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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.


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