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Hard Numbers: French Riviera ablaze, New Zealand records a COVD case, German polls, a little humanity in Afghanistan

Smoke rises from a massive wildfire in Gonfaron, seen from the heighys of Saint Tropez, south of France on August 16, 2021.

6,000: France is the latest country to suffer from uncontrollable summer wildfires, with 6,000 people forced to evacuate homes and vacation rentals in the Riviera region. Fires, caused by strong winds coming from the Mediterranean Sea, have spread across 5,000 hectares of land. France joins the ranks of countries including Turkey, Greece, and Algeria that have been hit hard by blistering heat waves in recent weeks.

170: New Zealand entered a snap three-day lockdown Tuesday, after detecting its first locally-transmitted case of COVID in 170 days. The country's 4.8 million people will only be allowed to leave their homes for reasons deemed essential, and businesses will be closed.

23: German Chancellor Angela Merkel's CDU/CSU bloc is plummeting in the polls, with a recent survey putting the bloc at 23 percent approval, a 13-point drop from January. The decline, just six weeks out from elections, is in large part because Armin Laschet, the center-right Christian Democrats' candidate for chancellor, has very low personal approval ratings.

640: Around 640 Afghans jumped onto a US Air Force cargo plane as it prepared to leave Kabul for Qatar on Monday. Seeking to flee as the Taliban descended on the capital, the Afghans — men, women and children — rushed aboard the flight. Rather than force them to disembark, "the crew made the decision to go," a defense official said.


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