Hard Numbers

72: The average age of Arab heads of state is currently a hoary 72, while the average age of their people is just 25, according to The Economist. Six years after the Arab Spring, that generation gap continues to fuel the sense that the region’s leaders are hopelessly out of touch with their own people. At a spry 32 years old, can Saudi Arabia’s headstrong Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman change that in the region’s most hidebound kingdom?


68: Back in 1989, 68 percent of Americans considered the economic power of Japan to be the most serious “threat to the future of the United States,” according to a poll conducted by Business Week. One of those Americans was a brash young real estate tycoon from Queens. By contrast, only 22% said they feared Soviet military power. How times change. And don’t.

40: Over the past two years, 40 current or former elected city officials have been killed in Brazil, according to a report by the Globo network. Of those, two have been confirmed as political killings and another nine are under investigation. The remainder were deemed the result of personal or business disputes.

36: Over the past three years, Russian President Vladimir Putin has replaced 36 of the country’s 85 regional governors. Twenty of those are under 50 years old. Putin is trying to create a new, younger generation of political leaders — though one that is loyal chiefly to him, of course.

9: Just nine percent of North Korean defectors leave because of the country’s ruthless political repression, according to Korea expert (and former diplomat) Victor Cha’s book on the country. Their main reason for fleeing is actually the lousy economy.

Error: Deli scales and credit card machines in Venezuela don’t have enough digits to calculate the right price for goods like a kilo of ham (1,480,000 Bolivars per kilo), a set of bedsheets (33,541,963), or a pair of Adidas kicks (10,500,000), according to a report from Bloomberg. Economic mismanagement and currency controls have driven up the inflation rate to 13,000 percent, stoking a humanitarian meltdown alongside the oil-rich country’s ongoing political crisis.

In the southern Italian region of Basilicata, home to the Val d'Agri Oil Centre known as COVA, hydrocarbon processing has undergone a radical digital transformation. COVA boasts one of the world's first fully digitized hydrocarbon plants, but why? Two primary reasons: infrastructure and information. Val d'Agri has the largest onshore hydrocarbon deposit in mainland Europe. The site is expansive and highly advanced, and the plant features a sophisticated sensor system built to capture massive amounts of data. Maintenance checks, equipment monitoring, inspections and measurements are tracked in a fully integrated digital system designed to prevent corrosion and ensure cleaner, more sustainable natural gas processing.

Learn more at Eniday: Energy Is A Good Story

For a president gearing up for a fierce re-election fight next year, President Trump has a lot to worry about. Democrats are now taking more of the US political spotlight. The latest opinion polls don't look good for him. There are signs that the strong US economy, Trump's top selling point, may begin to wobble.

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Chinese Pigs – Beyond a trade war with the US and unrest in Hong Kong, now Chinese officials are wrestling with an even more basic political problem. Pork is the favorite meat for many of China's 1.4 billion people, and some analysts treat pork consumption as an important indicator of the financial well-being of China's middle class. A serious outbreak of African Swine Flu is expected to push pork prices 70 percent higher over the second half of this year, which will hit ordinary Chinese pockets hard. By some estimates, half of China pigs have been culled, but there are also reports that some farmers have avoided the expense of slaughtering infected pigs, raising fears that the disease will continue to spread. The central government takes this problem seriously enough to call on local officials to boost large-scale hog farming. So far, China's "Year of the Pig" is just not going well.

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Buy or sell: The iPhone

I'll make both arguments. First, buy. The new iPhone 11 didn't blow people's mind. But it's a pretty good phone. But what is most impressive is they lowered the prices on many of their phones and they offer a really good trade ins. So you can take your old iPhone, trade it in, get a discount on a new one. It's a pretty good deal. On the other hand, if the question is more: Is the iPhone still the unadulterated leader in innovation? Maybe not. The event was not quite as transformative as some of these events have been.

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1.2 million: Surging jihadist terrorism in Burkina Faso has pushed the country to the brink of humanitarian crisis, as attacks displace people from their homes and destroy critical infrastructure and hospitals. According to the International Committee of the Red Cross, 1.2 million Burkinabe are threatened with famine and malnutrition, and access to healthcare has dwindled. Experts say the violence is a spillover from the scourge of jihadism in neighboring Mali.

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