Hard Numbers

23 million: On Monday, a record 23 million people in France tuned in to watch President Macron's speech addressing the ongoing "Yellow Vest" protests that have swept across the country over the past month. Total domestic viewership for the speech was higher than for France's World Cup victory last year, which counted about 22.2 million French viewers.


5,214: The US military is ramping up an offensive in Afghanistan in an effort to stall recent territorial gains made by the Taliban. That includes an air campaign that's seen the Air Force drop 5,213 bombs in the first 9 months of 2018, more than the total dropped in any of the past five years.

7: President Trump threatened in a televised Oval Office showdown yesterday to trigger a government shutdown if Congressional Democrats refuse to pass stopgap funding for the border wall with Mexico. How bad could things get? The 17 total government shutdowns in US history have lasted, on average, just seven days. The longest, in 1995, was drawn out for 21.

2: Only about 28 million people in China, or 2 percent of the population, pay income tax, even though around 187 million ought to be doing so. The government has embarked on a landmark effort to bring that number up by cracking down on non-compliance while also increasing the threshold at which incomes are taxed.

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