You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the numbers tucked inside the news.
President Trump’s 43-hour stay in Paris was fraught. As the Washington Post reports, he “brooded” over midterm recounts in Florida, “sulked” over Democratic victories elsewhere, “erupted” at his staff following the media’s coverage of his decision to skip a ceremony honoring World War I veterans, was “resentful” about Emmanuel Macron’s censure of nationalism, and all the while was “plotting a shake-up” of his own administration. I went to Paris once. It was fine. Mostly I got tired, as the ignorant American I am, of asking people if they spoke English. [The Washington Post]
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$50 million diamond
Listen up folks, because this is not a drill: There’s a new per-carat world record for the price of a pink diamond. Seriously. Stop looking at me like that. I know what you’re thinking, “Blah blah blah if I had a nickel for every time I heard …” Well, just stop it. Because this is the real deal. Christie’s sold the nearly 19-carat “Pink Legacy” diamond for $50 million. That’s $2.5 million per carat or something. [CBS News]
20,667 breathalyzer tests
Some 20,667 drunk driving convictions in New Jersey may be thrown out. The New Jersey Supreme Court found that the breathalyzer tests used to secure those convictions were inadmissible. That ruling was the result of charges against a state police sergeant “who was accused of falsifying calibration records on breath test devices” in a number of counties in that state. [The New York Times]
$32,000 in unpaid work
Matthew Whitaker, the acting Attorney General, used to work in private business in Iowa. There, he once “walked away from a taxpayer-subsidized apartment-rehabilitation project.” The city of Des Moines withdrew a loan to Whitaker’s company, and he was foreclosed upon after defaulting on another $700,000 loan. Contractors on the project filed liens seeking recompense for over $32,000 in unpaid work. [Associated Press]
7 percent drop
Oil prices have dropped some 7 percent — to their lowest levels in over eight months. Brent crude was down almost 7 percent, and West Texas intermediate was down more than 7 percent. The drops followed OPEC’s reducing its forecast for global oil demand. [BBC]
$2 billion in tax incentives
Amazon has announced New York and Virginia as its chosen sites for its second headquarters, or “HQ2” — never mind the mangled fact that these are not close to one another and at the very least it’s HQ2 and HQ3, or something similarly stupid. More pertinent is the fact that New York, yours truly apparently included, is paying Amazon $1.2 billion in tax incentives. We — meaning New York — have also apparently agreed to secure Jeff Bezos “access to a helipad.” Jeff, listen, because I’m paying for your gaudy lifestyle: You take the broken-ass subway for a month, and I’ll take the helicopter. After that, I’ll take you out for a beer at a good New York place, on me, we’ll exchange notes on commutes, and go from there. Deal? [The New York Times]
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