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Commodity dependency. A risky state. Between 2000 and 2011 broad indices of commodity prices tripled, easily outpacing global growth.

Commodity dependency. A risky state

Since then prices have changed course. Some commodities have endured ferocious price falls: oil peaked at $115 a barrel in June, and by early December was trading at around $70 a barrel. Such reversals are naturally much better news for net importers of resources than for net exporters. Producing countries, many of which are relatively poor, suffer when prices drop. Our interactive maps display data from the UN Conference on Trade and Development, and show which countries are net importers and exports of primary commodities in general, and of oil, metals and food in particular. Income inequality in China and the urban-rural divide. Beijing traffic jam (Wikimedia) China’s economy is the second-largest in the world, after that of the United States, but its GDP is rising fast — up 12.4% in dollar terms in 2013.

Income inequality in China and the urban-rural divide

For most nations that would be a stellar year — the United States managed 3.2% in the fourth quarter of last year — but China had registered 18% or more every year from 2006 to 2011. As is often the case, the growth in household income hasn’t been uniformly distributed. The country’s poorer residents have benefited: “We can reasonably expect the virtual elimination of extreme poverty [in China] by 2022,” the World Bank reported in 2013. But a survey by Peking University the same year found that the top 5% of the country’s households took home 23% of the total household income in 2012, while the bottom 5% earned just 0.1%. A 2014 study published in the U.S.

Expanding the Panama Canal. In 2006, Panamanians approved a referendum to expand the Panama Canal, doubling its capacity and allowing far larger ships to transit the 100-year-old waterway between the Atlantic and Pacific.

Expanding the Panama Canal

Work began in 2007 to raise the capacity of Gatun Lake and build two new sets of locks, which would accommodate ships carrying up to 14,000 containers of freight, tripling the size limit. Sixteen massive steel gates, weighing an average of 3,100 tons each, were built in Italy and shipped to Panama to be installed in the new locks. Eight years and $5.2 billion later, the expansion project is nearing completion. The initial stages of flooding the canals have begun and the projected opening date has been set for April of 2016. Read more Hints:View this page full screen. The Economist sur Twitter : "Africa's economy is slowly growing, as foreign investments pour in. What are they targeting? Visual Data sur Twitter : "pewresearch: Cell phones are pervasive in Africa. In 2002,... 12 Data visualizations that illustrate poverty’s biggest challenges.

A map of all the underwater cables that connect the internet. Cables lying on the seafloor bring the internet to the world.

A map of all the underwater cables that connect the internet

They transmit 99 percent of international data, make transoceanic communication possible in an instant, and serve as a loose proxy for the international trade that connects advanced economies. Their importance and proliferation inspired Telegeography to make this vintage-inspired map of the cables that connect the internet. It depicts the 299 cables that are active, under construction, or will be funded by the end of this year. In addition to seeing the cables, you'll find information about "latency" at the bottom of the map (how long it takes for information to transmit) and "lit capacity" in the corners (which shows how much traffic a system can send, usually measured in terabytes).

You can browse a full zoomable version here. The cables are so widely used, as opposed to satellite transmission, because they're so reliable and fast: with high speeds and backup routes available, they rarely fail. Africa's mobile boom powers innovation economy. BBC World Service - A Richer World. Daily chart: Human waste. Explicit cookie consent. Explicit cookie consent. Explicit cookie consent. Medical motorbike couriers battle HIV. The BRIC Countries. (April 2012) For some time now, Brazil, Russia, India, and China have been grouped together under the acronym BRIC.

The BRIC Countries

Welcome to Baku, the Filthy-Rich Capital of Azerbaijan. Baku's newly opened Fairmont Hotel occupies one of three flame-shaped skyscrapers whose curved facades, come nightfall, transform into giant video screens depicting blazing fires.

Welcome to Baku, the Filthy-Rich Capital of Azerbaijan

From the 27th floor, there’s a lovely view of the Azerbaijani capital and its crescent-shaped bay in the Caspian Sea. One evening, an employee joins me at a window near the elevator and directs my gaze to a 162-meter pole topped witha national flag the size of two tennis courts. With evident pride, she tells me it’s the tallest flagpole in the world. In 2010, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev marked its unveiling with an elaborate ceremony featuring scores of goose-stepping soldiers. The catch: Less than a year later, Tajikistan, another oil-rich ex–Soviet republic, unveiled its own record-breaking flagpole, 3 meters (10 feet) taller than Azerbaijan’s.

No matter. Architect Zaha Hadid's sinuous Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku, Azerbaijan. A taxi driver outside Baku's Tom Ford boutique.