Hard Numbers

25: More than 25 percent of emerging and developing market economies are expected to grow at a slower pace in per capita terms than their rich-world counterparts over the next five years, leaving them only further behind in terms of living standards. #GrowingDivide


40: Nearly 40 percent of US factory jobs have disappeared since 1979. #HollowMiddleClass

10.6: Germany’s foreign-born population reached a record 10.6 million in 2017, an increase of 5.8 percent from 2016. Refugee arrivals have leveled off, but immigration from eastern EU countries is climbing at an above-average rate. #ChangingIdentities

40 vs 60: There are now more physical barriers at European borders than at any time during the Cold War, and it’s not just a European trend. According to a 2016 report in The Economist, since the fall of the Berlin Wall more than forty countries around the world have built fences against more than sixty of their neighbors. #Walls

47 and 77: In November 2016, the United Nations warned that while automation and innovations in machine learning threaten 47 percent of all existing jobs in the United States, the number is 65 percent in Nigeria, with a population of 140 million people, 69 percent in India, home to more than 1.3 billion, and 77 percent in China, a country of 1.4 billion. #HereComeTheRobots

The Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace launched in 2018 with the commitment of signatories to stand up to cyber threats like election interference, attacks on critical infrastructure, and supply chain vulnerabilities. Last week, on the first anniversary of the call, the number of signatories has nearly tripled to more than 1,000 and now includes 74 nations; more than 350 international, civil society and public sector organizations; and more than 600 private sector entities. These commitments to the Paris Call from around the world demonstrate a widespread, global, multi-stakeholder consensus about acceptable behavior in cyberspace.

Read More at Microsoft On The Issues.

What changes now that the U.S. softened its position on Israeli settlements?

Well, I mean, not a lot. I mean, keep in mind that this is also the administration that moved the embassy to Jerusalem, from Tel Aviv. Everyone said that was going to be a massive problem. Ultimately, not many people cared. Same thing with recognition of Golan Heights for Israel. This is just one more give from the Americans to the Israelis in the context of a region that doesn't care as much as they used to about Israel - Palestine.

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Bolivia's polarizing interim president: After Bolivian president Evo Morales and his deputies were pushed out of office for rigging last month's presidential election, little-known opposition Senator Jeanine Añez took office as interim leader. Añez has promised to guide the country toward a "national consensus" ahead of new elections in January, but she's already risked deepening political divides. On day one, she lugged a giant bible into office, in a perceived swipe at Morales, who had elevated popular indigenous traditions that the ultra-conservative Ms. Añez once called "satanic." She's also abruptly reoriented the country's foreign ties toward Latin America's conservative governments. On her watch, at least eight pro-Morales protesters have been killed by the authorities. Morales himself, exiled in Mexico, says he's the victim of a coup and wants to run in the elections. Añez says he's barred, but his MAS political party still controls both houses of congress and has to be a partner for any smooth transition. Some compromise is necessary, but things don't seem to be going that way.

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2,887: Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has now broken a century-old record to become the longest serving PM in Japan's history, at 2,887 days. It's a stunning feat for a premier who made a political comeback after quitting in 2007 due to a series of embarrassing scandals.

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