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Hard Numbers: Refugees flee Tigray, Palau to vaccinate everyone, El Salvador’s former commander-in-thief, US bans Chinese apps

Ethiopians fleeing from Tigray cross into Sudan. Reuters

2.2 million: Around 2.2 million people have been displaced by the ongoing conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray region since the fighting began two months ago, more than double the previous estimate, according to the local government. Addis Ababa claimed the new figure is exaggerated, but admitted the number of refugees is probably higher than the current official tally of 100,000.

18,000: The tiny Pacific island nation of Palau — which has not officially registered a single case of coronavirus — aims to become the first country in the world to vaccinate its entire population (roughly 18,000 people) thanks to Operation Warp Speed. Palau is independent but has a "free association" agreement with the US, which allowed it to benefit from the US government program to roll out COVID-19 vaccines.

4.4 million: A court in El Salvador has ordered former President Tony Saca to repay $4.4 million that he stole from the government when he was head of state. Still, that's a drop in the bucket for Saca, who is already serving a 10-year jail term for corruption and is on the hook for almost $300 million he pilfered from the coffers of one of the poorest countries in Latin America.

8: The Trump administration has banned 8 Chinese digital payment apps — including those owned by Ant Group and Tencent, two of China's largest companies — from doing financial transactions in the US. The move could be highly disruptive to businesses in both countries, but it's unclear whether the ban will actually be implemented because the incoming Biden administration may rescind the order before it's due to take effect.


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