Hard Numbers: GOP majority shrinks, UAE brokers Ukraine-Russia swap, EU cuts Kremlin diamonds, British docs strike again!
2: Life just got a bit harder for US House Speaker Mike Johnson, as Republican Representative Bill Johnson of Ohio (no relation) will step down on January 21 to become president of Youngstown State University. His move leaves House Republicans with a majority of just two representatives.
478: Despite a recent surge in aerial attacks by Russia and Ukraine, the two countries exchanged 478 prisoners of war in a deal brokered by the United Arab Emirates. Ukraine handed back 248 Russians in exchange for 230 Ukrainians.
4 billion: Meanwhile, in a further bid to squeeze Vladimir Putin’s war machine, the EU imposed sanctions on Kremlin-controlled Alrosa, the world’s largest diamond miner. In 2022, Russia was responsible for about 30 percent of global diamond production by weight, and Alrosa’s exports alone totaled about $4 billion.
35: On Wednesday, junior doctors seeking a 35% pay raise in England launched a six-day strike that will disrupt medical care for tens of thousands of patients. This is the UK’s 10th work stoppage by junior doctors in under a year.