China Ends One-Child Policy, GOP Debate, Google Balloons

CHINA ENDS ONE-CHILD POLICY

After months of speculation, China today officially ended its notorious 35-year-long one-child policy, allowing couples in the country to have two children, Xinhua state news agency reports. China's so-called "family planning policy" was implemented in September 1980 in an effort to alleviate social, economic and environmental problems. But as The Guardian reports, while "the government credits it with preventing 400 million births, the human cost has been immense, with forced sterilizations and abortions, infanticide and a dramatic gender imbalance that means millions of men will never find female partners."


VERBATIM

"The questions that have been asked so far in this debate illustrate why the American people don't trust the media," Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said last night during the third Republican presidential debate on CNBC, The Washington Post reports. "Donald Trump, are you a comic book villain? Ben Carson, can you do math? John Kasich, will you insult two people over here? Marco Rubio, why don't you resign? Jeb Bush, why have your numbers fallen? How about talking about the substantive issues?" Cruz added, as several his fellow Republican candidates also turned against the debate moderators. But his comments came after a substantive question about the debt limit.


ON THIS DAY


Black Tuesday, the beginning of the Great Depression, was 86 years ago today. This and more in your 57-second shot of history.


U.S., CHINA TO DISCUSS SOUTH CHINA SEA

U.S. naval operations chief Admiral John Richardson and his Chinese counterpart, Admiral Wu Shengli, will hold high-level talks over tensions in the South China Sea after a U.S. warship challenged China in the disputed waters Tuesday, Reuters reports. "We would urge the U.S. side not to continue down the wrong path," Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun said. "But if they do, we will take all necessary measures in accordance with the need."

  • Meanwhile, The Guardian reports that two Australian warships will hold military exercises with the Chinese navy in the South China Sea next week despite the U.S. patrol in the area.

300

Google could have 300 Internet-beaming balloons in the stratosphere, forming a ring around the Earth by next year, Mike Cassidy, vice president of the American company's Project Loon, told the BBC. This would allow most of the world to access high-speed internet.


NATO CONSIDERS MORE TROOPS TO DETER RUSSIA

Representatives of NATO countries in Brussels are discussing increasing the number of troops stationed along Russian borders and putting them under formal alliance command, The Wall Street Journal reports. It's part of an effort to deter possible aggression from Moscow.


MY GRAND-PÈRE'S WORLD



WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO

Alcoholism and related problems are becoming serious in the three Tohoku prefectures severely affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 2011, The Japan News reports. "The deaths of loved ones or the stress of a prolonged life as evacuees have led to increased alcohol consumption, and some are newly diagnosed as alcoholics even 4 1/2 years after the disaster."

Read the full article, Alcoholism, Post-Quake Japan's Silent Aftershock.


NEPAL ELECTS FIRST FEMALE PRESIDENT

Nepal's parliament elected Bidhya Devi Bhandari, a women's rights campaigner, current vice chair of the ruling Communist Party of Nepal and former defense minister, as its first female president, The Kathmandu Post reports. Although the presidential position is mainly ceremonial in Nepal, Bhandari has pledged to champion minority and women's rights in the country.


AUSTRIAN WALL WILL REGULATE MIGRANTS

After Hungary and Bulgaria, Austria is now planning to build a wall to regulate the mass flow of refugees into its territory from the so-called "Balkan route," Euronews reports. The wall will be built along the country's border with Slovenia, the Austrian government said Wednesday, adding that it had no intention of closing the border.


CHAD ADOPTS BIOMETRIC VOTING

Next year's Chad elections will represent a novelty for the central African country. No, not a new president: Chadian voters are being asked to register to vote biometrically. Read more about it on Le Blog here.


U.S. TO BOOST DIPLOMACY ON SYRIA

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is set to join talks on the Syrian civil war today in Vienna, along with foreign secretaries from Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the UK, France, Germany, Egypt, Lebanon and, for the first time, Iran, The Washington Post reports. Speaking at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace think tank in Washington, D.C., Wednesday, Kerry said the U.S. would intensify its diplomatic efforts to end what he described as the Syrian "hell." "While finding a way forward on Syria will not be easy, it is the most promising opportunity for a political opening we have seen," he said. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter had also announced the U.S. would increase its military campaign against ISIS in Syria and Iraq.


SNAPSHOT

Photo: Brianna Soukup/The Palm Beach Post/ZUMA

A girl picks out pumpkins Wednesday at the annual Pumpkin Patch in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.


"YOUR DRUNK UNCLE AT THANKSGIVING"

A Google Chrome extension will substitute every instance of the name "Donald Trump" on the Internet into "Your drunk uncle at Thanksgiving."

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Coronavirus

Texas In Germany? Saxony Mixes Anti-Vaxxers And Far-Right Politics

When it comes to vaccination rates, there are striking parallels between Germany and the United States. The states with the most opposition to vaccines differ politically from those with the highest vaccination rates. Now the consequences for booster shots are starting to become visible, especially in the United States.

A protest in Saxony last year against COVID-19 restrictions

Zentralbild/dpa via ZUMA
Daniel Friedrich Sturm

-Analysis-

WASHINGTON — Ok, so Saxony was singled out last week in a New York Times article as an example of the disastrous vaccination situation in parts of Europe. The article talks about the link between anti-vaxxers and the political success of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party in the eastern German state.

In a sense, Saxony is Germany's Texas. For instance, 59% of U.S. citizens are fully vaccinated, but in strictly Republican Texas, where Donald Trump overwhelmingly won the 2020 election, this figure stands at 54%.

Keep reading... Show less
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