Hard Numbers: Mexican women, Lebanese defaults, MH17 victims, and migrant children

1.2 billion: Lebanon, wracked by economic and political crises, will suspend payments of $1.2 billion in loans, marking its first sovereign debt default. As a result, Beirut could face legal action from lenders that could push its already flailing economy (its debt reached 170 percent of GDP) towards collapse.


298: The names of all 298 victims killed in the 2014 downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 were read out in court as the murder trial of four defendants (in absentia) got underway in Amsterdam. It's been six years since the aircraft was hit by a missile fired from territory held by pro-Russian forces amid fighting in eastern Ukraine. The defendants – three Russians and a Ukrainian – all held senior posts in pro-Moscow militias in the region.

5: Five EU countries – Finland, France, Germany, Luxembourg and Portugal – have agreed to take in some migrant children who are trapped in no-man's-land on the Greek islands amid ongoing tensions along the Greek-Turkish border. Around 1,500 children who are unaccompanied or deemed "very sick" will be absorbed in total, according to German media.

67: As women in Mexico hit the streets Sunday and Monday for a national strike against gender-based violence in that country, a new high of 67 percent of Mexican adults – both men and women – agreed that women in their country are "not treated with respect," according to Gallup.

Brazil's governors take on Bolsonaro: We've previously written about the tensions between local and national governments over coronavirus response, but few places have had it as bad as Brazil. As COVID-19 infections surged in Brazil, the country's governors quickly mobilized – often with scarce resources – to enforce citywide lockdowns. Brazil's gangs have even risen to the occasion, enforcing strict curfews to limit the virus' spread in Rio de Janeiro. But Brazil's president, Jair Bolsonaro, has mocked the seriousness of the disease and urged states to loosen quarantines in order to get the economy up and running again. "Put the people to work," he said this week, "Preserve the elderly; preserve those who have health problems. But nothing more than that." In response, governors around the country – including some of his allies – issued a joint letter to the president, begging him to listen to health experts and help states contain the virus. The governor of Sao Paulo, Brazil's economic powerhouse, has even threatened to sue the federal government if Bolsonaro continues to undermine his efforts to combat the virus' spread.

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Governments of the developed world are finally responding with due sense of urgency, individually in 3 different ways.

1st, stand health care systems up so they won't get overwhelmed (late responses). The private & public sector together, building additional ICU beds, supply capacity and production of medical equipment and surge medical personnel in the US, Canada, across Europe & the UK. Unclear if we avoid a Northern Italy scenario. A couple days ago, Dr. Fauci from the NIH said he was hopeful. Epidemiologists and critical care doctors don't feel comfortable. Not in New York, Chicago, LA, Boston, Philadelphia, New Orleans. In Europe, particularly London, Madrid, Catalonia, Barcelona, might be significantly short.

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The major outbreaks of coronavirus in China, Europe, and the United States have garnered the most Western media attention in recent weeks. Yesterday, we went behind the headlines to see how Mexico and Russia are faring. Today, we'll look at three other potential hotspots where authorities and citizens are now contending with the worst global pandemic in a century.

Start with India. For weeks, coronavirus questions hovered above that other country with a billion-plus people, a famously chaotic democracy where the central government can't simply order a Chinese-scale public lockdown with confidence that it will be respected. It's a country where 90 percent of people work off the books— without a minimum wage, a pension, a strong national healthcare system, or a way to work from home.

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In the end, it took the coronavirus to break the year-long deadlock in Israeli politics. Prime Minister Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu will still face corruption charges, but he has yet another new lease on political life, as he and political rival Benny Gantz cut a deal yesterday: Bibi will continue as prime minister, with Gantz serving as Speaker of the Knesset, Israel's parliament. After 18 months, Gantz will take over as prime minister, but many doubt that will ever happen.

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