Around the World in 5 Stories: Saturday Population Pot-Pourri

December 27, 2014 • Daily Email Recap

Man walks backwards to spread population control message

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Agra: A 45-year-old owner of a departmental store in Meerut has been walking backwards for over a year to emphasize the downsides of rising population, and bring into focus “all the wrong decisions taken by successive governments” to tackle the menace.

In the city to walk backwards in the Taj Mahal precincts recently, Dinesh Talwar had earlier tried several ways to catch the administration’s attention. But his efforts went in vain. On December 13, 2013, Talwar finally decided to take the matter in his own hands. He started walking backwards. Each movement implying a “wrong step” taken by the Centre. He has, until now, covered 375 kilometres in 33 different cities of the state.

Pressure on China to Further Reduce Birth Restrictions

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As the year comes to a close, population experts are urging China’s leaders to further slash the country’s birth restrictions, warning that changes to its notorious one-child policy aren’t stimulating enough births to solve an oncoming labor shortage.


An informal group of around 50 Chinese demographers met earlier this month in Shanghai to brainstorm policy recommendations for China’s population planners. They said the country needs to give more couples the option to have two children (in Chinese) and warned that leaders were failing to act fast enough to steer China from a demographic crisis.


China’s government implemented new rules this year easing China’s one-child policy, allowing couples to have two children if one spouse is an only child. Couples widely applauded the move, but not as many as expected have taken advantage of the new relaxed rules.


Erdoğan’s ‘birth control treasonous’ statement receives strong reactions 

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A statement made by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Sunday calling birth control an act of “treason” that is aimed at weakening Turkey has drawn strong reactions from politicians and women’s rights associations.

Reiterating his call for married couples to help the economy by having at least three children, Erdoğan told the couple at a wedding ceremony which he attended on Sunday evening that birth control is a treasonous act that will render Turkey extinct.

Worldwide, Life Expectancy Has Gone Up Over 6 Years Since 1990
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Though deaths due to drug use and hepatitis C have gone up, falling death rates due to cancer and heart disease have resulted in a global life expectancy increase of 5.8 years in men and 6.6 years in women between 1990 and 2013, according to an analysis from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013 (GBD 2013).


In high-income regions, falling death rates from most cancers (down by 15%) and cardiovascular diseases (down by 22%) have increased life expectancy, while rapidly declining death rates for diarrhea, lower respiratory tract infections, and neonatal disorders have helped extend life expectancy in low-income countries (see figure 7 page 14, and table 2 pages 15-23).


While life expectancies are increasing throughout the world, there is one notable exception: southern sub-Saharan Africa, where deaths from HIV/AIDS have erased over 5 years of life expectancy.

USGS: High Plains Aquifer groundwater declining
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Groundwater levels are declining in an aquifer that serves parts of Wyoming and seven other states, according to a new report by the U.S. Geological Survey.


The report documents changes in groundwater levels in the High Plains Aquifer, also known as the Ogallala Aquifer, from 1950 – before significant groundwater irrigation was developed in the area – to 2013 and from 2011 to 2013. Measurements between 2011 and 2013 represent a large decline in groundwater levels, said USGS scientist Virginia McGuire, lead author of the study.


“This amount of aquifer depletion over a two-year period is substantial and likely related to increased groundwater pumping,” McGuire said… Change in water levels between 2011 and 2013 was a decline of 36 million acre-feet.

Current World Population


Net Growth During Your Visit