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.

Last week, in Fulton, WI, together with election officials from the state of Wisconsin and the election technology company VotingWorks, Microsoft piloted ElectionGuard in an actual election for the first time.

As voters in Fulton cast ballots in a primary election for Wisconsin Supreme Court candidates, the official count was tallied using paper ballots as usual. However, ElectionGuard also provided an encrypted digital tally of the vote that enabled voters to confirm their votes have been counted and not altered. The pilot is one step in a deliberate and careful process to get ElectionGuard right before it's used more broadly across the country.

Read more about the process at Microsoft On The Issues.

The risk of a major technology blow-up between the US and Europe is growing. A few weeks ago, we wrote about how the European Union wanted to boost its "technological sovereignty" by tightening its oversight of Big Tech and promoting its own alternatives to big US and Chinese firms in areas like cloud computing and artificial intelligence.

Last week, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and her top digital officials unveiled their first concrete proposals for regulating AI, and pledged to invest billions of euros to turn Europe into a data superpower.


Communal violence in Delhi: Over the past few days, India's capital city has seen its deadliest communal violence in decades. This week's surge in mob violence began as a standoff between protesters against a new citizenship law that critics say discriminates against India's Muslims and the law's Hindu nationalist defenders. Clashes between Hindu and Muslim mobs in majority-Muslim neighborhoods in northeast Delhi have killed at least 11 people, both Muslim and Hindu, since Sunday. We're watching to see how Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government responds – Delhi's police force reports to federal, rather than local, officials.


Ian Bremmer's perspective on what's happening in geopolitics:

What are the takeaways from President Trump's visit to India?

No trade deal, in part because Modi is less popular and he's less willing to focus on economic liberalization. It's about nationalism right now. Hard to get that done. But the India US defense relationship continues to get more robust. In part, those are concerns about China and Russia.


27,000: The Emir of Qatar has decreed a $27,000 fine and up to five years in prison for anyone who publishes, posts, or repost content that aims to "harm the national interest" or "stir up public opinion." No word on whether the Doha-based Al-Jazeera network, long a ferocious and incisive critic of other Arab governments, will be held to the same standard.