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Hard Numbers: North Korean leaflets — and trash, Arctic heat, hunger in Latin America, German slaughterhouse outbreak

Hard Numbers: North Korean leaflets — and trash, Arctic heat, hunger in Latin America, German slaughterhouse outbreak

12 million: Publishing houses in Pyongyang have printed 12 million propaganda leaflets that, along with cigarette butts and other trash, North Korea plans to drop into South Korea using thousands of balloons. North Korea has apparently revived this Cold War-era tactic in response to a recent surge in the number of defectors to the South.

38: Temperatures in the Arctic Circle are expected to be the highest ever recorded next weekend, with the mercury in remote Siberian Verkhoyansk possibly reaching 38°C (100°F) on Saturday, more than double the daily average maximum for June. Arctic heat waves are not uncommon, but scientists fear the recent one confirms the trend that the region is warming twice as fast as the global average.

1,300: More than 1,300 employees at a German abattoir have tested positive for the coronavirus, the country's largest single outbreak to date. Officials in Germany — where the government has been widely praised for its handling of the pandemic — say the risk of spread to the wider population is low. China, meanwhile, has banned pork imports from the plant.

83 million: The number of people living in extreme poverty in Latin America and the Caribbean could increase by more than 16 million to over 83 million by the end of the year as a result of the pandemic-related economic crisis, says the UN. This will lead to a significant rise in hunger throughout the region unless urgent action is taken, warned the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.

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.

On his first day as president, Joe Biden signed a remarkable series of executive orders. Boom! The US rejoins the Paris Climate Accord. Bang! The United States rejoins the World Health Organization. Pow! No more ban on immigration from many Muslim-majority countries. Biden's press secretary reminded reporters later in the day that all these orders merely begin complex processes that take time, but the impact is still dramatic.

If you lead a country allied with the US, or you're simply hoping for some specific commitment or clear and credible statement of purpose from the US government, you might feel a little dizzy today. The sight of an American president (Barack Obama) signing his name, of the next president (Donald Trump) erasing that name from the same legislation/bill, and then the following president (Biden) signing it back into law again will raise deep concerns over the long-term reliability of the world's still-most-powerful nation.

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"There needs to be a dramatic and deep reduction in the amount of debt on the poorest countries. That's clear." As the world's poorest nations struggle to recover from a devastating pandemic, World Bank President David Malpass argues that freeing them of much of their debt will be key. His conversation with Ian Bremmer is part of the latest episode of GZERO World.

Listen: Renowned tech journalist Kara Swisher has no qualms about saying that social media companies bear responsibility for the January 6th pro-Trump riots at the Capitol and will likely be complicit in the civil unrest that may continue well into Biden's presidency. It's no surprise, she argues, that the online rage that platforms like Facebook and Twitter intentionally foment translated into real-life violence. But if Silicon Valley's current role in our national discourse is untenable, how can the US government rein it in? That, it turns out, is a bit more complicated. Swisher joins Ian Bremmer on our podcast.

The GZERO World Podcast with Ian Bremmer. Listen now.


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