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Hard Numbers: Johnson's star falls, black Americans bear COVID brunt, Spain's tourism slump, Afghan ceasefire

Hard Numbers: Johnson's star falls, black Americans bear COVID brunt, Spain's tourism slump, Afghan ceasefire

20: UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson's national approval rating has plummeted 20 points in just four days following his decision to back a top aide who violated lockdown restrictions despite showing symptoms of COVID-19. Johnson's approval dropped to -1, the lowest on record since the coronavirus pandemic began.


2.4: COVID-19 underlines racially based US inequality. Its death rate is 2.4 times higher for black Americans than for whites, and 2.2 times higher than for Asians and Latinos.

92 billion: Spain, which draws about 15 percent of its total GDP from tourism, stands to lose as much as 92 billion euros in revenue this year as a result of travel bans. The government says it will move to lift travel restrictions by July 1 in order to limit the economic fallout, but whether people will choose to vacation there this summer is a different story.

900: The Afghan government released 900 Taliban prisoners as part of a ceasefire to mark the Eid al-Fitr holiday. This is just the second halt in fighting between the foes in two decades, boosting hopes for intra-Afghan peace going forward..


The Hindu Kush Himalayan region, stretching for more than 2,000 miles, is home to the world's highest mountains. The mountain range is also home to the world's third-largest concentration of snow and ice, earning it the moniker the third pole; only the North and South Poles contain more. The glaciers of the Hindu Kush Himalayas are the main source of fresh water for around two billion people living in the region. However, by the end of this century, two-thirds of that snow and ice could be lost because of climate change. A network of data scientists and environmentalists around the world, and on the ground in the Hindu Kush Himalayas, are working to understand the extent of glacial melting in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region, its effects and what can be done to minimize its impact. To read more visit Microsoft on the Issues.

When Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte resigned Tuesday — plunging the country into chaos as it faces once-in-a-generation public health and economic crises — he became the fourteenth Italian to vacate the prime ministership in three decades. (For contrast, Germany has only had three chancellors since 1982, and France has had five presidents.)

But Conte, who had no previous political experience until he was tapped for the top job in 2018, is not so much throwing in the towel as he is taking a massive gamble that President Sergio Mattarella will again appoint him to head Conte's third coalition government in less than three years.

The recent dysfunction is unique even within the context of instability-prone Italian politics. How did Italy get here, and what might come next?

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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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Angry farmers take Indian fort: In a major and violent escalation of ongoing protests over new agriculture laws, thousands of Indian farmers broke through police barricades and stormed the historic Red Fort in New Delhi on Tuesday. At least one protester died in the chaos, while the government shut down internet service in parts of the capital. Farmers and the government are still deadlocked over the new laws, which liberalize agriculture markets in ways that farmers fear will undercut their livelihoods. The government has offered to suspend implementation for 18 months, but the farmers unions are pushing for a complete repeal. Given that some 60 percent of India's population works in agriculture, the standoff has become a major political test for the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ruling BJP party.

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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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