Hard Numbers: The House of Saud cracks down on dissent– again

13: A helicopter accident in Mali on Monday night killed 13 French soldiers, the single biggest loss for France since its intervention in the West African country in 2013. The crash occurred during a clash with armed militants who have staged a series of deadly attacks in northern Mali in recent weeks.


3.9: Global temperatures are on track to rise around 3.9 degrees Celsius by the end of the century (7 degrees Fahrenheit), which would have disastrous implications, according to a grim United Nation's report. Increasingly acidic oceans could dissolve all coral reefs, and severe heat, already extreme in many regions, would become intolerable, the report warns.

9: Saudi Arabia is intensifying its crackdown on dissent within the kingdom: at least nine journalists, writers and academics have been detained in recent weeks, according to a rights group. The New York Times reported that recent arrests included a female journalist who tweeted support for political prisoners.

76: The World Health Organization and the UN Children's Fund evacuated 76 staff working in the Ebola epidemic zone in the Democratic Republic of Congo due to the country's deteriorating security situation. A deadly attack by rebel factions that left at least eight people dead angered residents who say the government and UN peacekeeping forces were "unwilling to intervene" to fend off attackers.

This month, a bipartisan group of legislators in Washington state presented new legislation that could soon become the most comprehensive privacy law in the country. The centerpiece of this legislation, the Washington Privacy Act as substituted, goes further than the landmark bill California recently enacted and builds on the law Europeans have enjoyed for the past year and a half.

As Microsoft President Brad Smith shared in his blog post about our priorities for the state of Washington's current legislative session, we believe it is important to enact strong data privacy protections to demonstrate our state's leadership on what we believe will be one of the defining issues of our generation. People will only trust technology if they know their data is private and under their control, and new laws like these will help provide that assurance.

Read more here.

Let's be clear— the Middle East peace plan that the US unveiled today is by no means fair. In fact, it is markedly more pro-Israel than any that have come before it.

But the Trump administration was never aiming for a "fair" deal. Instead, it was pursuing a deal that can feasibly be implemented. In other words, it's a deal shaped by a keen understanding of the new power balances within the region and globally.

More

Betty Liu, Executive Vice Chairman for NYSE Group, explains:

Do election years have an impact on the markets?

So, the short answer is it depends. There's lots of factors that affect the markets, right. But there are some trends. So, the S&P has had its best performance in the year before elections and the second-best performance on election year. Now since 1928, we've had 23 election years and the S&P has had negative returns only four times in that duration.

More

For months now, the US has been lobbying countries around the world to ban the Chinese tech giant Huawei from building the 5G data networks that are going to power everything from your cell phone, to power grids, to self-driving cars. US security hawks say allowing a Chinese company to supply such essential infrastructure could allow the Chinese government to steal sensitive data or even sabotage networks. On the other hand, rejecting Huawei could make 5G more expensive. It also means angering the world's second-largest economy.

More

The end of the interim in Bolivia? – Mere months after taking over as Bolivia's interim president, Jeanine Áñez has decided that "interim" isn't quite permanent enough, and she now wants to run for president in elections set for May 3. Áñez is an outspoken conservative who took over in October when mass protests over election fraud prompted the military to oust the long-serving left-populist Evo Morales. She says she is just trying to unify a fractious conservative ticket that can beat the candidate backed by Morales' party. (Morales himself is barred from running.) Her supporters say she has the right to run just like anyone else. But critics say that after promising that she would serve only as a caretaker president, Áñez's decision taints the legitimacy of an election meant to be a clean slate reset after the unrest last fall. We are watching closely to see if her move sparks fresh unrest in an already deeply polarized country.

More