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 ...

British ash trees may resist dieback disease

Genetic analysis shows native British ash trees may be more resistant than Danish ones to the deadly fungus that has spread across Europe. The ash is one of Europe’s most common trees. Ash dieback fungus first appeared in the UK in 2012, and has spread rapidly since. It is now found in more than half of the country. It has already affected 90% of trees in Denmark and threatens to all but wipe out ash trees there. The new genetic research ...

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 ...

The Arctic Resilience Report

Scientists working on climate change in the Arctic warn that increasingly rapid melting could trigger 19 polar ‘tipping points’ with impacts felt as far away as the Indian Ocean. Temperatures in the Arctic have been as much as 20C higher than average and Arctic sea ice is at the lowest extent ever recorded for the time of year. According to Marcus Carson, one of the lead authors of the Arctic Resilience Report, the warning signals are getting louder, and they have ...

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) ...

Demographic dividend

The demographic dividend refers to a bulge in the number of adults in a population. It occurs when fertility rates decline, allowing faster economic growth. The decline in fertility often follows a decline in infant and child mortality rates, as well as increased life expectancy. As families recognise that fewer children will die during infancy or childhood they begin to have fewer children. However, this drop in fertility rates is not immediate. The lag between falling death rates and falling ...