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Taylor Swift at a premiere of "Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour" in Los Angeles, California, in October 2023.

REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Hard Numbers: Not-so-Swift, Job cuts, Microsoft’s milestone, Meta goes to Indiana, Blocking bots

45 million: AI-generated pornographic images of Taylor Swift circulated around social media sites last week, spurring Swift’s team to contemplate legal action. On X, formerly Twitter, one such post had 45 million views before it was finally removed for violating the site’s rules.

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A man holds wheat grains during harvest in Qaha, El-Kalubia governorate, northeast of Cairo, Egypt.

REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

What We’re Watching: Grain deal deadline, tech layoffs, interest rate ripples

Will the Black Sea grain deal be renewed?

Amid growing concern that Russia may refuse to renew a deal to allow food and fertilizer shipments to travel through a safe passage in the Black Sea, UN Secretary-General António Guterres this week visited Kyiv, where he called for the renewal of the agreement, which is set to lapse on March 18. Quick recap: The grain deal, negotiated by Turkey, the UN, Russia, and Ukraine, was implemented in the summer of 2022 in a bid to free up 20 million tons of grain stuck at Ukrainian ports due to Russia’s blockade. You’ll likely remember that the two states are both huge exporters of wheat, while Russia is also the global fertilizer king. Indeed, the deal has helped alleviate a global food crisis that was hitting import-reliant Africa particularly hard, and driving up global food prices. Kyiv, for its part, says that if the deal is expanded to additional ports it could export at least some of the 30 million tons of grain that remain stuck. The Kremlin hasn’t said what its plans are but this week accused the West of “shamelessly burying" the Black Sea deal in what could be used as a pretext for its refusal to play ball.

For more on what Guterres has to say about the ongoing war in Ukraine and its human toll, check out his interview with Ian Bremmer on GZERO World.

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