HARD NUMBERS

169 million: Africa-based tech startups raised $169 million in the first half of 2018, more than they raised in all of 2017. Kenya and Nigeria, both of which have large English-speaking populations and burgeoning financial centers, were the top destinations for venture capital investment on the continent.


667,000: More than 667,000 foreigners have left Saudi Arabia since the beginning of 2017, the biggest-ever exodus of expatriate workers in the kingdom. A combination of tighter government regulations on foreign workers and a sluggish economy are causing trouble for this group that amounts to about one third of Saudi’s population and more than 80 percent of its private sector workforce.

51.3: Last week, the temperature at a weather station in Ouargla, Algeria hit 51.3 degrees Celsius – or 124.3 degrees Fahrenheit. If confirmed, that would be the hottest temperature ever recorded on the continent. Multiple studies suggest that higher temperatures can lead to higher rates of violence – an additional challenge for already strained governments across Africa.

46: Germany’s aging fleet of Tornado fighter jets will have been in servicefor 46 years by the time the Luftwaffe, Germany’s air force, starts phasing them out 2025. The ongoing debate within Germany over their replacement is another reminder of the country’s long reliance on US military resources and equipment for its security, which could shift in the coming years as the Trump administration pushes European nations to bolster their defense spending.

36: The last time two British cabinet ministers resigned within 24 hours of each other outside a routine government reshuffle, as happened earlier this week, was 36 years ago in 1982. While pressure on May to leave office has eased temporarily, the embattled British prime minister still faces a tough road ahead in managing the UK’s exit from the European Union.

In July, Microsoft took legal action against COVID-19-related cybercrime that came in the form of business email compromise attacks. Business Email Compromise (BEC) is a damaging form of cybercrime, with the potential to cost a company millions of dollars. Even the most astute can fall victim to one of these sophisticated schemes. The 2019 FBI cybercrime report indicates that losses from Business Email Compromise attacks are approximately $1.7 billion, which accounts for almost half of all losses due to cybercrime. As more and more business activity goes online, there is an increased opportunity for cybercriminals to target people in BEC attacks and other cybercrime. Their objective is to compromise accounts in order to steal money or other valuable information. As people become aware of existing schemes and they're no longer as effective, the tactics and techniques used by cybercriminals evolve.

To read about how Microsoft is working to protect customers, visit Microsoft on the Issues

"Go ahead, take it," President Putin says to you.

"Take what?" you ask.

"This Covid vaccine," he continues, turning a small syringe over in his hands. "It's safe. Trust me. We… tested it on my daughter."

Would you do it? Russian President Vladimir Putin is betting that a lot of people will say yes. On Tuesday he announced that Russia has become the first country to register a COVID-19 vaccine, and that mass vaccinations will begin there in October.

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The global race is on to develop a vaccine against COVID-19. While it usually takes many years to develop and widely distribute vaccines, scientists around the world are now trying to get one ready within an unprecedented time frame: 12-18 months. And while there is some international cooperation in that effort, there's also fierce competition among countries, as everyone wants to develop a vaccine on their home turf first, not only for prestige, but also to get their citizens at the front of the line for the shots when they are available. There are hundreds in development, but to date only eight vaccines have progressed to Phase III of the clinical trial process, meaning they are being tested on thousands of people and the results are compared with those who receive a placebo drug. Phase III is the final stage before approval. Who's gotten there so far?

45: A new poll says that 45 percent of Italians would support leaving the European Union if the UK economy remains in a "good state" five years after Brexit. Calls for a national referendum on "Italexit" are gaining steam in Italy, where a new anti-EU party is capitalizing on the sentiment that the EU abandoned the country at its darkest hour with COVID-19 (despite Italy later getting the lion's share of the EU's coronavirus rescue package).

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Anyone with a pulse and a smartphone probably knows by now that the US-China rivalry is heating up these days, and fast. (If you know anyone who doesn't, get them a Signal subscription.)

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