Hard Numbers: The World's Rivers Are Full of Drugs

40,000: The US beer industry has lost some 40,000 jobs since 2016, according to an industry study. The main driver seems to be the Trump administration's aluminum tariffs, which have raised the price of beer cans, cutting into companies' profits.


525: Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz lost his job in a no-confidence vote on Monday after just 525 days, the shortest tenure of any Austrian Chancellor in modern history. (German speakers may now gleefully note that "kurz" means "short"). But after his party did well in the EU parliament elections, he'll likely return to power after a fresh ballot this fall. #DerKommBackKid

65: Traces of antibiotic drugs were discovered in 65% of rivers surveyed across 72 countries, in a recent study. That's a big problem: when antibiotics pollute waterways, bacteria that is harmful to humans has a better chance of encountering them and developing resistance. The UN says that as many as 10 million people globally could be killed by antibiotic-resistant bacteria by 2050.

5.7: Chinese tourism to the US dropped 5.7% in 2018 from the year prior, marking the first time that figure has declined year-on-year since 2003. That's real money lost—in 2017 Chinese tourists spent $18.8 billion dollars while visiting the US. No word yet on any possible government bailouts for the US tourism industry, though.

When Donald Trump first started talking about buying Greenland last week, we figured it was a weird story with less legs than a Harp seal.

Signal readers, we were wrong. President Trump was so serious about purchasing the autonomous Danish territory that this week he abruptly cancelled a trip to Denmark after the country's prime minister, Mette Frederiksen, labelled the idea "absurd."

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The Amazon in flames – More than 70,000 forest fires are burning in Brazil right now, most of them in the Amazon. That's up 84% over the same period last year, and it's the highest number on record. This is the dry season when farmers burn certain amounts of forest legally to clear farmland. But critics say Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro's efforts to loosen conservation rules have encouraged farmers, loggers, and miners to set more fires, many of them illegally. Bolsonaro – a science skeptic who recently fired the head of the agency that tracks deforestation – says, without proof, that NGOs are setting the fires to embarrass his government. Meanwhile, the EU is holding up a major trade deal with Brazil unless Bolsonaro commits to higher environmental protection standards, including those that affect the Amazon.

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Over the past fifty years, the Amazon rainforest has shrunk by an area equal to the size of Turkey. In the 1960s and 1970s, the Brazilian government supported settlement of the sparsely populated region for security reasons. Since then, huge swaths of the forest -- which is crucial for limiting the world's greenhouse gasses -- have been cleared for farmland used to feed Brazil's population and support its massive agricultural exports. Greater awareness of the environmental impacts in the 1990s produced tighter conservation regulations, though plenty of illegal clearing continues. In recent years, the annual deforestation rate has begun to rise again, and Brazil's new president Jair Bolsonaro has pledged to weaken regulations further in order to support businesses.

3: The US has recruited Australia to join its nascent mission of protecting ships in the critical Strait of Hormuz. Along with Britain and Bahrain, Australia is now the third country to join the US-led maritime mission, as high seas brinksmanship with the Iranians continues.

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