Hard Numbers: The US gets tear gassed, Peru's GDP plunges, global investment dries up, Moldova seeks a billionaire crook

Hard Numbers: The US gets tear gassed, Peru's GDP plunges, global investment dries up, Moldova seeks a billionaire crook

98: Law enforcement officers have used tear gas in at least 98 different US cities in response to the George Floyd protests. That's the most widespread use of the chemical for crowd control in the country since the massive social unrest of the late 1960s and early 1970s, according to a scholar at Johns Hopkins.


1 trillion: The pandemic could cause global foreign direct investment (FDI) to plunge by half over the next 2 years, falling below $1 trillion for the first time since 2005, according to a new report by the Conference on Trade and Development. As global investment flows dry up, developing economies are expected to be the hardest hit.

40: Peru's GDP plunged by more than 40 percent in April, the worst monthly output drop in the country's history. Coronavirus lockdowns have clobbered the mining sector, which accounts for nearly two-thirds of the Peruvian economy. Although Peru was one of the first countries in South America to impose a lockdown, it is now second in cases and deaths only to Brazil, which has a population seven times as large.

1 billion: Moldova has asked the US to hand over Vladimir Plahotniuc, an influential oligarch accused of swindling up to $1 billion — about one-eighth of the country's GDP — from three local banks in 2014-2015. Plahotniuc, a former legislator and one of Moldova's richest men, is also wanted by Russia for alleged involvement in a cybercrime gang.


"I knew that history was my life's calling."

On Bank of America's That Made All the Difference podcast, Secretary of the Smithsonian Lonnie Bunch shares his journey and present-day work creating exhibits that inspire visitors to help our country live up to its ideals.

Viktor Orbán, Hungary's far-right populist prime minister, likes to shock people. It's part of his political appeal. Orbán has proudly proclaimed that he is an "illiberal" leader" creating a frenzy in Brussels because Hungary is a member of the European Union.

It's been over a decade since the 58-year old whom some have dubbed "the Trump before Trump" became prime minister. In that time he has, critics say, hollowed out Hungary's governing institutions and eroded the state's democratic characteristics.

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In countries with access to COVID vaccines, the main challenge now is to convince those hesitant about the jab to roll up their sleeves, and this has become even more urgent given the spread of the more contagious delta variant. So, where are there more vaccine skeptics, and how do they compare to total COVID deaths per million in each nation? We take a look at a group of large economies where jabs are available, yet (in some cases) not everyone wants one.

Marietje Schaake, International Policy Director at Stanford's Cyber Policy Center, Eurasia Group senior advisor and former MEP, discusses trends in big tech, privacy protection and cyberspace:

QR codes are everywhere. Are they also tracking my personal data?

Well, a QR code is like a complex barcode that may be on a printed ad or product package for you to scan and access more information. For example, to look at a menu without health risk or for two-factor verification of a bank payment. And now also as an integral part of covid and vaccine registration. QR codes can lead to tracking metadata or personal data. And when your phone scans and takes you to a website, certainly the tracking starts there. Now, one big trap is that people may not distinguish one kind of use of QR codes from another and that they cannot be aware of the risks of sharing their data.

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Now that the Tokyo Olympics are finally underway, your Signal crew will be bringing you some intriguing, uplifting, and quirky bits of color from a Games like no other…

Today we've got— the best freakout celebrations!

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Tanzania reverses course on COVID: Just four months ago, the Tanzanian government was completely denying the existence of the pandemic. Then-President John Magufuli insisted Tanzania was COVID-free thanks to peoples' prayers, and refused to try to get vaccines. But Magufuli died suddenly in March — perhaps of COVID. His successor, current President Samia Suluhu, has acknowledged the presence of the virus in Tanzania, and although she was initially lukewarm on mask-wearing and vaccines, Suluhu has recently changed her tune, first joining the global COVAX facility and now getting vaccinated herself to kick off the country's inoculation drive. Well done Tanzania, because if there's one thing we've all learned over the past 18 months, it's that nowhere — not even North Korea, whatever Pyongyang says — is safe from the coronavirus.

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16: A new study tracking Earth's "vital signs" has found that 16 out of 31 indicators of planetary health are getting worse due to climate change. Last year's pandemic-induced shutdown did little to reduce global carbon dioxide emissions, stop the oceans from warming, or slow the shrinking of polar ice caps.

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Next week, Ebrahim Raisi, a hardliner who is ideologically and personally close to Iran's 82 year-old supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, will be inaugurated as Iran's president. This power transition comes as the country experiences a fresh wave of protests that started in Iran's southwest over water shortages earlier this month and has since spilled over into dozens of provinces.

Some close observers of Iranian society and politics say that popular discontent there is now more widespread than it has been in years, making the Iranian regime more vulnerable than ever.

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