Almost half the US population has now received at least one COVID vaccination. That strong inoculation rate, coupled with the high number of infected people who have developed some sort of immunity, has caused US coronavirus contagion rates and deaths to plummet in recent weeks. New COVID cases have plummeted 85 percent since a peak in January, while deaths have dropped to a 10-month low. We track new COVID-related cases and deaths in the US over the past 14 months.

Lebanon's economic implosion and currency crisis have caused food prices to surge in recent months. Lebanon imports around 80 percent of the food it consumes, and so the sharp depreciation of the lira has made some staples five times more expensive than when the economic crisis first hit in October 2019. This year's Ramadan will be very painful for many Lebanese, as the cost of an Iftar meal — which Muslims break their fast with each day — has increased a whopping 300 percent in just two years. We take a look at how food prices have risen as a result of the plunging value of Lebanon's currency over the last 12 months.

Chinese officials were surely not pleased this week, when a report showed that China's population has dipped below the 1.4 billion mark that it reached in 2019. While some countries, like China, are desperate to avoid stagnant or shrinking populations in order to boost their economies, other nations, such as the Philippines, are investing in family planning to ensure its booming population won't outpace economic growth. We take a look at the population growth rate in the 20 most populous countries over the past seven decades, and how they are projected to grow over the next thirty years.

More than 930 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have already been administered globally, and another 1 billion more are expected to be manufactured by the end of May. Most of the manufacturing is concentrated in a small group of countries. While some — like China, for instance — are exporting roughly half of the shots they make, others — mainly the US — are keeping most of the supply for domestic use. Meanwhile, export controls have been a particularly thorny issue in the European Union and India, where governments have come under intense pressure to stop sending vaccines to other parts of the world amid sluggish rollouts at home. We take a look at what the world's top manufacturers are doing with the vaccines they are producing.

During a pandemic, the work of reporters around the world is particularly important to ensure transparency about the scope of outbreaks and the measures that governments are taking to contain them. But in many countries, press freedom has been declining since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Press freedom took a bit hit over the past year, as governments across the world doubled down on censoring media that criticized their handling of the pandemic, and locked up reporters for reporting the facts. Reporters Without Borders this week published its annual World Press Freedom Index, which takes a microscope to every country, ranking the ability of its media to report freely and independently. Here's a look at how countries' scores have changed over the past year.

In two weeks, US President Joe Biden will be hosting an online "climate summit" to mark Earth Day. He'll ask China and India to sign up to America's ambitious new plan to slow down climate change. Will they go for it? China is the world's largest polluter, but Beijing is rolling out solar and wind power as fast as it's burning coal. India, meanwhile, is loathe to pick up the slack for rich countries that polluted their way to wealth and now want everyone else to agree to emissions cuts. No matter what happens, any successful plan to reduce global emissions will require buy-in from these three nations which, along with the European Union, account for almost 60 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions nowadays. Here's a look at emissions by the world's top polluters compared to everyone else over the last two decades.

On top of the global debate about enacting a minimum global tax for multinational corporations, there's another growing movement in a host of countries for all firms to pay their fair share in taxes, whether they do business abroad or not. Many US corporations are notorious for getting away with paying little to no federal taxes by taking advantage of multiple loopholes in the tax code — which is true for a lot of them. However, as a whole the average percentage of income US corporations do pay taxes on — their effective tax rate — is in reality not much lower than the legal national rate due to additional taxes levied by some US states and cities — the same as in many other developed economies. We compare the official and the effective corporate tax rates in some nations around the world.

The United States has the world's highest death toll from COVID-19, which has caused immense pain and suffering. And still, more than a year later, new more contagious variants like B.1.1.7 continue to wreak havoc in some states. But the ramping up of the national vaccine rollout in recent months has begun to smother pockets of the country with immunity, with more than 3.1 million people on average receiving the jab each day over the past week. As the speedy vaccine drive continues, the national death rate is also plummeting. While cases remain high in many places, epidemiologists now say vaccines are efficient and safe enough to make the positive trends last. Here's a look at daily COVID deaths and vaccines administered in the US over the past year.