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Protesters march while carrying placards and chanting slogans in the "Feminists March Against Femicide" in Kenya.

James Wakibia/SOPA Images/Sipa USA

Hard Numbers: Kenyans march against femicide, Corruption costs Ukrainian defense, Germans protest far right, Evergrande tries to avoid liquidation (again), Say more than ‘Oui’ to Paris!

14: So far this year, 14 women have been murdered as a result of gender-based violence in Kenya, and thousands took to the streets in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, on Saturday in response. Nearly a third of Kenyan women face physical violence at some point in their lives, while 13% are victims of sexual violence, according to a 2023 government report.

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Aerial photo shows a residential area of Evergrande in Nanjing, East China's Jiangsu Province.


Evergrande’s last stand delayed

Embattled Chinese property developer Evergrande Group was meant to be in a Hong Kong court today, facing the once-unthinkable prospect of liquidation. The real estate colossus, which owns 1,300 projects in over 280 cities across China, has seen its shares plummet by 99% after the company defaulted on its $300 billion debt in 2021.

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Hui Ka Yan, chairman of Evergrande Real Estate Group Ltd, at a news conference in 2016.

REUTERS/Bobby Yip/File photo

From Evergrande to Nevergrande?

Troubles are growing for Chinese property development giant Evergrande. Last Thursday, trading of the company’s shares and those of two subsidiaries was suspended, and authorities accused Evergrande Chairman Hui Ka Yan of “illegal crimes.” Evergrande’s stock price has now plunged by 99% from its peak amid concerns that the company will not be able to restructure and repay its $300 billion debt after filing for bankruptcy protection in August.

Observers believe Hui’s lavish lifestyle – he flaunted a yacht, jets, and an estimated $42.5 billion fortune – displeased President Xi Jinping as Evergrande’s financial woes damaged China’s economy and created potential for social unrest.

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Refugees from Nagorno-Karabakh region ride in a truck upon their arrival at the border village of Kornidzor, Armenia, September 27, 2023.

REUTERS/Irakli Gedenidze

Hard Numbers: Armenians flee Nagorno-Karabakh, GOP debate falls flat, Evergrande stock drops, tragedy strikes Iraqi wedding, Commander strikes again

50,000: A torrent of at least 50,000 ethnic Armenians have fled Nagorno-Karabakh after Azerbaijani forces occupied the hotly contested enclave last week. The refugees constitute approximately one-third of the pre-war Armenian population. Among those fleeing was Russian-Armenian billionaire Ruben Vardanyan, who Azerbaijan’s border guard service said Wednesday it had arrested.

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View of a signboard of Evergrande Group in Ji'nan city, east China's Shandong province.


From developers to defense leaders, China’s disappearing elite

Why do Chinese officials keep vanishing? On Saturday, several executives of the beleaguered property developer Evergrande Group were arrested in the southern city of Shenzhen, where the conglomerate is headquartered. It is unclear how many persons were detained, or their names or titles, though a statement by local police referenced one individual named “Du.” There is speculation that this individual is Du Liang, who in 2021 was listed as head of Evergrande’s wealth management unit.

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NewSouth Bookstore in Montgomery, Ala., displays books that have been banned by some schools, including "Charlotte's Web" and "Captain Underpants."

USA TODAY NETWORK via Reuters Connect

Hard Numbers: Books attacked, Trump trial looms, migrant children drown off Greece, Evergrande crisis deepens, redheads celebrate

21: With the US culture wars raging, requests to remove specific books from library shelves surged last year to the highest level in 21 years, according to the American Library Association. There were more than 1,000 such requests, with books about LGBTQ themes the most targeted.
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What We're Watching: Indian farmers stop protesting, Evergrande on brink of default, Saudi camels get touch-ups

Indian farmers pack up their tents — for now. For over a year, tens of thousands of Indian farmers have been protesting three agriculture laws that they say would give more power to big agribusiness and reduce farmers’ incomes. (The government says they rather aim to streamline an outdated and inefficient sector.) Now, farmers’ unions say they will call off the protests — and shut down the makeshift protest camp they built on the outskirts of Delhi — after PM Narendra Modi agreed to their demands. The farmers want the government to set a minimum price for most farm produce, and withdraw criminal charges for farmers arrested during protests. Modi backing down is a big deal because agriculture is the primary source of income for nearly 60 percent of Indians, and dozens of farmers have been killed in confrontations with police over the past year. Protest leaders will meet with government officials on January 15 to assess the plan’s progress. But if the government doesn’t follow through on its promises, the farmers say they’ll go back to the picket line.

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Why is Xi Jinping willing to slow down China’s economy?

China's GDP grew a lower-than-expected 4.9 percent year-on-year in the third quarter of 2021, a whopping three percentage points less than in the previous period. It's a big deal for the world's second-largest economy, the only major one that expanded throughout the pandemic — and now at risk of missing its growth target of 6 percent for the entire year.

Normally, such a drastic slowdown would have put the ruling Communist Party in a tizzy. But this time, Xi Jinping knows this is the price he must pay for his big plans to curb rising inequality and boost the middle class at the expense of the CCP's traditional economic mantra: high growth above all else.

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