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HARD NUMBERS: Fentanyl ravages Baltimore, Argentina declines by design, Harvard denies degrees to protesters, Oz tries alleged mushroom murderer

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott at a news conference on June 29, 2023.

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott at a news conference on June 29, 2023.


6,000: The city of Baltimore has won a grim distinction, recording 6,000 overdose deaths over the past six years, a drug death rate “never before seen in an American city.” Experts blame a flood of the extremely powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl, which occurred right as local politicians were shifting their attention to other challenges such as gun violence and the pandemic.

8.4: Argentina’s economic activity in March fell by 8.4% compared to the same month last year, the steepest drop of its kind since 2020 and the fifth straight month of declines. This pain, of course, is partly by design, as radical reformist President Javier Milei has imposed drastic spending cuts in order to put the economy on more sustainable footing for the future. Will it work? Here’s Ian Bremmer’s take on the question.

13: Harvard University’s governing board will not award degrees to 13 graduating students who participated in pro-Palestinian protest encampments earlier this semester. The move defies a faculty recommendation to award the degrees. The board said the students could still appeal. As GZERO readers know, our own Riley Callanan just graduated from Columbia University, where she covered the protests and police crackdowns. Here’s what it was like for her.

3: An Australian woman is going on trial for murdering three elderly people by serving them poisonous mushrooms at a lunch she hosted. And the plot thickens like a cremini stew: The dead were the parents and aunt of the woman’s ex-husband … who was ALSO at the lunch (but did not die).


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