Hard Numbers

315 million: Profits at a Chinese utility company have increased by $315 million since it began monitoring its employees’ brainwaves with special hats in 2014. The technology allows managers to use AI programs to detect emotional spikes and stress and to change staffing appropriately.


65: Oil prices have risen 65% since last June, touching a four year high of $75 a barrel last week. Three things are driving up prices: ongoing production restraint from Russia and Saudi Arabia, dwindling production in Venezuela and Libya, and the prospect that US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal will mean fresh sanctions on Iranian oil exports.

50: South Koreans’ trust in North Korean leader Kim Jong-un surged by 50 percentage points as a result of the historic Koreas summit last Friday. On the day of the summit, 64.7 percent of those surveyed said they thought the enigmatic North Korean dictator would denuclearize and lay the groundwork for peace on the peninsula, up from 14.7 percent before it, according to the research agency Realmeter.

31: Washington’s Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley says that UN member states voted against the United States 31 percent of the time last year, even though Uncle Sam accounts for 22 percent of the international organization’s budget. “This is not an acceptable return on our investment,” she said, detailing a list of countries that vote against Washington most often.

6: The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is currently running an appeal for $46 million to assist Venezuelan refugees who have fled to neighboring countries. But a spokesperson said just 6 percent of the appeal has so far been raised, and many observers believe the target figure is far too low to begin with.

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.