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Hard Numbers: Lebanon's economy collapses, Eritrean refugees face starvation, Palestinians get tax money, Danish fly gets recognition.

Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad Hariri

19.4: The Lebanese economy, waylaid by financial and political crises on top of the pandemic, is set to contract by a crippling 19.4 percent this year, according to the World Bank. Next year things hardly get better, with a contraction of 13.2 percent coming in 2021.

96,000: The UN says some 96,000 refugees from Eritrea who have lived for years in the northern Ethiopian region of Tigray have run out of food supplies, as a result of the recent war between the Ethiopian government and Tigray leaders. Many Eritreans flee their homeland to escape draconian military service rules and political repression.

1 billion: Israel has released a backlog of about $1 billion in taxes owed to the Palestinian Authority (PA). The PA had rejected the transfers earlier this year in protest over Israeli plans to annex West Bank settlements. With those plans frozen and a likely more even-handed US president coming into the White House, the PA recently agreed to resume security and civil cooperation with Israel.

335 million: It only took the Danish Mayfly 355 million years of evolutionary development, but the winged wonder has finally done it: the insect has been named the 2021 Insect of the Year by an international panel of insect specialists. It's a pretty remarkable animal: it lives for three years as an underwater creature with gills before rising to the surface for a few days of frantic egg-laying followed by death.


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