Aquarius – The Sequel

Remember the Aquarius, a rescue boat carrying 630 migrants its crew had saved from the sea off North Africa that made headlines across Europe in June when Italy refused entry? In that instance, Spain’s newly elected government came to the rescue by opening a port and accepting the passengers. The story was a political winner at home for both Italy’s Interior Minister Salvini, who said no, and Spain’s new prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, who said yes.


This week, the Aquarius is back. This time, the ship run by humanitarian organizations Doctors Without Borders and SOS Méditerranée was carrying 141 migrants, including 67 unaccompanied children, rescued in international waters. Italy and Libya again refused entry, and this time Spain also said no. After a four-day standoff, Malta accepted the ship, but only after France, Germany, Luxembourg, Portugal and Spain agreed to accept a share of the 141 rescued passengers.

The Aquarius, the only rescue ship now patrolling the waters off Libya, will be back. With Italy literally offering radio silence in response to requests for help, Spain will again be in the spotlight. Does Sánchez want Spain to become the haven that accepts the rescued migrants that other EU countries reject? If not, what happens to these people?

The bottom line: The search for an EU-wide burden-sharing solution continues. It’s both a moral dilemma and a serious political problem.

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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