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Hard Numbers: Gaza faces famine, Maine bans Trump on ballot, China’s investor woes, Brexit’s rewards finally materialize, and Shakira’s larger than life tribute

Palestinians wait to collect food at a donation point in a refugee camp in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on December 24, 2023.

Palestinians wait to collect food at a donation point in a refugee camp in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on December 24, 2023.

IMAGO/APAimages via Reuters

40: The United Nations reports that 40% of Gaza’s population — nearly 900,000 people — are facing famine conditions and may starve to death as not nearly enough aid can enter the enclave amid Israel’s ongoing bombings and ground operation. With 85% of Gazans displaced from their homes as well, the UN says “the only remaining hope is a humanitarian ceasefire.”


2: Maine became the second state after Colorado to disqualify former President Donald Trump from its ballot after Secretary of State Sheena Bellows concluded that Trump had incited an insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021. The decision is likely to be appealed in state court. California’s Secretary of State Shirley Weber, on the other hand, declined to remove Trump from the Golden State’s ballots, and the Supreme Court is expected to clarify the question nationwide if it rules on an appeal to the Colorado decision.

90: Around 90% of the money that foreign investors poured into the Chinese stock market in 2023 has already been withdrawn, amounting to around $30 billion dollars in outflow. Investors seem spooked by the ongoing turmoil in the property market, and despite improving metrics, may not see a long-term upside to keeping their money in China.

568: Britons, rejoice! The promised freedoms of Brexit are finally materializing, as pubs and restaurants will once again be able to serve 568 mL portions of wine, a quantity otherwise known as a British pint (not to be confused with the pitiful 473 mL Yankee pint). European Union rules had forced the proud British tippler to take their wine in half-liter portions, like some Frenchman. Cheers! To 68 milliliters of liberty!

21: The Colombian city of Barranquilla has unveiled a 21-foot tall bronze statue of its most famous daughter, pop queen Shakira. A member of Colombia’s large ethnic Lebanese community, Shakira developed her signature “hips don’t lie” dance style in the city by introducing Lebanese belly-dancing alongside other styles in Colombia’s rich repertoire.

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