HARD NUMBERS

230,000: Every year, South Korea drafts more than 230,000 young men into mandatory military service, but athletes and traditional musicians are often given exemptions. While some people now want to extend that privilege to the country’s wildly popular K-Pop stars, the defense ministry prefers to do away with the exemptions altogether: decades of low birth rates have made it hard for the army, which defends one of the most militarized borders on earth, to fill its ranks.


 

190: Colombia’s historic 2016 peace deal with the FARC rebel group ended half a century of conflict, but the state has been slow to re-establish control in areas surrendered by the guerrillas. As drug traffickers and other militants have moved in, they have come into conflict with local community leaders and social activists – more than 190 of whom have been murdered this year. That’s already more than twice the annual total from 2016.

 

100: UN officials warned this week that Yemen could face the worst famine the world has seen in 100 years within the next three months if Saudi-backed airstrikes aren’t halted. Between 12 to 13 million civilians are at risk of starvation.

 

60: Over the weekend, President Trump quietly signed a bill that will expand US foreign aid to countries in Africa, Asia, and the Americas by $60 billion. The bill, which creates a new foreign aid agency that will provide loans to companies operating in developing nations, is seen by many a deliberate move to counter China’s expansive One Belt, One Road initiative, which aims to deliver $1 trillion in investment.

 

5: Indian authorities desperately seeking to trap a killer wild tigress are turning to a chic solution: luxury perfumes, which have been shown to attract felines. Chanel No. 5 is evidently a big hit with big cats, but for the time being they are using Calvin Klein Obsession because it is cheaper. The tigress in question has killed more than a dozen people and evaded capture for months.

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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