HARD NUMBERS

300: Last week the Merriam-Webster dictionary released a revised official word list for Scrabble that includes 300 new entries. Among those of international interest are “qapik”, an Azerbaijani monetary unit that takes its name from the Russian kopek; “bokeh”, a Japanese term for the out-of-focus parts of a photograph; and “schneid”, a word of German origin meaning a terrible losing streak, particularly in cards or sports – example: Germany’s 2018 World Cup team (too soon?)


 

90: Political violence has surged in South Africa, where as many as 90 members of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) have been gunned down since 2016. In most cases, the hits were ordered by fellow party members squabbling over resources or exacting revenge against anti-corruption whistleblowers.

 

60: Mexico’s left-wing president-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has promised to cut the presidential salary by 60 percent to about $5,700 a month. Mr Lopez Obrador, who swept to victory atop a wave of popular frustration with a detached political class, has also made a point of travelling on commercial airliners, and says he’ll sell the swanky presidential jet after he takes office in December.

 

20: The are currently 20 female heads of state or government in the world. That’s more than double the number from 2005, according tothe UN, but it’s still only about 6% of all global leaders.

 

5: Every second, five more people join the global middle class – identified as those who earn between 11 and 110 dollars a day. Around 3.6 billion people, more than half the earth’s population, count as middle class today according to a new study. The number will surpass 5 billion by 2030, with the overwhelming majority of new entrants coming from Asia.

Ferrera Erbognone, a small town in the northern Italian province of Pavia, is home to one of the most cutting-edge computing centers in the world: Eni's Green Data Center. All of the geophysical and seismic prospecting data Eni produces from all over the world ends up here. Now, the Green Data Center is welcoming a new supercomputing system: HPC5, an advanced version of the already powerful HPC4. Due to be completed by early 2020, HPC5 will triple the Green Data Center's computing power, from 18.6 to 52 petaflops, equivalent to 52 million billion mathematical operations per second.

Learn more at Eniday: Energy Is A Good Story

Why is Instagram going to hide likes?

Well, one explanation is that they want to encourage healthy behavior and a like can make us addicted. Second explanation is that they get rid of the likes, they can get more of the cut in the market for influencers, who get money from advertisers, sometimes based on likes.

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This week, the process of impeaching President Trump entered the critical phase as the House of Representatives held its first public hearings. The battle lines are now drawn.

The Democrats say that there is compelling evidence that Trump withheld badly needed military to aid to an ally at war to pressure that country's government to provide him with personal political benefit by helping him discredit a political rival.

The Republicans say that the evidence comes mainly from witnesses with little or no direct contact with the president, and that the military aid was delivered to Ukraine without the Ukrainian president taking the actions Trump is alleged to have demanded.

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The fight for the Nile: In recent days, the Trump administration has tried to mediate three-way talks between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia on their long-running dispute to access the waters of the Nile. In short, a 1929 treaty gave Egypt and Sudan rights to nearly all Nile waters and the right to veto any attempt by upstream countries to claim a greater share. But in 2011, Ethiopia began work on the so-called Grand Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile tributary from where 85 percent of the Nile's waters flow. The project, due for completion next year, will be Africa's largest hydroelectric power plant. Egypt, which draws 85 percent of its water from the Nile, has made threats that raised fears of military action. We're watching as this conflict finally comes to a head early next year.

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