Hard Numbers: China hits zero, Iran prisoner pardon, Americans on the brink, and Mexican justice

10,000: Iran's supreme leader will pardon 10,000 prisoners, including political ones arrested during anti-government rallies, as a goodwill gesture in honor of Iran's Nowruz New Year. That's on top of the 85,000 prisoners the government recently released to stem the spread of the coronavirus.


29: Our nerves are shot right now, and many Americans believe the end is near. A YouGov survey conducted in late February found that 29 percent of American adults believe there will be an apocalyptic disaster in their lifetime. Some 17 percent say they have an apocalyptic plan in place for their families. Phew!

43: A Mexican judge has issued an arrest warrant for a senior official at the Attorney General's office who oversaw the infamous case of 43 college students who disappeared in 2014. The judicial pursuit of the high-level official believed to have participated in the gruesome crimes (and who is now on the run) is a big deal considering that over 90 percent of all crimes in Mexico go unpunished.

0: As much of the world is battling the coronavirus outbreak, China reached a significant milestone Thursday. Granted Chinese statistics aren't always reliable, the government reported no new locally transmitted infections for the first time. But many worry about what would happen if a second wave hits China, because many of the rigorous measures implemented by Beijing to curb the disease's spread aren't sustainable in the long term.

Brazil's governors take on Bolsonaro: We've previously written about the tensions between local and national governments over coronavirus response, but few places have had it as bad as Brazil. As COVID-19 infections surged in Brazil, the country's governors quickly mobilized – often with scarce resources – to enforce citywide lockdowns. Brazil's gangs have even risen to the occasion, enforcing strict curfews to limit the virus' spread in Rio de Janeiro. But Brazil's president, Jair Bolsonaro, has mocked the seriousness of the disease and urged states to loosen quarantines in order to get the economy up and running again. "Put the people to work," he said this week, "Preserve the elderly; preserve those who have health problems. But nothing more than that." In response, governors around the country – including some of his allies – issued a joint letter to the president, begging him to listen to health experts and help states contain the virus. The governor of Sao Paulo, Brazil's economic powerhouse, has even threatened to sue the federal government if Bolsonaro continues to undermine his efforts to combat the virus' spread.

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The major outbreaks of coronavirus in China, Europe, and the United States have garnered the most Western media attention in recent weeks. Yesterday, we went behind the headlines to see how Mexico and Russia are faring. Today, we'll look at three other potential hotspots where authorities and citizens are now contending with the worst global pandemic in a century.

Start with India. For weeks, coronavirus questions hovered above that other country with a billion-plus people, a famously chaotic democracy where the central government can't simply order a Chinese-scale public lockdown with confidence that it will be respected. It's a country where 90 percent of people work off the books— without a minimum wage, a pension, a strong national healthcare system, or a way to work from home.

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In the end, it took the coronavirus to break the year-long deadlock in Israeli politics. Prime Minister Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu will still face corruption charges, but he has yet another new lease on political life, as he and political rival Benny Gantz cut a deal yesterday: Bibi will continue as prime minister, with Gantz serving as Speaker of the Knesset, Israel's parliament. After 18 months, Gantz will take over as prime minister, but many doubt that will ever happen.

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With large parts of the American economy shuttered because of coronavirus-related lockdowns, the number of people filing jobless claims in the US last week exceeded 3.2 million, by far the highest number on record. Here's a look at the historical context. The surge in jobless claims, which may be an undercount, is sure to cause a spike in the unemployment rate (which tells you the percent of work-ready people who are looking for a job). At last reading in February, unemployment was at a 50-year low of 3.5 percent. Economists warn that it could reach 5.5 percent in the near term. Even that would be far lower than the jobless rates recorded during previous economic crises such as the Great Depression or the Great Recession. Have a look.