Hard Numbers

20,800: The United States is on track to resettle only 20,800 refugees in fiscal year 2018, according to calculations by The Economist. That’s a 61% annual reduction, and the lowest number since 1980, when the modern system of refugee admissions was established.


318: Chinese companies have bought or invested in European assets amounting to at least $318 billion over the past 10 years, according to Bloomberg. American firms invested 45 percent less over the same period.

39.2: Africa spent $39.2 billion on defense in 2016 — but given its 1.2 billion population, that’s the lowest per capita military expenditure of any region in the world. Still, the continent faces numerous security challenges including transnational terrorism, local militancy, and clashes over resources that are becoming scarcer because of climate change.

5: At least five of the seven men who carried the coffin at Kim Jong-Il’s funeral have been executed, banned, or banished since his son Kim Jong-un came to power in 2011.

2: The blackouts in Puerto Rico caused by last year’s Hurricane Maria are the second largest power-outage ever on record, knocking out nearly 4 trillion customer hours. According to a study by Rhodium Group, only Typhoon Haiyan in 2013 was worse, knocking out more than 6 trillion customer hours in the Philippines.

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 Yet just five years later, the program was rescinded, putting close to 700,000 DACA recipients at risk of being banished from the only home they've ever known.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