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Hard Numbers: Colombia sees coca boom, Denmark sends museum pieces to Ukraine, World Food Program warns of “doom loop”, a river of wine flows in Portugal

A harvester carries coca leaves on his back in a coca plantation.

A harvester carries coca leaves on his back in a coca plantation. He has put in half a day for this. For each 12-kilo sack, he receives the equivalent of about $1.50. A worker can harvest about 20 bags of coca leaves a day.

Edinson Arroyo/DPA via Reuters
230,000: Farmers in Colombia cultivated a record 230,000 hectares of coca in 2022, a 13% increase over the previous year. Coca is the key ingredient in cocaine, of which Colombia remains the leading exporter. President Gustavo Petro has criticized coca eradication programs as failed policy, but he has struggled to contain armed trafficking groups and has made little progress alleviating poverty in rural areas where the crop is grown.

6: In order to fulfill its promises to send Leopard 1 tanks to Ukraine, Denmark had to pull half a dozen of the Cold War-era classics from local military history museums. The tanks in museum collections were found to be in better condition than those in Danish army storage.

24 million: The United Nations World Food Program has warned of a “doom loop” of global hunger as it faces a 60% budget shortfall this year. Unless the WFP can make up the deficit, some 24 million people around the world could fall into emergency hunger situations as the program can no longer provide for them.

600,000: Two wine tanks at the Levira Distillery in São Lourenço do Bairro, Portugal burst open, flooding the village with enough red wine to fill a 600,000 gallon Olympic-sized swimming pool. Local authorities managed to divert the torrent into an empty field before it reached the nearby Certima River - no word yet from local field mice on how they like the vintage.

10 billion: As part of its landmark antitrust case against Google, the US Justice Department says Google spends $10 billion every year to unfairly maintain its status as the internet’s most widely used search engine. The trial opened in Washington, DC on Tuesday and is expected to go on through the winter.


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