Hard Numbers: Mexicans protest AMLO changes, North Korea seeks grain, Iran hearts Ipanema, a controversial kiss from Kosovo
500,000 or 90,000?: How many people in Mexico City took part in recent mass protests against President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s overhaul of the electoral system? Organizers say 500,000 turned out to oppose the changes, which would weaken independent election oversight. But authorities in Mexico City, which is controlled by AMLO’s party, say it was only 90,000.
1 million: North Korea is estimated to be short at least 1 million tons of grain right now because of mismanagement and pandemic-related interruptions of imports from China. That’s equal to about one-fifth of the Hermit Kingdom’s annual consumption. In the past, North Korea has suffered famines so bad that people were forced to eat grass and tree bark.
2: Brazil’s government allowed two Iranian warships to dock in Rio de Janeiro over the weekend, despite demands from the US to turn them away. The move is a reminder that although Presidents Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Joe Biden may see eye to eye on a lot, Lula’s perspective — in line with much of the Global South — often differs from Washington’s on key issues such as China, Iran, and Ukraine.3: The young Kosovo artist Ermira Murati has gotten thousands of threats over her striking, 3-meter tall painting of Kosovo PM Albin Kurti and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic kissing. The two leaders, who famously despise each other, are meeting early this week in Brussels to try to reach a peace deal. Here’s our recent piece on why that’s so hard to do. And, while we’re kissing in the former Eastern bloc, here’s one of the greatest smooches of the 20th century.