Ask Europe about its relationship with “Mother Russia” and you’ll likely hear: "can’t live with her, can’t live without her.” Natural gas has long been a crucial component of Europe’s energy mix, accounting for about one third of the European Union's energy needs prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Of that, around 40% came from Russia. Amid the push to embrace renewables over the past decade, many EU states have begun to diversify their energy portfolios. Still, in the year leading up to the war in Ukraine, most EU countries increased their natural gas consumption as a result of a colder-than-usual spring and pent up demand post-pandemic. We look at select EU countries’ natural gas consumption over the past decade.
Semiconductors bind the electrical circuits in the tech we use every day. In mid-2021, a global semiconductor shortage caused by COVID supply/demand issues and a drought in Taiwan made many devices hard to come by. But the self-ruled island in China's crosshairs is only part of the global chipmaking supply chain, which travels back and forth between Europe, Asia, and the US. We follow its steps for a smartphone.
Yes, it’s the World Cup. But only a small part of the world actually gets to have it: Since 1930, every edition of the tournament has been won by a team from Europe or South America. Indeed, no country from any other part of the world has even been a runner-up. The last non-European or non-South American team to make it to the semifinals was South Korea in 2002, when it was host along with Japan — unless you count Turkey as part of Asia, which FIFA does not. We explore the World Cup’s winners and runners-up throughout history, showing how two regions dominate the Beautiful Game.
FIFA, the governing body of world soccer, has long been tainted with corruption scandals — and the 2022 edition of its top competition is no exception. The World Cup is being held in Qatar despite the fact that even FIFA itself "admitted" that bribes were exchanged before the tiny emirate with zero soccer tradition got the nod in late 2010. But what about the countries whose national teams qualified for the tournament? We take a look at how the most and least corrupt countries would play against each other as soccer teams on a pitch. Note: if you're missing Saudi Arabia, believe it or not it ranks as less graft-ridden than Croatia.
Change is afoot in China. Beijing’s zero-COVID containment strategy has been widely criticized at home and abroad, setting markets aflutter, and disrupting economies and supply chains worldwide. But now, just weeks after President Xi Jinping secured his norm-defying third term as CCP secretary-general, his new Politburo Standing Committee has issued changes to China’s zero-COVID policy. The news saw Hong Kong and mainland markets react positively, and online inbound flight bookings doubled overnight, but economists remain wary and are advising caution. We explore the differences between the two policies.
Is Trump a demagogue or a revolutionary? Is Biden a consensus builder or a divider-in-chief? Most Americans already hold firm views of the Republican and Democratic parties, and their midterm votes have been set in stone for some time. In tight races, however, the difference will be decided by whether the politically indifferent demographic decides to vote. Getting out the vote is much easier for presidential races, which many voters see as more consequential than midterms. But that trend may be shifting. We look at voter turnout in presidential elections vs. midterms since 1980, and zoom in on the turnout in some key battleground states.
UK Prime Minister Liz Truss’s recent attempt to stimulate the country’s inflation-ridden economy by pushing for massive tax cuts has sent the markets into a tailspin and caused the British pound to plummet in value against the US dollar. But even before this episode – and the government’s subsequent policy U-turn – sterling had been steadily declining amid the Brexit fallout. It also doesn’t help that the US dollar is at its strongest level in years. We take a look at the value of the British pound against the greenback since 2000.
There’s already chatter about who will run for US president in 2024, with plenty of speculation that two of the main contenders will be men born in the immediate boom after the Great Depression. So the question must be asked: is the US run by older people? President Joe Biden will next month become an octogenarian, while the median age of senators and house members has risen to 64.8 and 58.9 respectively. Meanwhile, the median age of the American population is way younger at 38.5. Is this generational gap unique to the US? We explore the ages of the world’s youngest leaders – some elected, some not so much – compared to the median age of their populations.
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