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.

Early employment can set a young person on a trajectory for success, providing both a paycheck and a stepping-stone for improving academic performance.

Bank of America is committed to investing in youth employment, funding $160 million since 2018 to connect youth and young adults to jobs and mentoring.

The minutiae of supply chains makes for boring dinner table talk, but it's increasingly becoming a hot topic of conversation now that packages are taking much longer to arrive in the consumer-oriented US, while prices of goods soar.

With the issue unlikely to be resolved anytime soon, right-wing media have dubbed President Biden the Grinch Who Stole Christmas, conjuring images of sad Christmas trees surrounded by distraught children whose holiday gifts are stuck somewhere in the Pacific Ocean.

It hasn't been a good run for Uncle Joe in recent months. What issues are tripping him up?

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Three years ago, Facebook changed its algorithms to mitigate online rage and misinformation. But it only made Facebook worse by boosting toxic engagement, says Nick Thompson, The Atlantic CEO & former WIRED editor-in-chief. Thompson believes Facebook simply got in over its head, rather than becoming intentionally "evil" like, say, Big Tobacco with cigarettes. "I think they just created something they couldn't control. And I think they didn't grasp what was happening until too late." Watch his interview with Ian Bremmer on the latest episode of GZERO World.

From overall health and wellness to representation in the global workforce, women and girls have faced serious setbacks over the past 18+ months. They also hold the key to more robust and inclusive growth in the months and years ahead: McKinsey & Company estimates that centering recovery efforts on women could contribute $13 trillion to global GDP by 2030.

On October 28th at 12pm ET, as part of our "Measuring What Matters" series, GZERO Media and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will look beyond traditional indicators of economic recovery to examine COVID-19's impact on girls and women, specifically in the areas of health and employment.

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This year, American kids who've asked Santa for L.O.L. Surprise! dolls, Nerf blasters, or classic Legos may be disappointed. The delivery of these and other in-demand toys could be delayed due to pandemic-related supply chain disruptions that are still hitting US businesses and consumers hard. Container vessels loaded with precious cargo are waiting days to enter busy US ports, while within the country truck drivers are working flat out to meet soaring demand for goods of all kinds. Products are getting wildly expensive or arriving late. Here's a snapshot of the problem, showing longer delivery times, skyrocketing freight and shipping costs, and trucker employment.

Bolsonaro accused of crimes against humanity: A long-running Senate investigation in Brazil has found that by downplaying the severity of COVID, dithering on vaccines, and promoting quack cures, President Jair Bolsonaro directly caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. An earlier version of the report went so far as to recommend charges of homicide and genocide as well, but that was pulled back in the final copy to a mere charge of "crimes against humanity", according to the New York Times. The 1,200-page report alleges Bolsonaro's policies led directly to the deaths of at least half of the 600,000 Brazilians who have succumbed to the virus. It's a bombshell charge, but it's unlikely to land Bolsonaro in the dock — for that to happen he'd have to be formally accused by the justice minister, an ally whom he appointed, and the lower house of parliament, which his supporters control. Still, as the deeply unpopular Bolsonaro limps towards next year's presidential election, a rap of this kind isn't going to help.

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11,412: Irmgard Furchner, a 92-year-old former typist at a Nazi concentration camp in Germany, is facing trial for contributing to the murder of 11,412 people there. Furchner tried to escape German authorities in late September by sneaking out of her nursing home, but was arrested hours later and slapped with an electronic wrist tag.

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If you had to guess which current world leader has made the most trips to Africa, who would you say? China's Xi Jinping? Nope, hardly — he's been there just four times. France's Emmanuel Macron? Pas de tout.

The answer may surprise you: it's Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who's been to the continent more times than the leader(s) of any other non-African state. Just this week he notched his 28th visit, with stops in Angola, Nigeria, and Togo. Sure, being in power for two decades creates a lot of opportunities for exotic travel, but even Russia's Vladimir Putin isn't close: he's been to Africa just five times, all to visit South Africa or Egypt.

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