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Hard Numbers: Downgrading a Natural Wonder

175: Zimbabwe has been hit by a devastating drought in recent months, triggering food shortages and a five-fold increase in the price of bread. Already reeling from an economic crisis linked to decades of government mismanagement, the country's economy is now at a breaking point: inflation stood at 175 percent last month, the highest rate in a decade.

15 million: On Wednesday, the US upped the ante in its stalemate with Iran by imposing new sanctions on a shipping network linked to Tehran's oil industry, a move intended to further squeeze the Islamic Republic's ailing economy. The US Treasury Department announced a $15 million reward for anyone with information that could disrupt the shipping scheme, which it says, facilitates the delivery of funds to Syria's Bashar al-Assad and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

1 million: Bangladesh's government ordered telecom companies to shut down mobile services in camps for about 1 million Rohingya refugees who've been driven from their homes in Myanmar. This ban by local officials, who cited security concerns and "illegal phone use" for the crackdown, reflects the increasingly precarious relationship between Rohingyas and the local population in recent months.

50: A new report by the Australian government downgrades the "outlook" for the Great Barrier Reef from "poor" to "very poor." Listing climate change as the most significant long-term threat to the World Heritage Area, the report says 50 percent of the reef has been exposed to destructive waves from cyclones over the past five years, while mass coral bleaching continues to devastate the ecosystem.


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