What We're Watching: Bashir in the dock

Sudan's Show Trial: Omar al-Bashir, Sudan's ousted strongman, is now finally in the dock to face charges of butchery and corruption. For the moment, the country's new strongman Mohamed Hamdan "Hemeti" Dagolo and the military council he leads are sharing power with a civilian opposition alliance. An agreement signed last weekend promises elections and civilian rule. We're watching to see how a new regime, led by the gunmen who enabled the old regime's atrocities, will make the case against its former boss—and how the opposition will respond.

Foreign aid under the knife: The Trump administration is reportedly advancing a plan that would end billions of dollars in foreign aid funding, and it claims it has the authority to do this without approval from Congress. The White House says much of this money is wasted on governments that don't support US policies. Critics of the cuts charge that, beyond the humanitarian value of foreign aid, the money benefits the United States by helping to stabilize countries and regions plagued with violence and poverty, reducing the risk they'll produce war, terrorism, and refugees. We're watching to see how hard Republicans in Congress push back on this plan.

Smokey Bear Meets Hungry Goat: Portugal has faced a surge of forest fires in recent years, for two reasons: temperatures are rising as the earth warms, and flammable brush and forests are being left untended as more and more people leave the countryside for opportunities elsewhere. But authorities have hit upon a decidedly low-tech solution, the Times reports. It turns out that the country's Algarve goats love to graze on precisely the underbrush that serves as kindling for forest fires, so the government is working with local shepherds to have their flocks do just that. The catch? Urbanization means that there are precious few qualified shepherds left...#HerdHelpWanted

What We're Ignoring:

Our speakers (and yours): A presenter at a big hacking conference in Las Vegas last week warned that saboteurs could hijack internet-enabled home sound systems, headphones, or other connected speakers to make them emit ear-piercing – and possibly psychologically destructive – noise. This is on top of the already established fact that a well-placed cue in a TV ad (or an episode of South Park) can trigger your electronic in-home assistant to order cat foodor worse – on Amazon. We're ignoring our newfangled Wi-Fi speakers, because we're worried hackers are hiding inside them. We'll fire up the turntable instead. #HiFiNotWiFi

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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