Hard Numbers

12,000,000: This week, Rwanda became the first low-income country to provide universal eye care to its 12 million citizens. Two decades on from civil war, the would-be Singapore of Africa has an ambitious agenda to become a middle-income country by 2020.

2024: By 2024, AI could eliminate the jobs of 260,000 customer service representatives, 210,000 assemblers and fabricators, and 76,000 tractor-trailer drivers in the US. That’s just six years from now. Not 20.

70: The Taliban actively operates in 70 percent of the districts in Afghanistan, according to the BBC. America’s longest foreign warslogs on.

47: US oil production has returned to a record high last reached forty-seven years ago. Shale technology has put the US on course to overtake Saudi Arabia and Russia as the world’s largest crude producer.

4: In the past month, four prominent electoral challengers to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi have quit the presidential race, in large part because of pressure from the country’s security services.

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.


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.


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.