Hard Numbers

800,000: Flooding in the southern Indian state of Kerala, the worst in a century, has displaced some 800,000 people and killed more than 350. Officials have put estimates of storm damage at nearly $3 billion.


700,000: South Korean President Moon Jae-in wants to set up rail links with the North, a project that could create more than 700,000 jobs in South Korea over the next five years, according to the IBK institute. Moon, whose approval rating has hit its lowest level since he took office in 2017, is eyeing the economic dividends from détente with Kim Jong-un.

90: More than 90 percent of Ethiopians hold a favorable view of the newly installed Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, according to local research firm WAAS International. That may well make Mr. Abiy – who has pledged broad reforms and pulled off a historic peace overture with neighboring Eritrea – the most popular leader in the world.

37.3: Since being thrown behind bars, Brazil’s former President Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva has only seen his popular support grow. Recent polls give him 37.3 percent of voter intentions – a 5 percentage point bump from the previous month – ahead of October’s pivotal election. The closest contender is far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro with 18.3 percent of voter intentions.

5: The Venezuelan government moved this week to create a new currency, the “Sovereign Bolívar,” by simply wiping away five zeros from its existing legal tender. Not bad if you compare it with Hungary, which shed 29 zeros from its currency between 1945 and 1946, and Yugoslavia, whose currency dropped 27 zeros from 1990 to 1994.

"I think there are certain times where you have tectonic shifts and change always happens that way."

On the latest episode of 'That Made All the Difference,' Vincent Stanley, Director of Philosophy at Patagonia, shares his thoughts on the role we all have to play in bringing our communities and the environment back to health.

For many, Paul Rusesabagina became a household name after the release of the 2004 tear-jerker film Hotel Rwanda, which was set during the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

Rusesabagina, who used his influence as a hotel manager to save the lives of more than 1,000 Rwandans, has again made headlines in recent weeks after he was reportedly duped into boarding a flight to Kigali, Rwanda's capital, where he was promptly arrested on terrorism, arson, kidnapping and murder charges. Rusesabagina's supporters say he is innocent and that the move is retaliation against the former "hero" for his public criticism of President Paul Kagame, who has ruled the country with a strong hand since ending the civil war in the mid 1990s.

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One of the biggest threats to 21st century international peace is invisible. It recognizes no borders and knows no rules. It can penetrate everything from the secrets of your government to the settings of your appliances. This is, of course, the threat of cyberattacks and cyberwarfare.

During the coronavirus pandemic, cyberattacks have surged, according to watchdogs. This isn't just Zoom-bombing or scams. It's also a wave of schemes, likely by national intelligence agencies, meant to steal information about the development and production of vaccines. Attacks on the World Health Organization soared five-fold early in the pandemic.

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Malaysian political drama: Malaysia's (eternal) opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim says he finally has enough votes in parliament to be appointed prime minister, seven months after the coalition that was going to support him collapsed amid an internal revolt that also forced out 95-year-old Mahathir Mohamed as head of the government. Two years ago, Mahathir — who governed Malaysia from 1980 to 2003 — shocked the country by running in the 2018 election and defeating his former party UMNO, which had dominated Malaysian politics since independence in 1956. After winning, Mahathir agreed to hand over power to Anwar — a former protégé with whom he had a falling out in the late 1990s — but Mahathir's government didn't last long enough to do the swap. Will Anwar now realize his lifelong dream of becoming Malaysia's prime minister? Stay tuned for the next parliamentary session in November.

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Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden, shares his perspective on Europe In 60 Seconds:


Why can't Europe agree on Belarus sanctions?


I think they can agree but the problem is that Cyprus has blocked. There's a veto right inside the European Union and they have blocked everything. I mean, everyone agrees, all of other Member States agrees that we should have had those sanctions in place. But the Cypriots have their own views. And then they are blackmailing, they are saying you have to sanction Turkey as well, at the same time. And most other states say there's no connection between the two. So, we do have somewhat of a constitutional crisis over foreign affairs inside the European Union. Distinctly not a good situation.

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