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Hard Numbers: Danes spare minks, Brazil vax trials resume, offshore cash for Venezuelans,Trump grift exposed

A mink is seen at the farm of Henrik Nordgaard Hansen and Ann-Mona Kulsoe Larsen near Naestved, Denmark

15: The Danish government has scrapped plans to cull all of the country's nearly 15 million minks, which are believed to carry a mutation of the novel coronavirus. The massive undertaking — which would have required military assistance and a mass mink burial — triggered a political scandal and failed to win sufficient backing in parliament.


2: Two days after Brazil paused a Chinese company's COVID-19 vaccine trial because of a "severe adverse incident," authorities have allowed the trial to resume, revealing that the death of a trial volunteer was not in fact linked to the vaccine. The drug, made by Sinovac Biotech, is one of China's most advanced COVID-19 vaccine candidates.

62,700: Around 62,700 Venezuelan health care workers will receive additional compensation for their heroic efforts to treat COVID-19 patients amid a crippling economic crisis. But the payments aren't coming from the government. Instead, they are being arranged by opposition leader Juan Guaidó who, because he is recognized by the US as president, has gained access to Venezuelan offshore funds in the United States that were seized under sanctions against the regime of strongman president Nicolas Maduro.

8,000: The Trump campaign has been flooding supporters with calls to contribute to its legal fund, as part of its efforts to overturn election results in key states like Michigan and Pennsylvania. But an investigation shows that only donations over $8,000 are in fact going towards the legal fund, while most of the money is in fact being funneled elsewhere, including the Republic National Committee, and a Trump leadership PAC which doles out cash to cover other Republican races, as well as staff travel expenses.

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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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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Iran rules out nuclear talks… for now: Iran has reportedly rejected an offer to join direct talks with the US and EU over its nuclear program, saying it won't start the conversation until sanctions on Iran's economy are eased. To be clear, this does NOT mean that prospects for reviving the Iran nuclear deal are dead. Europeans and the Biden administration want a return to the 2015 nuclear agreement, and Iran certainly needs the economic boost that would come from a removal of sanctions. But Tehran is going to try to maximize its leverage before any talks begin, especially since this is a sensitive election year in in the country. Iran's leaders are going to play hard to get for a while longer before edging their way back to the bargaining table. Still, it's high stakes diplomacy here between parties that have almost no mutual trust — and one misstep could throw things off track quickly.

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18: A week after threatening protesters with a severe crackdown, Myanmar's ruling junta killed at least 18 people across the country in the bloodiest day of clashes since the generals staged a coup last month.
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The GZERO World Podcast with Ian Bremmer. Listen now.

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Biden strikes Syria. Now what?

Quick Take