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Hard Numbers: Trump's low COVID trust, Facebook blocks Thai critics, Africa beats polio, tourism loses big

Hard Numbers: Trump's low COVID trust, Facebook blocks Thai critics, Africa beats polio, tourism loses big

31: Only 31 percent of Americans say they trust President Trump on the coronavirus pandemic, compared to 46 percent for his opponent Joe Biden, according to a new poll. Trump has been under fire for playing down the importance of COVID-19, touting the benefits of untested drugs to combat the disease, and claiming that the US is doing a good job on the pandemic despite leading global cases and deaths.

500,000: More than half a million new users have joined a new Facebook group created by a Thai activist who openly criticizes the monarchy, until recently a taboo subject in Thailand. The group was set up by another dissident just hours after the social media giant complied with a government order to block access to a similar Facebook group with over a million members.

0: African health authorities have declared the continent free from the wild poliovirus. However, Africa has not yet completely eradicated the so-called vaccine-derived polio virus, a rare mutated form of the disease that is in fact caused by the vaccine against the wild poliovirus.

320 billion: The global tourism industry lost about $320 billion in the first five months of 2020, as tourist arrivals have more than halved around the world and more than 120 million tourism-related jobs are still in jeopardy. "Tourism has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic," UN Secretary-General António Guterres said on Tuesday.

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It's been four days since Iran's top nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, died in a hail of bullets on a highway near Tehran. Iran has plausibly blamed Israel for the killing, but more than that, not much is known credibly or in detail.

This is hardly the first time that an Iranian nuclear scientist has been assassinated in an operation that has a whiff of Mossad about it. But Fakhrizadeh's prominence — he is widely regarded as the father of the Iranian nuclear program — as well as the timing of the killing, just six weeks from the inauguration of a new American president, make it a particularly big deal. Not least because an operation this sensitive would almost certainly have required a US sign-off.

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Joe Biden has had one of the longest political careers in American history, but his most important act is yet to come. Can decades of experience in Washington prepare him to lead the most divided America since the end of the Civil War?

Watch the GZERO World episode: What you still may not know about Joe

Ethiopia on the brink: After ethnic tensions between Ethiopia's federal government and separatist forces in the northern Tigray region erupted into a full-blown armed conflict in recent weeks, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced his forces had taken control of Tigray's capital on Saturday and declared victory. But the fugitive Tigray leader Debretsion Gebremichael quickly called Abiy's bluff, saying the fighting is raging on, and demanded Abiy withdraw his forces. Gebremichael accused Abiy of launching "a genocidal campaign" that has displaced 1 million people, with thousands fleeing to neighboring Sudan, creating a humanitarian catastrophe. The Tigray, who make up about five percent of Ethiopia's population, are fighting for self-determination, but Abiy's government has repeatedly rejected invitations to discuss the issue, accusing the coalition led by Gebremichael's Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) of "instigating clashes along ethnic and religious lines." As the two sides dig in their heels, Ethiopia faces the risk of a civil war that could threaten the stability of the entire Horn of Africa.

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110: At least 110 people were killed in Nigeria's conflict-ridden Borno state on Saturday, when armed men attacked agricultural workers as they tended their fields. No one has yet claimed responsibility for the brutal attack, but analysts say the assault was likely the work of Boko Haram or Islamic State-linked groups that have gained a foothold in the Sahel region in recent years.

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Reasons for Hope: COVID and the Coming Year. Watch on Friday. Dec 4 2020 12 noon - 1 pm ET


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