Hard Numbers

500 million: Since Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi took office in 2014, his government has spent some $500 million on advertising, much of which features slick images of the prime minister himself. Don’t give Trump any ideas, Mr. Modi.


63,800: Last year, Brazil surpassed its previous record for homicides, reaching an annual total of 63,880—a 3 percent spike from 2016—according to recently released figures. That’s one of the factors bolstering the candidacy of far-right law and order candidate Jair Bolsonaro ahead of the country’s pivotal presidential election in October.

346: The Turkish government has opened a probe into 346 media accounts after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blamed people “conducting economic terrorism on social media” for the lira’s recent free fall. #clickingatwindmills

66: The Trump administration has scrapped 66 slots routinely set aside for training Pakistani military officers in a program that has long been a staple of bilateral ties. This is the first known consequence of Trump’s decision last year to suspend US military to the South Asian nation in an effort to encourage it to crack down on Islamic militants.

10: In one of Latin America’s largest ever mass migrations, more than half a million Venezuelans fleeing the economic and political crisis in their homeland have crossed into Ecuador this year, according to the United Nations. That’s nearly 10 times the number of migrants and refugees who attempted to cross the Mediterranean into Europe during the same period.

Last week, in Fulton, WI, together with election officials from the state of Wisconsin and the election technology company VotingWorks, Microsoft piloted ElectionGuard in an actual election for the first time.

As voters in Fulton cast ballots in a primary election for Wisconsin Supreme Court candidates, the official count was tallied using paper ballots as usual. However, ElectionGuard also provided an encrypted digital tally of the vote that enabled voters to confirm their votes have been counted and not altered. The pilot is one step in a deliberate and careful process to get ElectionGuard right before it's used more broadly across the country.

Read more about the process at Microsoft On The Issues.

The risk of a major technology blow-up between the US and Europe is growing. A few weeks ago, we wrote about how the European Union wanted to boost its "technological sovereignty" by tightening its oversight of Big Tech and promoting its own alternatives to big US and Chinese firms in areas like cloud computing and artificial intelligence.

Last week, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and her top digital officials unveiled their first concrete proposals for regulating AI, and pledged to invest billions of euros to turn Europe into a data superpower.

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Communal violence in Delhi: Over the past few days, India's capital city has seen its deadliest communal violence in decades. This week's surge in mob violence began as a standoff between protesters against a new citizenship law that critics say discriminates against India's Muslims and the law's Hindu nationalist defenders. Clashes between Hindu and Muslim mobs in majority-Muslim neighborhoods in northeast Delhi have killed at least 11 people, both Muslim and Hindu, since Sunday. We're watching to see how Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government responds – Delhi's police force reports to federal, rather than local, officials.

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Ian Bremmer's perspective on what's happening in geopolitics:

What are the takeaways from President Trump's visit to India?

No trade deal, in part because Modi is less popular and he's less willing to focus on economic liberalization. It's about nationalism right now. Hard to get that done. But the India US defense relationship continues to get more robust. In part, those are concerns about China and Russia.

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27,000: The Emir of Qatar has decreed a $27,000 fine and up to five years in prison for anyone who publishes, posts, or repost content that aims to "harm the national interest" or "stir up public opinion." No word on whether the Doha-based Al-Jazeera network, long a ferocious and incisive critic of other Arab governments, will be held to the same standard.

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