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Hard Numbers: Guatemala holds inauguration, Biden issues hostage statement, China dominates Davos, Ukraine downs planes, Wealthy get … wealthier

Guatemala's new President Bernardo Arevalo attends a ceremony to be recognised as the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, in Guatemala City, Guatemala, January 15, 2024.

Guatemala's new President Bernardo Arevalo attends a ceremony to be recognised as the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, in Guatemala City, Guatemala, January 15, 2024.

REUTERS/Jose Cabezas

9: Bernardo Arévalo was finally inaugurated Sunday night as Guatemala’s president. The event, which was delayed by nine hours due to opposition from right-wing political opponents in Congress, ended months of a concerted government campaign to prevent his taking office. Arevalo, whose SEED movement championed anti-corruption efforts and progressive reforms, was sworn in amid high expectations for change, months after a contentious election in June 2023.


100: On Monday, the Biden administration issued a statement marking the 100 days in captivity of Israeli hostages, including as many as 6 Americans. Biden noted the diplomatic efforts that had led to the release of 105 hostages in November, as well as continued diplomatic efforts by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and said the U.S. remains committed to securing the release of the remaining captives.

10: Another item on Blinken’s radar is the large size of the Chinese delegation at the World Economic Forum this week in Davos, Switzerland. China has dispatched ten state ministers, with its second-ranking official set to meet with Swiss leaders. Not to be outdone, the US is arranging a special meeting between Blinken and a Swiss official to ensure that Switzerland does not feel slighted.

2: The Ukrainian air force reportedly shot down two Russian aircraft this weekend, a Russian early warning and control plane and a key command center aircraft. The planes are crucial for coordinating Russian military operations, and are hard to replace: their loss, if confirmed, represents a big win for Ukraine and a significant setback for Russian forces.

One trillion: Oxfam International predicts that the world may see its first trillionaire within the next decade. In its annual report on global inequalities, released during the World Economic Forum in Davos, the organization contrasts the growing wealth of Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, whose fortunes have more than doubled since 2020, with the 5 billion people who have become worse off during the same timeframe.

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