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The diary of the actuary

The "Diary of the actuary" is a fixed appointment with the data from reality and their visualization through photojournalism language. It is a light, essential, concise and full of information tool which respects the actuaries’ continuous learning logic, who are fully committed to picking and deconding the figures which describe the complexity of contemporary society and try to find common threads of interpretation. Good reading.




1.7 are the billion euros loaned in 2016 by Zopa, a British company breaking ground in peer-to-peer lending: this is a new form of loan which cuts out banks entirely and uses the Internet to match persons looking for a loan with individual savers, thus offering both lenders and borrowers better rates. It is estimated that by 2025 the value of these loans could reach 150 billion euros.

Source: PriceWaterhouseCoopers

Europe - The building site of a wooden house.



120 is the level (in becquerel per cubic metre) of indoor radioactive pollution in Finland, the highest in the world. Austria follows with 99, then France and Brazil (89), China (49) and Australia (11).

Source: WHO – Indoor Air Pollution

Finland, Helsinki. The Music Hall.



42 million are the people who were forced to evacuate their homes due to climate change in 2016. It is estimated that in 2017 there will be over 48 million people who will have to migrate due to floods, drought and other extreme weather phenomena.

Source: Avvenia – The Energy Innovator

Italy, Parma - An 88 years old lady, used to live at the ground floor of this house facing the Baganza creek before the flood.



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490 is the number of European habitats assessed to determine their possible risk of collapse in 2017. The assessment revealed that over one third of land habitats in that continent are endangered, as well as almost half of all the lakes, rivers and coastal areas under examination.

Source: IUCN – International Union for the Conservation of Nature

Europe - A black winged stilt in a pond.


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270 is the number of Nobel laureates from the USA, making it the country with the most Nobel prizes. The UK follows with 117, then Germany (103), France (57), Sweden (28). Italy ranks seventh with 20 awards.

Source: The Swedish Academy

Sweden. The Nobel Prize ceremony in Stockholm’s Konserthuset, or Concert Hall. © Nobel Media AB 2016. Foto: Pi Frisk


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1/3 is the fraction of fish that is fished unsustainably worldwide, i.e. at a pace that does not allow for biological replenishment. Compared to forty years ago, the unsustainable withdrawal has grown three-fold.

Source: FAO

Australia. Freshly caught tuna fish being offloaded from a fishing boat in Cairns.


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10.8 were the billion tonnes of fossil fuel used by China, the country with the highest emission of carbon dioxide, in 2015. China was followed by the USA, who used almost 6 billion tonnes, India and Russia with little more and little less than 2, respectively.

Source: Global Carbon Budget 2016

China. Tourists gathered in Beijing’s Tiananmen square, one of the capital’s main attractions, on a cold winter day.


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1,192 was the score of Iceland in a survey of 23 indicators involving 163 countries in 2016; with this score, Iceland was found to be the most peaceful country in the world. Italy ranked 39th with a score of 1,774, while the last position was occupied by Syria (3,805).

Source: Institute for Economics and Peace, Stockholm

Iceland. Visitors on the observation deck of Gullfoss waterfall.


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187 was the value (in quadrillion cubic metres) of proved global oil reserves in 2015. These reserves – which were 55% larger than what had been recorded 20 years before – are located mostly in the Middle East (43%), Europe and Eurasia (30%), Asia-Pacific (8%), Africa (7%), North America (7%) and Central and South America (5%).

Source: British Petroleum

U.S.A. Pump jacks extracting oil from an oil field in Kern County, California.


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10.8 were the billion tonnes of fossil fuel used by China, the country with the highest emission of carbon dioxide, in 2015. China was followed by the USA, who used almost 6 billion tonnes, India and Russia with little more and little less than 2, respectively.

Source: Global Carbon Budget 2016

China. Tourists gathered in Beijing’s Tiananmen square, one of the capital’s main attractions, on a cold winter day.


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9: of the 25 largest countries in the world, 9 are in Africa: Algeria, Angola, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Libya, Mali, Niger, South Africa and Sudan.

Source: The Fact Book – CIA

Africa, South Sudan - Aerial view of Juba and the White Nile river.


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193.534 was in US-dollars the average income of a holder of a Master Degree from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, the leading institution in this ranking. Following Stanford were many other US and European business schools. SDA Bocconi ranked 25th, with an amount of US$ 129.064.

Source: Financial Times

USA - Students during a graduation ceremony.


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1/5 is the fraction of the world's population who in 2016 was still involved in agricultural activities, or in activities directly linked to agricultural production.

Source: FAO

Middle East - A farmer's market.


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9 out of 10 people aged between 10 and 24 in the world live in the so-called Developing Countries.

Source: State of the World Population 2015 – UNPFA

Indonesia - Students in a school.


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48 billion is the value, in US dollars, of the attempted merge between two giants of health insurance in the US, Anthem and Cigna, which a federal court stopped under the antitrust law. It was the second case of contrasting consolidation of health care insurance companies promoted by Obamacare, after the case last January when another federal court stopped the acquisition of Humana by Aetna, two other big names in the sector.

Source: The US Department of Justice

Italy - A small dog appearing to tow his elderly owner who is on a motorized wheelchair.


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8.8 is the percentage of the Italian GDP generated by non-Italian workers in 2016 and nearly 50% came from the service sector.

Source: Fondazione Leone Moressa and ISTAT

Italy, Naples - The old town.

502 billion

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502 billion US dollars was the 2016 deficit of the US – the highest since 2012, mainly due to the growing US dollar, which has been affecting American exports.

Source: Economics and Statistics Administration, US Department of Commerce

USA, New York City - Wall Street and stock exchange.


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8.59 was Finland's 2016 score in the Press Freedom Index (which takes into consideration several parameters and the lowest rate is evaluated as the better one), as calculated by Reporters Sans Frontières. Finland ranked first among all countries under examination, followed by Netherlands with 8.76, then Norway with 8.79 and Denmark with 8.89. Germany ranked 18th (14,80), Italy 77th (28.93), while China (80.96), North Korea (83.3) and Eritrea (84.9) were listed at the bottom.

Source: RSF – 2016 World Press Freedom Index

Finland - The contemporary art fair ARCO.

4.4 million

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4.4 million square km was the surface covered by ice in the Arctic in September 2016, i.e. the smallest area ever recorded since satellite measurements of the phenomenon have been taken. Compared to the average measurements of the period 1981-2010, the iced surface has shrunk by 2.3 million square km.

Source: University of Colorado – National Snow and Ice Data Center

Greenland - Some icebergs floating in the Narsaq bay.


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46% is how much coal combustion contributed to global emissions of carbon dioxide in 2014. Oil contributed for the 34%, while natural gas accounted for the 20%.

Source: British Petroleum

Mongolia - The smoke released by a coal-burning plant.


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225 million are the Chinese families that can now be considered middle-class, with an average family income between US$ 11.500 and 43.000. At the beginning of the millennium, there were only 5 million such families in China, and it is estimated that by 2020 will be higher than that of comparable families in Europe.

Source: OECD

China - Luo Hu train station.


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90.7 is the score with which Finland ranked first in the 20-parameter-based environmental sustainability index in 2016 (based on 20 different indicators). Following Finland were Iceland (90.5) and Sweden (90.4). Spain ranked sixth (88.9), France tenth (88.2) and Italy twenty-ninth (84.48).

Source: WEF Environmental Performance Index

Iceland. Some horses in a ranch on the seashores on the Nort side of the island.


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10% is the percentage increase in manufacturing employment in the period 1990-2014 in Taiwan, the only country reporting a growth. In that same period, Italy lost 23%, Germany 25%, the US 31% and the UK almost 50%.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, The Conference Board

Europe, Germany. A worker welding in a factory in the South of the country.


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0.12 indicates the warming up (in degrees Celsius) of the world’s oceans every 10 years since the year 2000, almost double that of the second half of the last century (0.7%).

Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Cook Islands. A sunset on the tropical lagoon in Aitutaki.


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564 is the score with which Singaporean students ranked first in the 2015 edition of PISA, the Program for International Student Assessment test administered by the OECD to assess the science, math and reading abilities of 540,000 15-year-old students in 73 countries. Based on the test’s parameters, the skills of Singaporean students appear three years ahead of those of American and Italian students (who ranked 31 and 33, respectively).

Source: OECD

Singapore. Young students in Orchad Road.


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34.5% is the percentage of world car sales forecast for China in 2017. The US follows with 21%, Europe with 17.8% and Japan with 4.9%.


Source: JATO Dynamics Ltd


China. A luxury cars exhibition in Beijing.


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44 are the years that - according to historical statistics - should pass between two volcanic eruptions with a destructive power similar to that of the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland in 2010. On that occasion, the volcanic ash spewed by the volcano grounded all flights over Europe, causing losses worth billions of euros to airlines and insurance companies.

Source: University of Leeds, School of Earth and Environment

Iceland. One of the many active voulcans on the island.


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113 was the net profit (in million Euros) reported by Ferrari in the last quarter of 2016, a 20% increase over the same period of 2015, thus making profit accounts for 14% of the company’s revenue. Among the reasons for this outstanding performance is a severe cut in expenses on their Formula 1 team.

Source: Ferrari

China, Beijing. A Ferrari for sale in a down town car dealer.


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46% is the percentage of global energy generated by oil in 2014. Compare this to 29% by coal, 21% by natural gas and little over 1% by renewable energy sources (wind, sunlight and geothermal).

Source: International Energy Authority

Africa, Nigeria. One of the many oil refineries along the delta of Niger.


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550.000 are the Chinese who went to study abroad in 2016. At the end of the 1990s, i.e. only 18 years ago, this number did not reach 15.000.

Source: People’s Republic of China, Ministry of Education

China, A young student doing some Maths in a primary school.


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8.58 are the hours spent working each day, on average, by American men in 2015 (8.28 for women). Sleeping accounted for 7.51 hours (7.55 for women), working out and entertainment for 3.20 hours (2.46 for women), eating and drinking 1.8 (1.1 for women), 1.09 for homemaking and care (1.45 for women) and 0.23 for shopping (0.35 for women).

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Usa, Miami Beach. A couple of employees have lunch at an Italian restaurant in the Art District.

4.5 million

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4.5 million are the people currently receiving post-secondary education in a country other than their own, a number that has more than doubled in the last 15 years. These students represent an asset for the recipient country: in Australia they account for over one quarter of all post-secondary students, in the UK for about 13%, in Canada for 10% and in the US for 5%. In spite of the obvious benefits they bring to the host countries, some countries such as the UK are adopting strong measures to limit this particular form of immigration.

Source: OECD

UK, Glasgow – A student drawing inside the Glasgow School of Art.


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92,000 is the average yearly cost (in US dollars) a senior should pay to live in a nursing home of acceptable standard in the US. This arrangement is needed by one senior out of three, while one out of six needs extra daily care in such structures, requiring further expenses. Yet, only 10% of seniors in the US have some sort of insurance covering for long-term care.

Source: Tonetti C. – Stanford Graduate School of Business


USA - An old couple relaxing on a bench by the sea


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63% would be the average net loss in purchasing power faced by the poorer consumers (the bottom 10%) if international trade suddenly came to a halt, according to a research study made by two US researchers in 40 countries worldwide. On the other hand, the impact on the purchasing power of the richer consumers, those belonging to the top 10%, would equal 28% or less.

Source: Fajgelbaum P and Khandelwal, A. in VOX-CEPRs Policy Portal

United Kingdom, London - Some young customers try out some new smart watches in a Covent Garden.


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2.7% is the average investment return of the German banking system in 2016. The only worse results worldwide were recorded by Italian (2.3%) and Greek banks, whose return was downright negative. Much better was the performance of the Biritsh (5%), Spanish (6.8%) and French (7.5%) systems.

Source: ECB and European Banking Authority

One of the many banks in Germany.


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64.8 is, on average, the percentage of profits that Italian companies paid in taxes in 2015. No other country in the world shows similar taxation levels: in France it is about 58.4%, while the overall average in the Eurozone is 43.6% - over 21 percentage points less than Italy.

Source: World Bank-Doing Business

A farm in Northern Italy.


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50 is the amount, in billion US dollars, of the loss in the last four months of 2016 of the Government Pension Fund of Japan. In 2014 the Fund changed its investment strategy and doubled its quota of foreign shares in its portfolio. The value of those shares, though, plummeted when the yen gained strength after Brexit.

Source: The Economist

Japan, the popular Shibuya district in Tokyo.


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98 are the jobs that are created on average every year as a consequence of a daily increase by 100 passengers in US airport traffic, according to metropolitan statistical data 1997-2014. Even higher is the impact on smaller airports, where the growth in the local economy of such an increase in passenger volume has been estimated at 314 new jobs.

Source: Newcastle University Business School

Usa, Busy Southwest Airport Terminal in Chicago.


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51 are the thousands of new HIV-positive people in Russia in the first five months of 2016.  While globally (including Africa) the epidemic is in decline and in Western Europe has now fallen below 10 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, in Russia it has continued to grow, mostly due to infected needles and unprotected heterosexual relationships, and is now reaching almost 70 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

Source: UNAIDS

A nurse in a hospital in Russia.


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66% are the Americans who have recommended life insurance policies to someone, according to a periodic survey. The year before, the percentage was 55%. Among the younger generations, the number rises to 77%, while 86% of all interviewees agree that almost everyone should have some form of life insurance.

Source: Life Insurance Statistics and Facts

Usa, New York - A man walking in Coney Island.


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1.8 million are the tourists who visited Iceland in 2016. The country, with its 322,000 inhabitants, experienced a veritable tourism boom in the last 6 years, partly due to the devaluation of its currency (which lost oover 35% of its value) and partly to the eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano, which brought Iceland to the attention of the world.

Source: FMI

One of the many volcanos in Iceland.


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16% are the Americans exposed to a high level of decibels, making the US the country with the highest noise pollution in the world. Italy follows the US with 10%, France and the UK with 7% and Germany with 2%. The noisiest cities in the world are New York (36%), Los Angeles (24%) and Naples (15%).


Source: Gfk Eurisko


A street party in Europe.


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1000 is the global per capita annual consumption of coal, in kilograms. Humanity as a whole also burns an average of 93 million barrels of oil every day. As a consequence, global CO2 emissions in 2015 reached about 32 billion tonnes, i.e. twice as much as the annual emissions in the previous century.


Source: International Energy Agency


An old train in Eritrea running on coal.


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23 is the number of airports in Turkmenistan, one of the republics spawned by the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The country has 5 million inhabitants, and 93% of its territory is occupied by deserts. The most recent airport - in the country's capital - was completed in 2015 at a cost of US$ 2.3 billion, equal to 7% of the country's GDP. It is capable of welcoming 14 million passengers every year.


Source: World Bank and Turkmenistan News


One of the many mosques of the Country.


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12.6 are the millions of casualties of air and water pollution every year. The biggest risk factors are exposure to chemical substances, climate changes and UV radiation. The regions most affected are South-East Asia (30% of total casualties) and the Pacific area (27.7%). Europe ranks very low, with a percentage of 5.4%.


Source: WHO


A panorama of polluted China.


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456 is the average number of per capita electronic transactions (made with a card) in Norway in 2015. The number for Denmark and Sweden is about 270 each, for the UK about 200, for France less than 150 and for Germany and Italy just over 50. While Swedes use cash for no more than 5% to 7% of their purchases, Germans use paper bills three times out of four.

Source: Boston Consulting Group and European Central Bank

An automatic teller machine in Europe.


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240 is the average of non-cash transactions per citizen made in Sweden in 2014, which is the leading country in Europe in terms of reducing payments by cash. Following Denmark with 235, UK with 200, France with 145, Germany with 47 and then Italy with 40.

Source: European Central Bank

Credit cards and coins in Europe.


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30% is the percentage of renewable energies out of the total amount of energy currently produced in Germany. According to the German Government’s programs, it will rise up to the 45% by 2025, to the 55% by 2035 and to the 80% by 2050.

Source: Bundesverband Deutscher Energieberater

Italy, a series of wind farms in Southern Italy.


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1378 are the millions of people currently living in China, the most populated country in the world, with a population that is just higher than India’s one (1329). Following USA (324), Indonesia (259), Brazil (206), Pakistan (203) and Nigeria (187). Though, it is estimated that the situation will change by 2050: 1708 million in India, 1344 in China and then USA and Nigeria in the third place with 398.

Source: PRB – Worldpopdata

India, a traditional festival in Rajastan.


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0.5% is the decrease in labour productivity, an index that measures the hourly average production level of each worker, recorded in the US in the second quarter of 2016. This kind of trend is persisting in the last two quarters and it remarks the worst decline in productivity since the late Seventies.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Usa, Nevada. Signs of the decreasing economy in the outskirts of Las Vegas.


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50 are the micrograms per cubic meter of nitrogen dioxide, one of the worst urban pollutants, recorded each day in London and Paris. According to the World Health Organization, the maximum level is 41 and this kind of pollution shortens the life of around 10 thousand people every year.

Source: WHO – World Health Organization

London, Uk. A traffic jam downtown.


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85% among the over 6,000 British pension funds covered by the Pension Protection Fund, this is the percentage of those that were on deficit in July 2016. The total amount of the deficit was £408bln, with an increase of $113bln from May 2016 caused by Brexit.

Source: Pension Protection Fund

London, Uk. Union Jack flags nearby the Royal Palace.


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6.7% is the Chinese growth rate in the second quarter of 2016, in line with the first quarter. The growth is due to investments in infrastructures and to a higher domestic consumption, despite a period of turbulence in the markets and the depreciation of the yuan.

Source: IMF – International Monetary Found

Shanghai (China), businessmen leaving a 5 stars hotel in town.


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44% is the expenses surplus for drugs in the U.S. compared to the country that globally ranks second in this special list, Canada. Private insurance companies have started overcompensating them by directly negotiating with pharmaceuticals and nudging their customers to choose cheaper drugs. As a result, the expenses of the insurance companies have grown by 8.5% even if the cost for drugs has increased by 12.2% yearly.

Source: Journal of Economic Perspectives

A drugstore in Europe.


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6% is the average GDP per capita recorded year on year in Vietnam since 1990. The country has 90 million inhabitants and has now become the second “Asian Tiger” after China. In 2015, Vietnam had a record breaking trade level (imports plus exports) corresponding to 150% of GDP.

Source: International Monetary Found

A panoramic view of the Vietnamese countryside.


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86% is the percentage of wastewater reuse in Israel, the first country in the world using purified water. Spain ranks second slightly exceeding 20%.

Source: The Worldwatch Institute

Water supply in Israel.


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41 are the psychiatrists per 100.000 inhabitants of the Principality of Monaco. Norway is following with 29.7, Beligium with 20.3, France and Greece with 14.1. Italy ranks seventh with 10.9, while India is ranked the last with 0.3.

Source: WHO – World Health Organization

One of the guests of one of the Judicial Psychiatric Hospitals in Italy.

66 million

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66 million trees have been lost because of drought since 2010 in the US state of California. The environmental disaster caused widespread fires and tens of thousands displaced people.

Source: US Forest Service

Usa, The Yosemite National Park.


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14,41 is the percentage of world trade in goods and services that reached the Eurozone in 2015, now ranking in the first place in the world.

Source: WTO – World Trade Organization

Germany. A parking space.


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225 are the millions of Chinese families that represent the local middle class, with an income ranging from 11,550 to 43,000 US$. In 2000, there were 5 million families and, according to the estimates, they will exceed the total number of the European middle class by 2020.

Source: World Bank

Shanghai (China), Shanghai World Expo Exhibition Center.


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17.075 thousands of kilometers is the surface of the largest country in the world, Russia. Followed by Canada, with 9985 and the US, with 9834. The largest country in EU is France, with 552,000 square km.

Source: The Economist

Russia, San Petersburg. A winter panorama of the town.


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205. This is the value in billions US$ estimated for cloud-computing in 2016 by Gartner, the world's leading researcher in information technology. Cloud-computing is the fee-based internet provision of storage facilities to archive, process and transmit information. It corresponds with 6% of the entire IT market for the same year.

Source: Gartner Inc.

Albania, Tirana. A computing training session.


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4 is the light-year distance from Earth to the barely bigger planet Proxima Centrauri b. The planet has been discovered by the astronomers of the European Southern Observatory in the Atacama Desert, in Chile. It takes 11 days to complete the orbit around its star.


Technicians from an observatory checking an antenna.


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82 is the percentage of GDP generated in 2015 by the 20% of the industrial companies that mostly contribute to export. Their productivity that is more than double than the other companies.

Source: Nomisma

Italy, Valle Lomellina (Pavia): a rice cracker department.


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153 is the number of micrograms of pollutant particles per cubic meter present, on a daily average, in the air of New Dehli in 2015 (according the World Health Organization the daily value of 10 micrograms per day should not be exceeded in town). For this reason, New Delhi is the most polluted city in the world.

Source: OMS

India, New Delhi traffic.


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590 billion US$ is the deficit of the United States in the fiscal year that ended in September 2016. For the first time since 2009, the US deficit is growing, mainly because of lower revenues from taxes on corporations.

Source: Congressional Budget Office

USA, Hopedale (Louisiana): an abandoned service station, destroyed by hurricane Katrina.


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22.7%. is the percentage of women sitting on the Board of Directors of large companies listed on the stock exchange market in Europe. Although more than 60% of graduates are women, when they are at top positions they earn on average 30% less than men (apart from Italy, where they earn 30% more).

Source: European Commission

Albania, Minister of Culture during a press conference held on the road.


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500. are the Km that new electric Tesla Model S can travel without recharging. This model can reach 100 km/h in 2.5 seconds.

Source: Tesla Motors

The New Model S Tesla.

6 billion

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6 billion US$ is the amount of net withdrawals from the British investment funds in July 2016. In June, after the vote for Brexit, withdrawals accounted for 3 billion.

Source: Financial Times

Uk, London, a view of the river Thames.

925 million

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925 million people is the number of Youtube users each month, placing the online platform on the top list of the most popular video-sharing websites in the world, followed by Facebook with over 617 million viewer.

Source: Forbes – Social Media

A young Arabian girl using Youtube in an internet cafè.


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41%. It is the proportion of African citizens living below the absolute poverty threshold, down from 51% in 2000. In the same period, the primary school enrollment ratio grew from 60% to 80% and deaths from malaria decreased by 60%.

Source: World Bank

Niger, Porto-Novo. Street kids in the Don Bosco school.


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28. This is the number of tigers - among the 2300 living in protected Indian reserves - killed by poachers in the first two months of 2016. The number is higher than those related to tigers killed throughout 2015.

Source: The Hindustan Times

Madhya Pradesh, India. Kanha National Park. A tiger in the forest of the natural reserve.


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40. It will be the height of the biggest minaret in Europe, still under construction in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Qatar will contribute with €15 mln to its building, which is expected to cost €35 mln.

Source: Reuters

Slovenia, Lubjiana. The panorama of the old city center.


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40. It is the number of distilleries belonging to the "Schnaps Route", a guided tour to discover the secrets and the taste of this typical product.


Salzburg, Austria – A local “Schnaps” maker in Grosstaller.


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313 are the cars stolen in Italy everyday; it is 13 per hour. The police forces can find out just 45% of them, while the others simply disappear.

Source: LoJack

Africa - A stolen car wreck in the middle of the desert.


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40. It is the percent growth of CO2 emissions in the last 20 years at global level. The Kyoto Protocol (1997) established a 5,2% decrease by 2010.

Source: Acot, CNRS France

China, Shanghai - The pollution obscuring the sun in the city centre.


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146 are the working days required in the EU, on average, to pay taxes and start earning for oneself. They are 157 in Italy, 105 in Ireland.

Source: CGIA di Mestre

Italy, coins from the Fontana di Trevi in Rome.


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184. This is the number of Eskimo villages – out of a total of 213 – that are going to be submerged by the sea in the Arctic. The phenomenon is due to the global warming that is twice faster at that latitude than in the rest of the world.

Source: USA National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Greenland – One spectacular ice formation.


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81. This is the percentage of the consent achieved by the words “environment” and “Internet” through a survey on the most important and the most used words of our times. “Democracy” ranks only at 23° place out of the competing thirty words.

Source: Demos-Coop

Zambia – Elephants and buffalos crossing a river.


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21. It is, in billions of euros, a little less than the amount spent in R&D in Italy. It represents 1,3% of GDP (the EU average is around 2.0%) and it ranks the Country at 16° place. Germany spends 2,9% of GDP in R&D, the US 2,8% and Japan 3,4%.

Source: Eurostat and European Research Council

Italy, one of the many electric power plants.


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116. It is the age of the oldest woman in the world, Mrs. Emma Morano, who lives in Pallanza: she is the last person born in 1800 still alive.

Source: La Repubblica

Italy, the hands of an old woman.


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24. These are the hours per day during which, starting from August 2016, the 5 lines of the London underground, the oldest in the world, will be in service. The London underground covers 460 km through a network of 270 stations and carries 1 billion and 300 thousands of passengers per year.

Source: London Underground

United Kingdom, London – One of the trains running in the metropolitan area.


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8%. It is the maximum growth index established by the Chinese government for the next years to strengthen the underdeveloped regions of the country and to boost the domestic demand over the export. This one, even if increasing the expansion rate of the economy, created economic and social unbalances in the past.

Source: Il Sole 24 Ore

China – Shanghai - The Cafè “Pistacchio” during an evening presentation of some Italian tailoring new products.


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69 is the percentage of Catholics in Latin America, registered in 2015. This a very low value considering that 45 years ago this percentage corresponded to 92%.

Source: PEW Research Institute

A holy mass in the North of Brasil.

312 million

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312 million of Champagne bottles sold in 2015 by wine cellars. It is a business worth 4,75 billion euros, the highest income ever registered.

Source: Comité Champagne CIVC

A vineyards in the French countryside.


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289 are the several species of diurnal butterflies in Italy. This is the highest number in Europe thanks to Italy’s good weather and geography. This is witnessed by examples like Britain, where this number is five times lower.

Source: Il Venerdì di Repubblica

Italy, a bunch of butterflies in Valtellina.


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1. Is the number of hectares of land that the government lead by Vladimir Putin assigned free of charge in May 2016, with a 5-year extension, to all requiring farmers. Those farmers who will not cultivate the land will have to return it to the government.

Source: AGI

Russia, one of the monasteries along the Golden Ring.


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4.4% is the increase of the international mobility in 2015, with more than one billion travelers. The percentage in Europe, despite recent terrorism, increased by 5%. Africa showed a 8% inverted trend due to several causes, such as the spread of the Ebola Virus and the terrorist attacks.

Source: World Tourism Organization

China, a train station in the north of the country.

1,2 million

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1.2 million is the number of scientific publications in 2015 written by the 246 thousand R&D employees in Italy, the eight country in the world for number of publications per researcher.

Source: European Research Council

Some scientific publications in Italy.


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35%. It is the reduction of the catholic clergymen in the last 30 years. For some orders the reduction is significantly higher: Jesuits -45%, Franciscans -41% and Dominicans -40%.

Source: R. Benotti Viaggio nella vita religiosa

Poland, some nuns in a monastery in Częstochowa.


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200. These are the decibel produced by the pistol shrimp (alpheus heterochaelis) when snapping its own claw, at more than 100 km/h. Thanks to this, the shrimp - very common in the Mediterranean Sea - can produce blast waves that stun the preys. The noise can be heard even under the sea waves and it is higher than the noise of a rocket (180 dB) or the one of an airplane take-off (125 dB).

Source: World Register of Marine Species 2015

Egypt, the barrier reef in the Red Sea.


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7% is the unemployment rate in Holland in 2015, the lowest in Europe. In the same year, Italy stood at 12,6%.

Source: Eurostat

The Netherlands, Amsterdam – A mockup of the city center in a musem.

77 million

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77 million euros was the amount that 2574 private individuals donated to the so called Art Bonus, the voluntary tax credit for culture and show business conceived in 2014 to support cultural heritage.


Italy, the restoration lab of the Nicolas family situated in the tiny village of Aramengo (Asti).

30,1 million

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30,1 million of hectolitres is the amount of wine consumed in the USA in 2016, the year they became the first consuming country. They surpassed Italy, that is now ranked third together with Germany with 20,5 million of hectolitres. The second country for wine consumption is France, with 27,2 million.

Source: International Organisation of Vine and Wine (IOV)

Italy, a vineyard in Valtellina


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62 this is approximately the number of people not in work (below 18 and over 65 years old) on 100 active workers (age range 18-65) in Italy. In regards to immigrants, this value is below 10. The situation is not better across Europe: in France the values are respectively 69 and 24, in the UK they are 62 and 28, in Germany 59 and 47. In Sweden alone the two indicators are inverted: it is 67 among Swedes, with a peak of 80 among immigrants. 


Source: Eurostat


Sweden, some immigrants in a job center in Stockholm.


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2036 these are the violent deaths from January to February 2016 in Rio de Janeiro. 238 of them can be attributed to the Police. There is a 12% increase in comparison to the preceding year. Theft on the streets (+23,7%) and vehicle thefts (+19,7%) increased: this describes a difficult situation, especially with a view to the 2016 Olympic Games. 
Source: Institute for Public Security
Brazil, Rio de Janeiro. Some ordinary life in the streets.


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12% defines the number of Italian citizens who in 2014 used the Internet to interact with the public administration. Italy ranks 25th in the European Union, followed only by Bulgaria and Romania. The top positions are occupied by Denmark (65%), the Netherlands (56%) and Finland (55%).


Source: Eurostat


Danimarca, Copenhagen the Nyhavn canal.


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2.1% is the increase rate of printed books in the US in 2015. The modest increase acquires bigger significance when compared to the figures for ebooks sales, which shrank by 20% in the same year, after a remarkable reduction in the previous year.

Source: Nielsen Bookscan

Italy, a paper factory in Veneto.


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440 is the number of hours that the average Italian spends queueing up in their lifetime, a financial loss of 40 billion euros. Milan-based Giovanni Cafaro has started a small company through which you can find, for only 10 euros/hour, someone who will stand in line for you at the Post Office or similar offices.

Sources: The Economist and Codacons

Turin, people queing up to enter a museum.


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61% is the majority with which Dutch voters rejected, in an ad hoc referendum, the agreement for  associating the Ukraine to the EU. Without the Netherlands' ratification, the agreement cannot be fully implemented, but the remaining 27 EU member states, which approved it, are not in favour of a renegotiation.

Source: Financial Times

Kiev, Ukraine. The monumental, titanium-made Friendship Arc, built in 1982.


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20,000 were the convicts on death row in the world's prisons in 2015. In that year, executions grew by 50% over the previous year, the highest number in the last 26 years. Three countries are responsible for 90% of executions worldwide: Iran, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

Source: Amnesty International

Philippines, some inmates in their ordinary life in Manila.


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7 is the average number of children that an African woman gives birth to in her life. It is a world record, by which the population of Africa will be three times that of Europe by 2050 (currently the ratio is less than two to one).

Source: World Bank

Madagascar, a young woman ready to get married.


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5 or more are the years by which - according to a research study of the American Society of Actuaries - 40% of US citizens underestimate the average life expectancy of the country's retirees. Approximately 77% of Americans expect to be in a very or somewhat good place financially once they retire, yet only 63% declare they have saved enough money to this end.


Sources: American Society of Actuaries and Employee Benefit Research Institute


Belize, retired people from Usa relaxing on the beach.


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11% is the aggregate cost of violence against people and things over the total GDP of 150 countries. Combatting violence costs a percentage of GDP ranging from 27.5% in North Korea to 0.5% in Bhutan. In Italy it is estimated at 2.8%, in Germany at 4.0% and in the US at 10.5%.


Source: Institute for Economics and Peace


Usa, one of the volunteers patrolling the Mexican border.


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0.08% is the relative weight of electric (or hybrid) cars over the total number of cars registered worldwide in 2015. By 2040, they are estimated to account for 35% of all new car registrations.


Source: Bloomberg


Paris, a new electric car just presented on the global market.


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7% is the global increase rate estimated for 2020 for the luxury cars sector. Another luxury sector for which growth is forecast in the same period is the high-level restaurant industry, expected to grow by 22%.


Source: Euromonitor International


China, Shanghai. A Ferrari showroom

60 million

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60 million is the current estimated number of refugees worldwide, according to the UN High Commission for Refugees. Of these, about 20 million have found refuge in countries other than their original one. It is the highest number since World War II, to be blamed in part on the war in Iraq and Syria.


Source: UNHCR


Italy, refugees from Sirya in Lampedusa.


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36.3% is the percentage of NEETs (Not in Employment, Education or Training), i.e. youths who neither work nor study, in Turkey – the highest rate among OECD countries. Turkey is followed by Italy with 34.9%, Greece (31.85%) and Spain (29.3%). The figures for the United States, the UK, France and Germany are below 18%.


Source: OECD


Istanbul, some young girls laughing.


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5,000 is the minimum quantity of water (in litres) needed to produce one kilogram of meat. ”Minimum” because, in certain geographical and environmental conditions, it can be as much as 20,000 litres.


Source: IME – Institute of Mechanical Engineers, London, UK


Venezuela - Cows returning to Hato el Cedral afetr a grazing day.


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253 is the number of translations of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's The Little Prince, the book that  - with the exception of religious books -  has had the highest number of translations worldwide. It is followed closely by Carlo Collodi's Pinocchio, with 242 translations.


Source: GeMS – Gruppo Editoriale Mauri Spagnol


Libya. Flying over the immense Erg Murzuq.


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1% is the expected global inflation rate for the next decade, according to the FED. The risk of such a low and prolonged inflation rate is that it may generate deflation and stagnation that might last for many decades to come.


Source: FED and Lawrence Summers


Caracas, Venezuela. A pile of Bolivares, the local currency. Inflation tax for the first quarter of 2016 is 720%.


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46 is the average temperature (in Celsius) of Kuwait City, the hottest city on earth. In the summer, temperatures rise to 50 degrees.


Source: Travel 365


Kuwait City, Kuwait. A woman walks along the public beach in the Salmiya neighborhood.


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1,4 is the current amount, in billion US$, of the foreign debt owned by China. The role of China in the international financial system continues to grow and bank credit is the most important channel of financial link between the country and the rest of the world: in the years 2010-2015 it grew threefold, generating serious concerns about the possible repercussions on the global markets of a Chinese economic meltdown.


Source: FMI-Global Financial Stability Report


Shanghai, China. A newlyweds take pictures along the Bund.


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34 is the number of the tax havens included in the 2016 Black List of OECD. Among these are two European countries, namely Cyprus and Andorra.


Source: OECD


Cyprus, the Southwest coast.


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24 is, in trillion US$, the global net worth of the insurance sector. This sector (particularly companies issuing life insurance policies, which account for 85%) now controls 12% of global assets and plays an increasingly important role in the international financial system.


Source: FMI Global Financial Stability Report 2015


Giglio Island, the Costa Concordia wreck.


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69 is the 2014 ranking of Italy according to the Corruption Perception Index (which lists 175 countries) - a tie with Brazil, Bulgaria, Greece, Romania and Swaziland.

Source: Transparency International 2015

Rome, Italy. An employee gathers the coins thrown in the Trevi Fountain by tourists.


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3,500 is the number of people who have been enslaved by ISIS in Iraq – most of them women and children from the Yazidi community.

Source: United Nations

Baghdad, a man and a woman are coming back from the local market.

110 thousand

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110 thousand is the number of migrants reaching Greece and Italy in the first two months of 2016. The last year the sum arrived up to 100 thousand just in June. Greece is the foremost destination: in February only 43 thousand people arrived, just as much as in 2014 overall.


Source: UN-International Organization for Migration


Channel of Sicily. Syrian and Eritrean migrants are transferred by the soldiers of the San Marco brigade on board a vessel of an Italian warship.


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42.4% is the differential between the EU country with the highest (France) and the lowest (Lithuania) tax burden. With such a wide gap in taxation policies, it becomes difficult to implement stable common economic policies in the EU, as it ultimately creates competition amongst the Member States.


Source: our analysis of CGIA Mestre data


Lithuania, one of the many beaches along the Northern coast.


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0.5% is the percentage of the current US workforce employed in companies established in the 21st century. The widespread use of robots and artificial intelligence, particularly favoured by companies born after the year 2000, evidently does not promote human employment.


Source: World Economic Forum Davos


Usa, an automated production unit in an American company.


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19 is the cost in US$ per barrel of oil extraction in Brazil, including royalties. It is the highest in the world, followed by Canada ($17), USA (shale extraction, $14), Russia ($9), Saudi Arabia ($8) and Iran, which boasts the lowest cost at $2 per barrel, but is also the smallest producer.


Source: Wood Mackenzie, Citi Research


Brazil, the coastline nearby Salvador de Bahia.

8.5 million

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8.5 million are the people living in Austria. In 2015, 90,000 refugees settled in the country and the Austrian government decided to cap to the number of incoming refugees at 37,500 per year. It is estimated that this will require an annual expense of US$1,1 billion.


Source: The Economist


Austria, Vienna. The Magdas Hotel is fully managed by immigrants and refugees.


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2nd is the rank of Italy in the world by consumption of bottled water in 2015, with little over 150 litres per person per year. Italy follows Mexico, and a distant 3rd is France, then the United Arab Emirates, Spain and Germany.


Source: Euromonitor International


Afghanistan, Awas Abad. An Afghan soldier and villagers get the first water from a well just installed by the Italian Army.


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20 is the expected price (in US$) per barrel of oil in 2016 according to Jacopo Brilli, in charge of the Australian project for liquefied natural gas. Should it plummet to $10 per barrel, oil will be cheaper to buy than bottled water.


Source: our analysis of ICTHYS data


UAE, a young man fishing in Abu Dhabi’s port.


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2,797 are the keys used by the ten clavigeri (key keepers) employed by the Vatican Museums and by their extended network of offices and laboratories to open and close as many locks daily.


Source: Ufficio del Conservatore dei Musei Vaticani


Rome, Vatican. St. Peter's square.


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35,000 is the estimated number of new jobs created in Italy in the agricultural sector between September 2014 and September 2015. They will be filled by a minimum of 20,000 workers under 30 years of age, representing an increase of over 12%. Thanks to the new technologies, an industry considered marginal for over 50 years is now offering concrete employment opportunities.


Source: ISTAT


Italy, Parma, one of the many farms scattered throughout Emilia.


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7 billion is the overall value, in US$, of government bonds with negative yield in the world today. Borrowing money has never been this cheap.


Source: World Bank


Usa, Wall Street, the New York Stock Exchange.


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40% is the quota of collective wealth lost by the 3.6 billion poor of the world between 2010 and 2015, and transferred to the 1% made up by the planet's richest, according to OXFAM, an anti-poverty confederation of 17 international organizations.


Source: OXFAM


China, Shanghai. One of the many rich young Chinese entrepreneurs.


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13.8% was the portion of power produced by “clean” sources in Italy in 2014 (includes wind, solar, geothermic and hydraulic). Coal (7,95%), oil and natural gas accounted for over 80% of overall energy production, while the rest was generated by recovery from waste, wood, biomass and biodiesel. In the years 2011-2014, domestic consumption of energy in Italy decreased by 5.2%.


Source: our analysis of data from Ministry of Economic Development and ENEA


Daunia Mountains, Puglia (Italy). Horseriding among wheat fields with wind farms in the background.


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658 is the number of billionaires (in US$) in China, which now ranks first in the world, followed by the US (535), India (111), the UK and Germany (82 each), and Russia (80).


Source: The Economist


Shanghai (China), one of the many young Chinese entrepreneurs with some friends on the terrace of Bar Rouge.


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68.2% is the average speed in km/h of a carrier pigeon on a high-pollution day; it is remarkably faster than the speed recorded on a clear-air day (55.6 km/h). This is the unexpected result of a research study carried out by the Universities of California and of Nanjing, China.


Source: The Economist Intelligence Unit


Ulan Baatar, Mongolia. A wedding photo session among the flying pigeons in the city's main square.

12.6 million

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12.6 million is the daily production of crude oil, in barrels, of the US, which is now the largest world producer. It is followed by Russia (almost 11 million) and Saudi Arabia (10 million). The other producers boast much smaller numbers, under 5 million.


Source: International Energy Agency


Usa, one of the many oil wells in Louisiana.


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25 are the eurocents that the French Ministry of the Environment refunds daily to each person who commits to using a bike to travel through the city.


Source: France Presse


France, cycling in the countryside.


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0.9°C indicates by how much the average temperature of 2015 exceeded that of the entire 20th century; 2015 is now the hottest year in human memory.


Source: US National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration.


Argentina, the Perito Moreno glacier, one of the most spectacular in the world.