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Hard Numbers: Biden sanctions Myanmar generals, Twitter caves to India, COVID cases slow in US, the cost of Brexit

Hard Numbers: Biden sanctions Myanmar generals, Twitter caves to India, COVID cases slow in US, the cost of Brexit

1 billion: The Biden administration has frozen about $1 billion in Myanmar state funds in US bank accounts under new sanctions following the February 1 coup. The sanctions — which will have limited effect given weak trade relations between the two countries — come as the junta faces mass street protests demanding a return to democracy and the release of deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi.


500: Reversing the reversion of its first policy reversion on the issue, Twitter finally caved to pressure from the Indian government and blocked over 500 accounts that criticized New Delhi for its handling of the farmer-led protests against controversial new agriculture laws. But the Indians were not placated: hours later the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology responded to Twitter's decision with a post on local rival social media platform Koo.

36: The number of new coronavirus cases in the US has dropped by 36 percent in the last two weeks to just under 95,000 as of February 10. Deaths are also declining, while daily vaccination shots have almost tripled since the beginning of the year. However, COVID is still spreading across America faster than any other hard-hit populous nation — and there's growing concern over new variants causing fresh outbreaks.

2.25: The European Union estimates that Brexit will cost the UK economy 2.25 percent in lost GDP by the end of 2022, compared to how the British economy would have fared had it remained in the EU. That's more than four times the 0.5 percent contraction that Brussels predicts the EU will suffer during the same period.

Wales, early 19th century: During breaks from his law studies, William Robert Grove indulges in his passion for science to become an inventor. On his honeymoon in Europe, he learns about the new energy source everyone's talking about: electricity. After learning that electricity allows water to be broken down into its two components, hydrogen and oxygen, his intuition leads him to an idea that ends up making him a pioneer of sustainable energy production.

Watch the story of William Robert Grove in Eni's MINDS series, where we travel through time seeking scientists.

El Salvador's President Nayib Bukele is an unusual politician. The 39-year old political outsider boasts of his political triumphs on TikTok, dons a suave casual uniform (backwards-facing cap; leather jacket; tieless ), and refuses to abide by Supreme Court rulings.

Bukele also enjoys one of the world's highest approval ratings, and that's what helped his New Ideas party clinch a decisive victory in legislative elections on February 28, securing a close to two-third's supermajority (75 percent of the vote had been counted at the time of this writing).

His triumph will resonate far beyond the borders of El Salvador, Central America's smallest country, home to 6.5 million people. Now that Bukele has consolidated power in a big way, here are a few key developments to keep an eye on.

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Now that millions of high-priority Americans have been vaccinated, many people in low-risk groups are starting to ask the same question: when's my turn? Dr. Anthony Fauci, America's top infectious diseases expert, has an answer, but probably not the one they're hoping for: "It probably won't be until May or June before we can at least start to get the normal non-prioritized person vaccinated." On GZERO World, Dr. Fauci also addresses another burning question: why aren't schools reopening faster? And while Dr. Fauci acknowledges that reopening schools must be a top priority, he has no quick fixes there, either. In fact, that's kind of a theme of the interview.

Watch the GZERO World episode: Dr. Fauci's Pandemic Prognosis

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

I thought I would talk today, I haven't spoken much about former President Trump since he's no longer president and I intend to continue that practice. But given this weekend and the big speech at CPAC and the fact that in the straw poll, Trump won and won by a long margin. I mean, DeSantis came in number two, but he's the Governor of Florida, CPAC was in Orlando, so that's a home court bias. In reality, it's Trump's party. And I think given all of that, it's worth spending a little bit of time reflecting on what that means, how I think about these things.

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Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hi, everybody. Ian Bremmer here, and as we head into the weekend, a Quick Take on, well, the first bombing campaign of the new Biden administration. You kind of knew it was going to happen. Against some Iranian-backed militias in Syria, looks like a couple of dozen, perhaps more killed, and some militia-connected military facilities destroyed. I think there are a few ways to look at this, maybe three different lenses.

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The GZERO World Podcast with Ian Bremmer. Listen now.

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Biden strikes Syria. Now what?

Quick Take