Hard Numbers: Polish culture wars, Burkina Faso refugees, US jets for Taiwan, big loss for Norway

Hard Numbers: Polish culture wars, Burkina Faso refugees, US jets for Taiwan, big loss for Norway

67,800: The town of Tuchow in southern Poland will receive $67,800 in government funding after losing access to EU financial assistance for declaring itself "free of LGBTQ ideology." LGBTQ rights have become a flashpoint of Polish culture wars, with the ruling Law and Justice party pushing for what it calls "pro-family" policies in rural parts of the country despite EU threats to withdraw funding if such towns discriminate against LBGTQ people.

1 million: About one million people are now displaced due to increasing violence in Burkina Faso, where jihadist groups and a trigger-happy army are wreaking havoc on the local population. On top of climate change, which is making droughts more intense and frequent, now now the coronavirus pandemic has aggravated an already dire humanitarian emergency in the country, one of the poorest in Africa.

66: The US Air Force has agreed to sell 66 F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan. The sale comes amid rapidly deteriorating ties between the US and China, which considers Taiwan part of its territory, and just a week after the US made its highest-level visit to the island since recognizing the People's Republic of China in 1979.

$21 billion: Norway's sovereign wealth fund lost 188 billion kroner ($21 billion) in the first half of 2020 as a result of plummeting stock prices worldwide due to COVID-19. Close to 70 percent of the fund — where the Norwegian state invests its oil revenues — is held in stocks.

Carbon has a bad rep, but did you know it's a building block of life? As atoms evolved, carbon trapped in CO2 was freed, giving way to the creation of complex molecules that use photosynthesis to convert carbon to food. Soon after, plants, herbivores, and carnivores began populating the earth and the cycle of life began.

Learn more about how carbon created life on Earth in the second episode of Eni's Story of CO2 series.

As we enter the homestretch of the US presidential election — which is set to be the most contentious, and possibly contested, in generations — Americans are also voting on 35 seats up for grabs in a battle for the control of the Senate. The 100-member body is currently held 53-47 by the Republican Party, but many individual races are wide open, and the Democrats are confident they can flip the upper chamber of Congress.

Either way, the result will have a profound impact not only on domestic policy, but also on US foreign relations and other issues with global reach. Here are a few areas where what US senators decide reverberates well beyond American shores.

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For many, Paul Rusesabagina became a household name after the release of the 2004 tear-jerker film Hotel Rwanda, which was set during the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

Rusesabagina, who used his influence as a hotel manager to save the lives of more than 1,000 Rwandans, has again made headlines in recent weeks after he was reportedly duped into boarding a flight to Kigali, Rwanda's capital, where he was promptly arrested on terrorism, arson, kidnapping and murder charges. Rusesabagina's supporters say he is innocent and that the move is retaliation against the former "hero" for his public criticism of President Paul Kagame, who has ruled the country with a strong hand since ending the civil war in the mid 1990s.

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From climate change to connecting more people to the Internet, big companies like Microsoft are seeing an increasing role within multilateral organizations like the UN and the World Health Organization. John Frank, Microsoft's VP of UN Affairs, explains the contributions tech companies and other multinational corporations are making globally during this time of crisis and challenge.

7: Among the 10 nations showing the highest COVID-19 death rates per 100,000 people, seven are in Latin America. Weak health systems, frail leadership, and the inability of millions of working poor to do their daily jobs remotely have contributed to the regional crisis. Peru tops the global list with nearly 100 fatalities per 100,000 people. Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, and Colombia are also in the top 10.

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