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Hard Numbers: Everest grows, Australia counts koalas, Japan’s COVID stimulus, Liberian referendum

Aeril photo of Mount Everest. Reuters

8,849: Mount Everest, the world's highest peak, is now 8,849 meters (29,032 feet) above sea level — four meters (13 feet) higher than China's previous count — according to a new measurement jointly released by Chinese and Nepalese researchers. Nepal and China, which conduct separate surveys of the mountain and have long disagreed on Everest's official height, welcomed the consensus.

43,000: Australia plans to use equipment including heat-seeking drones and detector dogs to count the country's hard-to-find koalas. The Australian Koala Foundation said in mid-2019 that there could be as few as 43,000 koalas left, and scientists fear that last summer's bushfires may have further decimated Australia's koala population.

708 billion: Japan has announced a $708 billion stimulus package to help its economy bounce back from a pandemic-fueled slump. COVID-19 has forced Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga to delay much-needed fiscal reform in the world's most indebted country to provide relief to badly hit businesses and households.

5: Liberians vote on Tuesday in a national referendum on constitutional amendments that seek to reduce presidential terms from six to five years. President George Weah, a former football star elected in 2018, has denied that he plans to use the reform to run for an eventual third term in office, a move recently seen by leaders in neighboring Guinea and the Ivory Coast.


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