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Hard Numbers: Italian cabinet crisis, Chinese jab woes, Israel raids Syria, Africa procures vaccines

Italian Prime Minister Guiseppe Conte. Reuters

2: Italy's fragile coalition government collapsed on Wednesday after a small center-left party headed by former prime minister Matteo Renzi withdrew its two ministers and pulled support over a dispute about how to spend EU coronavirus relief funds. Renzi wants to take more money from the European Stability Fund, but current Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte is reluctant to plunge Italy into further debt.


50.4: New clinical trials in Brazil show that the Chinese Sinovac vaccine is only 50.4 percent effective against COVID-19, lower than the 78 percent effectiveness reported a week ago by the Brazilian health authorities — and barely over the 50 percent threshold required for approval. Less effective drugs pose a major challenge to China's efforts to use vaccine diplomacy to build trust and relationships in the developing world.

57: Israeli air strikes in Syria killed a total 57 Syrian government soldiers and allied fighters on Wednesday morning, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The raids were carried out with intelligence provided by the US, and targeted warehouses believed to store weapons provided by Iran.

300 million: The African Union has secured almost 300 million doses of coronavirus vaccines for the continent. The deal for the extra jabs — which will be purchased outside of the global COVAX facility — was announced as infections are rising in African nations such as South Africa, which closed its borders after detecting a new strain.

Empathy and listening are key to establishing harmonious relationships, as demonstrated by Callista Azogu, GM of Human Resources & Organization for Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC), an Eni subsidiary in Abuja. "To build trust is very difficult. To destroy it is very easy," says Callista, whose busy days involve everything from personnel issues to union relationships. She sees great potential for her native Nigeria not only because of the country's natural resources, but because of its vibrant and creative people.

Learn more about Callista in this episode of Faces of Eni.

For the world's wealthiest nations, including the United States, the rollout of COVID-19 vaccine has been rocky, to say the least. And as a result, much of the developing world will have to wait even longer for their turn. Part of the challenge, World Bank President David Malpass says, is that "advanced economies have reserved a lot of the vaccine doses." Malpass sat down with Ian Bremmer recently to talk about what his organization is doing to try to keep millions around the world from slipping deeper into poverty during the pandemic. Their conversation was part of the latest episode of GZERO World.

World Bank President David Malpass was as horrified at what he saw during the January 6th pro-Trump riots on the Capitol as millions of other Americans. But he was concerned for another reason as well: "From the standpoint of world development, it distracts attention at a time when we need to help countries actually develop and get beyond COVID and get back to growth path." He joined Ian Bremmer to talk about how the civil unrest on Washington was distracting from the urgent development work of the World Bank during a pandemic. Their conversation was part of the latest episode of GZERO World.

14,000: Cash-strapped Venezuela has sent enough oxygen to fill 14,000 individual canisters to its more prosperous neighbor Brazil, which is suffering a shortage of oxygen supplies for COVID patients in hard-hit Amazonas state. In response, right-wing Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said Venezuela's socialist leader Nicolás Maduro should be dispatching emergency supplies to needy Venezuelans.

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Saturday will mark the beginning of an historic turning point for European politics as 1,001 voting members of Germany's Christian Democratic Union, the party of Chancellor Angela Merkel, hold an online conference to elect a new leader.

Here are the basic facts:

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The GZERO World Podcast with Ian Bremmer. Listen now.

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