Hard Numbers

20 million: A massive fire destroyed much of the 20 million piece collection of Brazil’s most historic museum on Sunday, in a disaster that many believe could have been prevented by adequate fire protection within the building. During its multi-year recession, Brazil has cut back on public spending, including on public works and buildings.


17,000: More than 17,000 civilians have been killed in Yemen since the civil war began there in 2015. Over the weekend, the US-backed Saudi coalition accepted responsibility for an airstrike last month that killed 40 children. The war has fomented one of the worst humanitarian disasters on the planet, with no end in sight.

12,450: Italy’s hardline Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has cracked down on accepting refugees arriving from Africa, but because the government’s hasn’t effectively repatriated many of those denied asylum or residency, there was a net annual increase of 12,450 migrants illegally in the country during the period from June to August, according to a new study cited by the daily La Repubblica. That only adds to the roughly half-million illegal immigrants he’s pledged to deport.

300: The US military has decided to formally cancel $300 million in suspended aid to Pakistan, citing Washington’s perception that the South Asian nation hasn’t done enough to combat extremism in the region. Pakistan, which has received more than $33 billion in US assistance since 2002, will be eager to discuss the matter with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo when he arrives in Islamabad tomorrow.

6: The economy of Nicaragua is expected to shrink by nearly 6 percent next year, after growing around 5 percent last year. That 11-point swing can be attributed to a deepening political crisis surrounding President Daniel Ortega, whose brutal clampdown on opposition protesters has disrupted tourism, caused people to take their money abroad, and sent migrants spilling into neighboring countries.

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 Yet just five years later, the program was rescinded, putting close to 700,000 DACA recipients at risk of being banished from the only home they've ever known.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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