HARD NUMBERS

50 million: China wants to be a football superpower by mid-century. To that end, President Xi Jinping is pushing ahead with a 50-point plan that envisions 20,000 training centers, 60,000 new fields, and 50 million players in the country by 2020. China, with 1 billion people, has qualified for the event just once (in 2002). Uruguay, with a population of 3.4 million, has qualified 13 times since 1950 and won the tournament (once) during the same period.


42,000: The Philippines’ blunt-spoken president, Rodrigo Duterte, has announced he wants to give 42,000 guns to community leaders for use in killing drug traffickers. Human rights watchdogs say Duterte’s scorched earth “drug war” has already led to thousands of extrajudicial killings of dealers, addicts, and traffickers. Pouring 42,000 weapons into that situation — what could possibly go wrong?

79: South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in, who was elected in part on a promise to improve relations with North Korea, has seen his approval skyrocket to 79 percent, according to Gallup Korea. That’s the highest rating that any democratically-elected leader of Korea has ever had at this point in their presidency.

70: In Yemen, Saudi-backed forces have been waging an assault on the port city of Al Hudaydah over the past week, which is controlled by Houthi rebels who ousted the government in 2014. Any interruption of sea access to Al Hudaydah could worsen what is already the world’s worst humanitarian catastrophe, as 70 percent of the humanitarian aid that reaches Yemen travels through the port.

66: fresh poll on the Trump administration’s policy of separating thousands of asylum seekers and illegal immigrants from their children — and we note that Messrs MillerKelly, and Sessions all say it’s a policy even if Homeland Security Sec’y Nielsen’s says it is not — shows that 66 percent of Americans oppose the practice. But a slim majority of Republicans (55 percent) supports it, muting GOP criticism of the White House as Trump heads to Capitol Hill to discuss immigration reform with Republicans later today.

Technology has played a big role in accelerating globalization. While it's our business to advance technology, we also believe that technology should respect and even help protect the world's timeless values. That conviction has led us to announce a new and fourth pillar to Microsoft's AI for Good portfolio – our $125 million, five-year commitment to use artificial intelligence to tackle some of society's biggest challenges. This new pillar will focus on AI for Cultural Heritage. Read more at Microsoft On The Issues.

China is poised to roll out a nationwide social credit scoring system by next year. What grade would you get?

"The Iranian people want to be South Korea, not North Korea" - Karim Sadjadpour sits down with Ian Bremmer.

This Saturday, July 20, will mark the 50-year anniversary of the day a human being first stepped onto another world. A moment born out of Cold War political pressures, it's easy to forget a half century later how much bitter controversy the project provoked at home and the intensity of the worldwide fanfare that followed its success.

The moon mission's primary purpose was to defeat the Soviet Union. By the time John Kennedy became president in 1961, the Soviet Union had advanced far ahead of the United States in the race for achievement in space. In October 1957, the Soviets launched Sputnik, the world's first satellite. A month later, a dog named Laika became the first living creature to travel beyond Earth's atmosphere. In April 1961, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin orbited the Earth, the first human to do so.

In early May, Alan Shepard became the first American in space, spurring Kennedy to announce a far more ambitious plan. On May 25, Kennedy famously pledged that by the end of the decade Americans would go to the moon and return safely to the Earth.

Kennedy was assassinated in November 1963, but new President Lyndon Johnson quickly signaled his intention to see the promise kept. The Soviets held their space lead through 1965, by landing an unmanned craft on the Moon.

The moon mission stoked controversy in the United States. A review of polls reveals that only in 1969 did a majority of Americans support the project. Many people argued that the billions spent on a moonshot should go toward the war in Vietnam or to fight poverty in America's inner cities. "No hot water, no toilets, no lights. But Whitey's on the moon," sang musician and activist Gil Scott Heron. It didn't help when a fire during the Apollo 1 mission killed three astronauts and destroyed their space module.

But when Neil Armstrong became the first person to step onto the moon on July 20, 1969, the event took on a life of its own. It was a decade framed by two images of respected TV anchorman Walter Cronkite—shaken to the core on air by the 1963 murder of President Kennedy and then speechless with awe as Americans bounded across the surface of the moon.

A decade that included confrontation with the Soviets in Cuba, the assassinations of John Kennedy, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, and Robert Kennedy, a failing war in Vietnam, race riots in American cities, and violent chaos at the 1968 Democratic Party convention ended with an accomplishment a quarter million miles away, that was watched live by 94 percent of Americans who owned a TV.

Americans weren't the only ones watching. About 650 million people around the world watched the moon landing live on TV, making the event the first truly global televised event. Nine weeks later, astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins began a world tour.

Concerns that planting an American flag on the moon's surface would seem an act of obnoxious nationalism faded as the three men were greeted by overflow crowds in 27 cities in 24 countries over 39 days. An estimated one million people greeted them in Dhaka (then Pakistan) and some 1.5 million turned out in Mumbai (then Bombay).

Fifty years later, moon missions are still a mark of national prestige. Russia, China, India, the EU, Japan, and Israel have all sent probes to orbit the Moon or landed vehicles on its surface. But none of them matches that first "giant leap for mankind."

Next up: Mars? For thoughts on the next space race, click here.

Bonus fact: An iPhone has more than 100,000 times the processing power of the computer that landed Apollo 11 on the moon.