Hard Numbers: A Quarter of a Billion People Far From Home

29: Even before Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro's response to fires raging in the Amazon fueled global scorn, his approval rating was tepid. It was 50 percent at the beginning of the year, dipping to 39 percent in February. Now it's just 29 percent.

57: Severe drought in Afghanistan over the past few years has led to a food crisis in the violence-plagued country. Some 57 percent of Afghans report having struggled to afford food in the past year, according to a Gallup poll. The proportion of those who said they are "struggling financially" was the highest on record last year.

400 billion: According to a study by the Center for Climate Integrity, the cost of building bulwarks against rising seas levels around the US by 2040 is projected to be $400 billion. That's almost as much as it took to build the original interstate highway system, which took decades to construct, and cost over $500 billion when accounting for inflation.

250,000,000: Out of a global population of 7.7 billion, a quarter billion people live outside the country of their birth. While most are migrants in search of better economic opportunities, one-tenth are refugees from crisis areas such as Syria, Venezuela and Myanmar.

Last week, in Fulton, WI, together with election officials from the state of Wisconsin and the election technology company VotingWorks, Microsoft piloted ElectionGuard in an actual election for the first time.

As voters in Fulton cast ballots in a primary election for Wisconsin Supreme Court candidates, the official count was tallied using paper ballots as usual. However, ElectionGuard also provided an encrypted digital tally of the vote that enabled voters to confirm their votes have been counted and not altered. The pilot is one step in a deliberate and careful process to get ElectionGuard right before it's used more broadly across the country.

Read more about the process at Microsoft On The Issues.

Communal violence in Delhi: Over the past few days, India's capital city has seen its deadliest communal violence in decades. This week's surge in mob violence began as a standoff between protesters against a new citizenship law that critics say discriminates against India's Muslims and the law's Hindu nationalist defenders. Clashes between Hindu and Muslim mobs in majority-Muslim neighborhoods in northeast Delhi have killed at least 11 people, both Muslim and Hindu, since Sunday. We're watching to see how Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government responds – Delhi's police force reports to federal, rather than local, officials.


27,000: The Emir of Qatar has decreed a $27,000 fine and up to five years in prison for anyone who publishes, posts, or repost content that aims to "harm the national interest" or "stir up public opinion." No word on whether the Doha-based Al-Jazeera network, long a ferocious and incisive critic of other Arab governments, will be held to the same standard.


Coronavirus, and the anxiety it provokes, have spread far beyond China. More than 1,200 additional cases are now confirmed across more than 30 countries. Fears are growing that the outbreak has reached the early stages of a global pandemic, because infections in South Korea, Italy, and Iran have no apparent connection to China, where the first reported cases emerged.

Alongside its obvious public health and economic effects, coronavirus is also shaking up politics—especially in a few countries where governments have good cause to worry how citizens will judge their performance.


Ian Bremmer explains the history and significance of the annual Munich Security Conference, now in its 56th year. The gathering of heads of state and top foreign and security ministers has diffused some political bombs and been the source of stinging barbs as world leaders spar on a global stage and behind closed doors.