Hard Numbers: Nicaragua’s (unofficial) COVID death toll, economic pessimism, social media infodemic, pandemic "denialists"

A man wearing a face mask to protect himself from COVID-19 walks in front of a mural depicting Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega in Managua. Reuters

2,707: Nicaragua's (unofficial) COVID-19 death toll has risen to 2,707, according to the Citizen Observatory, an independent body that disputes the official government figure of only 137 fatalities. Daniel Ortega — the country's authoritarian populist president and one of very few world leaders who initially refused to impose a lockdown — has been widely criticized for his handling of the pandemic.


67: A median 67 percent of people in 14 industrialized economies (mostly) governed by establishment leaders in Asia, Europe and North America believe the economic situation in their countries will be worse a year from now, according to a new Pew Research poll. South Koreans are the most concerned, while Danes and Swedes are the least worried about next year's economic outlook.

2,311: Researchers from Bangladesh, Australia, Thailand, and Japan identified a total of 2,311 reports of COVID-19 misinformation on social media between December 31 and April 5. Examples include conspiracy theories about the coronavirus contaminating poultry eggs, as well as that COVID-19 is a bioweapon created by Bill Gates to boost vaccine sales.

12: Although populist leaders are widely perceived to have downplayed the threat of the coronavirus, a new report by the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change argues that twelve out of 19 leaders identified as "populist" actually took the pandemic seriously, although some later reacted with illiberal policies. Those classified as "denialists" are the leaders of Belarus, Brazil, Mexico, Nicaragua, and the US.

'Regeneration' is a mind set and collection of practices which bring a different framing to the moment we find ourselves in. Rather than asking how can we bounce back from the crisis, this approach asks how we might create a system that can evolve, learn, and respond more effectively to the complex challenges that we face now and in the future.

Learn more.

For many, Paul Rusesabagina became a household name after the release of the 2004 tear-jerker film Hotel Rwanda, which was set during the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

Rusesabagina, who used his influence as a hotel manager to save the lives of more than 1,000 Rwandans, has again made headlines in recent weeks after he was reportedly duped into boarding a flight to Kigali, Rwanda's capital, where he was promptly arrested on terrorism, arson, kidnapping and murder charges. Rusesabagina's supporters say he is innocent and that the move is retaliation against the former "hero" for his public criticism of President Paul Kagame, who has ruled the country with a strong hand since ending the civil war in the mid 1990s.

More Show less

In an interview with Eurasia Group Vice Chairman Gerald Butts, Nicolas de Rivière cautions against an overly halcyon view of the UN's history. The Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations explains that throughout its 75 years the organization has confronted adversity. This moment is no exception, but "we have no other choice" than cooperation in order to address today's biggest crises, he explains. Rivière also discusses the global pandemic response, a need for greater commitments to climate action, and a recent move by the US to push for renewed sanctions against Iran.

One of the biggest threats to 21st century international peace is invisible. It recognizes no borders and knows no rules. It can penetrate everything from the secrets of your government to the settings of your appliances. This is, of course, the threat of cyberattacks and cyberwarfare.

During the coronavirus pandemic, cyberattacks have surged, according to watchdogs. This isn't just Zoom-bombing or scams. It's also a wave of schemes, likely by national intelligence agencies, meant to steal information about the development and production of vaccines. Attacks on the World Health Organization soared five-fold early in the pandemic.

More Show less

Malaysian political drama: Malaysia's (eternal) opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim says he finally has enough votes in parliament to be appointed prime minister, seven months after the coalition that was going to support him collapsed amid an internal revolt that also forced out 95-year-old Mahathir Mohamed as head of the government. Two years ago, Mahathir — who governed Malaysia from 1980 to 2003 — shocked the country by running in the 2018 election and defeating his former party UMNO, which had dominated Malaysian politics since independence in 1956. After winning, Mahathir agreed to hand over power to Anwar — a former protégé with whom he had a falling out in the late 1990s — but Mahathir's government didn't last long enough to do the swap. Will Anwar now realize his lifelong dream of becoming Malaysia's prime minister? Stay tuned for the next parliamentary session in November.

More Show less

GZEROMEDIA

Subscribe to GZERO Media's Newsletter: Signal