Hard Numbers: Sands over Baghdad, pretty Russian graves, Europe’s neutral holdouts, global slogan of hate
8: Airports in Baghdad and other major Iraqi cities closed Monday as a massive sandstorm tore across the country. The frequency of these storms, which blanket everything in a reddish-brown haze of sand and dust, has been increasing: this is the eighth one in the past month alone. Scientists blame droughts, heat, and soil degradation linked to global warming.
20,000: A team from the Russian city of Omsk won the grand prize of 20,000 rubles ($311) in the country’s first-ever “grave decorating competition.”
4: If Sweden and Finland join NATO, which looks likely, there will be only 4 EU states left that describe themselves as neutral: Austria, Ireland, Cyprus, and Malta. Interestingly, NATO itself considers only the first two neutral.14: The white supremacist gunman who killed 10 people and wounded 3 -— almost all of them Black — at a store in upstate New York this weekend explained his motivation by reciting the “14 words” — a phrase of that length that neo-Nazis around the world use to call for the preservation of the white race.