Hard Numbers

450 billion: Since 2000, annual defense spending by countries in the Asia Pacific has more than doubled to $450 billion today, led by China who will spend more than $200 billion on defense this year. But that still pales in comparison with the US, which recently passed a $717 billion defense spending bill into law for 2019.


2,599: Mexican prosecutors opened 2,599 homicide investigations, or about 84 a day, in the month of July. That’s the highest number of investigations opened during any single month on record. Squelching rising violence will be one of the biggest challenges facing incoming President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who takes over in December.

96: A recent survey of Facebook accounts conducted by the Counter Extremism Project documented Islamic State supporters in 96 different countries, including those as far flung as Namibia, Argentina, and the Dominican Republic. In his first audio recording in nearly a year, ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi recently called for fighters to step up attacks outside of Iraq and Syria.

13.3: South Korean men use an average of 13.3 cosmetic products per month, according to official data, and they spend more than twice as much on beauty products as men from any other country. Their devotion to daily skin care starts in an unlikely place, the military, where rough weather and lots of down time have fostered a strong culture of self-care among the country’s conscripts.

7: Myanmar’s de-facto leader, State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, has been stripped of seven international awards and honors for her previous humanitarian work since the outbreak of violence against the country’s Rohingya Muslim minority. Yesterday, a United Nations report called for the investigation and prosecution of Myanmar’s top military generals for genocide and accused Aung San Suu Kyi of contributing “to the commission of atrocity crimes.”

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 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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