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HARD NUMBERS

10,000: The number of newly-enrolled foreign-born students in US universities decreased by nearly 10,000 in 2016, the latest year for which data is available, according to a new report from the Institute of International Education. That’s the first such decline in 12 years.


 

100: Israeli warplanes have carried out more than 100 airstrikes in Gaza in recent days, after violence erupted following the deaths of 10 Palestinian fighters and an Israeli commando in a botched special forces operation. The flare up in violence – which also saw 400 rockets and mortars fired from Gaza into Israel – is the worst in between the two sides since 2014.

 

30: Russia may be the biggest beneficiary of newly-imposed US sanctions on Iranian oil exports. Last month, Russia pumped an average of 11.4 million barrels of the black stuff per day – a 30-year record – amid higher global oil prices and a push in many countries to replace Iranian barrels.

 

7: The military is among the most trusted institutions in Mexico according to a recent poll, with citizens rating their confidence in the country’s fighting forces a 7 out of 10. Only the church and universities ranked higher. Mexico’s political parties ranked last, at 5.1 out of 10 – below even the country’s notoriously corrupt police, which came in at 5.5.

 

3: The preparations of the government of Papua New Guinea for this weekend’s APEC leaders’ summit included hiring three cruise ships to house foreign dignitaries and media, due to a lack of hotel rooms in the country’s capital, Port Moresby.

Pop quiz: what percentage of plastic currently gets recycled worldwide? Watch this video in Eni's Energy Shot series to find out and learn what needs to be done to prevent plastic from ending up in our oceans. Plastic is a precious resource that should be valued, not wasted.

This Monday, March 8, is International Women's Day, a holiday with roots in a protest led by the Russian feminist Alexandra Kollontai that helped topple the czar of Russia in 1917. More than a hundred years later, amid a global pandemic that has affected women with particular fury, there are dozens of women-led protests and social movements reshaping politics around the globe. Here we take a look at a few key ones to watch this year.

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"Apocalyptic" protests in Senegal: At least five people have been killed in clashes with police as protests over poverty, unemployment, and the jailing of a popular politician rock the West African nation of Senegal. Ousmane Sonko, who heads the opposition Movement to Defend Democracy (M2D) and is considered the most viable challenger to current president Mackie Sall, was accused of rape in February and arrested last week. Sonko says the charges are a politically motivated attempt to remove him from politics before the 2024 presidential election. His supporters immediately hit the streets, voicing a range of grievances including joblessness and poverty. Though youth unemployment has fallen over the past decade, it still exceeds eight percent and close to two-thirds of the country's 16 million people are under the age of 25. As Sonko supporters pledge to continue protests this week, Senegal's head of conflict resolution says the country is "on the verge of apocalypse."

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18: Eighteen Thai activists who took part in last fall's youth-led protests against the Thai monarchy have now been charged with crimes including sedition and violatio laws that prohibit criticism of the royal family. At least three of the detainees face prison terms of up to 15 years.

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Political movements that promote authoritarian leaders and anti-democratic governments have gained significant ground in Eastern Europe in the past twenty years. And according to Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Anne Applebaum, it's a trend that goes beyond that specific region. "This will sound very bizarre, but the trajectory of events and the nature of political debate in Poland is amazingly similar to the United States, the kinds of arguments that people make, the, the level of polarization… you can see this impulse to destroy and undermine the institutions of democracy everywhere." What is the appeal of such movements and what has the pandemic done to expand their influence?

Applebaum and Ian Bremmer take on those questions on GZERO World, which began airing on US public television stations nationwide on Friday, March 5. Check local listings.

Watch the episode: Authoritarianism's Enduring Appeal: Anne Applebaum Discusses

The GZERO World Podcast with Ian Bremmer. Listen now.

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