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Hard Numbers: Pakistan plants mangroves, Hezbollah-Israel clashes deepen, Bidenomics goes bust, Liberians decide a runoff, Italy recaptures king of the jungle

A mangrove forest is seen in Matang in Malaysia's northern state of Perak. Forty tons of mangrove wood are loaded into the kiln and it takes 26 to 30 days to produce 10 tons of charcoal. The village industry is more than 70-years-old and the end product is an expensive high grade charcoal, most of which is exported to Japan where charcoal is valued as a water filter and moisture absorbant. The mangrove forests in Matang have been sustainably managed for 100 years and a 30-year rotational system allows the mangrove to regenerate naturally. Picture taken July 29, 2003

A mangrove forest is seen in Matang in Malaysia's northern state of Perak. Picture taken July 29, 2003

REUTERS/Bazuki Muhammad BM/PB

142 million: A Pakistani project to revive mangrove forests in the Indus River Delta could absorb as much as 142 million tons of carbon dioxide over the next 60 years. Mangroves not only prevent erosion, they also sequester huge amounts of greenhouse gasses. But the project has stirred controversy, as it is backed by a company that is promoting it to sell carbon credits to polluting companies.

2: Israeli airstrikes on Monday killed two people in southern Lebanon, on the same day an Israeli electric worker died of wounds suffered in an earlier missile strike by Hezbollah in northern Israel. In the weeks since Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7, cross-border clashes between Hezbollah and Israel have surged to their deadliest levels since the two fought a monthlong war in 2006, raising fears of a wider regional war. Who are Hezbollah? Read our explainer here.

14: Well, last week’s midterm elections may have gone better than expected for Democrats, but their main problem remains: The American people just don’t think Joe Biden has been a great president. A new FT poll shows just 14% of registered voters say they are better off today than they were when he took office. The president has struggled to convince voters that Bidenomics is really helping the middle class — with Americans pointing to persistently high inflation as their biggest concern.

56: Speaking of discontent with incumbents … as Liberia heads into what will likely be an extremely close presidential election runoff, a new Gallup Poll shows 56% of Liberians believe their standard of living is getting worse, and 3 out of 4 say they have had trouble securing enough food at least once over the past year. The vote Tuesday pits incumbent George Weah, a former soccer star, against former veep Joseph Boakai. Weah defeated Boakai in the first round last month by less than half a percentage point.

8: To wish someone good luck in Italian, you’d say in bocca al lupo! — which means “into the wolf’s mouth!” But what should you say to authorities tracking an escaped circus lion in a suburb of Rome? Eight-year-old Kimba enjoyed a leisurely stroll around the seaside streets of Ladispoli on Saturday before he was captured in a massive operation involving local and national police.


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