Hard Numbers: Do You Have to be Christian to be American?

1.5 billion: Over the past two years, investors have poured some $1.5 billion into companies that make, market, or share scooters in cities around the world. In principle the elevation of a child's toy to adult commuting vehicle is meant to reduce congestion (and be fun) but the issue is fast becoming political as startled and annoyed residents pressure mayors to regulate the two-wheeled whizzers. The mayor of Paris has already vowed to crack down on the "anarchy."

50: The area of Venezuelan farmland planted with staple crops of rice and corn will fall 50 percent this year, owing largely to gasoline shortages that crimp farmers' ability to produce and transport their goods. In some parts of the country, rice fields are being left barren for the first time in 70 years.

32: Stars and stripes and...a crucifix? Thirty-two percent of Americans say you have to be Christian to be considered truly American, according to a new Pew study.

11: News that Christine Lagarde will be leaving her post as IMF Managing Director to become the next president of the European Central Bank has touched off fevered speculation about who will replace her. In its 73 years of existence, all 11 IMF chiefs have hailed from Europe: we'd bet that the twelfth will be too.

The Business and Market Fair that recently took place in Sanzule, Ghana featured local crops, livestock and manufactured goods, thanks in part to the Livelihood Restoration Plan (LRP), one of Eni's initiatives to diversify the local economy. The LRP program provided training and support to start new businesses to approximately 1,400 people from 205 households, invigorating entrepreneurship in the community.

Learn more at Eniday: Energy Is A Good Story

Are we seeing the creation of a parallel universe for US and Chinese tech industries?

I think the answer is yes. In the past, US has dominated the world in technologies from P.C. operating systems, semiconductors, to servers, and even Internet. But ever since the rise of mobile technologies, China has really leveraged the large market with a huge amount of data and now is beginning to innovate and build great mobile apps on which there's a large amount of data being collected.

More Show less

It's been two months since President Trump abruptly ordered the withdrawal of US troops from northern Syria, paving the way for a bloody Turkish offensive in that region. (See our earlier coverage here.) What's happened since? A guide for the puzzled:

No "end date" for US troops in Syria – US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said this week that the United States has completed its military pullback in northeastern Syria. Back in October, President Trump pledged to withdraw the roughly 1,000 American troops deployed there. Since then, some American troops have left Syria altogether, while others were redeployed to defend nearby oil fields from ISIS, as well as from Syrian government troops and Russia. Now, there are roughly 600 American troops dispersed around Syria, and the remainder have been deployed in Iraq to stave off a potential ISIS resurgence. It's not clear if any troops have returned to the US. When asked about the chaotic comings and goings of US troops in Syria in recent months, the commander of US Central Command said frankly: there's no "end date" for American troops stationed there.

More Show less

Turkey's government has captured many thousands of ISIS fighters as a result of its operations in northern Syria. Many of these prisoners have already been deported to some of the more than 100 countries they come from, and Ankara says it intends to send more. There are also more than 10,000 women and children – family members of ISIS fighters – still living in camps inside Syria.

These facts create a dilemma for the governments of countries where the ISIS detainees are still citizens: Should these terrorist fighters and their families be allowed to return, in many cases to face trial back home? Or should countries refuse to allow them back?

More Show less