Hard Numbers

41,000: Caste-based crime in India has increased by 25 percent since 2010, reaching 41,000 incidents in 2016, the latest year for which data is available. One factor contributing to the rise in violence is a backlash against lower castes who are increasingly advocating for more rights.


440: For the low price of $440, a Japanese firm will quit your job for you. The startup, Exit, hands in job resignations for people too embarrassed to face their bosses in person. While Japan's labor markets might be getting a bit more flexible, its work culture remains strict and traditional.

98: US soy bean exports to China have fallen by an astounding 98 percent since the start of the year, as Beijing targeted the industry in retaliation to the Trump administration's tariffs on Chinese goods. It doesn't look like a resolution between the US and China is in sight, after the two sides traded barbs at the APEC summit over the weekend.

60: Since sweeping to power in March, support for Italy's two major populist parties has risen from 50 percent to 60 percent. Remarkably, the far-right League, which was once a Northern secessionist party, has seen its support grow to 20 percent in the South. Even though party chief Matteo Salvini was once caught on a video comparing southerners to dogs, he's successfully rebranded the party as a defender of all Italians against immigrants and the EU.

Brazil's governors take on Bolsonaro: We've previously written about the tensions between local and national governments over coronavirus response, but few places have had it as bad as Brazil. As COVID-19 infections surged in Brazil, the country's governors quickly mobilized – often with scarce resources – to enforce citywide lockdowns. Brazil's gangs have even risen to the occasion, enforcing strict curfews to limit the virus' spread in Rio de Janeiro. But Brazil's president, Jair Bolsonaro, has mocked the seriousness of the disease and urged states to loosen quarantines in order to get the economy up and running again. "Put the people to work," he said this week, "Preserve the elderly; preserve those who have health problems. But nothing more than that." In response, governors around the country – including some of his allies – issued a joint letter to the president, begging him to listen to health experts and help states contain the virus. The governor of Sao Paulo, Brazil's economic powerhouse, has even threatened to sue the federal government if Bolsonaro continues to undermine his efforts to combat the virus' spread.

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Governments of the developed world are finally responding with due sense of urgency, individually in 3 different ways.

1st, stand health care systems up so they won't get overwhelmed (late responses). The private & public sector together, building additional ICU beds, supply capacity and production of medical equipment and surge medical personnel in the US, Canada, across Europe & the UK. Unclear if we avoid a Northern Italy scenario. A couple days ago, Dr. Fauci from the NIH said he was hopeful. Epidemiologists and critical care doctors don't feel comfortable. Not in New York, Chicago, LA, Boston, Philadelphia, New Orleans. In Europe, particularly London, Madrid, Catalonia, Barcelona, might be significantly short.

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The major outbreaks of coronavirus in China, Europe, and the United States have garnered the most Western media attention in recent weeks. Yesterday, we went behind the headlines to see how Mexico and Russia are faring. Today, we'll look at three other potential hotspots where authorities and citizens are now contending with the worst global pandemic in a century.

Start with India. For weeks, coronavirus questions hovered above that other country with a billion-plus people, a famously chaotic democracy where the central government can't simply order a Chinese-scale public lockdown with confidence that it will be respected. It's a country where 90 percent of people work off the books— without a minimum wage, a pension, a strong national healthcare system, or a way to work from home.

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In the end, it took the coronavirus to break the year-long deadlock in Israeli politics. Prime Minister Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu will still face corruption charges, but he has yet another new lease on political life, as he and political rival Benny Gantz cut a deal yesterday: Bibi will continue as prime minister, with Gantz serving as Speaker of the Knesset, Israel's parliament. After 18 months, Gantz will take over as prime minister, but many doubt that will ever happen.

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