Hard Numbers: China Pumping Out Those Warships

200: Emperor Akihito of Japan stepped down from his symbolic role as head of state on Tuesday after 30 years–the first time a Japanese emperor has voluntarily abdicated in more than 200 years. His successor, Crown Prince Naruhito, ascends the Chrysanthemum Throne today.

5: The Islamic State released a clip showing its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, in his first video appearance in five years. He is rallying his supporters and sympathizers after ISIS, which once ran a state the size of Great Britain, lost its last bits of territory in April.

40: Ethiopia rose 40 spots in Reporters Without Borders' 2019 World Press Freedom Index following a series of reforms passed by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed last year. Good progress, though the East African nation still ranks 110th out of 180 countries on the list.

400,000: China launched almost 400,000 metric tons of new warships, submarines, support ships, and other naval vessels between 2015 and 2017, according to data compiled by the International Institute for Strategic Studies – about twice the output of US shipyards over the same period. China has the world's fastest growing navy.

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.