Hard Numbers

833,000: Inflation in Venezuela accelerated to 833,000 percent last month, and the IMF projects that it could hit 1.3 million percent by the year’s end.


50: Vietnam wants 50 percent of all its social media users to be on homegrown messaging, video and news platforms by 2020. It’s part of a wide-ranging cybersecurity plan unveiled last week, meant to give the government more tools to monitor and control social media.

13: Chinese exports to the US rose more than 13 percent last month compared to same period in 2017, despite the ongoing trade dispute between the two countries. The increase is due in part to a fall in the value of China’s currency, the yuan, which increases the global competitiveness of its exports. But it’s also because many US firms have front-loaded new purchases of inputs from China, fearing additional tariffs from the Trump administration in the near future.

1/50: Sunday marks the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended World War I. Since 2000, fewer than 100,000 people have died in conflictsworldwide per year. That is about one-sixth the rate observed between 1950 and 2000, and one-fiftieth the rate between 1900 and 1950, the period that included both World Wars.

In 2012, the United States created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to protect these young people from being deported. Yet just five years later, the program was rescinded, putting close to 700,000 DACA recipients at risk of being banished from the only home they've ever known. More than five dozen of these DACA recipients at risk are Microsoft employees. These young people contribute to the company and serve its customers. They help create products, secure services, and manage finances. And like so many young people across our nation, they dream of making an honest living and a real difference in the communities in which they reside. Yet they now live in uncertainty.

Microsoft has told its Dreamers that it will stand up for them along with all the nation's DACA recipients. It will represent them in court and litigate on their behalf. That's why Microsoft joined Princeton University and Princeton student Maria De La Cruz Perales Sanchez to file one of the three cases challenging the DACA rescission that was heard on Nov. 12 by the United States Supreme Court.

Read more on Microsoft On The Issues.

What do people think is driving the stock market's recent record high gains?


Well, there's really no precise answer, but analysts point to several factors. So, number one is strong third quarter earnings. Companies have reported stronger than expected results so far this season. The second is the jobs market. You saw the October jobs numbers exceed economists' expectations. And the third is the Federal Reserve cutting interest rates three times this year. That lowers borrowing costs for consumers and businesses and encourages them to spend more.

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In the predawn hours of Tuesday morning, Israel launched a precision attack in the Gaza Strip, targeting and killing a Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) commander. In response, the terror group fired more than 220 rockets at southern Israel. Exchanges of fire have brought cities on both sides of the Gaza border to a standstill and at least 19 Palestinians are dead and dozens of Israelis wounded. With this latest escalation, Israel now faces national security crises on multiple fronts. Here's what's going on:

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Last week, French President Emmanuel Macron said that NATO was experiencing "brain death," citing a lack of coordination and America's fickleness under Donald Trump as reasons to doubt the alliance's commitment to mutual defense. NATO – the North Atlantic Treaty Organization – was formed in the wake of World War II as a counterweight against Soviet dominance in Europe and beyond. Its cornerstone is that an attack on one member is considered an attack on all. But disagreements over sharing the cost of maintaining military readiness have caused friction between the alliance's members in recent years. In 2014, the bloc agreed that each member state would increase their own defense spending to 2% of their respective GDP over the next decade. But so far, only seven of 29 members have forked out the money. Here's a look at who pays what.