HARD NUMBERS

130,000: North Korea maintains a Gulag-style network of political prisons, which currently hold as many as 130,000 inmates. Many of those incarcerated are not only people accused of political wrongdoing but their family members as well. Trump just sat down with one of the most ruthless and brutal leaders on earth.


68: Can we be friends after all? A small study commissioned by the Center for Strategic and International Studies found that 68 percent of North Korean respondents within the country did not see the United States as an enemy. Striking, despite the fact that reliable and candid polling is difficult within a totalitarian system.

48: While US Republicans picked North Korea’s Kim Jong-un as the most threatening world leader, Donald Trump topped that list for Democrats, with 48 percent signaling out their own president for that unenviable title, according to a recent poll. ​

2–3–12: North Korea has the world’s second largest economy (China) on its northern border, the third largest across the sea (Japan), and the 12th largest to the south (South Korea). Should Kim pursue an economic opening as part of a deal to draw down his nuclear program, there’s no shortage of economic opportunities right on his doorstep(s.) ​

7: After US President Richard Nixon’s historic trip to China in 1972, it still took seven years for the US to normalize relations with Beijing. A reminder that even the most momentous diplomatic breakthroughs are rarely achieved in one summit (or even one administration) alone.

It was inevitable that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would make India's elections a referendum on Narendra Modi, and now that the vast majority of 600 million votes cast have been counted, it's clear he made the right call.

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Among the 23 men and women now seeking the Democratic Party's nomination to take on Donald Trump in next year's election, the frontrunner, at least for now, has spent half a century in politics. Former Vice President Joe Biden, first elected to the US Senate in 1972, is the very epitome of the American political establishment.

Yet, the dominant political trend in many democracies today is public rejection of traditional candidates and parties of the center-right and center-left in favor of new movements, voices, and messages. Consider the evidence from some recent elections:

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It's Friday, and Signal readers deserve at least one entirely upbeat news story.

José Obdulio Gaviria, a Colombian senator for the rightwing Democratic Center party, is an outspoken opponent of government attempts to make peace with the FARC rebel group after 50 years of conflict.

On his way into a meeting earlier this week, Gaviria collapsed. It was later reported that he had fainted as a result of low blood pressure probably caused by complications following recent open heart surgery.

A political rival, Senator Julian Gallo, quickly came to his rescue and revived him using resuscitation skills he learned as—irony alert—a FARC guerrilla. CPR applied by Gallo helped Gaviria regain consciousness, before another senator, who is also professional doctor, took over. Gaviria was taken to hospital and appears to have recovered.

Because some things will always be more important than politics.