Hard Numbers

2: China reportedly exaggerated both its nominal and real growth rates by an average of about 2 percentage points per year between 2008 to 2016. If correct, the Chinese economy is about 12 percent smaller today than suggested by official figures. This is yet another warning that international confidence in an economy likely to one day become the world's largest will face serious challenges when a sharp downturn frightens investors.

3.8 million: North Korea's food production fell to its lowest level in more than a decade last year, according to UN and Red Cross officials. A heat wave, a typhoon, and floods diminished the food harvest by 9 percent in 2018. As a result, about 3.8 million North Koreans urgently need humanitarian help.

12 million: US shale has been the world's largest source of new oil supplies over the past eight years. Since 2011, US crude oil production has doubled from 6 million to 12 million barrels per day. In September 2018, the US moved past Russia and Saudi Arabia to become the world's leading oil producer.

89: This week, the European Commission announced that the migration crisis is officially over. In 2018, the UN refugee agency documented 116,647 people crossing the Mediterranean to try to reach Europe, an 89 percent drop from the height of the crisis three years ago.

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.