I found some good stuff, just can't produce anything of my own. So I'm just going to link up to some interesting articles and then will encourage any readers, if moved by the articles, to share their thoughts on them in the comments section.
First, from The New York Times:
HONG KONG — More than 13 million abortions are performed each year in China, according to statistics disclosed by Chinese health officials on Thursday, a marked increase from 2003, the most recent statistics available.The second, from The Associated Press:
When unreported and medication-induced abortions are counted, the actual number is substantially higher, according to physicians and medical researchers quoted by the state-run newspaper China Daily on Thursday.
The rate of abortion in China — about 24 abortions for every 1,000 women between the ages of 15 and 44 — is less than half that of the world’s highest rate. That is Russia’s, at 53.7 per 1,000, according to the United Nations Population Division. Some two million abortions are performed each year in Russia, which has a population of 142 million. China’s population is 1.3 billion.
But the rise in the numbers is significant. In a joint report, the World Health Organization and the Guttmacher Institute put the number of abortions in China in 2003 at 9 million, out of a total of 42 million worldwide that year.
Chinese officials said a low level of sex education among young people was the reason for the widespread use of abortion.
More than 70 percent of callers to a pregnancy phone line at a Shanghai hospital knew almost nothing about contraception, China Daily reported. Only 17 percent were aware of venereal diseases, and less than 30 percent knew that HIV/AIDS could be transmitted sexually.
BEIJING — The crowd in the packed Guosen Securities office jostles around buzzing printers that spit out receipts for their share buys, hoping to cash in on China's stimulus-fueled stock market boom.The third, from AFP:
"The central government has to fulfill their promise of 8 percent economic growth," said Wu Jun, 62, a retired civil servant who has part of his life savings of 50,000 yuan ($7,300) in stocks and lives on a 2,000 yuan-a-month ($290 a month) pension. "They'll come up with measures to keep the market in good shape."
But while investors expect the market — up more than 80 percent this year — to keep rising, Chinese leaders are alarmed. They worry that too much of the $1 trillion lending binge by state banks that paid for China's nascent revival was diverted into stocks and real estate, raising the danger of a boom and bust cycle and higher inflation less than two years after an earlier stock market bubble burst.
Beijing is trying to tighten credit controls without derailing the economic revival or causing a market crash — a risky path at a time when Chinese leaders say a recovery is not firmly established.
"It's a very serious threat. The Chinese government is walking a tightrope," said Mark Williams, Asia economist for Capital Economics in London. "There is the question of what happens if they rein in lending, because there is really no strong evidence that private sector demand is picking up."
BEIJING — Bad breath is enough to fail the test to enter China's manned space programme, state media said Sunday -- but the final green light for blast-off is given by the hopeful astronaut's wife.Hope to get something more substantial soon.
China only wants to send the best of the best into orbit, meaning unfortunate personal smell is sufficient reason to get disqualified right away, the Sina.com website reported.
"Bad body odour will affect the colleagues in the narrow confines of a space shuttle," said Shi Binbin, a doctor with the 454th Air Force Hospital in the east Chinese city of Nanjing.
A runny nose is also a definite obstacle to joining China's space race for much the same reason, according to the report.
The hospital recently completed a rigorous first screening of candidates, who had to satisfy 100 requirements, to eliminate those obviously unfit to serve China in space.
But the battery of tests were only the first of three aimed at selecting China's new breed of astronauts that will pick up from the pioneers chosen in 1997.
Discarded early in the process were those with scars -- as they may burst open in the extreme conditions in space, the report said. And candidates must also show they have no family history of serious illnesses going back three generations.