Lebanon’s crisis, New Black Wall Street, Venus and space squids

We gather the numbers to know from the week’s biggest economic and business news stories so you can impress yourself and your friends.

The planet Venus makes its transit across the Sun as seen from Kathmandu
United States space agency NASA announced plans for two missions to Venus, known as Earth's 'sister planet', between 2028 and 2030, the first in decades [File: Navesh Chitrakar/Reuters]

Welcome to the week in numbers, where we break down the biggest economic and business news stories of the week so you can impress yourself and your friends.

We’ve kicked off June with big stories on the effort to create a new Black Wall Street 100 years after the racially charged Tulsa massacre in the United States; on Lebanon’s descent into what could rank as one of the world’s three worst economic crises in 150 years; and on stubbornly high worldwide job losses, among other news.

So pour yourself another cup of coffee (or take the one you forgot about out of the microwave) and get your scrolling thumb ready.


The amount a financial literacy startup is urging Black investors to put into Bitcoin, calling cryptocurrency “the perfect platform for our people to build wealth where it may never again be destroyed”.

The initiative by New Black Wall Street LLC was launched in memory of the people who were killed in Tulsa, Oklahoma during one of the worst race riots in US history 100 years ago — a riot that torched what was then known as Black Wall Street. The crypto-focused startup is just one organisation working on Black economic empowerment profiled by Al Jazeera’s Ben Piven. Check out the full story here.

40 percent

The staggering plunge in gross domestic product (GDP) per capita in Lebanon, which is descending swiftly into what could end up being one of the world’s three worst economic crises in 150 years.

“Such a brutal and rapid contraction is usually associated with conflicts or wars,” the World Bank warned in its latest Lebanon Economic Monitor, published on Tuesday. The report pulled no punches in its criticism of Lebanon’s political elites, accusing the country’s authorities of deliberately mounting an inadequate policy response to the country’s economic crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic and last year’s Port of Beirut explosion. Read the full story here.


The estimated number of American children who lost at least one parent to COVID-19 by February, according to research published in JAMA Pediatrics. As the US reaches the grim milestone of 600,000 COVID-19 deaths, that number has grown. In addition to the emotional toll, children who lose a parent are at higher risk for mental health problems, challenges in school and economic disparities that last for years, researchers say.

Al Jazeera spoke with three mothers about the men they lost and how they have balanced helping their children cope while navigating the new financial realities of being single parents. Read the full story here and if you want to listen to the podcast, click the player below.

75 million

The pandemic-induced global shortfall in jobs for 2021, according to a new report by the International Labour Organization (ILO) released Wednesday.

Two regions — Latin America and the Caribbean, and Europe and Central Asia — have been hit hardest by the ongoing job losses. Slow coronavirus vaccine rollouts and a surge in virus variants in some parts of the world have made the global recovery uneven and sluggish in places, and the ILO says it will get worse before it gets better, with some losses persisting through at least 2022. Read the full story here.

Mexico’s tourism industry is eager to rebound from a tough 2020, but a new United States downgrade of the country’s civil aviation authority could hurt Mexican airlines’ plans to expand [File: Emilio Espejel/AP Photo]


The category to which the US Federal Aviation Administration downgraded Mexico’s civil aviation authority, leading to concerns that Mexican airlines will miss out on a much-needed tourism boom because they can’t add new flight routes to the US.

About 10.5 million American tourists visit Mexico in a typical year, and tourism accounts for 8.7 percent of Mexico’s economy, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. So what will the FAA’s downgrade mean for Mexico? Al Jazeera’s Ann Deslandes has the full story here.


The amount NASA plans to award to develop two missions to Venus between 2028 and 2030 — ventures known as DAVINCI+ (Deep Atmosphere Venus Investigation of Noble Gases, Chemistry and Imaging) and VERITAS (Venus Emissivity, Radio Science, InSAR, Topography and Spectroscopy).

Aside from their formidable acronyms, the two missions are a big deal because it’s been decades since the US space agency last visited Earth’s “sister planet”. Read the story here.


Bobtail squid are part of the Understanding of Microgravity on Animal-Microbe Interactions (UMAMI) experiment that will launch to the International Space Station [Courtesy: Isaac Watson/NASA]


The weight in pounds (3,311kg) of the science experiments, new solar arrays and other cargo on board the SpaceX Dragon resupply mission that launched Thursday from the US on its way to the International Space Station, according to NASA.

Among the experiments on board: bobtail squid and the bacteria that call them home. The experiment is designed to study the effects of spaceflight on the symbiotic relationship between microbes and their animal hosts. It’s also a free ticket to outer space for tiny cephalopods that don’t really get out much. We’re happy for them — take lots of pictures!

Source: Al Jazeera