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Hard Numbers: Ecuador as epicenter, cocaine face masks, Libya ceasefire, Ortega returns

Hard Numbers: Ecuador as epicenter, cocaine face masks, Libya ceasefire, Ortega returns

1.3 million: British customs officials confiscated a whopping $1.3 million worth of cocaine smuggled in a shipment of face masks this week, yet another sign of the way organized crime groups are exploiting the current health crisis to maximize their profits.

34: After a 34-day absence from public view, in which conspiracies circulated that he was either dead or gravely ill, Nicaragua's leftist president Daniel Ortega reappeared Wednesday with a televised address to the nation, in which he struck back at widespread criticism that his government has done little to halt the spread of the coronavirus.

10: A 10-day ceasefire in war-torn Libya will come into effect today after the UN implored the Tripoli-based government and rival forces to cease hostilities as dozens of coronavirus cases were confirmed in that country. Libya's weak healthcare infrastructure could not withstand a serious COVID-19 outbreak, the UN warns.

1,900: In just two weeks, around 1,900 bodies were collected in Guayaquil, Ecuador's main industrial hub, for burial – a five-fold increase in that city's normal mortality rate. Guayaquil is now Latin America's coronavirus epicenter, with gruesome images emerging in recent weeks of bodies piling up in the streets because hospitals, morgues, and crematoriums have been pushed to the brink.

Khant Thaw Htoo is a young engineer who works in Eni's Sakura Tower office in the heart of Yangon. As an HSE engineer, he monitors the safety and environmental impact of onshore and offshore operations. He also looks out for his parents' well-being, in keeping with Myanmar's traditions.

Learn more about Khant in the final episode of the Faces of Eni series, which focuses on Eni's employees around the world.

Over the weekend, some 40,000 people in Moscow and thousands more across Russia braved subzero temperatures to turn out in the streets in support of imprisoned Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny. More than 3,000 protesters were arrested, and Navalny called on his followers to prepare for more action in the coming weeks.

But just who is Alexei Navalny, and how significant is the threat that he may pose to Vladimir Putin's stranglehold on power in Russia?

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9.2 trillion: COVID vaccine hoarding by rich countries and uneven global access to the jabs will draw out the global recovery from the pandemic. In fact, it'll cost the world economy as much as $9.2 trillion, according to a new study by the International Chamber of Commerce.

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The United States has never been more divided, and it's safe to say that social media's role in our national discourse is a big part of the problem. But renowned tech journalist Kara Swisher doesn't see any easy fix. "I don't know how you fix the architecture of a building that is just purposely dangerous for everybody." Swisher joins Ian Bremmer to talk about how some of the richest companies on Earth, whose business models benefit from discord and division, can be compelled to see their better angels. Their conversation was part of the latest episode of GZERO World.

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take (part 1):

Ian Bremmer here, happy Monday. And have your Quick Take to start off the week.

Maybe start off with Biden because now President Biden has had a week, almost a week, right? How was it? How's he doing? Well, for the first week, I would say pretty good. Not exceptional, but not bad, not bad. Normal. I know everyone's excited that there's normalcy. We will not be excited there's normalcy when crises start hitting and when life gets harder and we are still in the middle of a horrible pandemic and he has to respond to it. But for the first week, it was okay.

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The GZERO World Podcast with Ian Bremmer. Listen now.


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