Hard Numbers

1.7 million: In 2017, UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative Party received £835,000 in membership fees and £1.7 million from the wills and legacy contributions of the deceased. In other words, the party received twice as much money last year from dead people as from the living. One-time statistical aberration or not, the Tories have demographic difficulties.

200: Indian Railways, the world’s eighth largest employer, has launched an online recruitment test as part of job applications. The Railways Recruitment Board received more than 24 million applications for roughly 120,000 vacancies. That’s 200 applicants for each job.

66: Sixty-six percent of Russians polled by VTsIOM, a state-run polling agency, agreed with the statement that “there is a group of people who seek to rewrite Russian history and replace historical facts in order to hurt Russia and diminish its greatness.”

40: In February, Brazil’s military took charge of security in crime-ridden Rio state. During this six-month period, shootings have increased by 40 percent and 736 people have been killed by the police. The drug gangs and militias operating in the city haven’t been seriously disrupted.

17: On Tuesday, El Salvador officially cut ties with Taiwan and established a formal alliance with China. Taiwan now has just 17 diplomatic allies. In defense of Taiwan, the US State Department announced it was “deeply disappointed” by El Salvador’s decision and will review its relationship with San Salvador as a result.

Microsoft has a long-standing commitment to child online protection. First and foremost, as a technology company, it has a responsibility to create software, devices and services that have safety features built in from the outset. Last week, in furtherance of those commitments, Microsoft shared a grooming detection technique, code name "Project Artemis," by which online predators attempting to lure children for sexual purposes can be detected, addressed and reported. Developed in collaboration with The Meet Group, Roblox, Kik and Thorn, this technique builds off Microsoft patented technology and will be made freely available to qualified online service companies that offer a chat function.

Read more at Microsoft On The Issues.

A potentially deadly new coronavirus that can be transmitted from one person to another is now spreading across China. Chinese state media say it has infected about 300 people and killed six, but the number of undetected or unreported cases is certain to be much higher. Complicating containment efforts, millions of people are on the move across the country this week to celebrate the Chinese New Year with family and friends.


Norway's government breaks up over ISIS returnee – Norway's right-wing Progress Party said it will resign from the country's four-party coalition government over the prime minister's decision to bring home a Norwegian woman affiliated with the Islamic State in Syria. The woman, who left Norway for the conflict zone in 2013, was arrested shortly after arriving in Oslo with her two children, on suspicion of being a member of ISIS. Prior to her return, she had been held in the Al-Hol refugee camp in northeastern Syria, along with thousands of other family members of ISIS fighters. The defection of Norway's anti-immigrant Progress Party undercuts Prime Minister Erna Solberg's parliamentary majority, likely making it hard for her to pass laws in parliament. This case reflects an increasingly common problem for European countries: the Islamic State's self-proclaimed caliphate has largely collapsed but what should countries do about the return of former fighters and their families to societies that don't want them?


20,000: Sri Lanka's president has acknowledged for the first time that some 20,000 people who disappeared during the country's brutal civil war are dead, dashing the hopes of families who had held out hope that their relatives were alive and in military custody. The conflict, which ended in 2009, split the country according to ethnicities, killing around 100,000 people, mostly Tamil rebels.


Since Martin Luther King Jr delivered his iconic "I have a dream" speech in August 1963, the number of Black Americans elected to the United States Congress has dramatically increased. Still, it wasn't until last year, more than half a century later, that the share of Black members serving in the House of Representatives reflected the percentage of Black Americans in the broader population —12 percent. To date, only six states have sent a Black representative to serve in the US Senate, and many states have never elected a Black representative to either house of Congress. Here's a look at Black representation in every US Congress since 1963.