Hard Numbers

345: Pakistan’s newly elected prime minister, Imran Khan, who rose to power as an anti-corruption crusader, is already under fire for claiming his daily helicopter commute to work costs just $6.12, close to the price of a taxi. The real cost, according to BBC Urdu, was estimated at $345 per trip.

66: Vladimir Putin went on TV this week to announce the Russian government would backtrack on unpopular changes to the country’s pension system. Men will still see pension age move from 60 to 65, despite complaints that life expectancy for Russian men is just 66 years old. But women will see the pension age move from 55 to 60 rather than 63. It’s a rare Putin retreat, thanks in part to a pension-related 16-point drop in his approval rating from 80 percent to 64 percent.

53: Argentina’s currency crisis intensified this week. The value of Argentina’s peso fell 7 percent on Wednesday and another 15 percent on Thursday. It’s down 53 percent against the dollar so far this year. The International Monetary Fund has responded by agreeing to accelerate the pace of a $50 billion bailout of the country.

52: Ninety-one percent of US adults say Supreme Court decisions have an impact on their everyday lives, but 52 percent cannot name a single justice now serving on the Court. Anger and apathy are a dangerous combination.

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.


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.