Hard Numbers

72: The average age of Arab heads of state is currently a hoary 72, while the average age of their people is just 25, according to The Economist. Six years after the Arab Spring, that generation gap continues to fuel the sense that the region’s leaders are hopelessly out of touch with their own people. At a spry 32 years old, can Saudi Arabia’s headstrong Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman change that in the region’s most hidebound kingdom?


68: Back in 1989, 68 percent of Americans considered the economic power of Japan to be the most serious “threat to the future of the United States,” according to a poll conducted by Business Week. One of those Americans was a brash young real estate tycoon from Queens. By contrast, only 22% said they feared Soviet military power. How times change. And don’t.

40: Over the past two years, 40 current or former elected city officials have been killed in Brazil, according to a report by the Globo network. Of those, two have been confirmed as political killings and another nine are under investigation. The remainder were deemed the result of personal or business disputes.

36: Over the past three years, Russian President Vladimir Putin has replaced 36 of the country’s 85 regional governors. Twenty of those are under 50 years old. Putin is trying to create a new, younger generation of political leaders — though one that is loyal chiefly to him, of course.

9: Just nine percent of North Korean defectors leave because of the country’s ruthless political repression, according to Korea expert (and former diplomat) Victor Cha’s book on the country. Their main reason for fleeing is actually the lousy economy.

Error: Deli scales and credit card machines in Venezuela don’t have enough digits to calculate the right price for goods like a kilo of ham (1,480,000 Bolivars per kilo), a set of bedsheets (33,541,963), or a pair of Adidas kicks (10,500,000), according to a report from Bloomberg. Economic mismanagement and currency controls have driven up the inflation rate to 13,000 percent, stoking a humanitarian meltdown alongside the oil-rich country’s ongoing political crisis.

On Tuesday, a major US intelligence report said the top threat to America right now is China. A day later, John Kerry, the Biden administration's "climate czar," got on a plane to... China.

Such is the drama of ties between the world's two largest economies these days.

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More than a dozen COVID-19 vaccines have been fully approved or are currently in early use globally, and COVAX, the global initiative started last year by the World Health Organization and other partners, is pushing for equitable access to vaccines for all. But most of the half billion jabs given so far have gone to citizens of wealthy countries, with half going to the US and China alone. What's the problem with so-called vaccine nationalism? Ian Bremmer explains that besides the clear humanitarian concerns, the continued global spread of COVID increases the risk of new mutations and variants that can threaten the entire world, vaccinated or not.

Watch the episode: Vaccine nationalism could prolong the pandemic

Should wealthy individuals and nations shoulder more of the burden in addressing climate change? Pulitzer Prize-winning climate journalist Elizabeth Kolbert argues that Big Tech leaders like Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk should shift more of their focus to fighting for our own planet's survival, instead of space exploration. "We're doing as much as we can to make life difficult on planet Earth for ourselves. But there's virtually nothing we could do to make it as difficult as life on Mars, where there's, among other things, no oxygen." Kolbert, the author of Under a White Sky, discusses why it's so crucial for a few rich countries to bear most of the climate burden, since they're also the biggest emitters. Her conversation with Ian Bremmer is featured in the upcoming episode of GZERO World, airing on US public television stations starting this Friday, April 16. Check local listings.

In recent days, Northern Ireland has seen some of its worst street violence in over a decade. The anger has subsided a bit this week, but post-Brexit fears leave many uncertain about their future in a deeply divided land with a long history of political violence between Irish republicans and UK unionists.

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Fighting climate change is about making the planet get less hot. The more quickly countries slow down their carbon emissions, the faster that'll happen. All the more important for the nations that pollute the most — but not all of them are on board. Although the majority, including China, are setting future targets to go Net Zero, India doesn't want to commit (yet) to when to stop burning fossil fuels to spur economic growth. We take a look at when the world's top polluting economies intend to go carbon-neutral, compared with their share of global emissions, of renewable energy as a source of electricity, and percentage of global coal consumption.

Peruvian runoff: Perú's presidential election is going to a runoff in June between two surprise and polarizing contenders, each of whom won less than 20 percent of votes in a highly fragmented first round. Pedro Castillo, a far-left union leader and teacher who benefited from a late surge in the polls, will battle rightwing populist Keiko Fujimori, daughter of the country's imprisoned former strongman. Castillo wants to rewrite the constitution to weaken the political influence of the country's business elite and maybe to allow the state to nationalize parts of the mining sector to pay for social programs for the poor. Fujimori wants to use mining revenues to create jobs by investing in infrastructure and healthcare. The runoff will probably be a national referendum on Fujimori, a divisive figure running for the top job for the third time. No Peruvian president has ever left office without facing corruption charges, but Fujimori already faces several — and she'll avoid jail time if she wins.

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900 million: Egypt has impounded the Ever Given, the ship that recently blocked the Suez Canal for almost a week, until its owners pay some $900 million in compensation for losses and the cost of the rescue operation. The blockage of this major naval chokepoint caused severe disruption to the global maritime shipping industry.

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