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Expand chart
Data: UNHCR; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

The number of people killed in armed conflicts has fallen from a recent high of 143,409 in 2014 — the height of the Syrian civil war — to 77,392 last year, per the Uppsala Conflict Data Program.

Zoom in: That's still more people than were killed in 2009 and 2010 combined. This year's deadliest conflicts were in Afghanistan and Syria.

The big picture: No two countries went to war over the past decade. In fact, that hasn't happened since the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

  • Today's deadliest conflicts are civil wars and insurgencies, though some of the fighting — Syria, Libya, Yemen — is fueled by foreign powers.

Armed conflicts are a major driver of the world's most dire food crises.

  • They are in Yemen, South Sudan, Venezuela, Sudan and Zimbabwe.
  • 10.8% of people around the world are undernourished, down only slightly from a decade earlier. The rate in sub-Saharan Africa (22.8%) is actually slightly higher than a decade ago, per the UN.

Violence and hunger in turn drive migration.

  • There are upward of 60 million refugees in the world today, the most since World War II.
  • Syria, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Myanmar and Somalia are the biggest sources of refugees.
  • 85% of refugees are housed in the developing world, with massive burdens falling on countries like Colombia, Bangladesh and Uganda.

Go deeper: The countries where happiness and misery are growing

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
49 mins ago - Technology

Scoop: Google is investigating the actions of another top AI ethicist

Google CEO Sundar Pichai. Photo by Mateusz Wlodarczyk/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Google is investigating recent actions by Margaret Mitchell, who helps lead the company's ethical AI team, Axios has confirmed.

Why it matters: The probe follows the forced exit of Timnit Gebru, a prominent researcher also on the AI ethics team at Google whose ouster ignited a firestorm among Google employees.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Joe Biden's COVID-19 bubble

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The incoming administration is planning extraordinary steps to protect its most prized commodity, Joe Biden, including requiring daily employee COVID tests and N95 masks at all times, according to new guidance sent to some incoming employees Tuesday.

Why it matters: The president-elect is 78 years old and therefore a high risk for the virus and its worst effects, despite having received the vaccine. While President Trump's team was nonchalant about COVID protocols — leading to several super-spreader episodes — the new rules will apply to all White House aides in "high proximity to principals."

Justice Department drops insider trading inquiry against Sen. Richard Burr

Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) walking through the Senate Subway in the U.S. Capitol in December 2020. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

The Department of Justice told Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) on Tuesday that it will not move forward with insider trading charges against him.

Why it matters: The decision, first reported by the New York Times, effectively ends the DOJ's investigation into the senator's stock sell-off that occurred after multiple lawmakers were briefed about the coronavirus' potential economic toll. Burr subsequently stepped down as chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee.