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Hard Numbers: Spain’s migrant crisis, Iraq-Saudi border reopens, North Dakota’s COVID death rate, Argentina eyes wealth tax

Demonstration in favor of the rights of migrants in the Canary Islands, Spain. Reuters

16,700: Migrant arrivals to Spain's Canary Islands, which lie off the West African coast, have topped 16,700 so far this year, more than ten times the amount reported the same time a year ago. The surge of migrants from sub-Saharan Africa has overwhelmed Spanish authorities, who have been criticized for housing thousands of migrants in empty hotels and evicting hundreds from a makeshift camp near the port city of Arguineguín.


30: The Arar border crossing between Iraq and Saudi Arabia reopened on Wednesday for the first time in over 30 years as part of warming ties between Baghdad and Riyadh. Arar was closed in 1990, when the two countries broke diplomatic relations after Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait and threatened to push onwards into the Saudi kingdom.

18.2: The US state of North Dakota now has the highest COVID-19 mortality rate in the world: 18.2 deaths per one million people. After much resistance, the governor recently issued a statewide mask mandate to contain rising cases (neighboring South Dakota — at third place in global deaths per one million people — still refuses to order its people to wear masks).

2: Argentina's lower house of parliament has approved a government proposal to impose a 2 percent tax on individuals with over $2.5 million in assets. The one-time levy — which would help fund coronavirus relief programs — is widely supported by President Alberto Fernández's working-class voter base but must be ratified by the Senate, where opposition lawmakers who reject the wealth tax argue that Argentina is still in a recession and taxes are high enough already.

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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