HARD NUMBERS

294 and 297:  Passport numbers issued to two alleged Russian intelligence operatives suspected in the attempted assassination of a former double-agent in the UK ended in the digits 294 and 297. News outlets have subsequently identifiedseveral other spook-ish characters with numerically close passport numbers, some of whom listed a building just around the corner from military intelligence headquarters in Moscow as their home address. #NotEvenHidingIt


$81:  Brent crude oil breached $81 per barrel on Monday, its highest level since late 2014. Falling Iranian oil exports, continued fighting near key oil fields in Libya, uncertainty about Venezuela’s political future, and bottlenecks in the US pipeline system have all contributed to the recent runup in prices, which some oil traders think could hit $100 before long.

4: Just four countries -- Brazil, Venezuela, Mexico, and Colombia-- accountfor nearly a quarter of all murders around the world every year. Overall, Latin America accounts for about a third of global homicides despite being home to just 8 percent of the world’s population.

1: Hong Kong’s government has banned a political party just once since the city-state returned to Beijing’s control in 1999. It happened this weekend when officials outlawed the minuscule pro-independence Hong Kong National Party on national security grounds.

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