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Hard Numbers

5.4 billion: Last week, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled a $5.4 billion package to shore up popular support ahead of a crucial national election later this year. The funds include $2.8 billion in direct payments to small farmers and $2.6 billion in tax breaks for the middle class.

10,500: In 2017, the production of opium, the major ingredient in heroin, in Afghanistan increased by 65 percent to 10,500 tonnes, the highest total recorded by the UN Office of Drugs and Crime since it began collecting data in 2000. That's in part because the Taliban has boosted production of the lucrative crop as it's expanded control over Afghan territory.

50: A 50 percent increase in attacks by Israeli settlers on Palestinians, their property, and Israeli security forces over the past year threatens to plunge the febrile West Bank into deeper instability, Israel security officials worry.

1: Yesterday, Pope Francis became the first pontiff to ever visit the Arabian Peninsula, arriving in the United Arab Emirates to take part in an inter-religious conference. He also led a Mass for members of the UAE's sizable Catholic expat community, which comprises almost 10 percent of its population.


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