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Hard Numbers: Yeltsin’s defense/undermining of “democracy,” Gaetz's ouster bid, Pandas’ exodus from the US, Bangladesh’s dengue crisis, UK’s minimum wage boost

Smoke rises from the White House parliament building as Yeltsinist troops storm the Russian parliament October 4, 1993.

Smoke rises from the White House parliament building as Yeltsinist troops storm the Russian parliament October 4, 1993.

REUTERS/Petr Josek
30: Tuesday marks 30 years since Russian President Boris Yeltsin launched a military assault on Russia’s parliament building. Yeltsin made the move to end months of constitutional deadlock with a Communist-led opposition that wanted to slow the painful and chaotic post-Soviet transition to capitalism. After deadly clashes in which opposition forces tried to take over a Moscow TV tower, Yeltsin ordered the army to fire on parliament. US officials commended Yeltsin’s handling of the episode, but it permanently soured many Russians’ views of “democracy.”

2: Rep. Matt Gaetz, a hardline Republican, launched a bid late Monday to oust House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. The two men have been at odds for months, and Gaetz vowed to move against the Speaker after he passed a stopgap spending bill over the weekend, with help from Democrats, to avoid a government shutdown. The House has two days to vote on the measure.

0: For the first time in half a century, there will soon be zero panda bears in the United States. In 1972, as part of Beijing’s “Panda Diplomacy,” Mao Zedong gifted two of the famously frolicsome bears to the US as part of President Richard Nixon’s historic opening to China. (A coup of zoological diplomacy: The US sent two “musk oxen” in return.) Ever since, US zoos have periodically renewed contracts with Beijing to keep pandas, which are native to China. Now all remaining agreements will lapse by the end of next year.

11: The UK will raise the national minimum wage to £11 per hour (up from £10.42), beginning next April. The move is meant to combat a cost of living crisis brought on by the combination of Brexit, the pandemic, and the war in Ukraine. The government says about 2 million people will enjoy the higher pay. The minimum wage was last bumped up in April 2023.

1,000: More than 1,000 people in Bangladesh have died of dengue fever this year in the southeast Asian nation’s worst outbreak on record. Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral illness found in many tropical and subtropical regions. The WHO warned earlier this year that global reported cases could hit record highs, driven in part by global warming — which prolongs breeding seasons for mosquitos — as well as recurrent weather patterns like El Niño.


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