HARD NUMBERS

1.1 billion: A North Korean hacking group has penetrated 16 heavily defended banks in 11 countries with a series of ongoing attacks that has netted more than $100 million. The group has attempted to steal an estimated $1.1 billion over the past four years, according to cybersecurity firm FireEye Inc.


420 million: The world is on track to overshoot its commitment to limit global warming “well below” 2 degrees Celsius. The difference between 1.5 degrees and 2 degrees of warming alone would expose an additional 420 million people to heatwaves and put an extra 10 million at risk from rising seas levels, according to a new UN report.

235,000: In Brazil, as of mid-September, the Jair Bolsonaro presidential campaign reported it spent about $235,000 to finish first in the election’s first round. The Fernando Haddad campaign said it spent $6.3 million to finish a distant second.

67: Half of all migrants who sought to enter the United States with their relatives over the past year came from Guatemala, a sharp increase from just two years ago. Among the reasons: About 76 percent of the population in Guatemala’s western highlands is impoverished, and 67 percent of children younger than five suffer from chronic malnutrition, according to the United States Agency for International Development.

14: Not everything is dire. The elephant pictured here is celebrating its 14th birthday.

The danger to informal workers grows: Coronavirus lockdowns have created a world of uncertainty for businesses and workers around the world. But one group of people that could be hit particularly hard are those working in the so-called "informal economy," where workers lack formal contracts, labor protections, or social safety nets. Nowhere is this challenge more widespread than in Africa, where a whopping 85 percent of the work force toils in the informal sector. These workers, which include street vendors, drivers, and the self-employed, don't have the luxury of working from home, which makes social distancing unviable. As a result, many continue to go to work, risking exposure to the virus, because not turning up is often the difference between putting food on the table and starving. What's more, even where governments are trying to provide support, many people lack bank accounts, complicating efforts to get them aid. In Nigeria, for example, some 60 percent of people do not even have a bank account, according to the World Bank.

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As Europe inches past the peak of COVID-19 deaths and the US slowly approaches it, many poorer countries are now staring into an abyss. As bad as the coronavirus crisis is likely to be in the world's wealthiest nations, the public health and economic blow to less affluent ones, often referred to as "developing countries," could be drastically worse. Here's why:

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What's the new normal going to look like? Now that numbers are at least plateauing, if not leveling off in hard hit countries in Europe. An effective lockdown may last 4 - 8 weeks. Once you start pulling back on quarantine measures, what's life look like? What's the economy look like? The idea that life is back to normal anytime soon is really, really overstated.

Assuming workplaces get fully functional with suitable personal protective equipment, feel comfortable that we're not going to get significant additional cases. In the workplace, you organize social distancing in offices, you give people more flexibility on work from home, and everybody in contact regularly with people gets masks. You should be able to get to that point within 3 months in the world's developed economies. They're there functionally in China. That allows you to get the economy going again.

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Ben White, Chief Economic Correspondent for Politico, provides his perspective on the coronavirus-related news in US politics: What's the coronavirus update?

Well, we've gotten at least a little bit of good news that perhaps the rate of deaths in New York City is plateauing and may start to come down. God willing, we'll see if that comes to pass. Also, some indications that if we keep social distancing in place through the end of May, we could see fewer deaths than we worried about and fewer hospital beds need it. So, God willing, that happens.

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