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HARD NUMBERS: Americans on the same page, Africans in rural Quebec, Chickens on death row, Honeybees on the rise

​An American flag flies atop Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill.

An American flag flies atop Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill.

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Sipa USA via Reuters

90: There are plenty of things that divide Americans these days, but what unites them? More than you’d think. A new poll shows that 90% of people in the US say that “equal protection under the law,” the “right to vote,” and “free speech” are fundamental to US identity. The “right to privacy,” “freedom of religion,” and “freedom of assembly” all come in above 80%. But polarization is never far away: The number drops to just 54% for “the right to bear arms.”

4,500: The once-declining northern Quebec town of Rouyn-Noranda, located some 400 miles northwest of Montreal, has been economically and culturally revitalized in recent years by an influx of immigrants from Africa. Of the 4,500 temporary foreign laborers in the city, the vast majority are from French-speaking African countries like Cameroon or the Democratic Republic of Congo. The city’s most famous poutine restaurant is now owned by a couple from Benin.

2 million: The largest egg producer in the US, Cal-Maine foods, has destroyed nearly 2 million chickens after detecting a case of avian flu at a farm in Texas. The news came just a day after a farmer was infected with the disease after coming into contact with cows that had it. Health officials said there was minimal broader health risk for now, but with egg prices already creeping back up to their highest levels since April 2023, consumers are likely to feel the outbreak at the checkout aisle before long.

3.8 million: From the birds to the bees … The latest US Department of Agriculture Census shows that the honeybee population has soared to 3.8 million colonies, the highest figure on record. After years of concern about the plight of the bumblebee, the sudden turnaround raised some antennae. It seems that a buzzing boom in smaller beekeepers, driven in part by fresh tax incentives, accounts for the change of fortunes. And now, listen to Rimsky-Korsakov.


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