HARD NUMBERS

94,587: Mexico deported 94,587 Central American migrants last year. That’s 20,000 more than the United States sent home in 2017, but less than 40 percent of the roughly quarter-million Central Americans who transited the country on their way to the US.


37,000: Around 37,000 Chinese soccer fans bought tickets to the World Cup this year, while up to 60,000 Chinese citizens have traveled to Russia to witness the 30-day spectacle, despite China not qualifying for tournament. No word on whether the roster includes China’s #1 fan — President Xi Jinping, who has made increasing China’s prowess in the beautiful game a national priority.

40: Iran’s currency, the rial, has lost around 40 percent of its value against the dollar since the US pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal in May. The plunging value of the domestic currency, which has ratcheted up the cost of living, was a major factor in protests that hit Tehran and other Iranian cities this week.

27: Just 27 percent of families in Venezuela had continuous access to public supplies of safe drinking water in April. Decrepit pipes, hijackers, and military diversions of water in the capital, Caracas, have contributed to shortages as Venezuela’s economic collapse continues.

6: Nigeria passed India to become home to the most people living in extreme poverty in early 2018, according to a recent Brookings analysis. Six Nigerians join the ranks of the world’s poorest every minute, while poverty in India continues to fall.

We're used to seeing electric, gas and wood-burning ovens, but can you imagine baking pizza in a solar-powered oven? That technology was invented in the latest episode of Funny Applications, where Eni's budding researchers imagine new uses for technology.

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It looks like China's leadership has finally had enough of Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement.

In a speech on Thursday to the national people's congress, a symbolic confab of the country's ruling elite, Premier Li Keqiang announced a new national security law that would outlaw secessionist activity and criminalize foreign influence in Hong Kong. The measure, an explicit response to recent pro-democracy protests there, would also permit mainland China's security agencies to operate openly in the city.

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Indonesia becomes an epicenter: Indonesia, the world's fourth most populous country, is now considered an epicenter of the pandemic, after it suffered its biggest daily surge in cases Thursday with over 900 new infections. The country of 260 million has the largest outbreak in Southeast Asia, recording about 20,000 cases and 1,300 deaths, though a recent study suggested that as few as 2 percent of the country's coronavirus infections may have been reported. When pressed on why Indonesia is experiencing a surge in cases while the curve appears to be flattening in neighboring countries, Indonesian health authorities blamed the public's flouting of social distancing guidelines. But critics say the government has sent wishy-washy messages on how to stop the disease's spread, as demonstrated by the fact that only four of Indonesia's 34 provinces have applied widespread social-distancing restrictions. Meanwhile, as the country's 225 million Muslims prepare to celebrate the end of Ramadan this weekend, popular markets have been overwhelmed by shoppers buying food and clothing, with little guidance or enforcement of large-scale social distancing measures. Indonesia's public health system is grossly underfunded, and experts warn that given the shortage of hospital beds, medical equipment and staff, the situation could deteriorate fast in the coming weeks.

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This is not the 2020 that Vladimir Putin had in mind.

As the year started, Russia's president was crafting plans for changes to the constitution that would permit him to stay in power for (at least) another 16 years. A rubber stamp public referendum was to be held in April. Then, in May, he was to welcome foreign leaders to Moscow for a grand celebration (parades, concerts, fireworks, and a reviewing stand atop Lenin's Mausoleum) marking the 75th anniversary of the Soviet Union's triumph over Nazi Germany in the Great Patriotic War.

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Have you ever read a major op-ed and thought to yourself, "no! no! no! That's just not right!" Us too. This week, Ian Bremmer is joined by analysts Kelsey Broderick and Jeffrey Wright to take the Red Pen to former World Bank president Robert B. Zoellick's Wall Street Journal op-ed.

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