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Hard Numbers: American shoppers set new records

Hard Numbers: American shoppers set new records

126: Marking the Year of Return – the 400th anniversary of the beginning of the US slave trade– Ghana granted citizenship to 126 African Americans and Afro-Caribbeans last week as part of an effort to encourage slaves' descendants to return. Three quarters of the West African slave "dungeons" that held slaves before their forced journey to the Americas were based in what is now Ghana.


18: The death toll from a capsized boat carrying Libyan migrants last week has risen to 18 after five more bodies were discovered Sunday in the waters off the Italian coast. More than 1,100 migrants have died or gone missing this year while trying to make the perilous journey across the Mediterranean by boat.

9.4 billion: American consumers are projected to have spent $9.4 billion on "Cyber Monday" purchases, the highest on record and an 18.9 percent jump from a year ago, according to a retail tracking report. That's on top of the record $7.4 billion spent on "Black Friday" in the US. What were Friday's biggest selling items? Frozen 2 toys, FIFA 20 video games, and L.O.L Surprise Dolls.

400,000: Boats carry 90 percent of global trade, and a quarter of the world's 1.6m commercial seamen hail from just one country: the Philippines. The 400,000 Filipinos who ply the high seas send home about $6 billion in remittances every year. (This NYT profile of the seamen has some amazing photographs, plus you'll learn what bolitas are.)

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Not everyone celebrates the US holiday of Thanksgiving, but we've all got something to be grateful for in this awful year, right? So as Americans gather around the table — or the Zoom — to give thanks on Thursday, here's what a few world leaders are grateful for at the moment.

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With President Trump and most of the Republican Party still refusing to acknowledge that Joe Biden has won the election, it seems pretty likely that the partisan gridlock that has paralyzed Washington for at least the past four years is not going anywhere any time soon. How will President-elect Biden deal with Donald Trump once the latter is, eventually, out of the White House? And how will Biden deal with Mitch McConnell and a Republican party hellbent on opposing him? "If you get past the theater for a second," suggests Biden biographer and New Yorker staff writer Evan Osnos, "you see that there is something deeply different in the relationship that Biden has with McConnell that Obama never had with McConnell." Osnos' conversation with Ian Bremmer is featured on GZERO World.

Watch the GZERO World episode: What you still may not know about Joe

Hong Kong pro-democracy activists plead guilty: The name Joshua Wong has become synonymous with Hong Kong's once-dynamic pro-democracy movement. But the democrats' momentum has all but fizzled since Beijing imposed a draconian national security law back in May, outlawing secessionist activity and criminalizing foreign influence in Hong Kong. Now Wong, who was instrumental in the 2014 pro-democracy "Umbrella Movement," is pleading guilty in a Hong Kong court to organizing and taking part in pro-democracy protests that gripped the semi-autonomous city for much of 2019. He and his two co defendants — all of them in their 20's — have been remanded until sentencing, scheduled for December 2, and are likely to face prison terms of various lengths. Wong, for his part, said he decided to switch his plea to "guilty" after consulting with his lawyer. (Knowing that the trial would mostly be a sham, the trio decided to plead guilty in order to speed up the process, according to reports.) This internationally watched court case comes as Beijing has increasingly cracked down on Hong Kong's pro-democracy camp in recent months, prompting the US to impose sanctions on Hong Kong's leader Carrie Lam, and several Western governments to terminate special economic relationship with the city. To date, there have been more than 2,000 prosecutions linked to last year's protests.

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The person a US president taps to assume the coveted role of secretary of state, the nation's top diplomat, says a lot about that president's foreign policy ambitions and global vision.

Indeed, the selection of Henry Kissinger (Nixon and Ford), James Baker (George H.W. Bush), Hillary Clinton (Obama) and Rex Tillerson (Trump) to head the State Department, provided an early window into the foreign policy priorities — or lack thereof — of their respective bosses.

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The 2020 US Election

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