This week's news by the numbers: May 17, 2019

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May 17, 2019
This week's news by the numbers: May 17, 2019


States that have passed laws this year that restrict abortions (Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio, and Utah), setting up a possible constitutional challenge to Roe v. Wade. On Tuesday, Alabama state legislators voted 25-6 to pass a controversial abortion bill that effectively bans all forms of abortion, including examples of rape and incest, while also punishing doctors who perform abortions deemed illegal with up to 99 years in prison.


People unaccounted for in the Syrian prison system, presumed to have been killed or still under detainment, according to the Syrian Network for Human Rights. A New York Times investigation detailed the system of imprisonment and torture overseen by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, where an estimated 13,983 have died due to torture by Syrian regime forces between March 2011 and March 2019. The detention system is an expansion of a system first enacted by President al-Assad’s father, utilized to clamp down on the dissent response to Arab Spring protests, which began in December 2010.


Democratic candidates for the 2020 presidential election, after New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced his candidacy on Thursday. Mr. de Blasio’s announcement video touts his policies around reducing inequality—including pre-K for all, paid sick leave, and increased minimum wage—while positioning himself as a suitable fit to challenge President Donald Trump given their New York roots. Critics of his announcement cite issues around infrastructure projects and homelessness in his current mayoral role.

On the Republican side, former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld is the only announced challenger to Trump.

$3.65 trillion

Fiscal “war chest” of China—representing its 2019 unspent government budget—which can be used as a tool for stimulating economic activity in response to an escalating U.S. trade war.

The Trump administration ramped up tariffs for $200 billion of Chinese goods last Friday, with announcements this week that increased import taxes were being considered for all $300 billion remaining Chinese imports.


Countries that have legalized same-sex marriage. Taiwan lawmakers approved a bill on Friday. Taiwan—a self-ruled island within the country of China—becomes the first place in Asia to approve gay marriage legislation.

The achievement for gay rights activists comes amid starker news within Asia, including Brunei’s April pronouncement that those convicted of gay sex could face a penalty of death by stoning (Brunei ultimately rolled back the after international condemnation).


Potential surge of U.S. troops in the Middle East in response to escalating tensions with Iran, outlined in a plan presented to Trump national security aides. Reports show divisions within the Trump administration, with hawkish players like national security adviser John R. Bolton representing a hardline approach toward Iran, contrasted against Trump's campaign pledge to reduce American troop presence in the Middle East.

Intelligence indicating the placement of missiles on Iran's naval fleet of small boats—which have historically harassed shipping and naval vessels within the Persian Gulf—is believed to have prompted the escalated tensions, in addition to Iran's role in proxy wars throughout Iraq, Syria, and Yemen.


Age of I.M. Pei, internationally venerated architect, upon passing away this week. Some of Pei’s most famous works included the iconic Pyramid of the Louvre, the JFK Memorial Library in Boston, Mass., and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio.

In 2015, there were an estimated 451,000 centenarians—people over 100 years old—in the world, or 7.4 centenarians for every 10,000 adults.

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