Hard Numbers

345: Pakistan’s newly elected prime minister, Imran Khan, who rose to power as an anti-corruption crusader, is already under fire for claiming his daily helicopter commute to work costs just $6.12, close to the price of a taxi. The real cost, according to BBC Urdu, was estimated at $345 per trip.

66: Vladimir Putin went on TV this week to announce the Russian government would backtrack on unpopular changes to the country’s pension system. Men will still see pension age move from 60 to 65, despite complaints that life expectancy for Russian men is just 66 years old. But women will see the pension age move from 55 to 60 rather than 63. It’s a rare Putin retreat, thanks in part to a pension-related 16-point drop in his approval rating from 80 percent to 64 percent.

53: Argentina’s currency crisis intensified this week. The value of Argentina’s peso fell 7 percent on Wednesday and another 15 percent on Thursday. It’s down 53 percent against the dollar so far this year. The International Monetary Fund has responded by agreeing to accelerate the pace of a $50 billion bailout of the country.

52: Ninety-one percent of US adults say Supreme Court decisions have an impact on their everyday lives, but 52 percent cannot name a single justice now serving on the Court. Anger and apathy are a dangerous combination.

How much material do we use to send a package? Too much. Does recycling help? Yes – but not really. Packaging material often accumulates as waste, contributing to its own "polluting weight." To solve our packaging dilemma, Finland came up with RePack: a "circular" solution for the reuse of material.

Learn more about RePack in Eni's new Energy Superfacts series.

A steady increase of violence in the Sahel region of Africa over the past eight years has imposed fear and hardship on millions of the people who live there. It has also pushed the governments of Sahel countries to work together to fight terrorists.

The region's troubles have also captured the attention of European leaders, who worry that if instability there continues, it could generate a movement of migrants that might well dwarf the EU refugee crisis of 2015-2016.

But is Europe helping to make things better?

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Donald J. Trump and CorOnaVirus decide to hit the road together across the USA. Will DJT and COV discover they are more alike than different? Will their interests diverge? #PUPPETREGIME

Jon Lieber, Managing Director for the United States at the Eurasia Group, shares his perspective on US politics.

Where are US-China relations in this battle over TikTok and what is happening?

Well, this may seem like a minor deal. It's a video sharing app that the president has given 45 days to sell to a US entity or get banned in the United States. But along with WeChat, these are two of China's most successful technology companies that the US has now banned from entry into the United States and potentially banned from being used on operating systems that rely on US software inside China. So, this is a huge escalation in the geotech war between the United States and China. China for a long time has not allowed Google and Facebook and other American applications to be fully operative inside their borders. And now the US is stepping up against Chinese technology companies. The reason is that there's concerns among the US government about these tech, these apps data security practices. Members of the military, high ranking government officials aren't allowed to have these on their phones because there's concern about what China does with the data that they can harvest from those phones. This is a real warning sign to other Chinese technology companies that they may not be welcome inside the American market unless they can prove in some way, they are totally independent from the Chinese government and the Chinese military. Expect a lot of escalation in this area over the coming months and years.

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In a new interview with Ian Bremmer for GZERO World, former CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden says that the single most important step to reopening schools in the fall is to control infection in the community. But as of now, too many communities across the United States have lost control of the Covid-19 virus. Opening schools will only become a possibility once a majority of people start practicing the "Three 'W's" ("Wear a mask, wash your hands, watch your distance") and local and federal governments enforce stricter protective policies. The full episode of GZERO World begins airing on US public television on Friday, August 7, 2020. Check local listings.