HARD NUMBERS

35,000: Over the past two years, around 35,000 people from across Africa have converged in a lawless region along the border between Niger and Algeria seeking nothing less than a pot of gold. Niger’s largest artisanal goldmine, Tchibarakaten, has become the site of an African gold rush, as those seeking money to send home or fund the increasingly expensive journey across the Mediterranean have flocked to the remote region in droves.


10: After a reshuffle this week, women hold 10 of 20 cabinet posts in Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government. The shake-up, which included the appointment of the country’s first female defense minister, comes amid a broader political opening that has seen the release of thousands of political prisoners and the end of Ethiopia’s 20-year conflict with Eritrea.

3: Australia’s Senate defeated a motion declaring that it is “OK to be white” by only three votes this week. The motion, put forward by the leader of Australia’s right-wing One Nation party, echoed a phrase used by white nationalists, and was intended as a swipe at “anti-white racism.” Prime Minister Scott Morrison called the level of support for the motion “regrettable,” while the government attributed the close vote to an administrative error.

0: Two years into the Trump presidency, the US has yet to appoint ambassadors to both Turkey and Saudi Arabia. The recent flare up between the countries over the alleged killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi highlights outstanding staffing gaps in US embassies around the world, as it has fallen on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to travel to both countries in an effort to ease tensions.

Microsoft has a long-standing commitment to child online protection. First and foremost, as a technology company, it has a responsibility to create software, devices and services that have safety features built in from the outset. Last week, in furtherance of those commitments, Microsoft shared a grooming detection technique, code name "Project Artemis," by which online predators attempting to lure children for sexual purposes can be detected, addressed and reported. Developed in collaboration with The Meet Group, Roblox, Kik and Thorn, this technique builds off Microsoft patented technology and will be made freely available to qualified online service companies that offer a chat function.

Read more at Microsoft On The Issues.

Vladimir Putin has ruled Russia for twenty years, but he has a problem: his current presidential term ends in 2024, and the constitution prevents him from running for re-election then.

As a result, the question of what he'll do in 2024 has been on the minds of Russia's oligarchs, spooks, bureaucrats, and a lot of ordinary folks, as well. After all, over the past two decades, Putin has made himself, for better and for worse, the indispensable arbiter, boss, and glue of Russia's sprawling and corrupted system of government. As the current speaker of Russia's legislature once said, "Without Putin, there is no Russia." Not as we currently know it, no.

More

Since Martin Luther King Jr delivered his iconic "I have a dream" speech in August 1963, the number of Black Americans elected to the United States Congress has dramatically increased. Still, it wasn't until last year, more than half a century later, that the share of Black members serving in the House of Representatives reflected the percentage of Black Americans in the broader population —12 percent. To date, only six states have sent a Black representative to serve in the US Senate, and many states have never elected a Black representative to either house of Congress. Here's a look at Black representation in every US Congress since 1963.

It's been nine years since Libya's long-time despot Muammar Qaddafi was killed in a violent uprising, bringing the oil-rich country to the brink of civil war. That conflict entered a new stage last year when violence between warring factions competing for territory intensified around Tripoli, Libya's capital, leading to the displacement of some 300,000 civilians. In recent weeks, fighting has intensified again, and ceasefire talks have failed. Here's a look at who's who and how we got here.

More

Nicholas Thompson, editor-in-chief of WIRED, discusses combating cyberbullying, CCPA and tech "fashion":

What is a "troll score" and is it a realistic way to combat online bullying?

Something that Kayvon Beykpour, head of product at Twitter and I talked about, and the thought was: Twitter doesn't give you a lot of disincentives to be a jerk online. But what if there were a way to measure how much of a jerk someone is and put it right in their profile? Wouldn't that help? I think it's a pretty good idea. Though, you can see the arguments against it.

More