Hard Numbers

50 million: Popular websites that fail to take down inaccurate content will face fines of up to 50 million rubles ($800,000) under a proposed “fake news” law unveiled in Russia’s Duma. #OneMan'sFakeNews


16.7: In fiscal year 2017, 16.7 percent of Pakistan’s government spending went to the military, according to SIPRI. That’s the seventh highest share for any nation in the world.

14: Since the 1965 enactment of the Hart-Cellar immigration reform bill, the share of first-generation immigrants in the U.S. population has tripled from less than five percent to about 14 percent. In related news, non-Hispanic whites are projected to be a minority by 2050.

1.2: Between 1995 and 2015, Mexico’s real GDP per person increased by an annual average of just 1.2 percent. In Latin America, only Venezuela performed worse over that period.

-3.5: In 2017, sanctions and drought drove North Korea’s economy into its sharpest contraction in two decades, according to South Korea’s central bank, with GDP falling by 3.5 percent. That’s the steepest fall since famine forced a 6.5 percent spiral in 1997. Is this what brought Kim to the table with Trump?

When Donald Trump first started talking about buying Greenland last week, we figured it was a weird story with less legs than a Harp seal.

Signal readers, we were wrong. President Trump was so serious about purchasing the autonomous Danish territory that this week he abruptly cancelled a trip to Denmark after the country's prime minister, Mette Frederiksen, labelled the idea "absurd."

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The Amazon in flames – More than 70,000 forest fires are burning in Brazil right now, most of them in the Amazon. That's up 84% over the same period last year, and it's the highest number on record. This is the dry season when farmers burn certain amounts of forest legally to clear farmland. But critics say Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro's efforts to loosen conservation rules have encouraged farmers, loggers, and miners to set more fires, many of them illegally. Bolsonaro – a science skeptic who recently fired the head of the agency that tracks deforestation – says, without proof, that NGOs are setting the fires to embarrass his government. Meanwhile, the EU is holding up a major trade deal with Brazil unless Bolsonaro commits to higher environmental protection standards, including those that affect the Amazon.

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Over the past fifty years, the Amazon rainforest has shrunk by an area equal to the size of Turkey. In the 1960s and 1970s, the Brazilian government supported settlement of the sparsely populated region for security reasons. Since then, huge swaths of the forest -- which is crucial for limiting the world's greenhouse gasses -- have been cleared for farmland used to feed Brazil's population and support its massive agricultural exports. Greater awareness of the environmental impacts in the 1990s produced tighter conservation regulations, though plenty of illegal clearing continues. In recent years, the annual deforestation rate has begun to rise again, and Brazil's new president Jair Bolsonaro has pledged to weaken regulations further in order to support businesses.

3: The US has recruited Australia to join its nascent mission of protecting ships in the critical Strait of Hormuz. Along with Britain and Bahrain, Australia is now the third country to join the US-led maritime mission, as high seas brinksmanship with the Iranians continues.

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