You’ve got to hand it to Emmanuel Macron (pictured above, on Monday): it takes serious nerve for a French President who is struggling in the polls to deliver a speech about the need to reform the welfare state from Versailles palace using cake as a rhetorical device. No, seriously – that really happened. Let’s assume that the 40-year-old former investment banker, who has already taken flak from domestic opponents for his aloof, allegedly king-like approach to the presidency, is acting rationally.

What message was he trying to send here?

We’ve noted before that Macron, like Donald Trump, is a political outsider who wants to project strength. By reveling in the ceremony and trappings of office – whether it’s riding a military jeep to his inauguration or walking between rows of ceremonial guards, at an estimated cost of $350,000, to deliver a State-of-the-Union-like address at Versailles – Macron is signaling that the xenophobic nationalists who are threatening to unwind decades of liberal democracy in Europe don’t have a monopoly on patriotism. There’s a risk that by trying too hard to inject gravitas into his presidency, he ends up alienating more voters than he charms. But it does help explain the puzzling optics.

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.


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.


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.