Hard Numbers: Turkish-Russian antibody clash. Arab world gets 1st female PM, hidden debt to China, US leads rich world in COVID deaths

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) and Russia's President Vladimir Putin meet at Bocharov Ruchei residence.

Vladimir Smirnov/TASS

1,000: Mine's bigger than yours! At a meeting with Turkish President Recep Erdogan, Russian President Vladimir Putin — who recently left a precautionary quarantine — boasted a COVID antibody level of "15 or 16." But Erdogan was not impressed. "It's very low," scoffed the Turkish president, "mine, for example, is above 1,000."


1: Tunisian President Kaies Saied has appointed Najla Bouden Ramadhane to be the country's next prime minister, more than a month later than he initially promised. Ramadhane, a university professor and geologist, will be the first female head of government in Tunisia, and anywhere in the Arab world.

385 billion: Low- and middle-income countries with infrastructure projects financed by China's flagship Belt and Road Initiative owe Beijing and Chinese banks $385 billion more than previously thought. A new study says its mostly state-owned companies with opaque balance sheets that are on the hook for the hidden debt.

8: Adjusting for population size, America's COVID death rate is now eight times higher than the average in all other high-income nations, according to The Economist. This is largely due to a slowdown in vaccinations caused by vaccine hesitancy and skepticism.
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