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Hard Numbers: Ethiopian refugees, US COVID deaths, Aussie misconduct in Afghanistan, UK's defense spending bonanza

Ethiopians who fled the ongoing fighting in Tigray region, wait to be processed for emergency food and logistics support by the World Food Program in Hamdait village on the Sudan-Ethiopia border in eastern Kassala state, Sudan November 17, 2020.

4,000: As many as 4,000 Ethiopians are crossing into Sudan each day as violence in the Tigray region intensifies, causing a mass exodus that's sparked a full-blown "humanitarian crisis," according to the UN. Meanwhile, the Ethiopian government said that it is closing in on Tigray's capital after fighting a weeks-long battle against a coalition led by the radical Tigray People's Liberation Front.

250,000: More than 250,000 people — that's a quarter of a million — have now died from COVID-19 in the United States. This grim milestone comes as debates are raging in various states over how and if to apply new restrictions as coronavirus cases surge. If current trends continue, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation projects the US could top 438,000 deaths by March.

39: An investigation by the Australian Defense Forces into its own conduct in Afghanistan found that elite Australian troops unlawfully killed 39 Afghans from 2005 to 2016. The report, released Thursday after four years of probing, said that the Aussie troops' conduct in Afghanistan was "possibly the most disgraceful episode in Australia's military history."

21 billion: UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said his government will direct a whopping $21 billion (16.5 billion pounds) to the country's military over the next four years, enabling the armed forces to up their cyber and space game, and modernize weaponry. The military investment, Britain's biggest since the Cold War, is in part motivated by Johnson's desire to show US President-elect Joe Biden that the UK is committed to having a strong military capacity after Brexit, analysts say.

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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Now that millions of high-priority Americans have been vaccinated, many people in low-risk groups are starting to ask the same question: when's my turn? Dr. Anthony Fauci, America's top infectious diseases expert, has an answer, but probably not the one they're hoping for: "It probably won't be until May or June before we can at least start to get the normal non-prioritized person vaccinated." On GZERO World, Dr. Fauci also addresses another burning question: why aren't schools reopening faster? And while Dr. Fauci acknowledges that reopening schools must be a top priority, he has no quick fixes there, either. In fact, that's kind of a theme of the interview.

Watch the GZERO World episode: Dr. Fauci's Pandemic Prognosis

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

I thought I would talk today, I haven't spoken much about former President Trump since he's no longer president and I intend to continue that practice. But given this weekend and the big speech at CPAC and the fact that in the straw poll, Trump won and won by a long margin. I mean, DeSantis came in number two, but he's the Governor of Florida, CPAC was in Orlando, so that's a home court bias. In reality, it's Trump's party. And I think given all of that, it's worth spending a little bit of time reflecting on what that means, how I think about these things.

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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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The GZERO World Podcast with Ian Bremmer. Listen now.


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Biden strikes Syria. Now what?

Quick Take