Watching the World
◼ Sixty percent of Brazilian children have tooth decay by age three. One of the reasons is that bottle-feeding, often with sweetened drinks at night, is not followed up with essential dental hygiene.—FOLHA ONLINE, BRAZIL.
◼ A quarter of births in the United States are now by Cesarean section. In New York City, the number is five times the 1980 figure. Ease in scheduling is one reason, yet the risks in performing such surgery unnecessarily are “tremendous.”—THE NEW YORK TIMES, U.S.A.
◼ Over the past 100 years, Mexico City’s average temperature has risen about 6 degrees Fahrenheit [almost 4°C], compared with 1 degree [0.6°C] worldwide. Experts blame deforestation and urbanization.—EL UNIVERSAL, MEXICO.
◼ More than half the couples who marry in the United States are already living together. Such couples are up to twice as likely to divorce as those who marry before living together.—PSYCHOLOGY TODAY, U.S.A.
The Most Annoying Work Habits
“Loud phone conversations, [use of] speakerphones and constant complaints about workload top the list of our co-workers’ most annoying work habits,” reports the Washington Post. Among other habits that anger fellow workers are “cliques among co-workers, arriving late to work, talking to oneself, talking to co-workers over cubicle walls, bad hygiene and loud eating.” Such bad habits also damage worker productivity. Most of those who responded to researchers’ questions admitted, however, that they had never confronted those who irritate them. “And for good reason,” says the newspaper. “They can be just as guilty themselves.”
More People Living in Cities
“One-half of the world’s population will live in cities in two years,” states CBC News. According to a United Nations report, the United States has the highest percentage of city dwellers, with nearly 9 out of 10 people living in cities. Just 55 years ago, New York and Tokyo were the only two cities with ten or more million inhabitants. Today, that number has swelled to 20 cities with over 10 million residents, including Jakarta, Mexico City, Mumbai, and São Paulo. Kofi Annan, the UN secretary-general, says: “Such rapid growth will require far-reaching economic and social adjustments in most countries.”
The National Human Rights Committee of the Republic of Korea says that conscientious objection to military service is an inalienable right. The committee recommended that the right be accommodated by creation of an alternative civilian service. The recommendation, says The Korea Times, “contrasted” with a recent Constitutional Court decision that upheld current military law, which makes no provision for conscientious objection. The Supreme Court has stated that the legislature, not the courts, should establish this right in law. Yearly, between 500 and 700 young men who are Jehovah’s Witnesses go to prison in the Republic of Korea for refusal to perform military service. Over the years some 10,000 Witnesses have been imprisoned for this reason.