HARD NUMBERS

300,000: Syrian government forces, backed by Russian air strikes, have recovered large portions of the strategically vital Deraa province near Jordan and Israel in the past three weeks. This offensive has forced more than 300,000 people from their homes, the single largest displacement of the war. Israel and Jordan have refused to allow in refugees.


300: Some 300 anti-government protesters have been killed in Nicaragua since April, according to human-rights groups, almost all of them by paramilitary thugs loyal to Daniel Ortega. Today, the private sector is planning a one-day general shutdown, with support from the Catholic Church, to put pressure on the government to meet a set of their demands.

94.8: Of the 154,557 murders committed in Mexico from 2010 to 2016, 94.8 percent remain unpunished. Compare that figure with 52 percent in Asia and 20 percent in Europe.

17: Seventeen of the 23 players on France’s World Cup team are children of first generation migrants. Once again, the white-hot politics of migration, citizenship, and national identity are making their way onto the pitch ahead of the World Cup final on Sunday.

5: Venezuela’s latest shortage? Banknotes, most of which are imported. The central bank’s own printer produces less than 5 percent of the country’s cash. Given an annual inflation rate now estimated at 46,000 percent, it’s also hard to keep workers, who are paid with the same worthless notes they’re hired to print.

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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