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.

The Business and Market Fair that recently took place in Sanzule, Ghana featured local crops, livestock and manufactured goods, thanks in part to the Livelihood Restoration Plan (LRP), one of Eni's initiatives to diversify the local economy. The LRP program provided training and support to start new businesses to approximately 1,400 people from 205 households, invigorating entrepreneurship in the community.

Learn more at Eniday: Energy Is A Good Story

It's been two months since President Trump abruptly ordered the withdrawal of US troops from northern Syria, paving the way for a bloody Turkish offensive in that region. (See our earlier coverage here.) What's happened since? A guide for the puzzled:

No "end date" for US troops in Syria – US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said this week that the United States has completed its military pullback in northeastern Syria. Back in October, President Trump pledged to withdraw the roughly 1,000 American troops deployed there. Since then, some American troops have left Syria altogether, while others were redeployed to defend nearby oil fields from ISIS, as well as from Syrian government troops and Russia. Now, there are roughly 600 American troops dispersed around Syria, and the remainder have been deployed in Iraq to stave off a potential ISIS resurgence. It's not clear if any troops have returned to the US. When asked about the chaotic comings and goings of US troops in Syria in recent months, the commander of US Central Command said frankly: there's no "end date" for American troops stationed there.

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Turkey's government has captured many thousands of ISIS fighters as a result of its operations in northern Syria. Many of these prisoners have already been deported to some of the more than 100 countries they come from, and Ankara says it intends to send more. There are also more than 10,000 women and children – family members of ISIS fighters – still living in camps inside Syria.

These facts create a dilemma for the governments of countries where the ISIS detainees are still citizens: Should these terrorist fighters and their families be allowed to return, in many cases to face trial back home? Or should countries refuse to allow them back?

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What's the difference between Alphabet and Google?

Well, Google is the search engine, YouTube, all the stuff you probably think of as Google. Alphabet is the parent company that was created four or five years ago. And it contains a whole bunch of other entities like Jigsaw, Verily - the health care company that Google runs, Waymo - the self-driving car unit. Also, it's important to know Google makes tons of money. Alphabet, all that other stuff loses tons of money.

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The collapse of the Islamic State's self-declared caliphate in Iraq and Syria has given rise to a host of new challenges for governments around the world. Turkey has captured thousands of ISIS fighters as a result of its offensive in northern Syria, many of whom are foreign nationals who left their home countries to fight with the Islamic State. To date, non-Middle East countries have mostly opposed ISIS fighters returning home, leaving them, and their spouses and children, in legal limbo. Here's a look at where these foreign fighters come from.