HARD NUMBERS

40: As a Russian friend has reminded me many times, a look at Moscow won’t help you see Russia. While the capital is wearing its finest colors for the World Cup, infrastructure outside major Russian cities remains in decay. According to the country’s official statistics bureau, when Putin came to power in 2000 there were 68,100 schools. Today, there are just 41,100, a fall of nearly 40 percent. Since 2000, the number of hospitals has fallen from 10,700 to just 5,400.


38: According to a just-published survey, Europeans say immigration is the most important issue facing the EU, with 38 percent of mentions. (That’s up from just 14 percent in autumn 2017). This week’s migration controversy involving Italy and Spain, which we highlighted on Wednesday, and an ongoing policy dispute within Germany’s governing coalition suggest these issues will continue to generate heat in European politics.

113: During this election campaign season in Mexico, at least 113 candidates, prospective candidates, and current and former politicians have been murdered, according to Etellekt, a public policy consultancy. Hundreds of candidates have backed out of their races, and others still on the ballot refuse to campaign in public. Two more weeks until election day.

4: JD.com, a Chinese e-commerce firm, has built a Shanghai fulfillment center that can organize, pack, and ship 200,000 orders a day. The facility has four employees, all of whom are there to service robots.

93 million: Net inflows of foreign direct investment to North Korea amounted to just $93 million in 2016. Compare that number with $12 billion into South Korea. In other (possibly related) news, Swedish automaker Volvo still awaits payment for 1,000 sedans shipped to North Korea in the 1970s.

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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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.

2,500: Google has deleted around 2,500 YouTube accounts linked to a coordinated misinformation campaign about Hong Kong, Chinese regime critics and China's coronavirus response. It's been a busy week for social media platforms cracking down on fake news, after Facebook and Twitter censored a post from US President Donald Trump for containing misinformation about COVID-19, and Brazil's Supreme Court ordered Facebook to block accounts tied to allies of President Jair Bolsonaro for spreading lies about judges.

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Jim Geraghty argues in a National Review op-ed that we shouldn't blame Trump for the fact that the US has one of the highest coronavirus death rates in the world. But though he's right that not everything is Trump's fault, Ian Bremmer and Eurasia Group analyst Scott Rosenstein take out The Red Pen to show that the evidence he cites to let Trump off the hook doesn't hold water.

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