Hard Numbers: Viva Zapata

30,000: According to the UN, just over 30,000 refugees have reached Europe by boat across the Mediterranean so far this year. That compares with 114,000 for all of 2018, 171,000 in 2017, 363,000 in 2016, and more than 1 million at the height of the crisis in 2015.

4.25: Turkey's central bank slashed interest rates by a whopping 4.25 points this week, the biggest cut in 17 years. This is an important story because it shows just how desperate President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is to boost the local economy out of a recession that threatens his political popularity.

37,900: About 37,900 people held jobs in American newsrooms in 2018, according to Pew. In 2008, the figure was 71,000. Only a fraction of those journalists have been re-hired by digital media outlets.

10: Remember Franky Zapata, the former jet ski champion and inventor riding a hoverboard while carrying an assault rifle above the Bastille Day celebrations in Paris? Franky attempted this week to cross the English Channel on that board in 20 minutes at an average speech of about 87 mph at an average height of about 50 feet above the water. But 10 minutes into the flight, Franky got very wet. He says he'll try again. #TheRealRonObvious

Howard University President Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick joins That Made All the Difference podcast to discuss how his career as a surgeon influenced his work as an educator, administrator and champion of underserved communities, and why he believes we may be on the cusp of the next "golden generation."

Listen to the latest podcast now.

It's been a bad week at the office for President Trump. Not only have coronavirus cases in the US been soaring, but The New York Times' bombshell report alleging that Russia paid bounties to the Taliban to kill US troops in Afghanistan has continued to make headlines. While details about the extent of the Russian bounty program — and how long it's been going on for — remain murky, President Trump now finds himself in a massive bind on this issue.

Here are three key questions to consider.

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Nicholas Thompson, editor-in-chief of WIRED, discusses technology industry news today:

Do some of the Facebook's best features, like the newsfeed algorithm or groups, make removing hate speech from the platform impossible?

No, they do not. But what they do do is make it a lot easier for hate speech to spread. A fundamental problem with Facebook are the incentives in the newsfeed algorithm and the structure of groups make it harder for Facebook to remove hate speech.

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Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Yes, still in the middle of coronavirus, but thought I'd give you a couple of my thoughts on Russia. Part of the world that I cut my teeth on as a political scientist, way back in the eighties and nineties. And now Putin is a president for life, or at least he gets to be president until 2036, gets another couple of terms. The constitutional amendments that he reluctantly allowed to be voted on across Russia, passed easily, some 76% approval. And so now both in China and in Russia, term limits get left behind all for the good of the people, of course. So that they can have the leaders that they truly deserve. Yes, I'm being a little sarcastic here. It's sad to see. It's sad to see that the Americans won the Cold War in part, not just because we had a stronger economy and a stronger military, but actually because our ideas were better.

Because when those living in the former Soviet Union and the Eastern Block looked at the West, and looked at the United States, they saw that our liberties, they saw that our economy, was something that they aspired to and was actually a much better way of giving opportunities to the average citizen, than their own system afforded. And that helped them to rise up against it.

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Jon Lieber, managing director for the United States at Eurasia Group, provides his perspective on US politics:

How likely is bipartisan action against Russia in light of Taliban bounty reports?

I think it's probably unlikely. One of the challenges here is that there's some conflict of the intelligence and anything that touches on the issue of President Trump and Russia is extremely toxic for him. Republicans have so far been tolerant of that and willing to stop any new sanctions coming. I think unless the political situation or the allegations get much worse or more obvious, that stalemate probably remains.

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