Hard Numbers

1: As we reported last Friday, 2018 was just the second year in seven decades without a coup or coup attempt somewhere in the world. This week, a handful of soldiers in Gabon made sure 2019 didn't follow suit. They captured a radio station, but not the government. For 2019, that's one coup and counting.

18 million: The UN estimates there are up to 18 million guns in Libya, a country of 6.5 million people. That's why, according to UN envoy Ghassan Salamé, attempts to persuade warring militias to lay down their weapons are less likely to work than an effort to "persuade those who hold them to keep them silent."

60: Nicolas Maduro was sworn Wednesday for another term as Venezuela's president. Sixty countries refuse to formally recognize his election victory. A seemingly endless economic and political crisis has persuaded three million people to leave the country, and the exodus continues.

60: In France, "yellow vest" protesters have vandalized about 60 percent of the country's speed cameras, according to the interior minister. Some protesters reportedly claim that speed cameras exist mainly to help the state take money from poor people, who apparently drive very fast in France.

The 10-year challenge might actually be an attempt to improve facial recognition technology.

It's Tech in 60 Seconds with Nicholas Thompson!

And go deeper on topics like cybersecurity and artificial intelligence at Microsoft Today in Technology.

"Many forms of government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time." So said Winston Churchill in November 1947, a time when Soviet Communism was beginning to offer the world a new alternative.

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My high school history teacher Dr. Cohen once told me, as we shuffled through the school cafeteria, that computers would one day make socialism viable. Given that the Soviet collapse had already happened, and that Super Nintendo still seemed vastly more magical than anything you could put on your desk, this seemed far-fetched.

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Syria ISIS attack A suicide bombing in Syria claimed by ISIS killed 14 people including four Americans this week. Two questions we'll be watching: Will this attack impact the pace of President Trump's ordered withdrawal of US troops from Syria, and is the bombing part of a broader ISIS strategy to launch a wave of new attacks as US troops depart?

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