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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.

Empathy and listening are key to establishing harmonious relationships, as demonstrated by Callista Azogu, GM of Human Resources & Organization for Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC), an Eni subsidiary in Abuja. "To build trust is very difficult. To destroy it is very easy," says Callista, whose busy days involve everything from personnel issues to union relationships. She sees great potential for her native Nigeria not only because of the country's natural resources, but because of its vibrant and creative people.

Learn more about Callista in this episode of Faces of Eni.

For the world's wealthiest nations, including the United States, the rollout of COVID-19 vaccine has been rocky, to say the least. And as a result, much of the developing world will have to wait even longer for their turn. Part of the challenge, World Bank President David Malpass says, is that "advanced economies have reserved a lot of the vaccine doses." Malpass sat down with Ian Bremmer recently to talk about what his organization is doing to try to keep millions around the world from slipping deeper into poverty during the pandemic. Their conversation was part of the latest episode of GZERO World.

World Bank President David Malpass was as horrified at what he saw during the January 6th pro-Trump riots on the Capitol as millions of other Americans. But he was concerned for another reason as well: "From the standpoint of world development, it distracts attention at a time when we need to help countries actually develop and get beyond COVID and get back to growth path." He joined Ian Bremmer to talk about how the civil unrest on Washington was distracting from the urgent development work of the World Bank during a pandemic. Their conversation was part of the latest episode of GZERO World.

14,000: Cash-strapped Venezuela has sent enough oxygen to fill 14,000 individual canisters to its more prosperous neighbor Brazil, which is suffering a shortage of oxygen supplies for COVID patients in hard-hit Amazonas state. In response, right-wing Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said Venezuela's socialist leader Nicolás Maduro should be dispatching emergency supplies to needy Venezuelans.

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Saturday will mark the beginning of an historic turning point for European politics as 1,001 voting members of Germany's Christian Democratic Union, the party of Chancellor Angela Merkel, hold an online conference to elect a new leader.

Here are the basic facts:

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The GZERO World Podcast with Ian Bremmer. Listen now.

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