Hard Numbers: Japanese mudslide, Austrian corruption scandal, England's COVID state of play, Israel-South Korea vaccine swap

Police officers conduct a rescue and search operation at the site of a mudslide caused by heavy rain at Izusan district in Atami, Japan July 5, 2021, in this photo taken by Kyodo.

80: Japanese authorities are searching for 80 people missing after a massive mudslide hit the seaside city of Atami, about two hours outside Tokyo. Scientists say that global warming has exacerbated Japan's rainy season in recent years, causing more frequent and intense floods.


5: Austria's former vice chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache is facing corruption charges that could send him to prison for five years. The case is linked to a scandal where Strache allegedly offered to change a law that would benefit a potential donor to his far-right Freedom Party. The 2019 revelations — part of Austria's broader "Ibizagate'' scandal — led to the collapse of the conservative coalition led by Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.

24,000: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Monday that all remaining COVID restrictions in England will likely be lifted by July 19. This is in spite of the fact that England recorded 24,000 new cases on Sunday because of the rapidly spreading Delta variant, the highest daily caseload since February, though hospitalizations and deaths remain low. (Thank you vaccines!)

700,000: As part of a vaccine swap finalized Monday, Israel will give South Korea 700,000 doses of their Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine this month, and Seoul will send back doses to Israel in a few months time. Though South Korea has quickly rolled out vaccines at home, it failed to secure enough doses for its population amid global supply shortages. Israel, on the other hand, has already fully inoculated 55 percent of its population.

"I knew that history was my life's calling."

On Bank of America's That Made All the Difference podcast, Secretary of the Smithsonian Lonnie Bunch shares his journey and present-day work creating exhibits that inspire visitors to help our country live up to its ideals.

A few weeks ago, a Signal reader emailed me to ask why so much of our coverage of the world is so damn dark. Aren't there any good news stories out there?

More Show less

There's a lot of doom and gloom in the world these days, and much cause for pessimism. Still, the advent of new technologies and scientific advancements has lifted millions out of poverty and increased quality of life for many over the last half century. Since 1990, global average life expectancy has increased by eight years to 73, while GDP per capita has also grown exponentially, doubling over the past decade alone. We take a look at how life expectancy and GDP per capita have evolved globally from 1960-2019.

Get insights on the latest news in US politics from Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington:

Why can't President Biden order a vaccine mandate for all Americans?

Well, the reason is it's out of his powers. The one of the fundamental challenges in the pandemic is that the federal government has actually been fairly limited in the steps they can take to stop the spread of the virus. So, that's why you've seen President Biden order masks on transit, mass transit, airplanes, and the like. But he can't order masks in workplaces because that's not within his power. That power lies within state governments. State governments and other entities, like employers, can require vaccinations before you come into their buildings, or you come back to school, or you go to work in your office. But the federal government can't do that. What Biden is doing is, allegedly, supposedly going to announce a mandate for federal workers to get vaccinated.

More Show less

American gymnast Sunisa "Suni" Lee, 18, stunned spectators around the world with her breathtaking performance in Tokyo Thursday that earned her the gold.

Here are some interesting facts about Suni Lee, the gymnast queen:

More Show less

"Super Mario" takes his chances: Less than five months after becoming Italy's consensus prime minister, Mario Draghi's coalition government is on shaky ground over Draghi's proposed judicial reforms. "Super Mario" — as he's known for saving the Eurozone as European Central Bank chief during the financial crisis — wants to dramatically speed up Italy's famously slow courts. But his push to reduce judicial backlogs is opposed both by the populist 5-Star Movement, the coalition government's biggest party, and by prosecutors because many cases could be scrapped before reaching a verdict. Draghi, upset that this resistance is stalling his other initiatives to cut Italian red tape, has decided to roll the dice anyway: he'll put his plan to overhaul the courts to a no-confidence vote in parliament. If Draghi wins, he gets the reforms passed without debate; if he loses, the PM technically has to resign, but he'll keep his job because he has enough votes even if the 5-Star Movement bows out of the coalition.

More Show less

Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden, shares his perspective from Europe:

What is going on in Bosnia with Bosnian Serbs boycotting all major institutions?

Well, it's a reaction against a decision that was taken by the outgoing high representative during his very last days, after 12 years of having done very little in this respect, to have a law banning any denial of Srebrenica and other genocides. But this issue goes to very many other aspects of the Bosnian situation. So, it has created a political crisis that will be somewhat difficult to resolve.

More Show less

700: Roughly 700 people arrested for joining the unprecedented July 11 anti-government protests in Cuba are still being held by the regime. They may now face mass show trials as Havana continues to crack down on dissent following the biggest challenge to its power in decades.

More Show less

Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter, Signal

GZERO World with Ian Bremmer. Watch episodes now

GZEROMEDIA

Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter: Signal

The history of disasters

GZERO World Clips
GZERO World with Ian Bremmer. Watch episodes now

GZEROMEDIA

Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter: Signal