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A meeting has been called at the Place de la Sorbonne by the collective Abortion in Europe, Women Decide.

Hard Numbers: France enshrines abortion rights, US inflation cools, Venezuela’s many elections, Trump barred from Illinois ballot, House votes to avert shutdown, Dozens killed while seeking aid in Gaza

⅔: France is expected to enshrine the right to an abortion in their constitution next week if the bill achieves a majority vote in a joint session of parliament. President Emmanuel Macron proposed the measure in response to the rollback of abortion rights in the US, and it overwhelmingly passed in both houses of the French Parliament.

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Specialists tend to the body of a victim outside a damaged shopping center hit by a missile strike in Belgorod, Russia, on Feb. 15, 2024.


Hard Numbers: Missiles hit Russian border city, ex-FBI informant in Biden bribe case faces charges, Gaza needs new ‘Marshall Plan,’ UK slips into recession, Bangkok’s air becomes unbreathable

7: At least seven people, including a one-year-old girl, were reportedly killed on Thursday by an apparent Ukrainian missile strike in Belgorod, the closest major Russian city to Ukraine. This is not the first time Belgorod has been targeted amid the Russia-Ukraine war – dozens were killed in a strike there last December, as Ukraine seeks to show that it can still strike Russia, even as Moscow’s forces slowly push forward the front lines in the Donbas. Meanwhile, the US warned that the eastern Ukrainian town of Avdiivka, which has seen some of the worst fighting recently, is at risk of falling into Russian control.

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A man administers the cholera vaccine to a child at a temporary cholera treatment center set up to deal with the latest deadly cholera outbreak in Lusaka, Zambia.

REUTERS/Namukolo Siyumbwa

HARD NUMBERS: New cholera epidemic emerges, House impeaches Mayorkas, US inflation disappoints, Global military spending soars, Oil spill “blackens” Caribbean coastline

4,000: The worst outbreak of cholera in a decade has already claimed at least 4,000 lives in half a dozen countries of central and southern Africa. Experts say the resurgence of the waterborne illness is due to wetter weather, vaccine shortages, and underinvestment in water and sewage infrastructure.

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Facebook logo is seen through broken glass in this illustration taken, January 25, 2023.

REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

Hard Numbers: Facebook turns 20, DeSantis’ vote cost, Eurozone inflation falls, Dark money Down Under, Paris’ Grape Escape

20: On Sunday, Facebook turns 20 years old. Take a moment to look back at the social network’s early days – when it was a platform for dorky teens playfully “poking” each other. That was before the Obama 2008 campaign demonstrated its political utility, before young Egyptians showed dictators its threat to their power in 2011, and long before the site became a dumpster fire of Boomer conspiracy theories. And as for the teens? On Wednesday, CEO Mark Zuckerberg apologized to families who had been victimized on his platforms during a Congressional hearing on online child safety.

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Jess Frampton

Mark Carney sees more problems than solutions emerge from Davos

Davos is a good place to recognize problems but not such a good place to solve them, according to Lord Mark Malloch Brown, a British politician and diplomat who was in the Swiss Alps this month. “A new generation of modest, listening and empathetic leaders is needed – the antithesis of Davos Man,” he tweeted.

The World Economic Forum has steered so far to the north of public opinion that it is now being used as a punchline – the New York Times noted that “the Davos Consensus” is now a counter-indicator of what is likely to happen. “Trump is already the president at Davos — which is a good thing because the Davos consensus is usually wrong,” said Alex Soros, son of George and chair of the Open Society Foundation, on a panel at this year’s forum.

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FILE PHOTO: Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem takes part in a news conference after announcing an interest rate decision in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada April 12, 2023.

REUTERS/Blair Gable/File Photo

No rate cut just yet

The Bank of Canada held interest rates steady at 5% for the fourth time in a row on Wednesday, signaling that cuts may be coming, as analysts expect, in the spring. The bank is now focused on “how long it needs to stay at the current level,” Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem said.

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Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets dental students during his visit to the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry in London, Ontario, Canada, December 1, 2022.

REUTERS/Cole Burston

Hard Numbers: “Missing teeth,” US-Canada inflation jinx, Kyiv calls out fatal footdragging, New border plan hits critical barrier, Toronto taxes rattle renters

4.4: What’s more unpleasant than a trip to the dentist? Not being able to afford to go to the dentist at all. A new report, amazingly titled “Missing Teeth,” says Canada’s new national dental insurance plan leaves out some 4.4 million Canadians — more than a tenth of the population — because the income ceiling for eligibility is set too low. In the US, meanwhile, nearly 70 million adults have no dental insurance, according to data from 2023.

3.4: Jinx! Canada’s December inflation reading is out, and it’s exactly the same as the US number from last week: 3.4%. That, like in the US, was above expectations, marking an increase from 3.1% in November. The readout undercuts hope that the Canadian central bank might start to cut rates again early this year.

53: Has Canada’s foot-dragging cost Ukrainian lives? A top Ukrainian security official suggested Tuesday that Canada’s 53-week-long delay in fulfilling its promise to purchase a major air defense system from the US for Kyiv had led to needless deaths, including — perhaps — that of his own nephew, who was killed near the front lines earlier this month.

2: A new two-year pilot plan to create preclearance posts along the US-Canada border — in which Canadian guards would work in US posts, and vice-versa — has run into pushback. NDP public safety critic Peter Julian says the plan, billed as a way to streamline flows of people and goods into Canada through a pre-clearance system, hasn’t been properly vetted by border guard unions or lawyers. He is threatening to uncork a formal parliamentary review.

10.5: Toronto’s government has proposed a new budget with an “extraordinary” 10.5% property tax increase. Officials say it’s needed to plug a budget shortfall of nearly $2 billion, and they predict that given the low existing tax rates, most homeowners will see an increase of only $30 per month. But tenants rights groups are bracing for any higher costs to be passed through to renters — an unwelcome prospect at a time when Toronto is already suffering a housing shortage.

Photo taken on Sept 6, 2023 shows US dollar bills

Photo by Costfoto/NurPhoto via Reuters

Hard Numbers: US inflation exceeds expectations, Bombardier pivots to Pentagon, Brazil postpones new visa system, African immigrants lead employment ranks in Canada

3.4: US annual inflation was 3.4% through December, higher than analysts had expected, driven by costs for housing and energy. Core inflation – which removes more volatile fuel and food prices – rose at 3.9%, down from 4% in November, but still slightly higher than predicted. And with that, the mic now passes to Canada, which reports its own December price data next week. The last Canadian readout, from December, was also exceeded forecasts, coming in at 3.1%.

3: Jet manufacturer Bombardier has won a contract to supply the Pentagon with three business jets for conversion into a prototype spy plane. The win is doubly sweet coming just weeks after the Canadian government nixed the Montreal-based company from a similar deal that went to US rival Boeing.

90: Brazil has postponed by 90 days the launch of a new eVisa system for travelers from the US and Canada. The online platform aims to simplify the visa process, but Brasilia decided to push the start date from Jan. 10 to April 10 to avoid “interfering with the flow of tourists” during Brazil’s high season. Great, we’ll see you with your chunky old non-eVisas at Carnival in February then, eh?

67.7: A government study of the labor force among Canadian permanent residents from several regions of the world found that African immigrants had the highest employment rate with 67.7% actively working. Asia was close behind with 66.3%, followed by Latin America with 66%. North America and Europe were tied in last place with 56.6%. Africa has led the list every year since 2019, the first year included in the study.

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