Hard Numbers: An American in Egypt dies on hunger strike

1.7 billion: Hong Kong's embattled chief executive Carrie Lam has pledged $1.7 billion in state spending to ease residents' financial burdens ahead of February's annual budget. Anti-government protests in Hong Kong have dealt a major blow to the city's once-booming economy, leading to its first recorded recession in a decade.


7: The US slapped sanctions on seven Venezuelan officials associated with the regime of strongman Nicolas Maduro. The move is in response to their attempts to lay siege to Venezuela's National Assembly palace and to hold a rigged election to replace opposition leader Juan Guaido as speaker of the country's Congress. This after soldiers stopped Guaido from entering the building to allow a Maduro ally to claim the post instead.

6: An American citizen detained in Egypt for over six years on unproven terrorism charges died Monday after a long hunger strike. Moustafa Kassem, a New York taxi driver, was arrested in Egypt in 2013 just as Abdul Fattah el-Sisi took control in a military coup, enforcing a clampdown on political opposition and civil society that has only intensified.

101: A vessel carrying 101 Syrians fleeing that war-torn country was intercepted on Tuesday off the coast of Cyprus. It was one of the largest arrivals of refugees from Syria in recent months, likely spurred by the Assad regime's brutal offensive in Idlib province that's prompted hundreds of thousands of Syrians to seek refuge in neighboring Turkey.

Scientists, engineers and technologists are turning to nature in search of solutions to climate change. Biomimicry is now being applied in the energy sector, medicine, architecture, communications, transport and agriculture in a bid to make human life on this planet more sustainable and limit the impacts of global warming. New inventions have been inspired by humpback whales, kingfishers and mosquitoes.

Learn more at Eniday: Energy Is A Good Story

The drumbeat for regulating artificial intelligence (AI) is growing louder. Earlier this week, Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google's parent company, Alphabet, became the latest high-profile Silicon Valley figure to call for governments to put guardrails around technologies that use huge amounts of (sometimes personal) data to teach computers how to identify faces, make decisions about mortgage applications, and myriad other tasks that previously relied on human brainpower.

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January 27 marks 75 years since the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi extermination camp. But even as some 40 heads of state gathered in Jerusalem this week to commemorate the six million Jews who were killed, a recent Pew survey revealed that many American adults don't know basic facts about the ethnic cleansing of Europe's Jews during the Second World War. Fewer than half of those polled knew how many Jews were killed in the Holocaust, and close to a third didn't know when it actually happened. Here's a look at some of the numbers.

1: The Greek parliament has elected a woman president for the first time since the country's independence some 200 years ago. A political outsider, Katerina Sakellaropoulou is a high court judge with no known party affiliation. "Our country enters the third decade of the 21st century with more optimism," Greece's prime minister said.

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A quarantine in China– Local authorities have locked down the city of Wuhan, the source of the outbreak of a new and potentially deadly respiratory virus that, as of Thursday morning, had infected more than 540 people in at least six countries. Other nearby cities were also hit by travel restrictions. Rail and air traffic out of Wuhan has been halted. Public transportation is shut, and local officials are urging everyone to stay put unless they have a special need to travel. Wuhan is a city of 11 million people, many of whom were about to travel for the Chinese New Year. We're watching to see whether these extraordinary measures help stem the outbreak, but also to see how the people affected respond to the clampdown.

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