HARD NUMBERS

5: Just five countries — Timor-Leste (May 2002), Serbia (June 2006), Montenegro (June 2006), Kosovo (February 2008), and South Sudan (July 2011) — have gained independence since the turn of the century. Who will be next?


75: Globally, a median of 75 percent of people surveyed across 38 nations agree that it’s never acceptable for a news organization to favor one political party over another. India is the only country where more people said such favoritism is sometimes acceptable than those who suggested it should never occur. #MediaIndepenence ​

9: The percentage of American voters describing themselves as “independent” actually increased by around 9 percent between 1990 and today — from 29 percent to 38 percent. Yet at the same time the ideological gap between self-described Republicans and Democrats has widened substantially.

1.4 billion: The market for adult diapers in Japan, which already pulls in around $1.4 billion in yearly revenue, is expected to surpass that for babies by the year 2020, due to the country’s large elderly population. #InDepends

In 2012, the United States created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to protect these young people from being deported. Yet just five years later, the program was rescinded, putting close to 700,000 DACA recipients at risk of being banished from the only home they've ever known. More than five dozen of these DACA recipients at risk are Microsoft employees. These young people contribute to the company and serve its customers. They help create products, secure services, and manage finances. And like so many young people across our nation, they dream of making an honest living and a real difference in the communities in which they reside. Yet they now live in uncertainty.

Microsoft has told its Dreamers that it will stand up for them along with all the nation's DACA recipients. It will represent them in court and litigate on their behalf. That's why Microsoft joined Princeton University and Princeton student Maria De La Cruz Perales Sanchez to file one of the three cases challenging the DACA rescission that was heard on Nov. 12 by the United States Supreme Court.

Read more on Microsoft On The Issues.

What do people think is driving the stock market's recent record high gains?


Well, there's really no precise answer, but analysts point to several factors. So, number one is strong third quarter earnings. Companies have reported stronger than expected results so far this season. The second is the jobs market. You saw the October jobs numbers exceed economists' expectations. And the third is the Federal Reserve cutting interest rates three times this year. That lowers borrowing costs for consumers and businesses and encourages them to spend more.

More Show less

In the predawn hours of Tuesday morning, Israel launched a precision attack in the Gaza Strip, targeting and killing a Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) commander. In response, the terror group fired more than 220 rockets at southern Israel. Exchanges of fire have brought cities on both sides of the Gaza border to a standstill and at least 19 Palestinians are dead and dozens of Israelis wounded. With this latest escalation, Israel now faces national security crises on multiple fronts. Here's what's going on:

More Show less