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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.

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It's been four days since Iran's top nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, died in a hail of bullets on a highway near Tehran. Iran has plausibly blamed Israel for the killing, but more than that, not much is known credibly or in detail.

This is hardly the first time that an Iranian nuclear scientist has been assassinated in an operation that has a whiff of Mossad about it. But Fakhrizadeh's prominence — he is widely regarded as the father of the Iranian nuclear program — as well as the timing of the killing, just six weeks from the inauguration of a new American president, make it a particularly big deal. Not least because an operation this sensitive would almost certainly have required a US sign-off.

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Joe Biden has had one of the longest political careers in American history, but his most important act is yet to come. Can decades of experience in Washington prepare him to lead the most divided America since the end of the Civil War?

Watch the GZERO World episode: What you still may not know about Joe


Ethiopia on the brink: After ethnic tensions between Ethiopia's federal government and separatist forces in the northern Tigray region erupted into a full-blown armed conflict in recent weeks, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced his forces had taken control of Tigray's capital on Saturday and declared victory. But the fugitive Tigray leader Debretsion Gebremichael quickly called Abiy's bluff, saying the fighting is raging on, and demanded Abiy withdraw his forces. Gebremichael accused Abiy of launching "a genocidal campaign" that has displaced 1 million people, with thousands fleeing to neighboring Sudan, creating a humanitarian catastrophe. The Tigray, who make up about five percent of Ethiopia's population, are fighting for self-determination, but Abiy's government has repeatedly rejected invitations to discuss the issue, accusing the coalition led by Gebremichael's Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) of "instigating clashes along ethnic and religious lines." As the two sides dig in their heels, Ethiopia faces the risk of a civil war that could threaten the stability of the entire Horn of Africa.

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110: At least 110 people were killed in Nigeria's conflict-ridden Borno state on Saturday, when armed men attacked agricultural workers as they tended their fields. No one has yet claimed responsibility for the brutal attack, but analysts say the assault was likely the work of Boko Haram or Islamic State-linked groups that have gained a foothold in the Sahel region in recent years.

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Reasons for Hope: COVID and the Coming Year. Watch on Friday. Dec 4 2020 12 noon - 1 pm ET

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