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HARD NUMBERS

1,400: North and South Korea have succeeded in a joint bid to have traditional Korean wrestling recognized as a cultural gem by the United Nations, the latest sign of thawing relations between the two countries. The sport, which some sources say predates the two countries' 1950s-era partition by more than 1,400 years, is known as Ssirum in the North and Ssireum in the South.


100: More than half of all babies born in Japan today can expect to live to the age of 100. The country, which has the world's highest average life expectancy at 84 years, is facing a demographic crunch as it looks for ways to support a growing elderly and retired population with a shrinking number of working-age adults.

70: Elon Musk, the billionaire industrialist and space enthusiast, estimated there was a 70 percent chance that he would personally move to Mars by hitching a ride on one of his SpaceX rockets. The 47-year-old entrepreneur, who last year unveiled a detailed plan for colonizing the red planet, has stated that humanity must become a multi-planetary species in order to avoid extinction. His statement left us wondering how exactly he got to the number 70.

3: China has begun construction of its third aircraft carrier, state media confirmed this week. The as-yet unnamed warship is part of a broader push by Beijing to increase its naval might. China's navy last year became the world's largest by total vessels, though it still significantly lags the US in terms of firepower and overall budget.

Wales, early 19th century: During breaks from his law studies, William Robert Grove indulges in his passion for science to become an inventor. On his honeymoon in Europe, he learns about the new energy source everyone's talking about: electricity. After learning that electricity allows water to be broken down into its two components, hydrogen and oxygen, his intuition leads him to an idea that ends up making him a pioneer of sustainable energy production.

Watch the story of William Robert Grove in Eni's MINDS series, where we travel through time seeking scientists.

El Salvador's President Nayib Bukele is an unusual politician. The 39-year old political outsider boasts of his political triumphs on TikTok, dons a suave casual uniform (backwards-facing cap; leather jacket; tieless ), and refuses to abide by Supreme Court rulings.

Bukele also enjoys one of the world's highest approval ratings, and that's what helped his New Ideas party clinch a decisive victory in legislative elections on February 28, securing a close to two-third's supermajority (75 percent of the vote had been counted at the time of this writing).

His triumph will resonate far beyond the borders of El Salvador, Central America's smallest country, home to 6.5 million people. Now that Bukele has consolidated power in a big way, here are a few key developments to keep an eye on.

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Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hi, everybody. Ian Bremmer here, and as we head into the weekend, a Quick Take on, well, the first bombing campaign of the new Biden administration. You kind of knew it was going to happen. Against some Iranian-backed militias in Syria, looks like a couple of dozen, perhaps more killed, and some militia-connected military facilities destroyed. I think there are a few ways to look at this, maybe three different lenses.

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Iran rules out nuclear talks… for now: Iran has reportedly rejected an offer to join direct talks with the US and EU over its nuclear program, saying it won't start the conversation until sanctions on Iran's economy are eased. To be clear, this does NOT mean that prospects for reviving the Iran nuclear deal are dead. Europeans and the Biden administration want a return to the 2015 nuclear agreement, and Iran certainly needs the economic boost that would come from a removal of sanctions. But Tehran is going to try to maximize its leverage before any talks begin, especially since this is a sensitive election year in in the country. Iran's leaders are going to play hard to get for a while longer before edging their way back to the bargaining table. Still, it's high stakes diplomacy here between parties that have almost no mutual trust — and one misstep could throw things off track quickly.

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18: A week after threatening protesters with a severe crackdown, Myanmar's ruling junta killed at least 18 people across the country in the bloodiest day of clashes since the generals staged a coup last month.
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The GZERO World Podcast with Ian Bremmer. Listen now.

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Biden strikes Syria. Now what?

Quick Take