Hard Numbers: QAnon in US Congress, Amazon burns, Kosovo leader resigns, Australians back Murdoch probe

A Trump supporter holds an US flag with a reference to QAnon during a Trump 2020 Labor Day cruise rally in Oregon City, Oregon. Reuters

2: Two Republican candidates who support the QAnon conspiracy theory have been elected to the US House of Representatives. Marjorie Taylor Greene (Georgia) and Lauren Boebert (Colorado) have both openly espoused QAnon, which believes President Trump is fighting a secret war against a left-wing elite "deep state" of Satan-worshipping pedophiles — and which Trump himself has refused to denounce.


17,326: A total of 17,326 fires burned in the Amazon the past month, more than double the amount registered a year ago. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro — who has called for more clearing and commercial development of the rainforest — has yet to comment on the data.

10: The president of Kosovo, Hashim Thaçi, has stepped down to face 10 international charges of crimes against humanity that he allegedly committed during Kosovo's independence struggle against Serbia in the late 1990s. Thaçi — a former commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army who has been in power since the end of the war — has been linked to more than a hundred murders by a special prosecutor in The Hague.

501,876: A petition for the Australian parliament to investigate the dominant position of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp empire in the country's media industry has been backed by 501,876 citizens. The petition was launched by Kevin Rudd, Australia's liberal former prime minister and a known critic of the conservative Murdoch (the media mogul also owns Fox News in the US).

"I knew that history was my life's calling."

On Bank of America's That Made All the Difference podcast, Secretary of the Smithsonian Lonnie Bunch shares his journey and present-day work creating exhibits that inspire visitors to help our country live up to its ideals.

A few weeks ago, a Signal reader emailed me to ask why so much of our coverage of the world is so damn dark. Aren't there any good news stories out there?

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There's a lot of doom and gloom in the world these days, and much cause for pessimism. Still, the advent of new technologies and scientific advancements has lifted billions out of poverty and increased quality of life for many over the last half century. Since 1990, global average life expectancy has increased by eight years to 73, while GDP per capita has also grown exponentially, doubling over the past decade alone. We take a look at how life expectancy and GDP per capita have evolved globally from 1960-2019.

Get insights on the latest news in US politics from Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington:

Why can't President Biden order a vaccine mandate for all Americans?

Well, the reason is it's out of his powers. The one of the fundamental challenges in the pandemic is that the federal government has actually been fairly limited in the steps they can take to stop the spread of the virus. So, that's why you've seen President Biden order masks on transit, mass transit, airplanes, and the like. But he can't order masks in workplaces because that's not within his power. That power lies within state governments. State governments and other entities, like employers, can require vaccinations before you come into their buildings, or you come back to school, or you go to work in your office. But the federal government can't do that. What Biden is doing is, allegedly, supposedly going to announce a mandate for federal workers to get vaccinated.

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American gymnast Sunisa "Suni" Lee, 18, stunned spectators around the world with her breathtaking performance in Tokyo Thursday that earned her the gold.

Here are some interesting facts about Suni Lee, the gymnast queen:

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"Super Mario" takes his chances: Less than five months after becoming Italy's consensus prime minister, Mario Draghi's coalition government is on shaky ground over Draghi's proposed judicial reforms. "Super Mario" — as he's known for saving the Eurozone as European Central Bank chief during the financial crisis — wants to dramatically speed up Italy's famously slow courts. But his push to reduce judicial backlogs is opposed both by the populist 5-Star Movement, the coalition government's biggest party, and by prosecutors because many cases could be scrapped before reaching a verdict. Draghi, upset that this resistance is stalling his other initiatives to cut Italian red tape, has decided to roll the dice anyway: he'll put his plan to overhaul the courts to a no-confidence vote in parliament. If Draghi wins, he gets the reforms passed without debate; if he loses, the PM technically has to resign, but he'll keep his job because he has enough votes even if the 5-Star Movement bows out of the coalition.

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700: Roughly 700 people arrested for joining the unprecedented July 11 anti-government protests in Cuba are still being held by the regime. They may now face mass show trials as Havana continues to crack down on dissent following the biggest challenge to its power in decades.

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Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden, shares his perspective from Europe:

What is going on in Bosnia with Bosnian Serbs boycotting all major institutions?

Well, it's a reaction against a decision that was taken by the outgoing high representative during his very last days, after 12 years of having done very little in this respect, to have a law banning any denial of Srebrenica and other genocides. But this issue goes to very many other aspects of the Bosnian situation. So, it has created a political crisis that will be somewhat difficult to resolve.

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