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Hard Numbers: Iran's death clip, COVID soap operas, Afghan jailbreak, police unions and Democrats

Hard Numbers: Iran's death clip, COVID soap operas, Afghan jailbreak, police unions and Democrats

7: A person dies of COVID-19 every seven minutes in Iran, according to the country's state TV broadcaster. Iran was one of the first countries hit by the pandemic after China, and has so far officially registered more than 300,000 cases and close to 18,000 deaths. A new BBC report says the real death toll may be three times as high as the official numbers.


29: At least 29 people have been killed in a wild gun battle between guards and Islamic State fighters at a prison in Jalalabad, Afghanistan which began when the militants crashed the facility's security perimeter with a car bomb on Sunday. Authorities are now trying to find hundreds of Islamic State and Taliban fighters who have escaped from the facility.

6.6 million: In the second quarter of this year, more than 6.6 million people tuned in to the Mexican TV channel Televisa during its prime time slots for soap operas and melodramas. That's up a whopping 33 percent from the same period last year, and it's thought to be the result of pandemic-related stay-at-home orders. The boost comes just in time for TV soap operas which have been losing love to Netflix and other streaming services for years.

55 million: Since 2012, US police unions — which are generally hostile to police reform — have given at least $55 million to the campaigns of candidates running at all levels of government, the Financial Times has found. Most of the top recipients of police money in Congress are Democrats.

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