Hard Numbers

450 billion: Since 2000, annual defense spending by countries in the Asia Pacific has more than doubled to $450 billion today, led by China who will spend more than $200 billion on defense this year. But that still pales in comparison with the US, which recently passed a $717 billion defense spending bill into law for 2019.


2,599: Mexican prosecutors opened 2,599 homicide investigations, or about 84 a day, in the month of July. That’s the highest number of investigations opened during any single month on record. Squelching rising violence will be one of the biggest challenges facing incoming President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who takes over in December.

96: A recent survey of Facebook accounts conducted by the Counter Extremism Project documented Islamic State supporters in 96 different countries, including those as far flung as Namibia, Argentina, and the Dominican Republic. In his first audio recording in nearly a year, ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi recently called for fighters to step up attacks outside of Iraq and Syria.

13.3: South Korean men use an average of 13.3 cosmetic products per month, according to official data, and they spend more than twice as much on beauty products as men from any other country. Their devotion to daily skin care starts in an unlikely place, the military, where rough weather and lots of down time have fostered a strong culture of self-care among the country’s conscripts.

7: Myanmar’s de-facto leader, State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, has been stripped of seven international awards and honors for her previous humanitarian work since the outbreak of violence against the country’s Rohingya Muslim minority. Yesterday, a United Nations report called for the investigation and prosecution of Myanmar’s top military generals for genocide and accused Aung San Suu Kyi of contributing “to the commission of atrocity crimes.”

In 2012, the United States created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to protect these young people from being deported. Yet just five years later, the program was rescinded, putting close to 700,000 DACA recipients at risk of being banished from the only home they've ever known. More than five dozen of these DACA recipients at risk are Microsoft employees. These young people contribute to the company and serve its customers. They help create products, secure services, and manage finances. And like so many young people across our nation, they dream of making an honest living and a real difference in the communities in which they reside. Yet they now live in uncertainty.

Microsoft has told its Dreamers that it will stand up for them along with all the nation's DACA recipients. It will represent them in court and litigate on their behalf. That's why Microsoft joined Princeton University and Princeton student Maria De La Cruz Perales Sanchez to file one of the three cases challenging the DACA rescission that was heard on Nov. 12 by the United States Supreme Court.

Read more on Microsoft On The Issues.

Last week, French President Emmanuel Macron said that NATO was experiencing "brain death," citing a lack of coordination and America's fickleness under Donald Trump as reasons to doubt the alliance's commitment to mutual defense. NATO – the North Atlantic Treaty Organization – was formed in the wake of World War II as a counterweight against Soviet dominance in Europe and beyond. Its cornerstone is that an attack on one member is considered an attack on all. But disagreement about burden sharing has gained increasing salience in recent years. In 2014, the bloc agreed that each member state would increase their own defense spending to 2% of their respective GDP over the next decade. But so far, only seven of 29 members have forked out the money. Here's a look at who pays what.

In the predawn hours of Tuesday morning, Israel launched a precision attack in the Gaza Strip, targeting and killing a Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) commander. In response, the terror group fired more than 200 rockets at southern Israel. Exchanges of fire have brought cities on both sides of the Gaza border to a standstill and at least eight Palestinians are dead and dozens of Israelis wounded. With this latest escalation, Israel now faces national security crises on multiple fronts. Here's what's going on:

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More Brexit shenanigans: Britons this week saw Prime Minister and Conservative Party leader Boris Johnson endorse Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn in upcoming elections. As a special bonus, they got to see Corbyn return the favo(u)r with a formal endorsement of Johnson. Most viewers in the UK will have understood immediately that these are the latest example of "deep fakes," digitally manipulated video images. The more important Brexit story this week is a pledge by Nigel Farage that his Brexit Party will not run candidates in areas held by the Conservatives in upcoming national elections. That's a boost for Johnson, because it frees his party from having to compete for support from pro-Brexit voters in those constituencies.

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80: More than 80 percent of the electronic voting systems currently used in the US are made by just three companies, according to a new report which warns that they are regulated less effectively than "colored pencils."

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