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2 million: The demilitarized zone that stretches for 155 miles along the 38th parallel between North and South Korea is estimated to hold up to 2 million landmines. Teams from the two countries this week began their first joint-clearance operation in more than a decade, part of the still-fragile thaw between Seoul and Pyongyang.


45: A Chinese naval vessel approached “within 45 yards” of a US destroyer near the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea on Sunday. The encounter, which US authorities described as “unsafe and unprofessional,” comes as the worsening trade dispute between the two countries has led to a rise in tensions, including a recent decision to scrap a planned visit to Beijing by US Defense Secretary James Mattis.


1: Despite a growing list of people, companies, and countries that are subject to sanctions, so far in 2018, the US Treasury Department office in charge of sanctions has brought just one new enforcement case, related to the unauthorized sale of telecommunications services in South Sudan. Overall, the number and size of judgments pursued by the US Office of Foreign Asset Control has been on the wane since 2014, when it imposed $1.2 billion of fines in 23 cases.


1/4: The 1918 Spanish flu outbreak, which hit peak intensity 100 years ago this autumn as millions of soldiers demobilized after World War I, infected a quarter of all people alive in the world at the time. Some estimates put the pandemic’s total death toll as high as 100 million – more people than were killed in World Wars I and II combined.


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