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Hard Numbers: Russia touts vaccine, US sells jets to UAE, world's longest-serving PM dies, EU budget moves ahead

Art by Gabriella Turrisi and Annie Gugliotta

92: Just days after US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine showed a 90 percent effectiveness rate, Russia now claims that its own "Sputnik V" miracle drug is 92 percent effective at preventing COVID-19. Good news — if it's true — for Vladimir Putin, who wants Russia to win the global vaccine race.


23 billion: The Trump administration has notified the US Congress of its intent to sell 50 F-35 fighter jets to the United Arab Emirates for $23 billion. The long-awaited deal was authorized by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who will be in the UAE this week as part of a Middle East tour that also includes Israel and Saudi Arabia.

49: Prince Khalifa bin Salman of Bahrain, the world's longest-serving prime minister, died on Wednesday at age 84 after 49 years in power. Khalifa took over as PM when Bahrain gained independence from the UK in 1971, and in 2011 survived mass protests that demanded his ouster in the wake of the Arab Spring.

1.8 trillion: European Union negotiators have agreed on a 1.8 trillion euro ($2.12 trillion) budget for the next seven years. The deal must be ratified by the European Parliament, the Council and all EU member states. However, it could hit a snag because Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has threatened to veto if Brussels moves forward on linking future EU funding to respect for the rule of law.

Dating and debates, music festivals and dance classes, work and education – an increasing amount of our social interactions now take place online. With this shift to virtual venues, ensuring kindness and respect in everyday interactions and encounters is more important than ever.

The digital space has become a fundamental part of the national and international conversation, and has also, at times, become a breeding ground for bullying, trolling and hate speech. There is a clear need for more "digital good" to ensure that online encounters have a constructive impact on everyone involved. To learn more about digital good and what it means, visit Microsoft on the Issues.

As the global vaccination race heats up, the most populous country in the world is trying to do three very hard things at once.

India, grappling with the second highest confirmed COVID caseload in the world, recently embarked on what it called "the world's largest" coronavirus vaccination campaign, seeking to inoculate a sizable swath of its 1.4 billion people.

That alone would be a herculean challenge, but India is also making hundreds of millions of jabs as part of the global COVAX initiative to inoculate low-income countries. And as if those two things weren't enough, Delhi also wants to win hearts and minds by doling out millions more shots directly to other countries in its neighborhood.

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Millions of people leave their home countries each year, fleeing conflict or violence, seeking better work opportunities, or simply to be closer to family. What proportion of those people are women? In many of the countries that are home to the largest migrant populations, a majority, in fact. While many women leave home for the same reasons as men (social instability or economic opportunity) gender-based violence or persecution often play a special role in women's decisions to pick up stakes and move. Here's a look at the gender breakdown of some of the world's largest migrant populations.

El Salvador's President Nayib Bukele is an unusual politician. The 39-year old political outsider boasts of his political triumphs on TikTok, dons a suave casual uniform (backwards-facing cap; leather jacket; tieless ), and refuses to abide by Supreme Court rulings.

Bukele also enjoys one of the world's highest approval ratings, and that's what helped his New Ideas party clinch a decisive victory in legislative elections on February 28, securing a close to two-third's supermajority (75 percent of the vote had been counted at the time of this writing).

His triumph will resonate far beyond the borders of El Salvador, Central America's smallest country, home to 6.5 million people. Now that Bukele has consolidated power in a big way, here are a few key developments to keep an eye on.

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Ian Bremmer discusses the World In (a little over) 60 Seconds:

The Biden administration announced its first sanctions. How will it affect US-Russia relations?

Not very much. About as bad as they were under the Trump administration, even though Trump personally wanted to be aligned with Putin, the administration was not. This is the same approach on sanctions as we've seen from the European Union, they could go a lot harder. It's not sector level. It's not major state enterprises. It's a few Russian officials that were involved in the chemical program for Russia. And at the end of the day, the Russians are annoyed, but they're not going to hit back. That's that. Okay.

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The GZERO World Podcast with Ian Bremmer. Listen now.

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