Hard Numbers

70: Next week Raul Castro will step down as president of Cuba. Some 70 percent of the Cuban population has never known a Cuba led by anyone other than a Castro. Without the dynastic and revolutionary mystique of the Castro family, can the incoming president, Miguel Diaz-Canel, establish his authority and meet the expectations of Cuba’s people?

63: When the Syrian regime used chemical weapons against the village of Khan Sheikhoun last April, President Trump responded with a volley of cruise missiles as punishment just 63 hours later. At the moment, the clock is ticking on his response to the alleged chemical attack on the village of Douma over the weekend. Trump said on Monday he’d decide in 24 to 48 hours.

38: Latin America suffered 38 percent of the world’s criminal homicides last year, despite accounting for just 8 percent of the world’s population. Rapid urbanization, corruption, drug trafficking, and a huge influx of US guns all contribute.

25: Some 25 percent of soybeans in Iowa, always a critical swing state in presidential elections, end up in China, meaning that Iowa’s farmers are being kept afloat in part by China’s growing middle class. If a trade war hits those exports, Trump’s road to re-election in 2020 could get a lot rougher.

15: Freshly re-elected Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s secret pleasure is spaghetti westerns, according to a new biography. He claims to have seen Once Upon A Time in the West — which concludes with Charles Bronson gunning down villain Henry Fonda and cramming a harmonica into his mouth — fifteen times. With the EU set to respond to Hungary’s political deterioration, Orban’s got a harmonica or two in store for Brussels.

Microsoft has a long-standing commitment to child online protection. First and foremost, as a technology company, it has a responsibility to create software, devices and services that have safety features built in from the outset. Last week, in furtherance of those commitments, Microsoft shared a grooming detection technique, code name "Project Artemis," by which online predators attempting to lure children for sexual purposes can be detected, addressed and reported. Developed in collaboration with The Meet Group, Roblox, Kik and Thorn, this technique builds off Microsoft patented technology and will be made freely available to qualified online service companies that offer a chat function.

Read more at Microsoft On The Issues.

Vladimir Putin has ruled Russia for twenty years, but he has a problem: his current presidential term ends in 2024, and the constitution prevents him from running for re-election then.

As a result, the question of what he'll do in 2024 has been on the minds of Russia's oligarchs, spooks, bureaucrats, and a lot of ordinary folks, as well. After all, over the past two decades, Putin has made himself, for better and for worse, the indispensable arbiter, boss, and glue of Russia's sprawling and corrupted system of government. As the current speaker of Russia's legislature once said, "Without Putin, there is no Russia." Not as we currently know it, no.


Since Martin Luther King Jr delivered his iconic "I have a dream" speech in August 1963, the number of Black Americans elected to the United States Congress has dramatically increased. Still, it wasn't until last year, more than half a century later, that the share of Black members serving in the House of Representatives reflected the percentage of Black Americans in the broader population —12 percent. To date, only six states have sent a Black representative to serve in the US Senate, and many states have never elected a Black representative to either house of Congress. Here's a look at Black representation in every US Congress since 1963.

It's been nine years since Libya's long-time despot Muammar Qaddafi was killed in a violent uprising, bringing the oil-rich country to the brink of civil war. That conflict entered a new stage last year when violence between warring factions competing for territory intensified around Tripoli, Libya's capital, leading to the displacement of some 300,000 civilians. In recent weeks, fighting has intensified again, and ceasefire talks have failed. Here's a look at who's who and how we got here.


Nicholas Thompson, editor-in-chief of WIRED, discusses combating cyberbullying, CCPA and tech "fashion":

What is a "troll score" and is it a realistic way to combat online bullying?

Something that Kayvon Beykpour, head of product at Twitter and I talked about, and the thought was: Twitter doesn't give you a lot of disincentives to be a jerk online. But what if there were a way to measure how much of a jerk someone is and put it right in their profile? Wouldn't that help? I think it's a pretty good idea. Though, you can see the arguments against it.