Hard Numbers

1.2:


Just 1.2 percent of Pakistan’s 208 million people filed income taxes during the country’s most recent tax year, with many politicians and government officials thought to be among those dodging payment. Add that to the list of economic challenges facing incoming Prime Minister Imran Khan.

10,000:

Last September the UN Security Council barred governments from issuing new work permits to North Korean workers, as part of an international effort to increase financial pressure on Pyongyang. Since then, Russia has issued work permits for more than 10,000 North Koreans.

 

9:

About 9 million people died from pollution-related causes in 2015, according to a recent study in a prominent medical journal – half of them in Asia. India alone accounted for more than 2.5m of the deaths. It’s the downside of strong economic growth in a region that is still largely dependent on burning coal for electricity.

 

15:

People in Iran bought more than 15 metric tons of gold bars and coins in the second quarter of 2018 – triple the amount they purchased a year ago, as they braced for this week’s return of US sanctions. Iran’s currency, the rial, has lost about 50 percent of its value since the US pulled out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal in May.

 

0:

The martial artist /action movie hero Steven Seagal has earned zero Oscar nominations for his work, but thanks to his outspoken admiration of Russian President Vladimir Putin he won Russian citizenship several years ago. Now the Kremlin has appointed him as a special envoy to the US. If Dennis Rodman can build bridges to North Korea, who among us will doubt the man who once uttered the words: “I’m gonna take you to the bank… The blood bank.”

Paper was originally made from rags until the introduction of cellulose in 1800. Since then, it has transformed into a "circular" industry, with 55% of paper produced in Italy recovered. It no longer just comes from trees, either. Some companies produce paper with scraps from the processing of other products like wool and walnuts.

Learn more about this rags to riches story in Eni's new Energy Superfacts series.

In late 2017, Zimbabwe's long-serving strongman Robert Mugabe was deposed by the army after 37 years in power. Amid huge popular celebrations, he handed over the reins to Emmerson Mnangagwa, his former spy chief. It was an extraordinary turn of history: Mugabe, one of Africa's last "Big Men" and a hero of the country's liberation war to end white minority rule, went out with barely a whimper, placing Zimbabwe — stricken by economic ruin and international isolation — in the hands of "The Crocodile."

Mugabe has since died, but almost three years after his departure, Zimbabwe's woes continue.

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As the world prepares to mark the 75th anniversary since American forces dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, global non-proliferation efforts, first codified in Cold War-era treaties, are in jeopardy. While the overall number of nuclear weapons continues to decrease — mainly because the US and Russia have set about dismantling retired weapons — both countries, which account for 90 percent of the world's total nuclear arsenal, continue to modernize their nuclear weapons programs. Meanwhile, the New START treaty, which limits the number of long-range nuclear weapons that each side can deploy to about 1,500 apiece, is at risk of collapsing. Here's a look at which countries have nuclear weapon stockpiles and who's ready to use them.

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Happy Monday, we are in August, summer, should be taking it a little easier. Coronavirus not taking the stress levels off but hopefully giving people the excuse, if you're not traveling so much, be close with your families, your loved ones and all that. Look, this is not a philosophical conversation, this is a talk about what's happening in the world, a little Quick Take for you.

First of all, you know, I'm getting a little bit more optimistic about the news in the United States right now. Yes, honestly, I am. In part because the caseload is flattening across the country and it's reducing in some of the core states that have seen the greatest explosion in this continuation of the first wave. Yes, the deaths are going up and they should continue to for a couple of weeks because it is a lagging indicator in the United States. But the fact that deaths are going up does not say anything about what's coming in the next few weeks. That tells you what's happened in the last couple of weeks.

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TikTok, ya don't stop: The wildly popular video app TikTok has been in the crosshairs of American lawmakers for many months now. Why? Because the app is owned by a Chinese company, raising national security concerns that it could funnel personal data on its 100 million American users to the Chinese government. The plot thickened in recent days after President Trump abruptly threatened to ban the app altogether, risking a backlash among its users and imperiling US tech giant Microsoft's efforts to buy the company's North American operations. After a weekend conversation between Microsoft and the White House, the sale negotiations are back on but US lawmakers say any deal must strictly prevent American users' data from winding up in Chinese Communist Party servers. The broader fate of TikTok — which has now been banned in India, formerly its largest market, and may be broken up under US pressure — nicely illustrates the new "tech Cold War" that is emerging between China and the United States. A Microsoft/TikTok deal is expected by September 15. Tick..Tock.

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