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​​Hard Numbers: Strong Threads, Italian ‘Succession,’ Democracy dwindles in Hong Kong, and the Romanian port keeping the world in grain

Meta Platforms Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg

Meta Platforms Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg

10: Meta officially launched its Twitter spin-off, Threads, on Wednesday and amassed more than 10 million sign-ups in the first seven hours. The app aims to be more lighthearted than its counterpart and comes on the heels of Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk threatening to engage in a cage match. The EU has delayed the launch there over data privacy concerns, but if you are outside of Europe, give GZERO a follow.

53: Silvio Berlusconi, Italy’s former PM and richest man, died last month without leaving instructions for how his $7.6 billion fortune should be distributed throughout his family. Berlusconi never publicly declared a successor to his business empire spanning real estate, television, cinema, and sports, leaving his two eldest children to jointly own 53%. “Succession” season 5 anyone?

88: In another hit to democratic freedom in Hong Kong, its legislature voted to overhaul district-level elections, reducing the number of directly elected officials from 452 to 88. This decision effectively eliminates the pro-democracy faction of the government, which in the last election, humiliated the pro-Beijing camp, winning 90% of the seats.

27 million: The Romanian port of Constanta is preparing to handle 27 million tons of Ukrainian grain as the 2023 harvest begins. That’s more than double the amount it shipped annually before the Ukraine war, and it’s struggling to accommodate the influx in addition to Romania’s own grain exports.


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