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Significant Digits For Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019

You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the numbers tucked inside the news. I’m your host, Candice Norwood. Send any tips or suggestions to me.


20 miles of border fencing

President Trump’s border wall construction has hit a roadblock — again. The Defense Department will not move forward with three border wall projects in California and Arizona, citing “insufficient contract savings.” The move comes after Trump faced backlash for tapping into Pentagon funds to build part of the wall. A Monday court filing, however, reveals that there were not enough funds to cover the costs of these three projects. As of late August, about 60 miles of wall along the southern border had been updated. [CNN]


More than 150 countries

Swedish teen Greta Thunberg has become the face of a global movement to fight climate change, and on Friday, she and advocates in more than 150 countries will participate in the Global Climate Strike. In the U.S., the event is expected to draw thousands of strikers in New York City, Minneapolis, Denver and Washington, D.C., among others. This comes ahead of the U.N. Climate Action Summit, at which countries are supposed to offer concrete plans to curb greenhouse gas emissions. [Vox]


No. 33

A female athlete gets a big-time honor in Texas. The University of Texas will retire the jersey of basketball player Kamie Ethridge, who wore No. 33. This is the first time the university has done this for a female athlete. Ethridge lead Texas to the 1986 NCAA championship and won a gold medal for the U.S. at the 1988 Olympics. Her jersey will be retired during halftime of Saturday’s football game between Texas and LSU. [Associated Press/WTOP]


8 years of tax returns

The battle over President Trump’s tax returns is shaping up to be a never-ending saga. This week, state prosecutors in Manhattan subpoenaed eight years of his personal and corporate tax returns. The subpoena was issued shortly after the Manhattan district attorney’s office opened a criminal investigation into hush-money payments made leading up to the 2016 election. This subpoena is one of several attempts to obtain copies of the president’s tax returns, which the president said he would make public on the campaign trail. He has yet to do so. [The New York Times]


75 years old

ABC News journalist and political commentator Cokie Roberts has died at the age of 75. The veteran journalist began her career at NPR in 1978, where she established herself as a leading voice and pioneering woman in public broadcasting. She joined ABC in 1988. Roberts died Tuesday due to complications from breast cancer. [NPR]


40 percent of Democratic voters

Democrats really want to beat Trump. About 40 percent of respondents said after the third Democratic debate that a candidate’s ability to beat Trump was the most important factor in determining their primary vote. Eleven percent of voters listed health care as their top concern and about 9 percent said the economy. Former Vice President Biden scored better among voters who said beating Trump was their top priority than the broader respondent pool; however, Sen. Elizabeth Warren exited the debate with the highest overall numbers. [FiveThirtyEight]


Candice writes the Significant Digits column for FiveThirtyEight, and is interested in how race, gender and class shape societies throughout the world. Most recently, she worked as a staff writer for Governing Magazine and a White House stringer with Bloomberg News.

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