Family planning in South Korea

For Koreans wishing to have a child in 2017, there is good news. Starting in July 2017, those receiving infertility treatment will be guaranteed three days of unpaid leave per year. At the same time, paternity leave will increase from KRW 1.5 million (c. £1000) to KRW 2 million (c. £1250) fir fathers staying at home to care for their second children. Thirdly, the government plamns to have infertility treatment covered by health insurance  from September 2017, and finally, from ...

Singapore’s smart city

With the rate of Southeast Asia’s urbanisation projected to increase from 48% in 2015 to 65% in 2050, there is mounting pressure on governments to find solutions to challenges and improve their efficiency in the distribution of public services. Driven by the desire to improve sustainability with minimal resources, the adoption of smart infrastructure can significantly improve a city’s business climate, environmental awareness and standard of living. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, across Asian cities the demand for smart city ...

Poverty in the UK damaging children’s health

‘Stark inequalities’ and high rates of child death, obesity and ill-health were all highlighted in a report on child health in the UK. Children living in the most deprived areas are much more likely to be in poor health, be overweight or obese, suffer from asthma, have poorly managed diabetes, experience mental health problems and die early. Children in the UK have higher death rates, obesity and ill-health than in much of Europe. The UK could do far more to improve ...

US bank, Citigroup, plans new operations away from London after Brexit

The US bank, Citigroup, has been in talks with Ireland, Italy, France, Spain, Germany and Netherlands in search for new European base once UK leaves EU. Citigroup currently employs 9,000 people in the UK, and a further 12,000 people across the EU. Citigroup has set out 25 criteria to weigh up which financial centre in the European Union will house the new operation it expects to set up due to decision of the UK to pull out of the European Union ...

Japan forces a harsh choice on children of migrant families

A number of children of migrants to Japan have pleaded with the Japanese authorities to recognize them and their families as residents in a country where they were born and have lived for many years, sometimes decades. Gursewak Singh was born to Indian migrants living in Japan. His parents, who are Sikhs, fled to Japan from India in the 1990s. For several years, they lived without visas unknown to the authorities until they were put on a status known as ‘provisional ...

Malaysia accused of allowing poor working conditions and pay

Some workers at McDonald’s restaurants in Malaysia have claimed that they earn as little as 60p an hour and were cheated out of months of salary, according to a Guardian newspaper investigation. The workers claim that they were subjected to months – and in some cases years – of exploitation by Human Connection HR, a labour supply company contracted by McDonald’s in Malaysia to provide workers to its restaurants in Kuala Lumpur. The workers, who originate from Nepal, say they ...

Gender Equality in Iceland

In a country of only 330,000 people, there are 19 such primary and nursery schools, empowering girls from an early age. Since 2010, Iceland has topped the World Economic Forum’s gender gap index. The Economist recently named Iceland the world’s best place for working women. What is the reason for this gender success story? For centuries, Iceland’s women stayed at home as their went to sea. Without men at home, women played the roles of farmer, hunter, architect, builder. They ...

The Calais Jungle

The Calais ‘jungle’ was the term given to a series of asylum-seekers and migrants camps around Calais, in northern France. Many of the migrants have attempted to illegally enter the UK by stowing away on lorries, cars, trains and boats. There have been a number of camps around Calais since 1999, with a population of up to 7,000 at certain times. It was demolished in October 2016. Conditions in the camp were poor. The camps have been described as shanty town ...

Gender inequality index

In 2010, the UNDP introduced the Gender Inequality Index. Figure 1 shows the GII for 2014. Figure 1 Gender inequality index, 2014. Based on data in the Human Development Report. The lowest gender inequality (meaning women are better off) in 2014 were, in rank order, Slovenia, Switzerland and Germany. The USA, ranked 8 for HDI was ranked 55 for GII, and Qatar ranked 32 for HDI, was 116 for GII. In contrast, at the bottom end of the scale (lowest first) ...

Forest fires in the USA

Climate change is causing devastation in America’s forests, owing to fire, insect-infestations and drought. All are related to a warming climate. In 2013, Yosemite National Park was affected by California’s third-largest ever wildfire, which burnt over a quarter of a million acres. Wildfires in the USA. Source: The Economist In 2015, over 10m of America’s 766m acres of forest were consumed by wildfires. This was the biggest area burned since 1960, and cost the government over $2 billion. The growth of wildfires is ...