GZERO Media logo

Hard Numbers: US economy’s dead-cat bounce, Myanmar fake news on Facebook, French MEP on hunger strike, Ivorian presidential hopefuls

Hard Numbers: US economy’s dead-cat bounce, Myanmar fake news on Facebook, French MEP on hunger strike, Ivorian presidential hopefuls

7.4: The US economy grew by 7.4 percent in the third quarter, the largest jump in history. Given the pandemic-induced beating that America's GDP took in the previous quarter, any reopening was bound to be big. In fact, economists have a macabre term for this: "a dead-cat bounce" (even a dead cat will bounce if you drop it from a high enough window).

99.4: In Myanmar, 99.4 percent of social media users are on Facebook. Just days before the country's general election, the company is struggling to contain a deluge of fake news items, including rumors that Aung San Suu Kyi, the country's de-facto leader, has died from the coronavirus. In 2018, Facebook was implicated in the military's attempted genocide of the country's Rohingya minority.

0.01: A French lawmaker in the European Parliament is on a 15-day hunger strike over insufficient EU funding for health and climate change research. Socialist Pierre Larrouturou is calling for a 0.01 percent tax on financial transactions that he believes could raise 50 billion euros ($58.5 billion) per year for the bloc's budget.

4: Only four candidates are running for president in Saturday's election in the Ivory Coast, the world's top producer of cocoa beans (from which chocolate is made). One of them is the incumbent, Alassane Ouattara, who is in the race after a controversial court ruling allowed him to stand for reelection despite a constitutional two-term limit.

Wales, early 19th century: During breaks from his law studies, William Robert Grove indulges in his passion for science to become an inventor. On his honeymoon in Europe, he learns about the new energy source everyone's talking about: electricity. After learning that electricity allows water to be broken down into its two components, hydrogen and oxygen, his intuition leads him to an idea that ends up making him a pioneer of sustainable energy production.

Watch the story of William Robert Grove in Eni's MINDS series, where we travel through time seeking scientists.

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.

More Show less

Now that millions of high-priority Americans have been vaccinated, many people in low-risk groups are starting to ask the same question: when's my turn? Dr. Anthony Fauci, America's top infectious diseases expert, has an answer, but probably not the one they're hoping for: "It probably won't be until May or June before we can at least start to get the normal non-prioritized person vaccinated." On GZERO World, Dr. Fauci also addresses another burning question: why aren't schools reopening faster? And while Dr. Fauci acknowledges that reopening schools must be a top priority, he has no quick fixes there, either. In fact, that's kind of a theme of the interview.

Watch the GZERO World episode: Dr. Fauci's Pandemic Prognosis

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

I thought I would talk today, I haven't spoken much about former President Trump since he's no longer president and I intend to continue that practice. But given this weekend and the big speech at CPAC and the fact that in the straw poll, Trump won and won by a long margin. I mean, DeSantis came in number two, but he's the Governor of Florida, CPAC was in Orlando, so that's a home court bias. In reality, it's Trump's party. And I think given all of that, it's worth spending a little bit of time reflecting on what that means, how I think about these things.

More Show less

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hi, everybody. Ian Bremmer here, and as we head into the weekend, a Quick Take on, well, the first bombing campaign of the new Biden administration. You kind of knew it was going to happen. Against some Iranian-backed militias in Syria, looks like a couple of dozen, perhaps more killed, and some militia-connected military facilities destroyed. I think there are a few ways to look at this, maybe three different lenses.

More Show less
The GZERO World Podcast with Ian Bremmer. Listen now.


Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter: Signal

Biden strikes Syria. Now what?

Quick Take