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Hard Numbers: Milei cuts jobs, Zimbabweans rush for passports, Congolese protestors injured, Scientists find world’s cutest vampires.

FILE PHOTO: Javier Milei is sworn in as the new President of Argentina and delivers his speech to his followers, surrounded by international leaders. Argentine, Buenos Aires, 2023-12-10.

FILE PHOTO: Javier Milei is sworn in as the new President of Argentina and delivers his speech to his followers, surrounded by international leaders. Argentine, Buenos Aires, 2023-12-10.

Federico David Gross / Hans Lucas via Reuters

5,000: New Argentine President Javier Milei announced he would fire around 5,000 government employees – who began work in 2023 – as part of a massive package of cuts. Milei has pledged to rein in government spending as inflation approaches 200%, foreign reserves are exhausted, and the Argentine peso faces a 50% devaluation.


120: Zimbabweans are lining up by the hundreds to secure passports at the current fee of $120 ,with the price set to rise in the new year. Many Zimbabweans earning less than $10 a day have been saving for months to afford travel documents that could help them build better futures abroad, and are eager to obtain them before the price hike puts their dreams further out of reach.

13: At least 13 protestors were wounded in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, as police cracked down on banned protests from the supporters of opposition presidential candidates – who say last week’s election was botched. Official vote counts currently show incumbent Félix Tshisekedi well ahead, and his administration has dismissed opposition calls for a rerun.

5: Scientists announced the discovery of five new species of soft-haired hedgehog (their hair is furry rather than pokey and prickly), all of which live in Southeast Asia. One of the critters with particularly impressive fangs has been given the scientific name H. macarong, after the Vietnamese word for vampire, “Ma cà rồng”.

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