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…

In the southern Italian region of Basilicata, home to the Val d'Agri Oil Centre known as COVA, hydrocarbon processing has undergone a radical digital transformation. COVA boasts one of the world's first fully digitized hydrocarbon plants, but why? Two primary reasons: infrastructure and information. Val d'Agri has the largest onshore hydrocarbon deposit in mainland Europe. The site is expansive and highly advanced, and the plant features a sophisticated sensor system built to capture massive amounts of data. Maintenance checks, equipment monitoring, inspections and measurements are tracked in a fully integrated digital system designed to prevent corrosion and ensure cleaner, more sustainable natural gas processing.

Learn more at Eniday: Energy Is A Good Story

For a president gearing up for a fierce re-election fight next year, President Trump has a lot to worry about. Democrats are now taking more of the US political spotlight. The latest opinion polls don't look good for him. There are signs that the strong US economy, Trump's top selling point, may begin to wobble.

More Show less

Chinese Pigs – Beyond a trade war with the US and unrest in Hong Kong, now Chinese officials are wrestling with an even more basic political problem. Pork is the favorite meat for many of China's 1.4 billion people, and some analysts treat pork consumption as an important indicator of the financial well-being of China's middle class. A serious outbreak of African Swine Flu is expected to push pork prices 70 percent higher over the second half of this year, which will hit ordinary Chinese pockets hard. By some estimates, half of China pigs have been culled, but there are also reports that some farmers have avoided the expense of slaughtering infected pigs, raising fears that the disease will continue to spread. The central government takes this problem seriously enough to call on local officials to boost large-scale hog farming. So far, China's "Year of the Pig" is just not going well.

More Show less

Buy or sell: The iPhone

I'll make both arguments. First, buy. The new iPhone 11 didn't blow people's mind. But it's a pretty good phone. But what is most impressive is they lowered the prices on many of their phones and they offer a really good trade ins. So you can take your old iPhone, trade it in, get a discount on a new one. It's a pretty good deal. On the other hand, if the question is more: Is the iPhone still the unadulterated leader in innovation? Maybe not. The event was not quite as transformative as some of these events have been.

More Show less

1.2 million: Surging jihadist terrorism in Burkina Faso has pushed the country to the brink of humanitarian crisis, as attacks displace people from their homes and destroy critical infrastructure and hospitals. According to the International Committee of the Red Cross, 1.2 million Burkinabe are threatened with famine and malnutrition, and access to healthcare has dwindled. Experts say the violence is a spillover from the scourge of jihadism in neighboring Mali.

More Show less