Eight alleged Maoists, including four women, were killed in an encounter with security forces in Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur district Thursday. Earlier this year, 18 Maoists were killed in two separate encounters in the same district, and at least 39 others were killed in a police operation in Gadchiroli, Maharashtra. The number of Left Wing Extremist (LWE) cadres killed was in three digits in 2016 and 2017, and had touched 119 by the middle of May this year, according to the official count of the Ministry of Home Affairs. The corresponding figure (January-May) in 2017 was 51.
Fact Check, Ground Reality: Do Americans really use 50 crore straws (to drink) every day?
Coffeeshop chain Starbucks, hospitality giant Marriott International, and the US city of Seattle have decided to ban plastic straws, and McDonald’s is doing the same in its UK and Irish outlets. In reports, including those applauding on environmental grounds, and those criticising the step as being insensitive to disabled people, one remarkable figure has recurred: that 500 million — 50 crore — straws are used in the US every day. It is the number that The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, CNN, USA Today, cited.
In fact, 500 million was a number that a boy named Milo Cress, then 9 years old and in grade 4 in school, thought up in 2011. Cress, who had started his own environment protection campaign, “Be Straw Free”, in his hometown, is now 17. He told The NYT: “I came up with this statistic because I couldn’t find anything else about it. If there are other statistics on how many straws we use that are based on more rigorous research, I’m happy to embrace those.” Cress had reached his estimate by calling some straw manufacturers, and realising that “the average of those (numbers that they gave) was 500 million”.
Market research firm Freedonia Group estimated that about 390 million straws were used in the US every day in 2017. A different estimate, by the food service industry consultants Technomic, was much lower: 170 million, but that excluded some kinds of straws, such as those attached to packets of juice or bought for homes.