Hard Numbers

450,000: Venezuelan crude output has fallen 450,000 barrels per day, or 23 percent, over the past six months amid an exodus of employees at state-run oil giant PDVSA. Even as other major oil producing nations benefit from the 65 percent increase in oil prices since last June, Venezuela and its long-suffering population won’t experience the same lift.


30: China paid nearly $30 billion in licensing fees and royalties for foreign technology in 2017, up from just $8 billion a decade earlier. Excluding Ireland and the Netherlands, which account for an outsized portion of such payments due to the large number of multinationals headquartered within their borders for tax purposes, China ranks second globally behind the US and ahead of Japan, South Korea, and India.

25: With the resignation of Britain’s home secretary earlier this week, the government of Prime Minister Theresa May has lost six senior cabinet members since it was formed last June. That makes it the least stable government in the UK in 25 years. Mrs May is still a long way from Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto, who during his tenure lost, on average, one cabinet member every 35 days.

9.1: Nearly three-quarters of Liberians have cell phones, but only 9.1 percent of the African nation’s citizens have electricity. While the Harvard economist Ricardo Hausmann recently used this juxtaposition to illustrate how nimble private investment in telecoms has outpaced plodding public spending on Liberia’s power grid, my big takeaway is that people are astonishingly resilient — I say this as someone who can barely keep his phone charged.

3.1: China enticed the Dominican Republic to cut diplomatic ties with Taiwan and establish relations with Beijing by dangling a $3.1 billion package of investments and loans, a Taiwanese official told Reuters. That’s roughly 50 percent more than the total trade that the Dominican Republic says it conducted with China last year.


How will our cities and lives change in the future? What about a structure with a roller skating rink above a swimming pool, made out of transparent solar panels that power the entire park? This was the innovation invented by Eni's young researchers based on Luminescent Solar Concentrators, developed through Eni's research.

Watch the latest episode of Funny Applications, Eni's video series that imagines new uses for technology.

For 30 years, citizens of Hong Kong have gathered in Victoria Park on the evening of June 4 to honor the peaceful protesters massacred in Beijing's Tiananmen Square on that date in 1989. It has been the only public Tiananmen commemoration permitted on Chinese soil.

This year, the park was surrounded by barricades to keep people out. The officially stated reason for the shut-down? Crowds spread coronavirus. (In this city of more than 7 million, COVID has so far killed four people.)

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In an interview with GZERO World host Ian Bremmer, Hong Kong lawmaker Dennis Kwok, an outspoken pro-democracy advocate, expresses his concerns that the current "draconian" laws China's leadership is forcing upon his city has expedited the end of the "one country, two systems" policy established in 1997.

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Big news, of course, that former Secretary of Defense Mattis comes out with a public statement basically calling Trump's rule, his actions, unconstitutional and unfit for office, more divisive than any president he's ever seen.

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French protests over racial injustice: The George Floyd protests in the United States have sparked solidarity demonstrations around the world, with people flocking to US embassies in Berlin, London and elsewhere to express their outrage. But they have also inspired other countries to reexamine racial justice within their own societies. In France, where street demonstrations are practically a national pastime, thousands of people have gathered in support of the family of Adama Traoré, a 24-year old black man who died in police custody back in 2016. At least 20,000 Parisians demonstrated Wednesday, despite coronavirus bans on public gatherings. Protesters adopted similar language to the Floyd protests, demanding accountability for the officers who violently pinned down Traoré during a dispute over an identity check, leading to his death. Renewed focus on this case, which has become a potent symbol of police brutality in France, comes as coronavirus lockdowns have recently stoked tensions between the police and the mostly-minority residents of Paris' banlieues (low-income suburbs).

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