April 2015

Numbers on the Periphery

Issue xiii


A new report from the UN has condemned the United States for its “cruel, inhumane” practice of detaining juveniles for life without parole.



Number of countries that sentence juveniles to life in prison without parole (USA). [1]




The population of Wild African elephants has dwindled significantly in the last decade, and the species is in danger of extinction.



Percent decrease in the population of African elephants from 2006-2013. [2]


Annual revenue made from the illegal trafficking of all endangered species. [3]



President Obama has ordered the full-scale bombing of the Iraqi city Tikrit. Without Congressional authorization, Obama is relying on two war authorizations from the Bush era to legalize the ongoing fight against ISIS.



Number of Iraqis that have been displaced as a result of the ongoing war in Iraq. [4]



A new law in Germany has made it mandatory for all interns to be paid a minimum wage.



Minimum wage for all US employees (not including interns). [5]


Minimum wage for all German employees (including interns). [6]



Bill Bratton, the NYPD Commissioner, stated that he wants to elevate the charge of “resisting arrest” from a misdemeanor to a felony.


Number of arrests in NYC in 2013 that included the charge of “resisting arrest.” [7]


Percent of people charged with “resisting arrest” in Ferguson from 2012-2014 that were African American. [8]



A new 25-year-long study has concluded that there was no gap in health and life outcomes for babies exposed to crack cocaine versus babies who were not. Most disparities in health and life outcomes can be reduced to socio-economic causes, chiefly poverty; exposure to crack had no effect. This study undermines decades of political claims that crack babies suffer from “genetic deformities.” 


Amount of money that Ross Perot claimed in the 1992 presidential debate that each crack baby costs US taxpayers due to their “genetic deformities.” [9]



President Obama has formally abandoned his pledge to reduce US troop levels to 5,000 by the end of 2015. At least 10,000 US troops will remain in Afghanistan until 2016.


Number of Afghani civilians that died in the violent struggle in 2014. [10]


Number of US troops that have died in Afghanistan in the last 90 days. [11]



A new study paints a devastating picture of the effects that whaling has had on the global whale population.


Number of whales killed by whalers in the 20th century. [12]


Percentage of South Ocean Blue Whale population killed off by whaling. [13]



The prominent Palestinian civil rights activist professor Sami Al-Arian has been deported from the US. Al-Arian was charged with supporting a terrorist organization, and he spent three years in jail, most of which was spent in solitary confinement. Although he was eventually acquitted, Al-Arian was deported to Turkey this month. Al-Arian said, “I came to the United States for freedom, but four decades later, I am leaving to gain my freedom.”


Number of pounds Al-Arian lost in a hunger strike protesting his detainment. [14]


Number of hours that the US government surveilled Al-Arian’s phone activity in a fruitless effort to prove his terrorist activity. [15]



Tens of thousands of Detroiters are facing foreclosure in the next year due to their failure to pay property taxes. Activists have claimed that the property taxes are greatly inflated, as the home property values are being assessed according to their pre-financial-crisis values.


Number of Detroiters threatened with imminent foreclosure. [16]


[1] http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2015/3/9/un-expert-slams-us-as-only-nation-to-sentence-kids-to-life-without-parole.htm
[2] http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2015/3/23/wild-african-elephants-on-verge-of-extinction.html
[5] http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2015/3/germany-pays-its-interns-why-cant-the-us.html
[6] http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2015/3/germany-pays-its-interns-why-cant-the-us.html
[7] http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/19/nyregion/brattons-numbers-on-use-of-force-by-new-york-police-raise-questions.html
[9] http://america.aljazeera.com/watch/shows/america-tonight/articles/2015/3/10/crack-baby-myth.html
[10] https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/02/18/2014-deadliest-year-civilians-afghanistan/
[13] http://spo.nmfs.noaa.gov/mfr764/mfr7643.pdf
[14] https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/02/05/sami-al-arian-charged-terrorism-never-convicted-deported-today-u-s/
[15] https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/02/05/sami-al-arian-charged-terrorism-never-convicted-deported-today-u-s/
[16] http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2015/2/21/detroit-homeowners-face-new-wave-of-foreclosures.html