Hard Numbers: China is a cigarette-smoking superpower

26 billion: Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wants $26 billion from the UN and foreign governments in order to develop the "safe zone" that his forces have occupied in Northern Syria. Erdogan wants to populate the region with more than 1 million mostly Arab Syrian refugees currently living in Turkey. The plan, of dubious legality, would amount to a sweeping ethnic transformation of historically Kurdish areas.


70: Some 70 percent of Bolivians view the recent ouster of President Evo Morales as a "social revolt" while just a quarter saw it as a "coup", according to a local poll. Morales, a once-popular leftist who served three terms as president, was pushed out by the military in October after his attempt to rig elections provoked nationwide protests. New elections will be held next year.

1/3: While China accounts for a fifth of the world's population, the country lights up about one third of the world's cigarettes every year. Health experts say that's one factor behind soaring rates of diabetes there.

70,000: The worst locust infestation in 25 years has destroyed some 70,000 hectares (173,000 acres) of farmland in Somalia and Ethiopia this year. Government weakness and conflict in Somalia make it impossible to eradicate the pests by aerial spraying.

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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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