Hard Numbers: Fentanyl record in the US, Rohingya refugees stranded, “bomb cyclone” steals Christmas, meet Israel’s new government, SBF pals plead guilty
10,000: The fentanyl crisis in the United States is out of control. The Drug Enforcement Administration said it seized more than 10,000 pounds of the deadly stuff this year, double that of 2021. Federal agents say that’s enough to kill every single American.
160: At least 160 Rohingya refugees are stranded in a rickety boat in waters near the Andaman Islands, an Indian territory, having fled horrid conditions at a refugee camp in Bangladesh. Indian vessels have reportedly approached the boat that was aiming for Malaysia but have so far not helped the stranded people disembark.
50: Nearly 50 million Americans are under winter weather storm warnings as a “bomb cyclone” is expected to hit the midwest and northeast just as millions of people are preparing to travel for the holidays. Some airlines are offering travelers payouts to avoid the airport madness and ditch their flights … and miss Christmas with their families. Good deal or bad deal?
63: After his party won the most votes in last month’s general election, Israel’s comeback kid Benjamin Netanyahu announced that he’s formed a new government – the most right-wing in Israel’s history. This comes as a bill advanced through the Knesset on Wednesday – with 63 votes in favor, 53 opposed – that would make the police commissioner “subordinate” to the incoming (extreme right) Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir.2: Two of now-disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried’s associates pleaded guilty to fraud and will cooperate with US prosecutors investigating the collapse of the bankrupt crypto exchange fund. SBF himself was extradited from the Bahamas to New York and is scheduled to appear before a Manhattan judge on Thursday to face criminal charges.