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.

Microsoft has a long-standing commitment to child online protection. First and foremost, as a technology company, it has a responsibility to create software, devices and services that have safety features built in from the outset. Last week, in furtherance of those commitments, Microsoft shared a grooming detection technique, code name "Project Artemis," by which online predators attempting to lure children for sexual purposes can be detected, addressed and reported. Developed in collaboration with The Meet Group, Roblox, Kik and Thorn, this technique builds off Microsoft patented technology and will be made freely available to qualified online service companies that offer a chat function.

Read more at Microsoft On The Issues.

Meng Wanzhou, CFO of the Chinese tech giant Huawei, is under house arrest in Vancouver and could be extradited to the United States. What is she accused of, and what are the political implications of prosecuting her? Cybersecurity expert Samm Sacks discusses the case with Ian Bremmer.

Since Martin Luther King Jr delivered his iconic "I have a dream" speech in August 1963, the number of Black Americans elected to the United States Congress has dramatically increased. Still, it wasn't until last year, more than half a century later, that the share of Black members serving in the House of Representatives reflected the percentage of Black Americans in the broader population —12 percent. To date, only six states have sent a Black representative to serve in the US Senate, and many states have never elected a Black representative to either house of Congress. Here's a look at Black representation in every US Congress since 1963.

Ian Bremmer breaks down the current situation as China rapidly expands its technology sector and carves its own path globally in cyberspace. He discusses the history of the economic relationship between the two nations, and the geopolitical consequences of the decoupling. While Huawei and the current legal action against its CFO Meng Wanzhou are the biggest tech flashpoints between the U.S. and China at the moment, that is just the tip of a very large iceberg that some analysts believe is a new Cold War.

Vladimir Putin has ruled Russia for twenty years, but he has a problem: his current presidential term ends in 2024, and the constitution prevents him from running for re-election then.

As a result, the question of what he'll do in 2024 has been on the minds of Russia's oligarchs, spooks, bureaucrats, and a lot of ordinary folks, as well. After all, over the past two decades, Putin has made himself, for better and for worse, the indispensable arbiter, boss, and glue of Russia's sprawling and corrupted system of government. As the current speaker of Russia's legislature once said, "Without Putin, there is no Russia." Not as we currently know it, no.

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