Hard Numbers: Zuma's day in court, Burkina Faso’s civilian killings, the soaring cost of water in the US, and Trump's H1B visa hit

16: Former South African President Jacob Zuma appeared in court Tuesday to be tried on 16 corruption charges linked to his decade running the country. Zuma says the charges are part of a political "witch hunt," but his critics say the trial is a rare example of the country's judicial system actually holding people in power to account after years of government corruption.


2000: As jihadist violence continues to cripple Burkina Faso, more than 2,000 people have been killed in that country in the last 18 months. The bloodshed has long-been attributed to attacks by Islamic State and Al-Qaeda offshoots, but now a chilling New York Times expose reveals that Burkina Faso's armed forces – the soldiers meant to protect civilians – kill as many civilians as jihadists do.

80: As the economic pain caused by the coronavirus continues to plague American families, new data shows that water bills in the US have risen by an average of 80 percent over the past decade. Millions of families now risk having their water and sewage service cut off – or losing their homes – if they can't pay their bills, according to new findings by the Guardian.

75: About 75 percent of all US workers who hold the coveted H1B visa come from a single country: India. Only 25 percent of the visa's holders are women. President Trump on Monday suspended new applications for the visa as part of a wider halt to legal immigration, saying that foreign workers pose an "unusual threat" to American workers. Many in the US business community, meanwhile, denounced the move and could even challenge it in court.

In Italy, stacks of plastic boxes in supermarkets and stores are not garbage - they are collected and reused, thanks to a consortium that specializes in recycling them for food storage. How do these "circular" plastic boxes help reduce energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions?

Learn more in this episode of Eni's Energy SUPERFACTS series.

Over the past few years, we've seen three major emerging powers take bold action to right what they say are historical wrongs.

First came Crimea. When the Kremlin decided in 2014 that Western powers were working against Russian interests in Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin ordered Russian troops to seize the Crimean Peninsula, which was then part of Ukraine. Moscow claimed that Crimea and its ethnic Russian majority had been part of the Russian Empire for centuries until a shameful deal in 1954 made Crimea part of the Ukrainian Soviet Republic. Americans and Europeans imposed sanctions on Russia. But Ukraine is not part of NATO or the EU, and no further action was taken.

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The United States and the European Union have comparable population sizes, but their COVID-19 death toll trajectories have diverged. As of July 8, the average number of new deaths every three days in the EU had fallen 97 percent since peaking at the beginning of April. The US number, however, has fallen only 67 percent over the same period. That means that although both regions' death tolls peaked with only two weeks difference, the EU has flattened its COVID-19 fatality curve faster than America. Some experts attribute the difference to EU countries' more robust public health systems and better compliance with mask-wearing and other social distancing measures.

For those who follow the Israeli-Palestinian conflict closely, July 1 has long been a date to watch. After the Trump administration presented a blueprint for peace between the Israelis and Palestinians earlier this year, Israel's emboldened Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would start the process of annexing parts of the West Bank starting on July 1. That day has now come and gone, but...nothing happened. Why?

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Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden, with this week's Europe In 60 Seconds (from the Adriatic Sea):

What's going on in Belgrade and what's going to be the consequence of that?

Well, a wave of protests partly met by fairly substantial police violence. It's partly against new COVID restrictions, there's an outbreak of COVID. But partly the general political situation in the country with a sort of very harsh regime in the effect, or a very dominant regime to be precise. We'll see what happens.

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