Hard Numbers: 1,000 Days Later, Northern Ireland Remains Leaderless

13: On Monday, Spain's Supreme Court sentenced nine Catalan separatist leaders for their role in the 2017 independence referendum. The convictions were for sedition, and the lengthiest prison term handed down was 13 years. Backers of Catalan independence are already protesting the rulings. This news comes just weeks ahead of national elections – Spain's fourth in four years.

15: At least 15 people were killed when gunmen stormed a mosque in northern Burkina Faso during prayers on Friday. It's the latest attack by ISIS or al Qaeda linked groups who have brought an Islamist insurgency across the border from neighboring Mali. About 500,000 people in the region have now fled their homes, a six-fold increase since January, according to the United Nations.

1,000: It's now been more than 1,000 days since Northern Ireland had a government. A power-sharing assembly, formed in 1998 by the Good Friday Agreement, collapsed in January 2017. Political deadlock persists as Brexit stands to disrupt the flow of goods and services across the border with the Republic of Ireland.

7: Seven candidates have been killed and 62 threatened or injured since campaigning began in late June for Colombia's local and regional elections set for October 27. These elections are the first of their kind since a breakthrough peace agreement was signed between the national government and FARC rebels in 2016, but weak implementation of that deal has allowed local violence to flourish.

Ferrera Erbognone, a small town in the northern Italian province of Pavia, is home to one of the most cutting-edge computing centers in the world: Eni's Green Data Center. All of the geophysical and seismic prospecting data Eni produces from all over the world ends up here. Now, the Green Data Center is welcoming a new supercomputing system: HPC5, an advanced version of the already powerful HPC4. Due to be completed by early 2020, HPC5 will triple the Green Data Center's computing power, from 18.6 to 52 petaflops, equivalent to 52 million billion mathematical operations per second.

Learn more at Eniday: Energy Is A Good Story

A few days ago, the New York Times published a bombshell report on the Chinese government's systematic oppression of Muslims in Western China. The story was about many things: human rights, geopolitics, Chinese society – but it was also about technology: Beijing's repression in Xinjiang province is powered in part by facial recognition, big data, and other advanced technologies.

It's a concrete example of a broader trend in global politics: technology is a double-edged sword with sharp political consequences. Artificial intelligence, for example, can help develop new medicines but it can also support surveillance states. Social media helps nourish democracy movements and entertains us with cat memes, but it also feeds ISIS and 4Chan.

More Show less

Increasingly violent anti-government protests in Hong Kong have dealt a major blow to the city's once booming economy. Tourism – an economic lifeline in that city – has dropped, and retailers are suffering from a sharp decline in sales. Now, six months since the unrest began, Hong Kong has recorded its first recession in a decade, meaning its economy has contracted for two consecutive quarters. Here's a look at how Hong Kong's quarterly gross domestic product (GDP) growth has fared during the past two years.

Tehran's Next Move: "We don't want an Islamic Republic, we don't want it," was the chant heard among some protesters in Tehran over the weekend after the government announced a 50 percent fuel price hike meant to fund broader support for the country's poor. Under crippling US sanctions, the country's economy has plummeted, unleashing a "tsunami" of unemployment. What started Friday as nationwide economic protests took on a political coloring, as protestors in some cities tore up the flag and chanted "down with [Supreme Leader] Khamenei!". The unrest seems to be related, at least indirectly, to widespread demonstrations against Tehran-backed regimes in Iraq and Lebanon as well. Economically-motivated protests erupt in Iran every few years, but they tend to subside within weeks under harsh government crackdowns. So far, the authorities have shut down the internet to prevent protestors from using social media to organize rallies. But Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guards Corps has warned of more "decisive action" if the unrest continues.

More Show less

13 billion: Building a single state-of-the-art US aircraft carrier costs about $13 billion, a figure that exceeds total military spending by countries like Poland, the Netherlands, or Pakistan. But as China's ability to hit seaborne targets improves, the Economist asks if carriers are "too big to fail." (Come for that, stay for the many strange Top Gun references in the piece.)

More Show less