Hard Numbers: Afghans' fewer poppies, Trump's lead in key states, Lake Titicaca’s lower water level, New Delhi's smog, Japan's new frigates, Swifties' tents
95: Once the world’s top opium supplier, Afghanistan has slashed its cultivation of opium poppies by a whopping 95%, according to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime. The drop follows a Taliban edict banning opium cultivation.
5: Former President Donald Trump is leading in five of six battleground states in the run-up to the 2024 presidential election, according to new polls by The New York Times and Siena College. The numbers indicate that Biden is trailing among registered voters in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, and Pennsylvania. The president remains ahead in Wisconsin by the smallest of margins: two percentage points.
29: Over the past seven months, Lake Titicaca’s water level at the Peru-Bolivia border has fallen 29 inches to near-record lows. According to scientists, climate change is exacerbating this year’s El Nino phenomenon, layering heat on top of heat in South America’s largest freshwater lake.
471: In more bad environmental news, primary schools in New Delhi have been closed through Nov. 10 due to high pollution levels. On Sunday, the capital recorded an Air Quality Index reading of 471, a level considered hazardous.
12: The Japanese Ministry of Defense will acquire a total of 12 new Mogami class frigates over the next five years. The vessels will be used to defend the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea, which are controlled by Japan but also claimed by China and Taiwan.
5: Die-hard Taylor Swift fans have been camped out in tents for 5 months for a chance at front-row seats to the singer’s Eras Tour concerts in Buenos Aires on Nov. 9, 10, and 11. Some Bad Blood has been reported between the tent dwellers and locals who say the Swifties should get jobs rather than spend days waiting for their idol – but despite the potentially Delicate situation, fans appear able to Shake it Off.