HARD NUMBERS

99.6: Some 99.6% of people in Iceland who were watching TV on June 16 were tuned into Iceland’s first-ever World Cup match. Their team rewarded their attention with a stunning 1–1 draw vs. world football power Argentina. #HandOfCod


68: President Erdogan has expanded the number of religious schools across Turkey from 450 in 2003 to 4,500 today. His government increased the budget for religious education this year by 68 percent.

57: Need a more cost-effective approach to pension reform? Russia’s prime minister Dmitri Medvedev has proposed an increase in the retirement age for men to 65. Current World Bank data suggests that just 57 percent of Russian men will live to age 65, a percentage that hasn’t increased in 50 years.

16: El Salvador, a source of large numbers of would-be asylum seekers in the US, is the world’s most violent country that is not an active war zone. It’s typical for criminal gangs to demand bribes of local businesses. Salvadorans spend $756 million per year on extortion fees. The country’s central bank estimates that violence costs the country around 16 percent in GDP.

1:​ For the first time since 2012, the US was the world’s #1 recipient of new asylum applications, with 331,700 lodged in 2017, according to a new UN report. That’s a 27 percent increase from 2016 (262,000) and nearly double the number in 2015 (172,700).

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 Yet just five years later, the program was rescinded, putting close to 700,000 DACA recipients at risk of being banished from the only home they've ever known.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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