Hard Numbers: Crisis deepens in Sudan, Infernos rage in Chile, Moon is shrinking, Japan welcomes digital nomads, NJ scores World Cup final, Swift's lucky numbers
8,000,000: The United Nations reported this week that 10 months of violent conflict in Sudan have displaced nearly 8 million people and caused at least 12,000 deaths. The war between the rebel Rapid Support Forces and the Sudanese Army has left nearly half of Sudan's population in need of aid and the International Criminal Court investigating allegations of war crimes.
112: At least 112 people are dead and 190 missing in wildfires consuming the central regions of Chile, including the historic port city of Valparaiso. Arson is suspected to have ignited the blaze that burned over 106,255 acres during the intense heatwave sweeping South America.
150: Over millions of years, the moon has shrunk by 150 feet in diameter – and now, scientists are growing concerned. The shrinking, caused by the cooling of the moon's molten core, has led to the formation of thrust faults and “moonquakes” that could pose risks to future lunar missions, notably at its south pole.
10,000,000: If you’ve got a yen to work in Japan, this is your lucky day. To boost tourism, the country will be offering a “specified activities” visa to digital nomads from 49 countries and territories, including the self-employed. This will allow them to work remotely and stay for up to six months as long as they earn an annual income of 10 million yen, or $68,300. The program is expected to start in late March.
39: FIFA World Cup released the schedule and locations of games for the 2026 tournament, which will be played in Mexico, the US, and Canada. At 39 days, it will be the longest World Cup in history, culminating with a final to be played in “New York/New Jersey” (which means MetLife stadium in … New Jersey). Among other curiosities, close observers noted that there’s a chance of a knockout round match between the US and England on July 4 in Philadelphia. Get your 1776 on …
4: Last night, Taylor Swift became the first artist to win four Grammy awards for album of the year with "Midnights." The pop star, who now has 14 statues on the mantle, thanked her fans by announcing that her new album, “The Tortured Poets Department,” will drop on April 19. And for those wondering where she will be on Feb. 11, the Embassy of Japan in Washington, DC, tweeted on Friday that the singing superstar can “comfortably” get from her concert in Tokyo on Saturday to Las Vegas on Sunday in time to see her “guy on the Chiefs” play in the Super Bowl.