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Largest known prime number

The Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search announces the discovery of the latest largest known prime number, a Mersenne prime with 23,249,425 digits equal to 2 77,232,917 − 1.

It clocks in at over a monstrous 23 million digits long, and is in a rare class of numbers called Mersenne primes.

Computer security

Security researchers disclose two hardware vulnerabilities—Spectre, which affects most modern processors, and Meltdown, which affects most Intel chips.

Security researchers on Wednesday disclosed a set of security flaws that they said could let hackers steal sensitive information from nearly every modern computing device containing chips from Intel Corp, Advanced Micro Devices Inc and ARM Holdings.

Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity

U.S. President Donald Trump dissolves the voter fraud commission noting the cost to the public of litigating against lawsuits from states objecting to the voter information requested.

President Donald Trump on Wednesday shut down a presidential commission charged with looking into allegations of electoral fraud during the 2016 election, after many states refused to provide it with data, the White House said.

Democratic

Two new Democratic senators—Doug Jones of Alabama and Tina Smith of Minnesota—are sworn in, bringing the Republican majority down to 51–49.

Two new Democrats in the Senate narrow the Republican majority to the barest of margins.

Politics of Ethiopia

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn announces that Ethiopia will drop charges against all political prisoners and close down the infamous prison camp of Maekelawi.

Law of Iceland

A new Icelandic law goes into effect which requires government agencies and companies with more than 24 full-time employees to prove they are paying men and women equally, as required by existing legislation.

The island nation has started to put in place a new law requiring companies with 25 employees or more to show that they pay men and women equally.

Storm Eleanor

Winter storm Eleanor moves from the British Isles to continental Europe with one dead in France as well as injuries and material losses in Germany, Netherlands and Switzerland.

Three people die and at least 20 are injured as high winds batter most of northern Europe.

Boko Haram insurgency

A suicide bomber attacks a mosque in Gamboru, Nigeria, killing 11 people.

A suicide bomber has killed at least 11 people at a mosque in northeastern Nigeria, near the border with Cameroon. The attack comes as Boko Haram militants step up their campaign of violence in the region.