Hard Numbers

One: After last week’s diplomatic breakthrough on the Korean Peninsula, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping discussed the situation in the first phone call that the two leaders have ever held.


6,000: Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri promised to take selfies with 6,000 women if his party won Sunday’s legislative elections. Early results show that his party suffered big losses, but under Lebanon’s sectarian system, Hariri, who is a Sunni Muslim, is still the most likely person to be Prime Minister. Say jebne! (Cheese!)

11: A Mexican mayor is eleven times more likely than an ordinary citizen to be murdered, according to a specialist at the University of San Diego. Between 2010 and 2017, 42 of the country’s mayors were killed, 12 in the state Oaxaca alone. Violence is one of the key issues ahead of the country’s presidential election in July.

55: More than half of Afghanistan’s population — 55 percent — now livesbelow the poverty line, according to a national survey. That’s up more than twenty points since 2008, according to a study done by the Afghan statistics bureau. The increase is tied to deteriorating security conditions, particularly since the withdrawal of NATO troops between 2012–2014, as well as reductions in international aid.

75: Around 75 percent of Iranians say that the nuclear deal that Tehran signed in 2015, in which the country was promised greater access to global markets in return for ending its nuclear weapons programs, hasn’t actually improved their living conditions.

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 Yet just five years later, the program was rescinded, putting close to 700,000 DACA recipients at risk of being banished from the only home they've ever known.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