Hard Numbers: Eiffel Tower of trash, ELN attack, Saudi-China lovefest, drill baby drill is back, dream on Lesotho
10,000: Sanitation workers in Paris finally returned to work Wednesday, ending a weekslong strike over the government's controversial law to raise the minimum retirement age to 64. The City of Lights is now a stinker buried under 10,000 metric tons of trash — roughly the same weight as the iconic Eiffel Tower.
9: At least nine Colombian soldiers at a base in the country's northeast were killed in an attack by rebels from the National Liberation Army (ELN). This attack comes as President Gustavo Petro, who's facing very low approval ratings, says he is trying to bring "total peace" to Colombia.
9: Saudi Arabia will become the ninth dialogue partner of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the first step toward full membership in the China-led security bloc. Riyadh is moving closer to Beijing and further away from Washington since the Chinese brokered an Iran-Saudi détente earlier this month.
73.3 million: The Biden administration is auctioning off 73.3 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico — an area the size of Italy — for oil and gas drilling. So much for the dude who campaigned on ending (new) drill, baby, drill on federal lands.
93,000: The parliament of Lesotho, a landlocked mountain kingdom entirely surrounded by South Africa, is debating a motion to more than triple its size to 93,000 square miles by claiming big chunks of its neighbor's territory that Lesotho says were taken by white South African settlers. We will keep an ear out for the laughter coming from Pretoria.