Hard Numbers

2.4: Turkey fell into an official recession after data showed the economy shrank by 2.4 percent during the last 3 months of 2018 – the second successive quarter of falling output. That's bad news for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his ruling Justice and Development Party ahead of local elections on March 31.

225: The US military launched 24 airstrikes in Somalia in January and February, killing 225 people. Washington has intensified its fight against Al Shabab militants in the East African country—in all of 2018, the US carried out 47 airstrikes in Somalia, killing 326 people.

22: At least 22 United Nations staff were among the 157 people killed when an Ethiopian Airlines jet crashed shortly after takeoff from Addis Ababa on its way to Kenya this weekend. The UN's World Food Program, the International Telecommunications Union, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, and the UN offices in Nairobi all lost people.

29,000: Around 29,000 people showed up for the latest round of gilets jaunes protests across France this weekend, according to the interior ministry. That's the lowest figure since the protests began last November.

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.