Hard Numbers: A global displacement boom, cheap Dutch, gasping Peruvians, air concerns in India and Nigeria

11 million: Nearly 80 million people were forcibly displaced from their homes due to conflict, violence, persecution and human rights violations in 2019, the UN announced on Thursday. More than 11 million of those people were added to the list last year, almost double the amount of people displaced in the entire preceding decade. UNHCR attributed the surge to new displacements in hotspots like the DRC, Syria, and Yemen...and because they are counting Venezuela for the first time.


61: A recent poll found that 61 percent of Dutch voters dislike the EU's coronavirus economic rescue package, which would give member states 500 billion euros in non-repayable grants. The Netherlands leads a "Frugal Four" bloc alongside Austria, Denmark and Sweden that opposes the plan, while it is supported by France and Germany, as well as highly-indebted southern states hit hard by COVID-19 such Italy and Spain.The plan requires the support of all 27 EU countries to pass.

1,000: In Peru, home to Latin America's second biggest coronavirus outbreak, oxygen bottles are now so scarce that they are selling for a 1,000 percent markup on their usual price. To make matters worse, counterfeiters are flooding the black market with dangerous low-quality knockoffs. As public health workers protest to demand more personal protective equipment, the government is scrambling to prevent a total collapse of the economy.

90: An overwhelming majority of Indians and Nigerians are fed up with pollution and unlivable cities. Up to 90 percent of respondents in a new survey from both countries said they want to raise air quality in urban areas. Coronavirus-related lockdowns around the world have dramatically reduced air pollution, but experts fear emission levels will return back to normal after the pandemic, especially in countries with poor environmental oversight.

In Italy, stacks of plastic boxes in supermarkets and stores are not garbage - they are collected and reused, thanks to a consortium that specializes in recycling them for food storage. How do these "circular" plastic boxes help reduce energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions?

Learn more in this episode of Eni's Energy SUPERFACTS series.

Over the past few years, we've seen three major emerging powers take bold action to right what they say are historical wrongs.

First came Crimea. When the Kremlin decided in 2014 that Western powers were working against Russian interests in Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin ordered Russian troops to seize the Crimean Peninsula, which was then part of Ukraine. Moscow claimed that Crimea and its ethnic Russian majority had been part of the Russian Empire for centuries until a shameful deal in 1954 made Crimea part of the Ukrainian Soviet Republic. Americans and Europeans imposed sanctions on Russia. But Ukraine is not part of NATO or the EU, and no further action was taken.

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Jon Lieber, managing director for the United States at Eurasia Group, shares his insights on US politics:

How is coronavirus jeopardizing the legitimacy of a 2020 presidential election?

Well, what coronavirus is doing is a lot of states are worrying about people who aren't going to want to come to the polling places in the fall, and they're worried about a shortage of polling workers who are going to want to come out and volunteer to get sick by interacting with a bunch people in person. So, what they're doing is they're looking at making a shift to vote-by-mail. Most states allow some form of absentee balloting today. Five states just automatically mail you a ballot and they don't do any in-person voting. But the challenge here is that a lot of states are unprepared for the sharp increase that's expected. In the last election, 25% of ballots were cast by mail. You may see 50, 60 or even more percent of ballots cast by mail this time, which could overwhelm election administration, which happens at the state level.

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The United States and the European Union have comparable population sizes, but their COVID-19 death toll trajectories have diverged. As of July 8, the average number of new deaths every three days in the EU had fallen 97 percent since peaking at the beginning of April. The US number, however, has fallen only 67 percent over the same period. That means that although both regions' death tolls peaked with only two weeks difference, the EU has flattened its COVID-19 fatality curve faster than America. Some experts attribute the difference to EU countries' more robust public health systems and better compliance with mask-wearing and other social distancing measures.

For those who follow the Israeli-Palestinian conflict closely, July 1 has long been a date to watch. After the Trump administration presented a blueprint for peace between the Israelis and Palestinians earlier this year, Israel's emboldened Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would start the process of annexing parts of the West Bank starting on July 1. That day has now come and gone, but...nothing happened. Why?

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