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.

Carbon has a bad rep, but did you know it's a building block of life? As atoms evolved, carbon trapped in CO2 was freed, giving way to the creation of complex molecules that use photosynthesis to convert carbon to food. Soon after, plants, herbivores, and carnivores began populating the earth and the cycle of life began.

Learn more about how carbon created life on Earth in the second episode of Eni's Story of CO2 series.

As we enter the homestretch of the US presidential election — which is set to be the most contentious, and possibly contested, in generations — Americans are also voting on 35 seats up for grabs in a battle for the control of the Senate. The 100-member body is currently held 53-47 by the Republican Party, but many individual races are wide open, and the Democrats are confident they can flip the upper chamber of Congress.

Either way, the result will have a profound impact not only on domestic policy, but also on US foreign relations and other issues with global reach. Here are a few areas where what US senators decide reverberates well beyond American shores.

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For many, Paul Rusesabagina became a household name after the release of the 2004 tear-jerker film Hotel Rwanda, which was set during the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

Rusesabagina, who used his influence as a hotel manager to save the lives of more than 1,000 Rwandans, has again made headlines in recent weeks after he was reportedly duped into boarding a flight to Kigali, Rwanda's capital, where he was promptly arrested on terrorism, arson, kidnapping and murder charges. Rusesabagina's supporters say he is innocent and that the move is retaliation against the former "hero" for his public criticism of President Paul Kagame, who has ruled the country with a strong hand since ending the civil war in the mid 1990s.

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From climate change to connecting more people to the Internet, big companies like Microsoft are seeing an increasing role within multilateral organizations like the UN and the World Health Organization. John Frank, Microsoft's VP of UN Affairs, explains the contributions tech companies and other multinational corporations are making globally during this time of crisis and challenge.

7: Among the 10 nations showing the highest COVID-19 death rates per 100,000 people, seven are in Latin America. Weak health systems, frail leadership, and the inability of millions of working poor to do their daily jobs remotely have contributed to the regional crisis. Peru tops the global list with nearly 100 fatalities per 100,000 people. Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, and Colombia are also in the top 10.

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