A staggering 71 million more people around the world are experiencing poverty as a result of soaring food and energy prices that climbed in the weeks following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the United Nations Development Program said in a report released this week. UNDP estimates that 51.6 million more people fell into poverty in the first three months after the war, living off $1.90 a day or less. This pushed the total number globally at this threshold to 9% of the world's population.
An additional 20 million people slipped to the 'upper poverty line' of $3.20 a day. In low-income countries, families spend 42% of their household incomes on food but as Western nations moved to sanction Russia, the price of fuel and staple food items like wheat, sugar and cooking oil soared. Ukraine's blocked ports and its inability to export grains to low-income countries further drove up prices, pushing tens of millions quickly into poverty.
Torrential rains kept battering Australia's east coast, as a flood crisis in Sydney, the region's largest, most cosmopolitan city, kept intensifying through the first part of the week as thousands more residents were ordered to leave their homes after rivers swiftly rose past danger levels. About 50,000 residents in New South Wales, most in Sydney's western suburbs, were told to either evacuate or warned they might receive evacuation orders, authorities said.
The risk of flooding could remain through the week with most river catchments already near capacity even before the latest deluge. Some regions have received 800mm (31.5 inches) of rain since Saturday, eclipsing Australia's annual average rainfall of around 500mm (20 inches). Footage on social media showed submerged roads and bridges, while emergency crews rescued stranded people from partially submerged vehicles that became stuck in rising waters.
The European Organisation for Nuclear Research, or CERN, home to the Large Hadron Collider, the world's largest atom smasher, announced the observation of three new "exotic particles" that could provide clues about the force that binds subatomic particles together. The observation of a new type of pentaquark and the first duo of tetraquarks offers a new angle to assess the "strong force" that holds together the nuclei of atoms. Most exotic hadrons, which are subatomic particles, are made up of two or three elemental particles known as quarks.
The strong force is one of four forces known in the universe, along with the "weak force" - which applies to the decay of particles - as well as the electromagnetic force and gravity.
The announcement came as the LHC's underground ring of superconducting magnets that propel infinitesimal particles along a 27-kilometre (about 17-mile) circuit and at near light speed, began smashing them together again, after a three-year pause for maintenance and other checks.
Iran's paramilitary Revolutionary Guard accused the deputy ambassador of the United Kingdom and other foreigners in the country of "espionage" and taking soil samples from prohibited military zones. The country's state-run IRNA news agency reported that the foreigners had been arrested, but did not elaborate on when. The U.K. Foreign Office swiftly denied that its diplomat was arrested, calling the report "completely false."
Iran's state TV ran footage purporting to show the foreigners collecting samples from the ground while under drone surveillance. The storm of accusations follow escalating tensions over a pickup in Tehran's arrests of foreigners and a rapid advancement of its nuclear work, while talks to revive the landmark 2015 atomic accord, signed with the Obama administration but later torn up by Donald Trump, remain at a standstill. Apart from the British diplomat, the husband of the Austria's cultural attaché in Iran, and Maciej Walczak, a scientist at Copernicus University in Poland.
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