Hard Numbers

72: The average age of Arab heads of state is currently a hoary 72, while the average age of their people is just 25, according to The Economist. Six years after the Arab Spring, that generation gap continues to fuel the sense that the region’s leaders are hopelessly out of touch with their own people. At a spry 32 years old, can Saudi Arabia’s headstrong Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman change that in the region’s most hidebound kingdom?


68: Back in 1989, 68 percent of Americans considered the economic power of Japan to be the most serious “threat to the future of the United States,” according to a poll conducted by Business Week. One of those Americans was a brash young real estate tycoon from Queens. By contrast, only 22% said they feared Soviet military power. How times change. And don’t.

40: Over the past two years, 40 current or former elected city officials have been killed in Brazil, according to a report by the Globo network. Of those, two have been confirmed as political killings and another nine are under investigation. The remainder were deemed the result of personal or business disputes.

36: Over the past three years, Russian President Vladimir Putin has replaced 36 of the country’s 85 regional governors. Twenty of those are under 50 years old. Putin is trying to create a new, younger generation of political leaders — though one that is loyal chiefly to him, of course.

9: Just nine percent of North Korean defectors leave because of the country’s ruthless political repression, according to Korea expert (and former diplomat) Victor Cha’s book on the country. Their main reason for fleeing is actually the lousy economy.

Error: Deli scales and credit card machines in Venezuela don’t have enough digits to calculate the right price for goods like a kilo of ham (1,480,000 Bolivars per kilo), a set of bedsheets (33,541,963), or a pair of Adidas kicks (10,500,000), according to a report from Bloomberg. Economic mismanagement and currency controls have driven up the inflation rate to 13,000 percent, stoking a humanitarian meltdown alongside the oil-rich country’s ongoing political crisis.

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 (AI) 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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