Hard Numbers

25: China has announced that it will increase its defense budget by 7.5 percent to $179 billion in 2019. While that's smaller than last year's 8.5 percent boost, it marks the 25th consecutive year that Beijing has increased military spending.

3.5: A child born in Venezuela today can expect to live 3.5 years less than one born into the previous generation, according to the Universidad Central y la Simón Bolívar.

$226,500: Spain's far-right Vox party brought in $226,500 in online donations in just two days this week. The upstart party is relying on grassroots support ahead of parliamentary elections on April 28 because it's too small to qualify for the public subsidies given to the country's dominant political groups.

$8.7 billion: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg saw his net worth shrink by $8.7 billion in 2018, amid tightening margins and a political backlash against the tech giant. Not to worry, though – Zuck is still sitting on $62.3 billion, according to latest Forbes billionaires ranking.

95: French President Emmanuel Macron has delivered or begun the process of legislating 95 percent of the 60 reforms he's initiated since coming to office in 2017, according to the think tank iFRAP. The question now is whether he can achieve similar success at the European level, after outlining an extensive agenda to do so this week.

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.