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Hard Numbers: UK economic meltdown, Nigerian pirate convictions, pandemic bling, foreign spy bust in Iran

20.4: The UK economy is now officially in a recession for the first time in 11 years, after British economic growth plunged by 20.4 percent quarter-on-quarter from April to June 2020. The quarterly decline — attributed to the economic crisis fueled by the coronavirus pandemic ­— is double that of the US and second only to Spain's in Europe.


3: A Nigerian court issued the country's first-ever piracy convictions to three men who pleaded guilty to hijacking a tanker in waters off Equatorial Guinea last March. Although they got off with just a fine, this is still a major step for Nigeria, where the global shipping industry has been calling for tougher law enforcement action against rising attacks by pirates in the Gulf of Guinea.

1.5 million: The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed inequality in many ways, but none quite like this. An Israeli jeweler is working on what he claims will be the world's most expensive anti-coronavirus face mask — made of gold encrusted with diamonds (and fitted with N99 filters) for a whopping $1.5 million.

5: Iran has arrested 5 government employees for allegedly spying on behalf of Israel, Germany and the UK. This comes as the Islamic Republic has recently sentenced two of its citizens to ten years in prison for similar espionage crimes, and last month executed a defense ministry staffer for (allegedly) spying for the CIA.

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Live digital event | Time for nature: Turning biodiversity risk into opportunity | Wed, Dec 14 | 8 am EST

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