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Hard Numbers: Nepalese strike, Ugandan commander sentenced, Biden’s honeymoon, COVID jabs surpass cases

Hard Numbers: Nepalese strike, Ugandan commander sentenced, Biden’s honeymoon, COVID jabs surpass cases

77: At least 77 people were arrested in Kathmandu during a nationwide strike to protest Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli's decision to dissolve parliament and hold a general election to boost his odds of staying in power amid a pandemic-fueled economic crisis in Nepal. Protesters — egged on by an anti-Oli faction of the country's ruling Communist Party — rallied against the PM's growing authoritarian streak and the early vote, whose constitutionality has been put before the Supreme Court.


1,077: Former Lord's Resistance Army commander Dominic Ongwen was convicted on Thursday by the International Criminal Court of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Uganda in the early 2000s. The 1,077-page sentence detailed how the former child soldier fell under the spell of notorious militia leader Joseph Kony to commit atrocities — including rape and forced pregnancies — against civilians and refugees.

61: Just two weeks into the new administration, an AP poll shows that 61 percent of Americans approve of President Joe Biden's job performance and trust his ability to handle the myriad crises the country faces, especially the pandemic. Biden's current approval rating is slightly above-par for previous presidents at the same time, and much higher than that of his predecessor Donald Trump at any time during his tenure.

104.9 million: A total of 104.9 million coronavirus vaccines have been injected worldwide as of Wednesday, according to data compiled by the University of Oxford and the US Centers for Disease Control. This means that for the first time the number of COVID jabs given exceeds the sum of all global infections tracked by Reuters since the pandemic began over a year ago, even as national rollouts remain sluggish in hard-hit countries like the US or Brazil.

Pop quiz: what percentage of plastic currently gets recycled worldwide? Watch this video in Eni's Energy Shot series to find out and learn what needs to be done to prevent plastic from ending up in our oceans. Plastic is a precious resource that should be valued, not wasted.

This Monday, March 8, is International Women's Day, a holiday with roots in a protest led by the Russian feminist Alexandra Kollontai that helped topple the Tsar of Russia in 1917. More than a hundred years later, amid a global pandemic that has affected women with particular fury, there are dozens of women-led protests and social movements reshaping politics around the globe. Here we take a look at a few key ones to watch this year.

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Jon Lieber, Managing Director of the United States for the Eurasia Group, shares his insights on US politics in Washington, DC:

Another stimulus bill is about to pass the Senate. Why won't the minimum wage be going up?

Well, the problem with the minimum wage is it didn't have the 50 votes it needed to overcome the procedural hurdles that prevent the minimum wage when traveling with the stimulus bill. Clearly support for $15 an hour minimum wage in the House of Representatives, but there's probably somewhere between 41 and 45 votes for it in the Senate. There may be a compromise level that emerges later in the year as some Republicans have indicated, they'd be willing to support a lower-level minimum wage increase. But typically, those proposals come along with policies that Democrats find unacceptable, such as an employment verification program for any new hire in the country. Labor unions have been really, really fixated on getting a $15 an hour minimum wage. They may not be up for a compromise. So, we'll see what happens.

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Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny shocked the world last year when he recovered from an attempted assassination plot by poisoning — an attempt that bore all the fingerprints of Russian government. Then he shocked the world again by returning to Russia and timing that return with the release of an hours-long documentary that catalogued the Putin regime's extensive history of corruption. Virtually no one, therefore, was shocked when he was immediately sentenced to a lengthy prison term. Anne Applebaum, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and expert on authoritarian regimes, believes there was a method to Navalny's madness. "His decision of '….I'm going to do something that harms me personally, but is going to be a lesson for Russians. I'm going teach a generation of Russians how to be brave.' I mean, not very many people would have the guts to do that."

Applebaum's conversation with Ian Bremmer is part of the latest episode of GZERO World, airing on public television stations nationwide starting Friday, March 5. Check local listings.

It's not like things are going well in Mexico.

COVID has killed more people there than in any country except the United States and Brazil. Just 2 percent of Mexicans have gotten a first vaccine jab, compared with nearly 24 in the US. The Biden administration made clear this week that it won't send vaccines to its southern neighbor until many more Americans have been vaccinated. Mexico's government has cut deals for doses from China, Russia, and India.

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The GZERO World Podcast with Ian Bremmer. Listen now.

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