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Hard Numbers: China's "Two Sessions," Nicaraguan civil society exodus, Iranian nuclear monitoring, Singapore sex fine

The opening ceremony of the annual National People's Congress is held at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 5, 2023.

The opening ceremony of the annual National People's Congress is held at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 5, 2023.

KYODO via Reuters Connect

5 & 7: The annual meeting of China's rubber-stamp parliament is typically a humdrum affair. But this year’s edition grabbed headlines after the government set a lower-than-expected (yet easy-to-meet) economic growth target of "around" 5% for 2023 and announced it’ll beef up defense spending by more than 7% amid US fears that Beijing might arm Russia in Ukraine.


3,144: At least 3,144 civil society organizations have fled the country in the past four years, according to a new UN-sponsored report. No wonder, since the report alleges that strongman President Daniel Ortega has overseen systematic, government-orchestrated crimes against humanity, including extrajudicial executions, rape, torture, and arbitrary detention.

20: Iran pledged to restore more than 20 cameras and other monitoring equipment at its nuclear sites and grant inspectors access to a facility where uranium enriched to near weapons-grade level was recently detected. The cameras had been removed last year amid escalating tensions with the West and the UN’s nuclear watchdog.

17,000: A couple in Singapore was fined $17,000 for violating the country’s nudity and obscenity laws after posting risqué content on a Telegram account. Sex remains a taboo subject in the conservative city-state, although though some laws banning certain sexual acts — including homosexuality — have been loosened in recent years.

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