Hard Numbers: Crossing the Channel

6,000: The death toll from a measles outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has surpassed 6,000, according to the World Health Organization. The body said that lack of funding is "a huge impediment" to disease containment. It is asking countries to fork out a collective $40 million over six-months to extend vaccination programs, and to implement other elements of the outbreak response.


9: China and Pakistan have embarked on a nine-day joint naval drill in the Arabian Sea to enhance the security alliance between the two countries. The exercise, covering an area that hosts many crucial Indian ports, comes at a time of increased tensions between Pakistan and its arch-rival India over New Delhi's crackdown in disputed Kashmir.

176: A Ukrainian airliner carrying 176 people crashed shortly after taking off from Tehran's airport Wednesday, killing everyone on board. As tensions between Washington and Tehran escalate, dueling narratives persist regarding the cause of the crash: the US maintains that Iran mistakenly shot down the airliner.

1,800: More than 1,800 migrants successfully made the journey in small boats across the English Channel to Britain in 2019, representing a six-fold increase over the previous year. The surge likely reflects the closing of several French migrant camps, as well as Europe's crackdown on the people smuggling trade, prompting migrants to embark on the precarious channel crossing.

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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