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Significant Digits For Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019

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


About 31,000 members

Yesterday, for the first time in decades, the roughly 31,000 members of the Los Angeles teachers union went on strike. The teachers are seeking a wage increase, “far more hiring,” and a guarantee that new positions be funded for more than a year. School nurses, counselors and librarians are also members of the union and striking. [Los Angeles Times]


$1.3 billion takeover offer

Something called MNG Enterprises, a hedge-fund-owned company which controls a large group of newspapers, has proposed taking over Gannett, the large newspaper publisher, with a more than $1.3 billion offer. According to the Times, the hedge fund, Alden Global Capital, has been criticized as a ruthless “corporate strip-miner” and a “destroyer of newspapers.” [The New York Times]


2 dead, 40 detained

Two people were killed and about 40 detained in “a new crackdown on gays” in Chechnya, according to LGBTQ activists, though Chechen authorities have denied it. In 2017, there were similar reports of the arrests of more than 100 gay men in the Russian republic, some of whom were tortured and killed. [Associated Press]


52 percent plummet

The stock price of PG&E, which owns Pacific Gas and Electric, fell 52 percent yesterday. The company announced that it will file for bankruptcy — it faces at least $30 billion in liability from wildfires in 2017 and 2018 that were allegedly started by the company’s equipment. [CNBC]


2,300-word letter

Emmanuel Macron, the president of France, authored a 2,300-word letter, which will be published in French newspapers, designed to spark a national debate and stem the “yellow vest” anti-government protests in the country that have stretched for nine weeks. The letter asks a series of questions including “Which taxes do you think we should cut?” and “Are there too many administrative layers?” [Reuters]


320 million streams

Norway’s National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime (or NAIPEEC, I assume) is investigating 320 million streams on the music service Tidal of Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” and Kanye West’s “The Life of Pablo” — streams that may have been fraudulent. Artificially inflating stream numbers could inflate the royalty payments due to artists — payments on which Tidal has reportedly fallen months behind. [The Verge]


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Oliver Roeder is a senior writer for FiveThirtyEight.

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