Migrants leave their countries of origin not only to find work opportunities — the hard-earned money they send back helps keep the lights on back home. After a COVID-related blip in 2020 – which saw a small decline but defied disastrous predictions – global remittances sent by migrants to relatives in their countries of origin are again on the upswing. That’s a big deal for the migrants’ families and for governments of nations who rely on that revenue to keep the economy from collapsing. We take a look at the countries that send and receive the most migrant cash, those that most depend on remittances, and how inflows have performed recently.

Ari Winkleman

EU natural gas prices have gone through the roof since Russia invaded Ukraine and cut off gas flows. This has sent European electric bills soaring — to the point that Brussels is ready to intervene in energy markets to protect consumers.

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Ari Winkleman & Luisa Vieira

For arms manufacturers, war is great for business. Even before Russia invaded Ukraine six months ago, global military spending was already on an upswing, to the tune of $2 trillion last year. Now, the US and its allies are splashing around a lot of dough to send the Ukrainians weapons to defend themselves against the Russians — to the delight of anyone who owns shares of the companies that make those arms. We take a look at how the stock prices of the world's top listed defense companies have performed in 2022 so far.

Ari Winkleman

The Taliban (officially) banned opium cultivation last April, as they did before 9/11 and the subsequent US invasion that ousted them from power in Afghanistan. But in the 20 years that followed the group became the Pablo Escobars of the global poppy trade by taxing opium farmers. Now the Taliban say growing poppies is again verboten, but this year's harvest is mostly in the bag, and enforcing the ban won't be easy. We look at opium cultivation in Afghanistan since 1996, when the Taliban first ruled the country.

Annie Gugliotta & Ari Winkleman

In the first half of 2022, we’ve already seen a number of pivotal national elections. France’s centrist President Emmanuel Macron held off a challenge from the far right; Hungary’s far-right PM Viktor Orbán held off a challenge from the center; Colombia elected its first leftist head of state; and South Korean conservative Yoon Suk-yeo prevailed in a presidential race that bordered on reality TV mayhem.

But there’s more to come. In the next six months, 19 different countries plan to hold national legislative or executive elections. Some standouts include Brazil’s presidential throwdown in October, pitting embattled right-wing incumbent Jair Bolsonaro against his poll-leading nemesis, the leftwing former President Lula da Silva. Around that time, Israel will also head to its — checks notes — fifth election in less than four years, while in November US President Joe Biden will lead his Democrats into midterm elections in which his party could very well lose control of Congress.

Here’s a look at all the planned national-level elections left in 2022.

Ari Winkleman

The global tourism industry got pummeled during the pandemic. Economies reliant on international visitors for a large chunk of their GDP were hit particularly hard. But after more than two years of restrictions, scenes at airports around the world today suggest that the travel bug is back. Still, looking at data from the US — a top destination for global travelers — it’s clear that the revival will be slow going. We take a look at international arrivals to the US from 2000 to March 2022.

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Ari Winkleman

Prices at the pump are soaring. Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, much of the world has been affected by the economic impact of sanctions, higher inflation, constrained supply, and overall uncertainty. In the G20 economies, consumers tend to complain most about the price of unleaded gas, which is affecting their ability to get around town and go on holiday. We look at how far north the G20’s gas prices have driven.

LGBTQ Pride Month is currently being celebrated throughout the United States. Since the Stonewall riots in New York City in 1969, progress towards equal protections for LGBTQ people has been hard-won throughout the country, culminating in the legalization of same-sex marriage in 2015. Significant progress for LGBTQ communities seeking equal protection under the law has been made in much of Western Europe and the Americas but still lags in most of Africa and Asia, where same-sex sexual acts are deemed illegal in many states. Here's a look at the legal environment for LGBTQ people around the globe.


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