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.)

As Europe inches past the peak of COVID-19 deaths and the US slowly approaches it, many poorer countries are now staring into an abyss. As bad as the coronavirus crisis is likely to be in the world's wealthiest nations, the public health and economic blow to less affluent ones, often referred to as "developing countries," could be drastically worse. Here's why:

More Show less

25: A divorce lawyer in Shanghai told Bloomberg News that his business has surged 25% since the city began easing its lockdown in mid-March, as being cooped up on lockdown evidently exposed irreconcilable differences in people's marriages.

More Show less

Japan mulls state of emergency: Japan's prime minister Shinzo Abe is poised to declare a "state of emergency" because of the coronavirus pandemic, giving local governments the authority to order people to stay in their homes and shutter businesses and schools. Japan has so far managed the crisis without the kinds of sweeping lockdowns seen elsewhere, but a surge of new cases in recent days – particularly in Tokyo – has put pressure on the government to do more. Japan has one of the world's oldest populations – a third of its people are older than 65, the demographic most vulnerable to COVID-19. The emergency decision comes at a tough time. Japan's economy has been hurting for several months now, as China's massive lockdowns in January and February cratered demand for Japanese exports. In order to deal with the fallout that comes with putting his economy on life-support, PM Abe said the government would push through a $1 trillion stimulus package.

More Show less

As reports swirl from sources in the U.S. Intelligence Community that China vastly underreported the number of COVID-19 cases and related deaths, China's top diplomat in the U.S., Ambassador Cui Tiankai, joined Ian Bremmer for an exclusive conversation in which he responds to the claim.

More Show less