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Hard Numbers: Sahel lifeline, American views on social media, China’s net-zero bill, racism in Tunisia

Art by Annie Gugliotta

1 billion: International donors pledged around $1 billion to help three Sahel countries (Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso) address humanitarian crises exacerbated by extremist violence and the socioeconomic impacts of COVID-19. The UN warns that without more assistance, the conflict-ridden region in sub-Saharan Africa "could see an irreversible slide into chaos."


64: Sixty-four percent of American adults say social media is having a negative impact on the way things are going in the country, according to a Pew study. Most people who said so cited misinformation, hate, and harassment as the main reasons for their pessimism.

15 trillion: President Xi Jinping's goal of making China fully carbon-neutral by 2060 will cost the government at least $15 trillion, according to an estimate by the Boston Consulting Group. To meet the net-zero deadline, China will have to go well beyond the emissions reductions it has committed to as part of the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change.

15: An 81-year-old Black man in Tunisia won a landmark court ruling to have his middle name, "ateeq" (which means "the descendent of slaves") dropped from his official records. Tunisia officially abolished slavery in 1846, but Black Tunisians — who make up about 15 percent of the country's population — say they are still discriminated against and denied job opportunities because of systemic racism.

A century after the rise and destruction of Tulsa's Greenwood neighborhood, Greenwood Rising is turning the site of a tragedy into a vibrant community hub, supported by a $1 million grant from Bank of America.

Greenwood, or Black Wall Street, was a thriving community of Black-owned businesses until the race-fueled massacre of 1921 that killed hundreds of Black residents and wiped out the neighborhood's homes and businesses. Nearing the 100th anniversary of this tragedy, focused activity in the neighborhood—including a history center—is bringing to life the spirit of Black Wall Street.

The most ambitious global vaccination drive in history is in motion. Over the past three months, more than 213 million COVID-19 shots have been administered across 95 countries, and the vaccination rate is slowly increasing. At the current rate, around 6.11 million doses are being administered daily.

It's a rare bit of hopeful news after 15 months of collective misery. So where do things stand at the moment, and what's keeping the world from getting to herd immunity faster?

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Ian Bremmer shares his perspective on global politics this week:

With protests growing, where does that leave the Myanmar coup?

Well, certainly no feeling on the part of the military that they need to back down under either domestic or international pressure. There's been relatively limited violence, thankfully so far. A few protesters have been killed. They've used tear gas, they've used water cannons, but much less of a crackdown than certainly they're capable of or that we've seen from the Myanmar military historically. That, of course, gives the protesters on the ground more incentive to think that they have success, and they can continue.

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Reducing carbon emissions is good for the planet and good for your lungs, but there's one group of countries that might not be so keen on green: those that rely heavily on oil and gas exports to run their economies. As the rest of the world gets closer to "Net Zero" in the coming decades, these petrostates will be in big trouble unless they diversify their economies — fast. So, how vulnerable are the world's top oil and gas producers to a low-carbon future? We look at how the treasuries of the 20 most hydrocarbon-dependent nations will fare over the next two decades under what the Carbon Tracker Initiative refers to as a scenario in which global demand for oil and gas will be much lower than today.

US to release Khashoggi report: The Biden administration's intel chief is expected to release on Thursday a report on the murder of Saudi dissident journalist — and US resident — Jamal Khashoggi. In line with previously reported findings, the assessment will say that Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman was involved in the plot to kill and dismember Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018. Aside from a sprinkling of new details, we don't expect much from the report itself, but we are keen to see how it shapes US-Saudi relations under Joe Biden, who has promised to take a harder line with Riyadh over human rights and security issues than his predecessor did. Part of that new approach is that the US president will no longer speak directly to the Crown Prince himself as Trump did — from now on, only his dad, King Salman, gets calls from the White House.

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