seasoned politicians have seen a lot during their extensive political careers. We map them out here.

The Taliban have already made massive territorial gains in Afghanistan since the Biden administration announced that it would withdraw all US forces by September of this year. In many instances, Afghan security forces have abandoned their bases and handed over territory rather than confront Taliban fighters directly. Recently, Taliban militants gained control of the Islam Qala crossing between Afghanistan and Iran, which generates $20 million in monthly revenue for the Afghan government. Days later, the critical Wesh-Chaman border crossing with Pakistan fell to Taliban control as well. With the US withdrawal already more than 90 percent complete, the Taliban already control more than half of all Afghan districts. So as the last few US forces prepare to leave, we take a look at who controls what in Afghanistan. Spoiler: it's a significantly different state of play from when we last mapped it out less than two years ago.


UPDATE: The graphic and text were updated on July 14, 2021 to include theTaliban capture of the Wesh-Chaman border crossing with Pakistan.

Assassinations of national leaders often usher in periods of deep political unrest: Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's killing in Israel in 1995 sounded the death-knell of the Oslo peace process, while the mass shooting of Nepal's royal family in 2001 by its crown prince helped turn the country into a Maoist republic. Today's assassination of President Jovenel Moïse will surely bring further turmoil to chronically unstable Haiti, where his death has left a power vacuum amid already-severe social and economic crises. We take a look at countries where heads of state and government have been killed over the past 50 years.

Luxembourg's Prime Minister Xavier Bettel is in hospital in "serious condition" after contracting COVID-19 in the wake of a European Union summit. Bettel now joins a host of world leaders who got the virus in the course of their usual business of handshaking, speechmaking, and in-person meetings. Here's a map showing all the countries where a head of state or government has become a confirmed COVID case since the pandemic began.

A recent spate of extreme heat waves has killed scores of people around the world. But, why is this happening? According to a recent study, 37 percent of all global deaths from heat can be attributed directly to climate change, as a rapidly warming planet caused by industrial pollution makes heat waves more frequent, intense... and deadly. We take a look at where climate-linked scorchers kill the most people, as well as carbon dioxide emissions per capita in those places.

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