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Hard Numbers: The shrinking Amazon, US views on #BLM, Boko Haram attack, the UK economy's bad case of COVID

Hard Numbers: The shrinking Amazon, US views on #BLM, Boko Haram attack, the UK economy's bad case of COVID

10,000: Under Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro's push to develop the Amazon, more than 10,000 square kilometers of the rainforest were destroyed last year. That's an area equal to the size of Lebanon, and it's a 34 percent increase over 2018. So far this year, destruction of the Amazon is already up 55 percent. The Amazon's vast absorption of greenhouse gasses is critical for limiting global warming, scientists say.


53: Two weeks of nationwide protests over the killing of George Floyd have moved a majority (53 percent) of Americans to support the Black Lives Matter movement for the first time, according to the pollster Civiqs. Before Floyd's death, the figure stood at 48 percent, the highest mark on record at the time.

11.5: The UK economy will shrink 11.5 percent this year, the worst of any major economy, says the OECD, a group of advanced countries. And that's the optimistic case, which assumes no "second wave" of coronavirus. If another wave breaks, Britain's GDP would contract 14 percent. Analysts say that the UK's economic dependence on services has made it especially vulnerable to coronavirus-related shutdowns.

81: Boko Haram jihadists are suspected in an attack on a village in Northeastern Nigeria that left at least 81 people dead on Tuesday. The terror group has killed more than 30,000 people over the past decade, in a conflict that has displaced more than 2.5 million. With governments around the world distracted by the coronavirus pandemic, the group has recently increased its attacks.

The role of the public library has evolved over time. As we move online at an even faster rate, knowledge, entertainment and opportunities for education and employment are found on the internet. Those living in well-connected, affluent places may have come to take internet access for granted. But there is a digital divide in the U.S. that has left people at a disadvantage – particularly since the arrival of COVID-19.

Finding ways to overcome that divide in a sustainable, community-led way could help bring the benefits of the internet to those who need it most. One solution is to use technologies such as TV white space to facilitate wireless broadband – as Microsoft's Airband Initiative is doing. To read more about Microsoft's work with public libraries, visit Microsoft On The Issues.

Who does Vladimir Putin want to win the US election? Given the Kremlin's well-documented efforts to sway the 2016 vote in Donald Trump's favor, it's certainly a fair question. And while there's no solid evidence that Russian interference had any decisive effect on the outcome four years ago, the Trump administration itself says the Kremlin — and others — are now trying to mess with the election again.

So let's put you in Vladimir Putin's size 9 shoes as you weigh up Donald Trump vs Joe Biden while refreshing your own personal PyatTridsatVosem (FiveThirtyEight) up there in the Kremlin.

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"The 'American exceptionalism' that I grew up with, the 'American exceptionalism' of the Cold War…I do think has outlived its usefulness." Those words coming from Anne-Marie Slaughter, a former top State Department official under President Obama, indicate how much the world has changed in the past few decades. Her conversation with Ian Bremmer is part of the latest episode of GZERO World.

Watch the episode: How a "President Biden" could reshape US foreign policy

Less than a week out from Election Day, 66 million Americans have already cast their ballots, and many of those are people who are voting "early" for the first time because of the pandemic. In fact, the early vote total alone this year is already equal to nearly half of all ballots cast in the 2016 general election, suggesting that 2020 turnout could reach historic levels. Most important, however, is how things are playing out in key battleground states where the outcome of the US election will be determined. In Texas, for instance, a huge surge in early voting by Democrats this year has raised the possibility that a state which has been won by Republican candidates since 1976 could now be up for grabs. Here we take a look at early voting in battleground states in 2020 as compared to 2016.

In a national referendum on Sunday, Chileans overwhelmingly voted in favor of a new constitution. But, why are people in this oasis of political stability and steady economic growth in South America willing to undo the bedrock of the system that has allowed Chile to prosper for so long?

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