HARD NUMBERS

10,000: The number of newly-enrolled foreign-born students in US universities decreased by nearly 10,000 in 2016, the latest year for which data is available, according to a new report from the Institute of International Education. That’s the first such decline in 12 years.


 

100: Israeli warplanes have carried out more than 100 airstrikes in Gaza in recent days, after violence erupted following the deaths of 10 Palestinian fighters and an Israeli commando in a botched special forces operation. The flare up in violence – which also saw 400 rockets and mortars fired from Gaza into Israel – is the worst in between the two sides since 2014.

 

30: Russia may be the biggest beneficiary of newly-imposed US sanctions on Iranian oil exports. Last month, Russia pumped an average of 11.4 million barrels of the black stuff per day – a 30-year record – amid higher global oil prices and a push in many countries to replace Iranian barrels.

 

7: The military is among the most trusted institutions in Mexico according to a recent poll, with citizens rating their confidence in the country’s fighting forces a 7 out of 10. Only the church and universities ranked higher. Mexico’s political parties ranked last, at 5.1 out of 10 – below even the country’s notoriously corrupt police, which came in at 5.5.

 

3: The preparations of the government of Papua New Guinea for this weekend’s APEC leaders’ summit included hiring three cruise ships to house foreign dignitaries and media, due to a lack of hotel rooms in the country’s capital, Port Moresby.

Last week, in Fulton, WI, together with election officials from the state of Wisconsin and the election technology company VotingWorks, Microsoft piloted ElectionGuard in an actual election for the first time.

As voters in Fulton cast ballots in a primary election for Wisconsin Supreme Court candidates, the official count was tallied using paper ballots as usual. However, ElectionGuard also provided an encrypted digital tally of the vote that enabled voters to confirm their votes have been counted and not altered. The pilot is one step in a deliberate and careful process to get ElectionGuard right before it's used more broadly across the country.

Read more about the process at Microsoft On The Issues.

The risk of a major technology blow-up between the US and Europe is growing. A few weeks ago, we wrote about how the European Union wanted to boost its "technological sovereignty" by tightening its oversight of Big Tech and promoting its own alternatives to big US and Chinese firms in areas like cloud computing and artificial intelligence.

Last week, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and her top digital officials unveiled their first concrete proposals for regulating AI, and pledged to invest billions of euros to turn Europe into a data superpower.

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Communal violence in Delhi: Over the past few days, India's capital city has seen its deadliest communal violence in decades. This week's surge in mob violence began as a standoff between protesters against a new citizenship law that critics say discriminates against India's Muslims and the law's Hindu nationalist defenders. Clashes between Hindu and Muslim mobs in majority-Muslim neighborhoods in northeast Delhi have killed at least 11 people, both Muslim and Hindu, since Sunday. We're watching to see how Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government responds – Delhi's police force reports to federal, rather than local, officials.

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Ian Bremmer's perspective on what's happening in geopolitics:

What are the takeaways from President Trump's visit to India?

No trade deal, in part because Modi is less popular and he's less willing to focus on economic liberalization. It's about nationalism right now. Hard to get that done. But the India US defense relationship continues to get more robust. In part, those are concerns about China and Russia.

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27,000: The Emir of Qatar has decreed a $27,000 fine and up to five years in prison for anyone who publishes, posts, or repost content that aims to "harm the national interest" or "stir up public opinion." No word on whether the Doha-based Al-Jazeera network, long a ferocious and incisive critic of other Arab governments, will be held to the same standard.

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