Hard Numbers: Tech and democracy
2,000: Over 2,000 fighters affiliated with Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State – groups traditionally at war with each other in the Middle East – have joined forces to take control of vast swaths of territory in West Africa, according to a report by the US military. Fears that increasing instability in that region could become a full-blown "global crisis" come as the Trump administration weighs plans for a US troop drawdown in West Africa.
49: Increased use of technology will further erode core aspects of democracy and democratic representation over the next decade, agreed half of the tech experts surveyed by Pew on the impact of technology on democracy. Bad actors using social media and video deepfakes to spread misinformation will further undermine peoples' trust in institutions, they warn.
11: The Trump administration has followed through on its goal of cracking down on immigration to the United States, with new data revealing that the number of people who obtained lawful permanent residence fell by 11 percent from the 2016 fiscal year to FY 2018. Policy changes including stricter wealth tests on green card applicants will continue to contribute to the reduced flow of immigrants entering the country, experts warn.
42: Iran's recent parliamentary elections saw the lowest voter turnout since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, with just 42 percent of eligible voters flocking to polls across the country. Iran's supreme leader blamed the embarrassingly low turnout (down 20 percent from 2016) on "negative propaganda" linked to the spread of the coronavirus in Iran, which now has the highest death toll from the virus outside China.