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Residential and office buildings are seen in Beijing, China, January 10, 2017.


Hard Numbers: Chinese house prices drop, Maryland governor pardons cannabis convicts, Nuclear spending soars, Putin visits Kim, Record migration through Mexico

3.9: China reported Monday that home prices across the country fell at a faster rate in May than at any time since last summer. They’ve dropped3.9% since last May, and they’ve now reached their lowest level since 2014. Housing prices are especially sensitive in China because property was once a primary engine of high growth, but the sector is now deeply in debt.

175,000: Maryland Gov. Wes Moore signed an executive order on Monday to pardonmore than 175,000 cannabis-related convictions. The use of marijuana remains a crime at the federal level, but 24 states have legalized it and another 14 allow marijuana use for medical purposes.

3,000: A nuclear watchdog reports that the world’s nine nuclear-armed states together spent $91.4 billion in 2023. That’s nearly$3,000 per second. The report says the United States spent $51.5 billion, which is “more than all the other nuclear-armed countries put together.” China spent $11.8 billion. Russia spent $8.3 billion.

24: Russia’s Vladimir Putin arrived in Pyongyang today for a two-day visit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. It’s Putin’sfirst trip to the DPRK in 24 years, and he and Kim are expected to reaffirm the friendship between their countries. Putin is likely to want ammunition (and maybe some soldiers) for his war in Ukraine. Kim would like to have Russian technologies that can boost his country’s missile program.

177: The Mexican government reported Sunday that some1.39 million people from 177 countries traveled through Mexico so far this year trying to reach the United States without entry papers. For reference, the United Nations has 193 member states.

Tourist stand in front of Peak Bolivar at the Sierra Nevada in the Andean state of Merida July 30, 2008.


Hard Numbers: Venezuela loses its glaciers, Renewables hit 30, MTG flames out, Thailand smokes cannabis industry, Kenya bulldozes flood-prone homes

6: It may surprise you that Venezuela, located just north of the equator, has glaciers. Well, it had glaciers. The country has just become the first in modern history to lose all of its Andean mountain glaciers, which once numbered six in total. Global warming has caused the last of them, the Humboldt Glacier, to shrink so much that it is now a mere “ice field.”

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Thailand, Bangkok, 2024/01/17. A tuktuk drives past a cannabis dispensary in the Nana district.

Valeria Mongelli / Hans Lucas via Reuters Connect

Pot politics: Thai government aims to overturn cannabis legalization

Passing the ganja in Thailand may soon be illegal – again. On Tuesday, Health Minister Cholnan Srikaew said the government plans to seek Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin’s approval next week for a draft bill to ban the use of recreational cannabis.

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Israelis protest in front of the Ministry of defense to free hostages taken by Hamas terrorist on October 7th 2023.

Raphael Gotheil / Hans Lucas via Reuters

Hard Numbers: Gaza hostage talks continue, Brazilians bake, Thais toke, Record-scratch in Madagascar election

50: Negotiations to release some of the Hamas-held hostages in Gaza continued Wednesday, as Qatari mediators reportedly sought the release of 50 civilians in exchange for Israel agreeing to a three-day cease-fire. Hamas kidnapped more than 230 people during its Oct. 7 rampage. For more on the challenges facing hostage negotiations, here are comments from somebody who knows a thing or two about the subject.

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People hold signs and mock-up joints while celebrating World Cannabis Day in Bangkok.

Peerapon Boonyakiat / SOPA Image via Reuters Connect

Getting (legally) stoned in the Land of Smiles is … tricky

Thailand, famous for having some of the toughest anti-drug laws in the world, recently became the first Asian country to decriminalize cannabis. Still, a tangle of laws — and messy domestic politics — make it unclear whether recreational use and possession will be prosecuted now, or in the future. Huh? We asked Eurasia Group analyst Peter Mumford to make sense of it all.

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Gabriella Turrisi

The Graphic Truth: Global reefer madness

This week, Malta became the first European country to legalize cannabis for recreational use, joining the ranks of pot-friendly countries like Canada, Mexico, and South Africa. But even as more places move to decriminalize or legalize weed, rolling a blunt in most of the rest of the world could still land you in hot water. We take a look at where it’s okay to grab some ganja, while Ian Bremmer breaks it down for us on GZERO World.

Thailand cautiously reopens door to weed

June 06, 2019 5:00 AM

NAKHON RATCHASIMA (Thailand)• • "Would you like to try it?" the young man says when he notices me peering at the cannabis joint held between his fingers. "It's good for your health." Behind him, a dark green banner declares: "Meet People with Experience in Kancha".

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