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Significant Digits for Monday, Nov. 11, 2019

You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the numbers tucked inside the news.


20 French bakery closures

A baguette may be as classically French as the Eiffel Tower, but many rural communities are losing their bakeries, as well as fewer young people enter the profession or eat bread. The New York Times reports the coastal department of Manche, for example, expects 20 more bakeries to close in the next year, on top of the 50 that have closed over the past decade. Some customers now get their bread from vending machines, but lament the loss of bakeries as local meeting points. [New York Times]


30 years in prison

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has sentenced Bosco Ntaganda to 30 years in prison after finding him guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity for offenses committed in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2002 and 2003. Charges against the former Congolese rebel leader include murder, rape, enlisting child soldiers, pillage and intentionally directing attacks against civilians. The prison sentence sets two records — it is the longest handed down by the ICC, and Ntaganda is the first person to be convicted of sexual slavery. [CNN]


1,688 high-hazard dams

An investigation from the Associated Press has identified 1,688 high-hazard dams in poor or worse condition in locations that pose serious risk to homes, businesses, highways or even entire communities if the dams fail. The report notes that there is a strong likelihood that the actual number is much higher, after several states declined to provide condition ratings for their dams or didn’t rate all of them “due to lack of funding, staffing or authority to do so.” The federal data and reports came from 44 states and Puerto Rico. [Associated Press]


28 days

Only four weeks after Atatiana Jefferson was fatally shot in her home by a police officer, her father died of a heart attack at the age of 58. Marquis Jefferson passed away on Saturday at the Methodist Charlton Medical Center in Dallas, and a spokesperson for the family told the Washington Post that the death of his 28-year-old daughter had deeply affected Marquis’ health. “I didn’t know what a broken heart meant, but I feel like I’ve really witnessed a broken heart,” the spokesperson said. [Washington Post]


35 Olympic swimming pools of radioactive matter

The legacy of the U.S.’s Cold War-era atomic testing program is still affecting the Marshall Islands at the Runit Dome, which holds more than 3.1 million cubic feet of U.S.-produced radioactive soil and debris, as well as lethal amounts of plutonium. An investigation between the Los Angeles Times and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism reports that the dome is now at significant risk of collapsing from the effects of climate change. American officials have declined to help address the problem, but the news report says the U.S. government withheld important information about the contents of Runit and its weapons testing program, including the fact that 130 tons of soil from atomic testing grounds was shipped from Nevada to the Marshall Islands in 1958. [Los Angeles Times]


32 police officers

A coalition of news organizations across California have found 32 officers who were accused of committing domestic violence that were able to plead down to nonviolent misdemeanors, allowing them to keep their guns and stay on the job. These softer charges included disturbing the peace, vandalism and unreasonable noise, despite evidence of black eyes, bloody marks on limbs, as well as one spouse being knocked unconscious. Reporters uncovered a total of 84 cases of law enforcement officers that were convicted in connection with a domestic-abuse charge in the past decade, but also noted that state records on criminal conduct among police are “too flawed to illustrate the true scope of the problem.” [The Mercury News]


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