Hard Numbers

20 million: A massive fire destroyed much of the 20 million piece collection of Brazil’s most historic museum on Sunday, in a disaster that many believe could have been prevented by adequate fire protection within the building. During its multi-year recession, Brazil has cut back on public spending, including on public works and buildings.


17,000: More than 17,000 civilians have been killed in Yemen since the civil war began there in 2015. Over the weekend, the US-backed Saudi coalition accepted responsibility for an airstrike last month that killed 40 children. The war has fomented one of the worst humanitarian disasters on the planet, with no end in sight.

12,450: Italy’s hardline Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has cracked down on accepting refugees arriving from Africa, but because the government’s hasn’t effectively repatriated many of those denied asylum or residency, there was a net annual increase of 12,450 migrants illegally in the country during the period from June to August, according to a new study cited by the daily La Repubblica. That only adds to the roughly half-million illegal immigrants he’s pledged to deport.

300: The US military has decided to formally cancel $300 million in suspended aid to Pakistan, citing Washington’s perception that the South Asian nation hasn’t done enough to combat extremism in the region. Pakistan, which has received more than $33 billion in US assistance since 2002, will be eager to discuss the matter with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo when he arrives in Islamabad tomorrow.

6: The economy of Nicaragua is expected to shrink by nearly 6 percent next year, after growing around 5 percent last year. That 11-point swing can be attributed to a deepening political crisis surrounding President Daniel Ortega, whose brutal clampdown on opposition protesters has disrupted tourism, caused people to take their money abroad, and sent migrants spilling into neighboring countries.

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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