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Hard Numbers: Bolsonaro's approval dips, support for Spain's pro-independence rapper, Italians killed in DRC, Britain's reopening plan

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro

32.9: A new poll shows Brazil's rightwing president Jair Bolsonaro's approval rating has plunged to 32.9 percent, down nearly 10 points since October. In part the dip reflects his recent unpopular decision to appoint a retired general with no energy experience to run the state oil company, sending Brazil's markets into a tailspin. Bolsonaro — up for re-election next year — has been pretty resilient despite leading an incompetent pandemic response. Is his number up?


7: Protests have continued in Madrid and Barcelona for seven straight days over the arrest of pro-independence Catalan rapper Pablo Hasél, accused of insulting the Spanish crown and "glorifying terrorism." Some of the protesters have clashed with police, vandalized banks, and ransacked stores.

3: Militants in the Democratic Republic of Congo killed three people Monday, including Italy's ambassador, in an attack on a UN convoy. UN peacekeeping troops have struggled to keep the peace in eastern DRC, where weak governance has left a power vacuum that's been filled by militias, forcing thousands of Congolese to flee.

17 million: Now that Britain has given vaccines to 17 million people (around 27 percent of the population) Prime Minister Boris Johnson is unveiling a cautious reopening plan. Schools in England will reopen in two weeks time, Johnson announced, while restaurants, bars, shops, and gyms will resume business at the end of March. The PM said the reopening will move slowly because he wants this to be the country's last lockdown.

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.

Afghanistan frustrated nineteenth-century British imperialists for 40 years, and ejected the Soviet army in 1989 after a bloody decade there. And though American and NATO forces ousted the Taliban government in 2001 over its support for al-Qaeda, there's no good reason for confidence that nearly 20 years of occupation have brought lasting results for security and development across the country.

But… could China succeed where other outsiders have failed – and without a costly and risky military presence? Is the promise of lucrative trade and investment enough to ensure a power-sharing deal among Afghanistan's warring factions?

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Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden, shares his perspective from Stockholm on Europe In 60 Seconds:

Is there a military coup ongoing in Armenia?

Well, it isn't a military coup as of yet, but it's not far from it either. This is the turmoil that is resulting from the war with Azerbaijan, which Armenia took a large death loss. What happened was that the head of the armed forces asked for the prime minister to resign. That was not quite a coup, but not very far from it. Now, the prime minister sacked the head of the armed forces, there's considerable uncertainty. Watch the space.

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In the fall of 2019, weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic would change the world, Ian Bremmer asked Dr. Fauci what kept him up at night and he described a "a pandemic-like respiratory infection." Fast-forward to late February 2021 and Dr. Fauci tells Ian, "I think we are living through much of that worst nightmare." Dr. Fauci returns to GZERO World to take stock of the nightmare year and to paint a picture of what the end of the pandemic could look like—and when it could finally arrive.

Catch the full episode of GZERO World, where Dr. Fauci discusses the latest in vaccine roll out, schools re-openings, and plenty more, on US public television stations nationwide, beginning Friday, February 26. Check local listings.

Egypt and Sudan want some dam help: Cairo and Khartoum have called on the US, EU, and UN to intervene in their ongoing dispute with neighboring Ethiopia over that country's construction of a massive hydroelectric dam on the Nile. Egypt and Sudan, which are downstream of Ethiopia and worry about their farmers losing water, want binding targets and dispute resolution mechanisms, while Ethiopia, which sees the dam as a critical piece of its economic future, wants more flexibility and has given little ground in talks. Efforts by the African Union to mediate have failed as Ethiopia presses ahead with filling the dam even after being sanctioned by the Trump administration last year for doing so. The dispute over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, as it is called, has threatened to spill into military conflict at several points in recent years. Can the "international community" turn things around?

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The GZERO World Podcast with Ian Bremmer. Listen now.

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