Hard Numbers

180,000: Although ISIS has been removed from most of its strongholds in Syria and Iraq, the group — which at the height of its power ruled over vast reaches of oil-rich territory — still rakes in $180,000 daily from selling crude, according to industry sources.


100: At Pyongyang’s better-known bespoke tailors a decent men’s suit startsat around $100. That’s a small fortune in North Korea, but it reflects the rise of a class of well-heeled elites in the capital city. Keeping these people both happy and in check is an important consideration for Mr. Kim, who has pledged to raise living standards.

77: A new study reveals that 77 percent of Americans consider members of opposing political parties to be less evolved humans than themselves. Yes, read that again: less evolved humans. A new low in the deepening morass of America’s toxic and tribal politics.

37: In 1981, Salvadoran troops armed and trained by the US massacred hundreds of civilians including women and children in a remote town in El Salvador. Now, 37 years later, after an earlier amnesty was reversed, a local judge has ordered a trial of the generals accused of overseeing the slaughter, which was the worst in Latin America’s modern history.

22: In 2017, Colombians’ confidence in their national government fell to a record low of 22 percent. After a first round of presidential elections that saw the first-ever selection of a left wing candidate, Colombia heads for a potentially divisive runoff next month that could determine the fate of the landmark peace accord with FARC guerrillas.

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.