HARD NUMBERS

70,000: China agreed to crack down on exports of the illicit drug fentanyl and its chemical precursors as part of a deal to diffuse trade tensions agreed with the US last weekend, at least according to the Trump administration. A record 70,000 Americans died of drug overdoses last year – many of them from opioids laced with fentanyl. Some critics questioned whether China will follow through on a promise it's made to previous administrations.


125: The world's largest Orthodox cathedral, which opened in the Romanian capital of Bucharest last week, is turning heads. Along with its height of 400 feet, the $125 million price tag, about three quarters of which was funded by taxpayers, has ruffled feathers in one of Europe's poorest countries.

78: With campaign season in full swing, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari is set to face off against a record 78 opponents in an election seen as a referendum on his handling of a lackluster economy and the violent insurgency of Boko Haram. All things considered, he could maybe use a few more body doubles.

8: It's been eight months since the US has had an aircraft carrier stationed in the Persian Gulf – the longest such lull in nearly two decades. That will change in a few days when the USS John C. Stennis steams into the region for a two-month deployment amid rising US pressure on Iran.

It was inevitable that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would make India's elections a referendum on Narendra Modi, and now that the vast majority of 600 million votes cast have been counted, it's clear he made the right call.

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Among the 23 men and women now seeking the Democratic Party's nomination to take on Donald Trump in next year's election, the frontrunner, at least for now, has spent half a century in politics. Former Vice President Joe Biden, first elected to the US Senate in 1972, is the very epitome of the American political establishment.

Yet, the dominant political trend in many democracies today is public rejection of traditional candidates and parties of the center-right and center-left in favor of new movements, voices, and messages. Consider the evidence from some recent elections:

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It's Friday, and Signal readers deserve at least one entirely upbeat news story.

José Obdulio Gaviria, a Colombian senator for the rightwing Democratic Center party, is an outspoken opponent of government attempts to make peace with the FARC rebel group after 50 years of conflict.

On his way into a meeting earlier this week, Gaviria collapsed. It was later reported that he had fainted as a result of low blood pressure probably caused by complications following recent open heart surgery.

A political rival, Senator Julian Gallo, quickly came to his rescue and revived him using resuscitation skills he learned as—irony alert—a FARC guerrilla. CPR applied by Gallo helped Gaviria regain consciousness, before another senator, who is also professional doctor, took over. Gaviria was taken to hospital and appears to have recovered.

Because some things will always be more important than politics.