Watching/Ignoring

WHAT WE’RE WATCHING

Canada’s NAFTA deadline  Later today, we’ll find out whether Canada wants to join President Trump’s new version of NAFTA. This isn’t an easy call for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who wants to appear tough on Trump while needing a deal to avoid steep US tariffs. That said, if Trudeau calls Trump’s bluff and says no, it’s far from clear the US Congress will approve a bilateral deal with Mexico that excludes Canada.


Russian trolls, chapter 653 – Scientists at George Washington University say they have discovered a project launched on Twitter by bots and Russian trolls to spread misinformation about vaccination. The study discovered several accounts, known to belong to Russian trolls who interfered in the 2016 US elections, as well as marketing and malware bots, tweeting false information about vaccines. It’s not clear whether the project’s purpose is to generate political controversy or simply to prevent parents from vaccinating their children.

WHAT WE’RE IGNORING

British-French naval battles  “Now I am satisfied. Thank God I have done my duty.” These were the final words of Admiral Lord Nelson as he died below deck on the moment of his greatest victory at the battle of Trafalgar in 1805. His triumph ensured Napoleon would never invade Britain. The British and French are again battling at sea, this time over scallop fishing rights, and these grubby maritime hoodlums have none of Nelson’s panache.

A Kalashnikov on wheels – Russian arms maker Kalashnikov, best known for the AK-47 assault rifle, has introduced a new electric car it hopes will rival Elon Musk’s Tesla. Russia doesn’t have much track record with domestically manufactured luxury automobiles, to put it politely, and your Friday author is having trouble suspending his disbelief.

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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