Archive for the ‘population’ Category

Economy: World Needs an Upbeat Message; Where Are The “Leaders”?

January 31, 2009

People worldwide are “depressed and traumatized” to see their life savings, including homes and pension funds, disappearing, Rupert Murdoch said at a press briefing in Davos, Switzerland, last week.

And President Obama’s Inauguration speech on January 20 (that seems like a lomg time ago already) didn’t exactly hit a chord of uplifting delight.

And there have been several suicides of financial “experts” or people who lost a lot of money recently.

The war on terror and good times seems to have put us all to sleep.  The shopping malls were full and most of us had jobs.

Now the shopping malls are not full and the credit card needs to be paid off.

Maybe the American people need to make some sacrifices.

But let’s not forget, mankind has survived more than this.

 
China’s Prime Minister Wen Jiabao passed our compensation money to earthquake survivors last week to start the Lunar New Year.

So maybe someone needs to step forward and give the world a pep talk, or a good old “fireside chat.”

Remember the line, “We have nothing to fear except fear itself”?

We might also consider some old passe tools like prayer and hope and faith and service to others.

Because there are now four Americans trying to get every available job and unemployment won’t last forever.

Because no matter how much cocaine and alcohol is applied to an economic meltdown the Visa and Mastercard still have to be paid…

Enter Gordon Brown who says in the UK at least the public can harness the “British spirit” and remain resolute and upbeat.

Note to our leaders: Leadership needs to remember that the public needs a morale boost now and again.

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By Andrew Porter, Political Editor, in Davos
From the Telegraph (UK)

Gordon Brown has issued a passionate appeal to the British people for optimism in the face of the economic downturn, insisting that confidence will see the country through the deepening recession.

While admitting that Britain is “in the eye of the storm”, the Prime Minister said in an interview with The Daily Telegraph that the country will see off the worst of the slowdown if the public can harness the “British spirit” and remain resolute and upbeat.

International forecasters say that Britain is heading for the deepest recession of any advanced economy, with unemployment predicted to pass 3  million, but Mr Brown appeals against “talking the country down”.

In a striking show of optimism, he declares: “I am absolutely confident about Britain’s future. I have utter confidence in our ability to come through this. I have utter confidence not only in the British people’s determination to come through this, but that people will work together to make sure Britain emerges from this.

“The British spirit is to see a problem, identify it, and get on with solving it. Once a problem hits us we are determined and resolute and we are adamant that we are going to deal with that problem.

“And that is the resolve, not just of the Government, but the resolve of the whole people.”

The Prime Minister, attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, admits that the stakes could not be higher, saying that if a London summit of world leaders in April fails, then the world risks

sliding into protectionism and an economic slump similar to the Great Depression of the 1930s.

The April summit, hosted by Mr Brown, will bring together leaders of the G20 economies, including Barack Obama, the US president.

Read the rest:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financetop
ics/davos/4404491/Gordon-Brown-All-Britain-
needs-is-confidence-in-itself.html

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Obama May Bring Hope But One Third of Global Citizens Expect Worse Year

January 3, 2009

One third of adults around the world are worried about what the year will bring, according to the Voice of the People survey released by Gallup International. 35 per cent of respondents in 46 countries expect 2009 to be worse than 2008.

The proportion of respondents who expect the next year to be “the same” has remained stable in the past three annual surveys. In 2006 and 2007, roughly two-in-five respondents expected the next year to be better. The proportion has dropped to 27 per cent this time.

At least 48 per cent of respondents in Kosovo, China, Australia, Lebanon and Colombia expect a better year, while at least 60 per cent of those in Hong Kong, Iceland, Singapore, Ireland and Greece believe conditions will deteriorate.

Angus Reid Global Monitor

Since 2007, defaults on so-called subprime mortgages—credit given to high-risk borrowers—in the United States have caused volatility in domestic and global financial markets and raised concerns that the U.S. economy could fall into a recession. A recession is defined as two consecutive quarters of negative growth. The crisis has affected the global financial and credit systems.

On Dec. 31, outgoing U.S. treasury secretary Hank Paulson discussed the crisis, saying, “We’re dealing with something that is really historic and we haven’t had a playbook. The reason it has been difficult is first of all, these excesses have been building up for many, many years. Secondly, we had a hopelessly outdated global architecture and regulatory authorities in the U.S.”

Read the rest:
http://www.angus-reid.com/polls/view
/32541/a_third_of_global_citizens_ex
pect_worse_year

Population a Growing Problem for Vietnam

December 27, 2008

VietNamNet Bridge – The latest statistics show that currently Vietnam has 86.5 million people, ranking 13th in the world. It has a density of 227 persons per square kilometre – six fold higher than the global level and double China’s figure.http://english.vietnamnet.vn/social/2008/12/820803/

The General Department of Population reports that by October 2008, approximately 95,000 third babies were born in 43 provinces and cities and the figure is estimated to rise to 142,000 by the year’s end. This means the number of the third child increased by 13.8 percent against in 2007.

The boom was attributed to families’ misunderstanding of the 2003 Ordinance on Population in terms of the time to give birth, the number of newborns and intervals between births.

Babies are held by their mothers at Tho Ha village in the northern ... 
Babies are held by their mothers at Tho Ha village in the northern province of Bac Ninh. Officials in Communist Vietnam alarmed by a new baby boom are to crack down on couples having more than two children, family planning chiefs said this week.(AFP/Hoang Dinh Nam)

To solve the problem, experts say there is no choice but to enhance public communication and have a decree imposing administrative fines on law-breakers.

Also many doctors have used technical measures to identify the sex of the foetus, as many couples are seeking ways to give birth to a boy rather than a girl. These practices have resulted in a gender imbalance and inequality, which are not acceptable in society.

According to the Ministry of Health, the traditional customs of an agriculture-based society and the far-reaching impact of the Confucian ideology on giving birth have posed a great challenge to Vietnam’s population and family planning programme aimed at ensuring gender equality and improving the quality of life.

The fact is that in an agriculture-based economy like Vietnam, people still have low incomes, infant mortality remains high and there are no insurance services for the elderly. Since rural people make up 73 percent of the country’s population, and basic social services are not well developed, many couples find it difficult to embrace the concept of having one or two children in their family.

Read the rest:
http://english.vietnamnet.vn/social/2008/12/820803/

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by Robert Engelman

The government of Vietnam will decide on December 22 whether to penalize parents who have more than two children, reinitiating a coercive population policy it abandoned in 2003.

“We are considering an adjustment to our policy appropriate to the circumstances of the country,” Truong Thi Mai, chair of Vietnam’s Parliamentary Committee of Social Affairs, confirmed on Saturday. “The Parliament Standing Committee will decide the week after next.”

Ms. Mai, a leading figure in the government debate who sits on the influential Standing Committee, was attending a weekend conference of the Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development in Hanoi. She declined to provide details of the proposed policy adjustment, but said it was brought about by continuing poverty in rural areas associated with families with more than two children.

Asked whether the policy would violate the principles of family planning voluntarism, an approach that Vietnam government representatives agreed to at the United Nations International Conference on Population and Development in 1994, Ms. Mai responded that the government “has consulted all international laws to which Vietnam is a party” and had discussed the proposed policy change with the United Nations Population Fund. The 1994 agreement lacks the status of international law.

UN sources confirmed that discussion and characterized the initiative as a return of population policy influence by government forces who believe Vietnam’s decline in fertility – it fell from 3.8 children per woman in 1989 to less than 2.1 today – is among its greatest social successes. The fertility rate has not risen significantly in recent years, but some Vietnamese officials nonetheless fear that a population “boomlet” may be occurring.

If approved, the new policy would impose fines on parents for any third and higher-order children, the UN sources said. Government officials and parliamentarians are already required to have no more than two children, risking advancement or continued service if they have more.

Initiation of the proposed new policy may also reflect the recent breakup of what had been a ministry devoted to population, maternal health, and child welfare, according to the UN sources. These three functions have since been split into three departments and divided among ministries, weakening the influence of former ministry officials committed to family planning voluntarism.

The Vietnamese two-child population policy had been in effect in the 1990s and until 2003, when – in part due to international pressure against coercive family planning policies – it was replaced with a policy encouraging a “small-family norm” throughout the country.

Reinstatement of the two-child policy would be reminiscent of the longstanding one-child population policy of China, Vietnam’s northern neighbor, which requires that most parents have no more than one child or face fines or other penalties. Despite this policy, China’s fertility averages around 1.8 children per woman, indicating widespread exceptions to or evasions of the policy.

Vietnam’s fertility rate rose slightly around the time its two-child policy was relaxed in 2003, but demographers judge the increase insignificant and doubt it stemmed from relaxation of the policy. The fertility rate has since fallen back to 2.1 or slightly lower, according to UN sources.

Fertility rates that stay consistently at two children per woman allow a population eventually to stop growing in the absence of significant net immigration. Most eastern Asian countries have experienced rapid fertility decline in recent decades, to roughly two children or fewer, due to the increasing popularity of small families and improved access to family planning services in the region.

Robert Engelman is Vice President for Programs at the Worldwatch Institute, an environmental research organization based in Washington, D.C. He is the author of More: Population, Nature, and What Women Want, published in 2008 by Island Press.

Israel Planning First Ever Nation Wide Defense Drill

December 25, 2008

The “enemy” clearly is a nuclear Iran headed by someone who wants to eliminate Israel.

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By Yaakov Katz
Jerusalem Post

The exercise, scheduled for July, is called Turning Point 3. It will be the third home front exercise to be held since the Second Lebanon War and the founding of the National Emergency Administration (NEA), the Defense Ministry body responsible for setting national emergency standards.

Turning Point 1 was held in the summer of 2007 and drilled the IDF, Israel Police, Fire and Rescue Services, Home Front Command and other emergency organizations. The second drill, held last April, included all of the above plus various government ministries.

 

“The third drill will include all of the emergency organizations, all of the government ministries [and] the entire civilian population,” a top NEA official told The Jerusalem Post this week. “People will be asked to go into their protected rooms or bomb shelters and ensure that they know what to do in the event of a war.”

On Monday, the NEA conducted an exercise for government spokespeople to see how they would function during a crisis. Spokespeople from the Prime Minister’s Office, the Defense Ministry, IDF, Home Front Command, Israel Police and other bodies participated in the event, which was overseen by NEA head Brig.-Gen. (res.) Ze’ev Zuk-Ram.

“It is important that we have a unified message and not confuse the public,” the NEA official said. “The problem today is that each ministry has several spokespersons and all of the ministries do not always coordinate what they are doing.”

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks at the Natanz uranium ... 
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks at the Natanz uranium enrichment facility.(AFP/File/Atta Kenare)

Read the entire article:
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1230111
689150&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull