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Hard Numbers: EU gets more jabs, HK civil servants’ China loyalty pledge, Ecuador pauses recount, North Korean hackers indicted

Hard Numbers: EU gets more jabs, HK civil servants’ China loyalty pledge, Ecuador pauses recount, North Korean hackers indicted

350 million: The European Union has secured an additional 350 million doses of the two-shot Pfizer and Moderna COVID vaccines to be delivered this year. Good news for Brussels, which has been heavily criticized for the EU's bungled vaccine rollout, and lagging behind the US and the UK in the pace of distributing jabs.


180,000: Hong Kong's roughly 180,000 civil servants have until Thursday to sign a document pledging their allegiance to the territory's new China-drafted constitution, or risk losing their jobs. This is China's latest move to assume total control over Hong Kong, where pro-democracy lawmakers have been disqualified for refusing to make similar pledges.

33,000: Ecuador has put on hold a partial recount of the first round of the February 9 presidential election demanded by Yaku Pérez, an indigenous environmental activist who trails conservative candidate Guillermo Lasso for second place by only 33,000 votes. Pérez or Lasso will face socialist candidate and first round winner Andrés Arauz in a runoff vote on April 11.

1.3 billion: The US Department of Justice has charged three North Korean nationals with stealing $1.3 billion in money and cryptocurrency from American businesses, including banks and Hollywood studios. The defendants — all of whom are in North Korea, which will not extradite them to face trial — are also accused of being behind the 2017 WannaCry ransomware attack against global health systems, and one of them was previously indicted for his role in hacking Sony Pictures following the release of "The Interview," a 2014 film which ridiculed North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

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