Hard Numbers: EU nuclear activists, Evergrande default looms, Somalia beats Kenya at UN court, US delta peak

Hard Numbers: EU nuclear activists, Evergrande default looms, Somalia beats Kenya at UN court, US delta peak

10: Ten EU member states want Brussels to classify nuclear power as a clean source of energy so it'll count toward the bloc's goal of achieving net zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050. France, which gets most of its electricity from nuclear, is leading the group, but countries like Germany have pushed back because of the environmental impact of nuclear waste.


3: Chinese property developer Evergrande has missed its third round of debt payments in three weeks. This has intensified fears that Evergrande's debt crisis may soon spread to other real estate firms that are also deep in the red.

100,000: The UN's top court ruled in favor of Somalia in its long-running maritime border dispute with Kenya over a 100,000 square km (38,000 square mile) triangle in the Indian Ocean believed to be rich in offshore oil and gas. The Kenyans previously said they wouldn't recognize the court's authority, and the court has no way to legally enforce its ruling.

22: COVID infections in the US have fallen 22 percent and hospitalizations by one-fifth in the past two weeks. This raises hopes that the latest pandemic wave — caused by the more contagious delta variant — may have peaked.

We've seen an incredible number of crises arise and persist over the past year – ranging from the global to the deeply personal. Nonprofit organizations have been a lifeline to some of our most vulnerable communities, engaging with complex needs and working to make a difference. But nonprofits themselves are increasingly at risk due to a worldwide rise in cybercrime. While this impacts all sectors and organizations, nonprofits are often perceived as vulnerable because they may not have adequate resources to safeguard the data they need to operate – impacting everyone from donors to program participants to volunteers.

In response, Microsoft is launching the Security Program for Nonprofits – a set of security offerings, built to complement Microsoft's security suite, to provide proactive monitoring and notification in the case of a nation-state attack, assess organizational and infrastructure risk to help organizations enhance their security posture based on their environment, and streamline security training for IT professionals and end-users. To read more about Microsoft's commitment to nonprofits, visit Microsoft on the Issues.

Right now, only one region of the world is reporting an increase in new daily COVID cases. Here's a hint: it's one of the places where vaccines are, for the most part, easiest to get.

It's Europe. According to the World Health Organization, the region last week notched a 7 percent uptick in new daily infections, the third week in a row that infections rose there.

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Will Biden finally be able to pass his spending package? For months, the White House and Democrats in Congress have been locked in a stalemate over the two infrastructure bills that form the bedrock of Biden's policy agenda. But is the wrangling drawing to a close? It certainly doesn't look like it. On Wednesday, the White House unveiled a billionaire tax, which would take effect for the 2022 tax year in order to help pay for the ambitious proposals currently making their way through Congress. If it passes, the bill will affect around 700 US taxpayers with more than $1 billion in assets, as well as those who make $100 million or more in income for three years in a row. To date, two moderate Democratic senators – Arizona's Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin of West Virginia – have opposed conventional tax hike increases, but will they support this more limited scheme that will help rescue Biden's policy agenda? Manchin appears to be skeptical of the proposal, and it's unclear what Sinema's game plan is. Still, chasms remain on parts of the spending package itself, including healthcare coverage, and how to pay for it all.

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5: The price of a fresh baguette in France could soon rise by as much as 5 centimes (about 6 cents), as a global wheat shortage makes the staple of French cuisine (and identity) more expensive. That might not sound like much, but considering that France's famed "Bread Observatory" estimates that the French eat 10 billion baguettes every year, it adds up. Revolutions have started over less!

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Six months ago, China's tech giants were champions of the state, working with the government to conquer US Big Tech. But then Xi Jinping started cracking down, and a trillion dollars in their market value is gone. Huh? For Nicholas Thompson, CEO of The Atlantic and former editor-in-chief of WIRED, it makes sense for Xi to go after cryptocurrencies to ensure they don't replace the yuan. But going after national tech champions, he says, could be fool's errand because it's inevitable they'll someday become more powerful than the state itself.

Watch this episode of GZERO World with Ian Bremmer: Big Tech: Global sovereignty, unintended consequences

Australia's underwhelming climate pledge: After waffling on whether he'd attend COP26, Prime Minister Scott Morrison now says Australia will achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. But there's a catch: the scheme would not involve overhauling the country's lucrative fossil fuel sector. The PM also stopped short of making ambitious targets by 2030, one of the key objectives of COP26. Australia is one of the world's top coal-producing countries and has one of the biggest carbon footprints per capita, but its government has long dragged its feet on climate change — mainly because fossil fuel exports are a boon for the economy. "We won't be lectured by others who do not understand Australia," Morrison said in response to criticism about his government's weaker-than-hoped-for pledges. While the US has pledged to halve its carbon output by 2030, and the EU says it will reduce greenhouse gas emissions 55 percent from 1990 levels by 2030, Australia is aiming for a mere 26 percent cut on 2005 emissions in that period.

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"The people are stronger," pro-democracy demonstrators chanted as news broke that the Sudanese military had staged a coup Monday, overthrowing the joint civilian-military government and dashing hopes of democracy in the war-torn country.

The backstory. In 2019, Omar al-Bashir – a despot who ruled Sudan with an iron fist for 30 years – was deposed after a months-long popular uprising.

Al-Bashir was a bad guy: he cozied up to terrorists like Osama bin Laden and dropped barrel bombs on his own people. He also embezzled truckloads of money from oil production while millions of Sudanese went hungry, and oversaw a genocide in the Darfur region that left 300,000 people dead and displaced 1.6 million.

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After a very rocky start, the EU stepped up its COVID vaccination game in the spring, and by the end of summer had vaccinated more people per capita than the US. Close to 80 percent of EU residents are now fully vaccinated, yet inoculation levels have either plateaued or remain low where people don't trust the government, the vaccine — or both. This is leading to a third wave of the pandemic mainly in Eastern Europe, and as a result Europe is the only continent where COVID cases are now rising. We compare how much people in the EU trust their government with their willingness to get vaccinated.

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Nicholas Thompson on China's tech U-turn

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