Europe’s economic disaster

August 21, 2014

Wonkblog’s Matt O’Brien looks at the current state of Europe’s recovery and calls it “one of the biggest catastrophes in economic history.” Paul Krugman agrees with that assessment. More than six years since the financial crisis began, Europe still hasn’t had a real recovery, “and… that’s about to make it worse than the worst of the 1930s.” Wonkblog puts the current malaise in context by charting how many years it took after other crises to return to pre-crisis peak gross domestic product. The current era is the black line, and it’s not pretty:

Years of living dangerously

August 20, 2014

Yesterday, the Islamic State released footage of the beheading of American journalist James Foley, who was captured in Syria two years ago. The group also says it may execute another American journalist depending on the next moves of President Obama.

China’s military corruption problem

August 19, 2014

China’s military is by far the largest in Asia. Reuters Ben Blanchart and Megha Rajagopalan report that despite its budget being second only to the United States, “serving and retired Chinese military officers as well as state media are questioning whether China’s armed forces are too corrupt to fight and win a war.” Reuters Graphics charts China’s military might compared to its neighbors:

Poor and poorer

August 18, 2014

Like a lot of U.S. suburban areas around the country, Ferguson, Missouri is getting poorer. Underlying the weeks-long protests against the police shooting of an unarmed black teenager happening in the small suburban city north of St. Louis this month is a rapid demographic shift. Today, the Brookings Institution takes a look at how the poverty rate has changed in just the last decade:

Mapping Iraq’s displaced

August 15, 2014

Reuters Graphics maps the swelling number of Iraq’s uprooted. In recent weeks, thousands of members of the ethnic minority Yazidis have fled their homes in Northern Iraq as the militant Islamic State gained territory. Most of the Yazidis who were besieged on Sinjar mountain have been able to escape and President Barack Obama announced yesterday that the Mt. Sinjar siege was over. But that’s cold comfort for those still left homeless in a conflict-torn region. The U.N. warned in June of the impending mass displacement, citing the danger to civilians due the fact that Syria’s ongoing war has created more 2.8 million refugees itself. That influx has already overwhelmed surrounding countries’ aid networks–and the crisis won’t ease anytime soon. 

The diversity of American police forces

August 14, 2014

Does the local police force reflect the racial makeup of your community? According to an interactive chart created by the Washington Post today — following this week’s protests over the police killing of an unarmed black teenager in the largely black community of Ferguson, Missouri — the answer is probably not.

Mapping Islamic militants’ increasing control of Iraq’s wheat

August 13, 2014

Iraq’s militants “now control yet another powerful economic weapon – wheat supplies,” Reuters’ Maggie Fick  and Maha Dahan report. Fighters from the Islamic State have overrun large areas in five of Iraq’s most fertile provinces, where the United Nations food agency says around 40 percent of its wheat is grown:

Lots of available jobs, still no higher wages

August 12, 2014

Job openings in the US economy are at a 13-year high. The monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary (JOLTS) report was released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics today. It shows there were  4.67 million job openings in the month of June, up just a tad from the 4.6 million openings reported in May — it’s now the highest the job openings figure has been since February 2001.

Honduras’ soaring murder rate and its refugee crisis

August 11, 2014

Reuters graphics charts the horrifying rise of the murder rate in Honduras. According to the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime’s report, it’s the highest in the world.

Ebola is now an international health emergency

August 8, 2014

The World Health Organization has officially declared the Ebola epidemic in West Africa an international health emergency. The death toll has reached almost 1,000 in four countries (932 at last count). Yesterday, the U.S. ordered the families of diplomats to leave Liberia due to the danger of the virus.