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Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump reacts during a campaign rally in Rome, Georgia, on March 9, 2024.

REUTERS/Alyssa Pointer

Hard Numbers: Trump seeks funds, Happiness drops, Inflation vs. interest rates, Bad air quality news, Measle cases rise

1 million: The campaign of former President Donald Trump called on one million supporters Wednesday to donate money as he struggles under the weight of his legal woes. Earlier this week, Trump – who remains a billionaire in terms of assets – failed to secure a bond for a $454 million judgment in a civil fraud case. If Trump can’t come up with the cash, his properties could be seized by New York’s attorney general.

15: Bummed out? The Great White North slid to 15th place in the annual World Happiness Report, down from No. 13 last year. But it was still well above the US, which dropped from No. 15 down to No. 23 in 2024. The dips in both countries were largely driven by unhappiness among people under 30.

2.8: Canadian inflation unexpectedly cooled in February, raising expectations that the Bank of Canada will cut interest rates in June. The consumer price index rose 2.8% last month compared to a year prior, surprising analysts who expected a 3.1% increase. Still, economists still expect the BoC to keep interest rates steady at its next meeting on April 10.

93: The US and Canada are dropping the ball on air quality. According to a report published Tuesday by Swiss air-quality monitor IQAir, only seven countries met the WHO’s guidelines for air quality in 2023 — Finland, Estonia, Australia, New Zealand, Grenada, Iceland, and Mauritius. Owing to last year’s record-setting wildfires, Canada was deemed the “most polluted country in Northern America” – ranking No. 93 worldwide, while the US stood at No. 102.

31: Measles is making a comeback in Canada and the US, thanks largely to unvaccinated travelers. Canada has seen at least 31 cases of the preventable disease so far this year and is also dealing with a shortage of vaccines. Meanwhile, the US has already tallied more cases in 2024 than the 58 instances recorded last year.

Smoke rises from the Texas Creek wildfire south of Lillooet, British Columbia.

BC Wildfire Service/Handout via REUTERS

Where there’s fire there’s smoke

Americans living along the Eastern Seaboard can be forgiven this summer for thinking Canada’s number one export to the United States is smoke. Once again this week, wildfires in eastern Canada have sharply reduced visibility in New York City and other cities in the US Northeast. But even residents of southern states like the Carolinas and Georgia are feeling the effects. Now, fires from Canada’s northwest are triggering air quality alerts from Portland, Oregon, to Plano, Texas. Some 44 million people in 28 states and Washington, DC, have been affected.

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