Archive for the ‘population’ Category

Obama’s Biggest Challenge of All: China

November 29, 2008

The single most important challenge for the new administration—one with the potential to shape the 21st century—is China. As goes China, so go 1.3 billion men, women and children—one out of every five people on the planet.

China’s economy is now roughly half the size of America’s; in three decades, the two are likely to be about equal. What the Chinese eat, how much (or whether) they drive, where and how they choose to live, work and play: all will have an enormous impact on the availability and price of energy, the temperature of the planet and the prosperity of mankind.

By Richard Haass
Newsweek

Beijing’s foreign policy is no less important. A cooperative China could help stem the spread of nuclear materials and weapons, maintain an open global trading and financial system, secure energy supplies, frustrate terrorists, prevent pandemics and slow climate change. A hostile or simply noncooperative China, on the other hand, would make it that much more difficult for the United States and its allies to tame the most dangerous facets of globalization. But the emergence of a cooperative China is anything but inevitable. That is why Washington needs a new approach to Beijing. Think of it as “integration.”

In this March 31, 2008 file photo, a worker on a boat clears ... 
A  worker on a boat clears garbage from the Yellow River in Lanzhou in northwest China’s Gansu province. Newly released survey results show water quality along one third of China’s famed Yellow River has fallen below the lowest levels measured due to massive pollution. China’s second-longest river has seen its water quality deteriorate rapidly in the last few years, as discharge from factories increases and water levels drop due to diversion for booming cities.(AP Photo/File)

Integration should be for this era what containment was for the previous one. Our goal should be to make China a pillar of a globalized world, too deeply invested to disrupt its smooth functioning. The aim is ambitious, even optimistic, but not unrealistic. The United States and China need each other. Neither wants to go to war over Taiwan, to see another conflict on the Korean Peninsula or to see world oil prices quadruple as a result of a military strike on Iran. Even more than that, China needs access to the U.S. market for its exports in order to maintain economic growth and domestic political stability. Americans, in addition to benefiting from low-cost Chinese imports, need Beijing to manage its large dollar reserves responsibly.

Americans must accept China’s rise. There’s no guarantee we could prevent it anyway, and the attempt would only worsen the rivalry. We should not exaggerate China’s strength or the threat it poses. China’s military, for all its improvements, is still a generation behind America’s. And we should resist any calls to block China’s access to the U.S. market. Trade and investment aren’t just beneficial on their own terms; they also contribute to the web of ties that would bind China into an orderly world order.

Read the rest:
http://www.newsweek.com/id/171259

Chinese People's Liberation Army troops stand in their formation ... 
Chinese People’s Liberation Army troops stand in their formation at a parade ground during the annual rotation of military personnel in Hong Kong November 25, 2008.REUTERS/Alex Hoffard/Pool (CHINA)
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Vietnam to tighten two-child rule

November 21, 2008

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 on Thursday.

AFP

The government worries that rising numbers are putting strain on education, health and other public services in the country of 86 million, about two thirds of whom are under 35 thanks to a post-war population explosion.

The government first launched a two-child policy in the early 1960s but this was relaxed in a 2003 ordinance that encouraged small families without making it illegal for families to have a third child.

That decree was “so general that people haven’t understood it and have sometimes taken advantage of it”, said Duong Quoc Trong, deputy head of the government’s General Office for Population and Family Planning.

“The demographic boom is damaging the country’s sustainable development.”

Many of the Vietnamese couples who have a third child do so because they already have two daughters, due to a long-standing belief that sons must care for their parents in old age and carry on the family name.

In the first nine months of the year about 93,000 third-child births were registered in Vietnam — 10 percent more than in the same period last year — according to official statistics released by the office.

This week the cabinet agreed on a draft amendment that would turn the two-child rule into law once it is passed by the National Assembly.

In the past, Communist Party members have faced warnings, reprimands or expulsion for breaching the two-child rule, and citizens have been punished with pay cuts and other disciplinary measures at work.

Officials did not say what penalties may apply in future under the new law.

Some groups will be exempt, including members of ethnic minority groups with less than 10,000 people, said the state-run Vietnam News Agency.

Couples will also be allowed to ask for permission to have a third baby under certain conditions, for example if one of their children is disfigured because of an accident or suffers a fatal disease.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20081120/lf_afp/vietnam
populationtwochildpolicy_081120174157

Loss of Tax Revenue, Plus More Students Makes For Ugly School Prognosis

November 10, 2008

Schools all over Ameroca are discovering that the global economic crisis means smaller tax revenues to spend on schools.  Plus many areas have more new students, many of them immigrants needing additional help and special teachers.  Here is a report from two big counties near washington DC….

By Michael Alison Chandler and Daniel de Vise
Washington Post Staff Writers
Monday, November 10, 2008; 4:13 PM

Leaders of the region’s two largest school systems outlined today their grimmest scenarios to date for how looming budget shortfalls could play out in classrooms, with Fairfax County schools facing an average increase of 2 1/2 students per class and Montgomery County forced to renegotiate teacher pay increases or cut positions.

Fairfax Superintendent Jack D. Dale sketched a proposal to close a $220 million projected shortfall for the fiscal year that begins in July by eliminating summer school, except for certain special education students, and cutting more than 1,000 positions, including custodians, office workers and teachers.

The $2.2 billion spending plan would be only slightly smaller than the current budget but would absorb about $50 million in lost state revenue and $46 million in added expenses because of projected enrollment increases. Officials expect the 169,000-student system, the region’s largest, to grow to 174,000. The proposal assumes no increase in Fairfax County’s share of the budget.

“It will take decades to recover” from such cuts, Dale said. “We hope this is the worst-case scenario.” The superintendent will present the proposal Friday to the Board of Supervisors, which funds nearly three-quarters of the school system’s budget.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/11/10
/AR2008111002066.html?hpid=topnews

Immigration to Britain ‘will be capped’

October 18, 2008

Many in the United States — even many of my immigrant friends — believe immigration to the U.S. is out of control.  But many Brit lawmakers believe they can and must control and manage immigration….

By Mattthew Moore
Telegraph (UK)
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Phil Woolas, the new immigration minister, said that there would be a sharp reduction in the number of foreigners allowed to stay in the country.

He appeared to announce a reversal in Labour policy by backing plans to set a strict upper limit on immigration.

“This Government isn’t going to allow the population to go up to 70 million,” Mr Woolas said in an interview.

“There has to be a balance between the number of people coming in and the number of people leaving.”

He added: “If people are being made unemployed, the question of immigration becomes extremely thorny. It’s been too easy to get into this country in the past and it’s going to get harder.”

Mr Woolas also warned that businesses risked fuelling racial resentment if they relied on cheap foreign labour.

“Britain has to get working again. The easiest thing for an employer to do is to employ an immigrant. We need to help them to change that,” he said.

“In times of economic difficulties, racial stereotyping becomes stronger but also if you’ve got skills shortages you should, as a government, attempt to fill those skills shortages with your indigenous population.”

Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show that the population grew by nearly 2 million people to 60,975,000 between 2001 and 2007.

Read the rest:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/
politics/3219776/Immigration-to-Britain-
will-be-capped.html

Vietnam’s Booming Population

September 26, 2008

Vietnam’s population, severely depressed by 50 years of war that finally ended in the early 1980s, is now growing so fast the government has passed a law imposing fines on families having more than two children.

The law, however, is not rigidly enforced, according to the Vietnam News Service.

“Many agencies … and communities loosened administrative fines and flinched from punishing people who gave birth to a third child,” the News Service reported in August.

An estimated 85 million people live in Vietnam, a narrow and elongated coastal country with the land area equivalent to the state of New Mexico, or 121,500 square miles. New Mexico, by comparison, has only 2 million people.

During much of the Vietnam War, the population hovered around the 60 million mark. Two-thirds of today’s population were born after the war ended in 1975.

In addition to its two-child policy, the government has invested heavily in family planning programs and the distribution of contraceptives. They are key elements of the country’s population strategy that has set a national growth rate of 1.14 percent over the next two years.

Because Vietnam has far more females than males, it also has one of the highest abortion rates among the world’s developing countries as boy babies are prized over girl babies.

Population control, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung told the Vietnam News Service, is necessary to raise the standard of living and correct gender imbalance in the land of the dragon.

– William B. Ketter, CNHI

China one-child policy to stay in place

March 10, 2008
BY TINI TRAN, Associated Press Writer 

BEIJING – China will not consider changing its one-child policy for at least a decade for fear that a population surge could spark social and economic instability, the nation’s top family planning official said in an interview published Monday.

Zhang Weiqing of the State Population and Family Planning Commission told the official China Daily newspaper that the one-child rule should be maintained for now.

“Given such a large population base, there would be major fluctuations in population growth if we abandoned the one-child rule now,” he was quoted as saying. “It would cause serious problems and add extra pressure on social and economic development.”

Any change in the policy would be considered only after the end of the country’s next birth peak in 10 years….

Snow, Ice Trapping Almost 200 Million Travelers in China

January 29, 2008
By WILLIAM FOREMAN, Associated Press Writer

GUANGZHOU, China – Hundreds of thousands of migrant workers desperate to get home for the Chinese New Year shivered in the cold under a sea of umbrellas outside train stations Tuesday, as the worst winter storms in half a century paralyzed China.

 

One of the world’s biggest annual mass movements of humanity — a record 178.6 million people, more than the population of Russia — were expected to travel by train for the holiday, according to railway officials’ estimates.
Most of those stranded at train stations were migrant workers trying to leave booming southern Guangdong province — often called the world’s factory floor because it makes everything from Honda sedans to Apple iPods and Nike sneakers.

In China, the New Year holiday, which begins Feb. 7, is as important as Christmas is in the West. For most migrant workers, it’s the only time of the year when they can visit their hometowns, and they often take a month off to feast with their families and perform a series of rituals.

The extreme weather showed no signs of letting up Tuesday, with cities blacked out, highways closed because of treacherous conditions and trains canceled. A bus crash on an icy road killed at least 25 people — the worst accident since the blizzards began. The 35-seat bus slid off an icy mountain road and plunged 40 yards into a valley in Guizhou province, according to the State Administration of Work Safety.

Huge red banners hanging at the train station in the provincial capital, Guangzhou, urged migrant workers to cancel plans to return home, cash in their tickets and return to their factory dormitories. About 200,000 people took the advice and got ticket refunds, railway officials said, while about 200,000 others stayed at the station, milling around in a bone-chilling drizzle.

Thousands stood under umbrellas that formed a huge canopy in the train station’s plaza, while a larger crowd huddled beneath a highway overpass in front of the station hoping to catch a train. But the busy Beijing-Guangzhou line may not return to normal for three to five days, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

Wang Jigen was one of many workers who couldn’t cash in his ticket because he had no place to go. The 50-year-old day laborer left his job before the holiday and couldn’t afford to stay in a hotel until the trains begin running again to his home in the western province of Sichuan.

“I spent last night outside at a bus depot,” said Wang, dressed in a ragged sweater and a dusty olive corduroy coat. “I have no idea where I’ll sleep tonight or how I’ll ever get home.”

Just blocks from the station, migrants converged on an emergency shelter in the China Import and Export Fair exhibition center — a complex the size of three or four football fields. The place was packed with travelers sitting on their luggage. Free water bottles were being passed around, and lunch boxes of rice, chicken legs and cabbage were being sold for about $1.

The general mood seemed calm and stoic — in line with the traditional Chinese trait of “chi ku” or “eating bitterness,” enduring hardship without complaint. But legions of police and soldiers were ready for any disorder, and the nation’s leaders scrambled to show the public that they were on the case.

State broadcaster CCTV showed Premier Wen Jiabao meeting officials telling stranded travelers at the Changsha train station in central Hunan province that the trains would start again soon.

“Let me express my apologies for you all having been stuck here,” Wen said through a megaphone to a huddled crowd that cheered and applauded.

But the nation’s top leader, President Hu Jintao, warned of more bad weather and urged officials “be aware of the seriousness of the situation and be fully prepared to prevent and fight disasters.”

So far, the central government has given a total $17 million in aid to six provinces and one region battered by the winter weather, Xinhua said. Expressways were shut down in the nation’s financial capital, Shanghai, because snow and sleet made them a slushy treacherous mess.

In southwest China’s Guizhou province, wild macaques at the Qianling wildlife park huddled together trying to keep warm on ice-encrusted tree branches.

Spending the holiday in Guangdong was a painful thought for Wang Yusheng, a 33-year-old salesman from the central province of Henan. He nibbled on a chicken wing outside Guangzhou‘s station as he slowly gave up hope of going home. His backup plan was to spend the holiday where he works in the city of Shenzhen, near Hong Kong.

“We in the North eat dumplings during the holiday, but people in the South don’t,” said Wang. “Southern food really tastes terrible. It’s really going to be different celebrating the New Year here.”

China’s Population of Severely Poor Equal To Entire U.S. Population

January 13, 2008
January 13, 2008
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YANGMIAO, China — When she gets sick, Li Enlan, 78, picks herbs from the woods that grow nearby instead of buying modern medicines. This is not the result of some philosophical choice, though. She has never seen a doctor and, like many residents of this area, lives in a meager barter economy, seldom coming into contact with cash.
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 “We eat somehow, but it’s never enough,” Ms. Li said. “At least we’re not starving.”In this region of southern Henan Province, in village after village, people are too poor to heat their homes in the winter and many lack basic comforts like running water. Mobile phones, a near ubiquitous symbol of upward mobility throughout much of this country, are seen as an impossible luxury.
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People here often begin conversations with a phrase that is still not uncommon in today’s China: “We are poor.”

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/13/
world/asia/13china.html

America Needs More Doctors?

January 2, 2008

By Gregory Lopes
The Washington Times
January 2, 2008

Training more doctors to serve an aging population could drive up already crippling health care costs, medical officials say.

An influx of doctors will increase costs on an already financially troubled Medicare system, researchers at Dartmouth Medical School contend.

“Calling for more doctors, like prescribing more drugs, for an already overmedicated patient, may only makes things worse,” said Dr. David Goodman, a professor of pediatrics and family medicine at Dartmouth Medical School, which researches heath care quality and costs.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080102/BUSINESS/379944049/1001

Malnutrition Up in Darfur Despite Aid

December 27, 2007
December 27, 2007
NAIROBI, Kenya — Child malnutrition rates have increased sharply in Darfur, even though it is home to the world’s largest aid operation, according to a new United Nations report.The report showed that 16.1 percent of children affected by the conflict in Darfur, a vast, turbulent region in western Sudan, are acutely malnourished, compared with 12.9 percent last year. For the first time since 2004, the malnutrition rate, a gauge of the population’s overall distress, has crossed what United Nations officials consider to be the emergency threshold.Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/27/world/africa/27darfur.html?hp