HARD NUMBERS

20: El Salvador last week granted early release to three women serving 30-year prison sentences for having abortions after each spent a decade behind bars. As many as 20 other women remain imprisoned in the Central American country on similar charges, according to activists.

70: White farmers control about 70 percent of farms in South Africa that are held by individual owners, according to government statistics. President Cyril Ramaphosa's governing African National Congress, under pressure from the far-left, is pushing to change the country's constitution to allow expropriation of farmland ahead of elections in the country later this year.

50: The Taliban killed or captured an entire Afghan army company – about 50 soldiers – during ongoing US peace talks. That's one way to drive a hard bargain.

29: A recent Pew study showed that 29% of US adults say they make no purchases using cash during a typical week, up from 24% four years ago. Going cashless is convenient for some, but a number of US cities are considering banning cashless businesses, because of concerns that they exclude poorer people who don't have credit/bank cards. Philadelphia has already done so, and others may follow soon.

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.