Hard Numbers

250,000: Some 250,000 people left Turkey for work, political, social, or cultural reasons in 2017, twice the number recorded in 2016. The combination of economic turmoil and deepening authoritarianism have pushed younger and more cosmopolitan Turks abroad: almost half of the emigrants were between 25 and 34 years old and 57 percent came from big cities like Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir.


2,312: Researchers mapping illegal mines in the Amazon have identified 2,312 small sites, along with 245 large-scale mining operations in six countries that share the rain-forest. High prices for gold and other rare minerals used in the manufacture of cellphones has spurred a historic surge in illegal mining, which accelerates deforestation and contamination of the rainforest. Venezuela, Brazil, and Ecuador – the top three countries for illegal mines – don't cooperate well enough to address the problem. Very cool interactive map of the sites is here.

42: Russia's role in the world has grown over the past ten years, say 42% of respondents to a global survey by Pew. Whether they think that's a good thing is less clear. Globally, a median of just 34 percent have a favorable view of Russia, while around a quarter say they are confident that Putin will "do the right thing" in world affairs. The most Russia-friendly countries according to the survey are the Philippines, Tunisia, South Korea and Greece.

1: Over the weekend Iraq celebrated the one-year anniversary of the defeat of Islamic State. So how is the self-styled caliphate doing these days? It controls only about 20-square miles of territory, but its attacks have gotten more frequent over the past year, jumping to 75 a month versus 60 in 2016. What's more, the group is believed to still have 20,000 to 30,000 people under arms in Iraq and Syria, about the number that the Central Intelligence Agency estimated in 2014, when ISIS was at its peak.

This time last year, world health experts were speculating about why Africa appeared to have escaped the worst of the global pandemic. Younger populations? Natural immunity created by exposure to past viruses? Something else?

They can stop wondering. Africa is now in the grip of a COVID emergency.

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Listen: Stanford historian Niall Ferguson joins Ian Bremmer on the GZERO World podcast to talk about the geopolitics of disaster. Throughout human history we seem to be unable to adequately prepare for catastrophes (natural or human-caused) before they strike. Why is that? And as we emerge from the greatest calamity of our lifetimes in the COVID-19 pandemic and look to the plethora of crises that climate change has and will cause, what can we do to lessen the blow?

Subscribe to the GZERO World Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or your preferred podcast platform to receive new episodes as soon as they're published.

Get insights on the latest news in US politics from Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi barred two Republican members from serving on the Jan. 6 commission. What's going on?

Well, the Jan. 6 commission was designed to be a bipartisan commission, taking input from members from Democrats and Republicans. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy had the opportunity to make recommendations but the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, could always veto those recommendations. In this case, she did, saying no to two members, Jim Banks and Jim Jordan, both of whom are strongly aligned with President Trump and who voted against certifying the election results in 2020. The Republicans for the most part see the Jan. 6 commission as an opportunity to score political points against them, and the Democrats say this is going to be a fair, non-biased, and nonpartisan investigation into what happened on Jan. 6, starting with a hearing next week with some of the police officers who were involved in the battle with the protesters inside the Capitol.

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In his New York Times op-ed, David Brooks says the US is facing an identity crisis — protecting liberal and progressive values at home while doing little to stop autocrats elsewhere. But has the US really abandoned its values abroad just because it's withdrawing from Afghanistan? Ian Bremmer and Eurasia Group analyst Charles Dunst take out the Red Pen to argue that the US can advance democracy without being the world's sheriff.

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When the Tokyo Olympics begin on Friday, Japan watchers will be following more than just the performance of Japan's star athletes, including tennis star Naomi Osaka. They will also be tracking the political fortunes of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who is taking a big gamble by staging the event — amid a raging pandemic — in the face of strong and longstanding opposition from the Japanese public. What are the stakes for Suga, particularly with elections on the horizon? Eurasia Group senior analyst Ali Wyne explains.

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YouTube pulls Bolsonaro's rants: Google-owned YouTube pulled down a series of videos on the channel of Brazil's populist President Jair Bolsonaro, accusing him of spreading misinformation about the pandemic. YouTube removed more than a dozen clips for touting quack cures for coronavirus or claiming, in defiance of scientific experts, that masks don't reduce COVID transmissions. Last year, Twitter and Facebook also removed some content from Bolsonaro's feeds for similar reasons. But critics say that YouTube's move is too little too late, because Bolsonaro has been spreading misinformation about COVID since the pandemic began. Many Brazilians hold him personally responsible for the country's abysmal pandemic response, which has led to almost 550,000 deaths, the second worst toll in the world. Will YouTube's move change Bolsonaro's message? His weekly address to the nation, where he converses not only with government ministers but also various conspiracy theorists and loons, is broadcast on YouTube. Surely he doesn't want to risk losing that — or does he?

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Boycotts! Bans! Protests! Drugs! Think you've got gold medal knowledge about politics at the Olympics? Test what you know with this special Tokyo Olympics Quiz. And to stay current on all the latest political stories at the Games and around the world, subscribe here to Signal, our daily newsletter. Now, without further ado, the first question is...

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