Hard Numbers

2,000,000: Bangladesh needs to create roughly 2 million new jobs every year to keep pace with an expanding population. But job growth in the country’s most important industry, textiles, is getting clobbered by automation. As robots get better at light industrial tasks like apparel manufacturing, whole swaths of the developing world are about to get stretched tight.


92: Some 92 percent of Brazilians are worried about the inability to discern fake news from real news online, according to a poll done late last year. That is the highest percentage of any country surveyed. Germany, as it happens, is the only country where a majority of citizens are not worried about this problem. The Brazilian government is currently cobbling together a strategyto fight fake news ahead of the country’s pivotal presidential election this fall — but is it too little too late?

81: The US government tried to influence democratic elections in other countries 81 times between 1946 and 2000, according to a recent study from a Carnegie Mellon professor. The tally for the Soviet Union and Russia is just 36 over the same period, though that count is certainly incomplete. #glasshouses #stones

61: Although Turkey’s ruling AKP party is often characterized as an Islamist party, 61 percent of its members say Turkey should be a secular state with no official religion, and an astounding 80 percent revere Kemal Ataturk, the ruthlessly secular founder of modern Turkey. A reminder that in Turkey Islamism, conservatism, and nationalism may overlap, but they aren’t the same thing.

33: About a 33 percent of Italian voters are still undecided ahead of pivotal elections in two weeks. Whether those voters end up siding with Berlusconi’s Forza Italia, the anti-immigrant Lega Nord, or the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, will ultimately determine who plays the role of political kingmaker. Into the wolf’s mouth with all of them…

Last week, in Fulton, WI, together with election officials from the state of Wisconsin and the election technology company VotingWorks, Microsoft piloted ElectionGuard in an actual election for the first time.

As voters in Fulton cast ballots in a primary election for Wisconsin Supreme Court candidates, the official count was tallied using paper ballots as usual. However, ElectionGuard also provided an encrypted digital tally of the vote that enabled voters to confirm their votes have been counted and not altered. The pilot is one step in a deliberate and careful process to get ElectionGuard right before it's used more broadly across the country.

Read more about the process at Microsoft On The Issues.

The risk of a major technology blow-up between the US and Europe is growing. A few weeks ago, we wrote about how the European Union wanted to boost its "technological sovereignty" by tightening its oversight of Big Tech and promoting its own alternatives to big US and Chinese firms in areas like cloud computing and artificial intelligence.

Last week, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and her top digital officials unveiled their first concrete proposals for regulating AI, and pledged to invest billions of euros to turn Europe into a data superpower.

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Communal violence in Delhi: Over the past few days, India's capital city has seen its deadliest communal violence in decades. This week's surge in mob violence began as a standoff between protesters against a new citizenship law that critics say discriminates against India's Muslims and the law's Hindu nationalist defenders. Clashes between Hindu and Muslim mobs in majority-Muslim neighborhoods in northeast Delhi have killed at least 11 people, both Muslim and Hindu, since Sunday. We're watching to see how Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government responds – Delhi's police force reports to federal, rather than local, officials.

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Ian Bremmer's perspective on what's happening in geopolitics:

What are the takeaways from President Trump's visit to India?

No trade deal, in part because Modi is less popular and he's less willing to focus on economic liberalization. It's about nationalism right now. Hard to get that done. But the India US defense relationship continues to get more robust. In part, those are concerns about China and Russia.

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27,000: The Emir of Qatar has decreed a $27,000 fine and up to five years in prison for anyone who publishes, posts, or repost content that aims to "harm the national interest" or "stir up public opinion." No word on whether the Doha-based Al-Jazeera network, long a ferocious and incisive critic of other Arab governments, will be held to the same standard.

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