Hard Numbers: August hits heat threshold, Pakistan polls in sight, Russian defector gets rich, Armenia looks for new friends
1.5: You already know that August was a scorcher in many places around the world, but now the numbers are in — last month was the second hottest ever recorded, with global temps exceeding pre-industrial averages by 1.5 degrees Celsius. Does that figure sound familiar? 1.5 degrees is the threshold beyond which climate experts say we should NOT go.
4: Pakistan’s beleaguered interim government now says elections will be held within four months because it needs time to design voting districts on the basis of new census data. But critics, including supporters of the wildly popular former PM Imran Khan — who is jailed on graft charges he says are bogus — suspect the delay is meant to give the government more time to help its preferred candidates.
500,000: Doing the right thing can be lucrative! A Russian helicopter pilot who defected to Ukraine with his chopper will receive an award of $500,000 from Kyiv. Meanwhile, his former comrades – who have not defected – launched a missile on Wednesday that struck a crowded market in eastern Ukraine, killing at least 17 people.
175: Russia has raised an eyebrow at plans for 175 Armenian troops to take part in peacekeeping drills with the US military. Since the Soviet collapse, Russia has been Armenia’s main security partner, but the current Armenian government is frustrated at Moscow’s seeming inability to stabilize things in the decades-long conflict between Armenia and its arch enemy, Azerbaijan.