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Hard Numbers: Hungry Syrian kids, biodiversity pledge, Taiwanese singers face fines, jobless South Africans

Syrian children eat inside their tent in a refugee camp near the Turkish border. Reuters

700,000: An additional 700,000 Syrian children may go hungry this year due to the combined effects of the war-ravaged country's economic implosion, as well as coronavirus restrictions, pushing the total number of food-insecure kids in Syria to over 4.6 million, according to Save the Children. Two thirds of surveyed children have not eaten any fresh fruit in three months.


64: Leaders from 64 countries and the European Union have pledged to enact stronger environmental protections ahead of this week's (virtual) UN Summit on Biodiversity, including commitments to eliminate plastic buildup in the oceans by 2050. The leaders of some of the world's top polluting nations — the US, China, India, Russia, and Brazil — did not sign up.

17,000: Two Taiwanese singers face government fines of up to $17,000 each for having "violated cross-strait regulations" by performing a mainland Chinese patriotic song in a state television gala celebrating China's national day on October 1. Ouyang Nana and Angela Chang, who have a huge following in mainland China, performed alongside artists from Hong Kong.

20.5 million: Roughly 20.5 million South Africans were not economically "inactive" (out of work, whether looking for a job or not) in the second quarter of 2020, four times the number registered from January to March. The pandemic has shattered South Africa's economy, which recently suffered its deepest quarterly decline since the 1960s amid one of the strictest lockdowns worldwide.

Khant Thaw Htoo is a young engineer who works in Eni's Sakura Tower office in the heart of Yangon. As an HSE engineer, he monitors the safety and environmental impact of onshore and offshore operations. He also looks out for his parents' well-being, in keeping with Myanmar's traditions.

Learn more about Khant in the final episode of the Faces of Eni series, which focuses on Eni's employees around the world.

Over the weekend, some 40,000 people in Moscow and thousands more across Russia braved subzero temperatures to turn out in the streets in support of imprisoned Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny. More than 3,000 protesters were arrested, and Navalny called on his followers to prepare for more action in the coming weeks.

But just who is Alexei Navalny, and how significant is the threat that he may pose to Vladimir Putin's stranglehold on power in Russia?

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9.2 trillion: COVID vaccine hoarding by rich countries and uneven global access to the jabs will draw out the global recovery from the pandemic. In fact, it'll cost the world economy as much as $9.2 trillion, according to a new study by the International Chamber of Commerce.

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The United States has never been more divided, and it's safe to say that social media's role in our national discourse is a big part of the problem. But renowned tech journalist Kara Swisher doesn't see any easy fix. "I don't know how you fix the architecture of a building that is just purposely dangerous for everybody." Swisher joins Ian Bremmer to talk about how some of the richest companies on Earth, whose business models benefit from discord and division, can be compelled to see their better angels. Their conversation was part of the latest episode of GZERO World.

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take (part 1):

Ian Bremmer here, happy Monday. And have your Quick Take to start off the week.

Maybe start off with Biden because now President Biden has had a week, almost a week, right? How was it? How's he doing? Well, for the first week, I would say pretty good. Not exceptional, but not bad, not bad. Normal. I know everyone's excited that there's normalcy. We will not be excited there's normalcy when crises start hitting and when life gets harder and we are still in the middle of a horrible pandemic and he has to respond to it. But for the first week, it was okay.

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The GZERO World Podcast with Ian Bremmer. Listen now.

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