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Global fertility rate to keep plummeting, major study warns

“IMPLICATIONS ARE IMMENSE” “We are facing staggering social change through the 21st century,” he said in a statement. IHME researcher Natalia Bhattacharjee said the “implications are immense”. “These future trends in fertility rates and live births will completely reconfigure the global economy and the international balance of power and will necessitate reorganising societies,” she said. “Once nearly every country’s population is shrinking, reliance on open immigration will become necessary to sustain economic growth.” However, World Health Organization (WHO) experts urged caution for the projections. They pointed out several limitations of the models, particularly a lack of data from many developing nations. Communication about the figures “should not be sensationalised, but nuanced, balancing between gloom and optimism,” the WHO experts wrote in The Lancet. They also pointed out that there can be benefits of having a smaller population, such as for the environment and food security. But there are disadvantages for labour supply, social security and “nationalistic geopolitics”. Teresa Castro Martin, a researcher at the Spanish National Research Council not involved in the study, also emphasised that these are just projections. She pointed out that the Lancet study predicts the global fertility rate will fall below replacement levels around 2030, “whereas the United Nations predicts this to occur around 2050”. The study was an update of the IHME’s Global Burden of Disease study. The organisation, set up at the University of Washington by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has become a global reference for health statistics.

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Nearly every country’s population will be shrinking by 2100, study warns

Fertility rates in nearly every country will be too low to sustain their populations by the end of this century, a major study has warned. By 2100, populations in 198 of 204 countries will be shrinking, with most births taking place in poor countries, the study published in the Lancet showed on Monday. Sub-Saharan Africa is expected to account for one in every two children born in 2100, with only Somalia, Tonga, Niger, Chad, Samoa and Tajikistan able to sustain their populations, according to the study carried out by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington. “The implications are immense. These future trends in fertility rates and live births will completely reconfigure the global economy and the international balance of power and will necessitate reorganising societies,” said Natalia V Bhattacharjee, co-lead author and lead research scientist at the IHME. “Global recognition of the challenges around migration and global aid networks are going to be all the more critical when there is fierce competition for migrants to sustain economic growth and as sub-Saharan Africa’s baby boom continues apace.” The demographic shift will lead to a “baby boom” and “baby bust” divide, the study’s authors said, where wealthier countries struggle to maintain economic growth and poorer countries grapple with the challenge of how to support their growing populations. “A large challenge for countries in sub-Saharan Africa with the highest fertility is to manage risks associated with burgeoning population growth or risk potential humanitarian catastrophe,” said Austin E Schumacher, co-lead author and acting assistant professor at IHME. “The huge shift in numbers of births underscores the need to prioritise this region in efforts to lessen the effects of climate change, improve healthcare infrastructure, and continue to reduce child mortality rates, alongside actions to eliminate extreme poverty and ensure that women’s reproductive rights, family planning and education for girls are top priorities for every government.” The study based its findings on surveys, census data, and other sources of information collected between 1950 and 2021 as part of the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study, a decades-long collaboration involving more than 8,000 scientists from more than 150 countries.

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Florida-Based Rescue Group Evacuates Americans From Haiti

With hundreds of Americans stranded in Haiti calling for help, a Florida-based rescue team led by military veterans is answering the call. “Project DYNAMO operates in ‘The Grey Space’ where the U.S. government is not. This means, when the government is unable or unwilling to provide assistance, DYNAMO responds & deploys,” the website says. Mr. Stern confirmed to The Epoch Times that Project Dynamo had conducted a rescue mission in Haiti on March 18. “It was our biggest one so far,” he said. “It was by air, land, and sea,” he explained, saying it was “a multidimensional operation” through which several Americans were rescued. “We aren’t disclosing how many because things are ongoing and very dangerous, and the bad guys are really smart,” he said. While much of the current rescue effort and media attention are focused on the Haitian capital of Port-Au-Prince, Mr. Stern said people are trapped across the country. “There are people all over Haiti,” he noted. “So, when you talk about rescues, it’s not always about the ‘where it’s violent’ part. It’s about the ‘who’s in trouble’ part, and sometimes those are not always the same.” Mr. Stern said there are lots of resources in Port-au-Prince, but there were no resources for the people they recently rescued, who were in another part of the country. However, the government warned that the “overland trip” from Port-au-Prince to Cap-Haitien is dangerous, and that it “cannot provide overland travel from other parts of Haiti.” Therefore, the embassy advised that those who want to go to the Cap-Haitien airport only do so if they can get there safely. “We continue to work on options for departures out of Port-au-Prince and will let you know about them as soon as we are able to safely and securely arrange them,” the security alert advised further. However, it also informed stranded Americans who want the government’s assistance in evacuating that they “must sign a promissory note agreeing to reimburse the U.S. government for the cost of the flight.” During a March 19 press briefing, State Department spokesman Vedant Patel was asked about the success of a recent rescue effort conducted by U.S. Rep. Cory Mills (R-Fla.), who has conducted two rescue trips to Haiti and evacuated 23 Americans. “I’m wondering if that is something that was coordinated with the State Department, if it’s an action that you support,” a reporter asked Mr. Patel. While the administration is “relieved when any American citizen is able to make its way to safety,” Mr. Patel said, “operations like these that are sort of done deviating from formal State Department operations, they can be high-risk. We’re talking about a country that’s been a Level 4 Do Not Travel country since 2020,” he added. “And so, we want to make sure that we are not—that actions that are taken are not further inciting additional risk or putting individuals into harm’s way.” He also noted that an operation conducted by the State Department over the weekend “was able to facilitate the safe departure of over 30 U.S. citizens.” “There’s not a lack of ability,” he suggested. “America has the biggest Air Force in the world. We can see golf balls from outer space. One American aircraft carrier has more firepower than most countries have in totality. So, it’s not a lack of capability problem. It’s a choice. Whether it’s a good idea or a bad idea, it’s a policy decision.” As for the U.S. State Department making Americans promise to reimburse the government for their rescue, Mr. Stern said he thinks it’s “a little strange.” He said Project Dynamo has conducted 610 missions in the past two-and-a-half years and rescued nearly 7,000 people, and that none have been expected to pay. Every time a new rescue mission is necessary, he said the scenario is always the same. “The embassy evacuates and leaves behind a bunch of Americans and they say, ‘Yeah, you should have left’ or ‘You could have left.’ It’s the talking point they’re using now, that they should have left a month ago,” he said. “But that whole concept is a little strange to me. Who cares if you were or weren’t told to leave? The point is, you’re an American citizen and you’re in trouble. We think that means you should get help.” Mr. Stern told The Epoch Times that he served in both the Army and the Navy. “The bulk of my career was spent in the intelligence and special operations communities,” he said. “I worked in about 70 countries all over the world and I’m used to doing weird things in weird places without a lot of support, which is why Project Dynamo is so successful.” He said the organization’s ability to conduct rescue missions is directly correlated to funding.

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BOJ chief vows to support economy with monetary stimulus

TOKYO : Bank of Japan Governor Kazuo Ueda said on Thursday the central bank will continue to support the economy by maintaining accommodative monetary conditions for the time being. “Japan’s medium- and long-term inflation expectations are still in the process of accelerating towards 2 per cent,” Ueda told parliament. The BOJ ended eight years of negative interest rates and other remnants of its unorthodox policy on Tuesday, making a historic shift away from decades of massive monetary stimulus that was aimed at reviving the economy and quashing deflation. In his first appearance in parliament since the decision, Ueda was grilled by a lawmaker on whether the move was made too hastily and could derail Japan’s fragile economic recovery. “We could have waited until inflation is completely at 2 per cent for a long period of time. But if we did so, it’s unclear whether inflation would have stayed at 2 per cent. We might have seen a sharp increase in upside price risks,” Ueda replied. “If such risks were to materialise, we could have been forced to raise interest rates sharply. This was partly behind our decision” to end negative rates this week, he added. While cost-push pressures on inflation from past rises in raw material prices were easing, service-related prices continued to increase gradually, Ueda said. The recent outcome of annual wage negotiations between big firms and unions, as well as hearings the BOJ conducted on companies, confirmed that Japan was seeing a positive cycle of rising wages and inflation, he said.

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Man charged with murder after stabbing over cigarettes

Camera IconA man is dead and another charged with murder after a fight in a Cairns home. (James Ross/AAP PHOTOS) Credit: AAP Man charged with murder after stabbing over cigarettes Keira JenkinsAAPMarch 21, 2024 9:46AM Topics Share to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail UsCopy the Link

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Chinese Fast Fashion Giant’s Dominance Blighted by Slavery Allegations

Giant Chinese e-commerce retailers like Temu and Shein have joined Aliexpress in invading the wallets of Australian and New Zealand shoppers seduced by low prices and quick delivery. One retailer, Temu, is run by Chinese-owned PDD Holdings, which operates the Pinduoduo brand, and reportedly generated $2.44 trillion yuan (AU$506 billion) in gross merchandise during the height of the pandemic in 2021. Research company Roy Morgan reported over 1.26 million Australian shoppers visited Temu each month from July to December 2023, amounting to annual sales of $1.34 billion. While Shein has amassed over 800,000 shoppers each month for items such as clothing and accessories. Despite sourcing from China, Temu maintains offices in the United States and, over the past 12 months, has expanded into Western countries, offering apparent bargain basement deals on everything from clothing to electronics utilising a direct manufacturer-to-consumer model. Antipodean online shoppers have been bombarded by pop-up ads on Google searches, YouTube, and other social media. The ads often invoke the idea that the customer is winning something via a casino-like spinning wheel, promising huge discounts on signing up. Temu has also strengthened its presence by sponsoring locally-based sports, including being a principal sponsor of the 2023 Rugby World Cup, which, along with being New Zealand’s most-watched sport, registered 1.33 billion viewing hours globally. By saturating the market, Temu plans to change customer behaviour, forcing them away from traditional (often locally-based) retailers, to buying from factories pumping out cheap, often generic versions of everyday items. Product reviews vary, with some shoppers maintaining they receive good-functioning commodities, while others bemoan the use of cheap parts and poorly constructed items. The U.S. House Select Committee on the Chinese Community Party produced a report in September 2023 that warned Temu’s compliance with fair trade and manufacturing principles may be a charade. The report detailed that suppliers must sign and adhere to a code of conduct with PDD Holdings/Temu that prevents worker exploitation; however, a loophole allows Temu to keep potentially nefarious suppliers at arm’s length. However, Temu does not have any system to ensure compliance with the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA), set up to eliminate forced labour among China’s minority Muslim population. The UFLPA has the goal of ensuring American entities are not funding forced labour in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. This all but guarantees that shipments from Temu, containing products made with forced labour, are entering the United States regularly, said the report. Responding to a post-report inquiry from the BBC in late 2023, Temu said it prohibits forced, penal, or child labour and that “anyone doing business with it must comply with all regulatory standards and compliance requirements.” However, to some, Temu is blurring the ethical line around consumerism. The Epoch Times spoke with two recent Temu customers in New Zealand. Janene, a mother of two from Auckland, said she relies on Temu when buying items for her children “because it’s cheap and arrives quickly. The postage is almost non-existent if order enough items.” When pressed on whether the allegations of slavery affected her buying choices, she said: “I guess I never really think about it, you know, out of sight, out of mind.” Nadine, a student, said she occasionally buys electronic devices like dental hygiene equipment and LED lights for her flat from Temu. Her opinion on buying from suppliers who may mistreat their workers was, “If that can be proven then it would probably change from where it bought things from in future. Money isn’t everything, and if I can buy something online with a clear conscious. I would do that.”

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Scheme for Women’s Welfare in Limbo as Election Code Takes Precedence in Himachal

The promise of financial support for eligible women in Himachal Pradesh has hit an unexpected roadblock amidst the fervor of the election season. The “Indira Gandhi Pyari Behna Sukh Samman Nidhi Yojana,” aimed at providing a monthly grant of Rs 1500 to selected beneficiaries, finds itself in limbo as the Election Commission’s directives take precedence. Following a complaint lodged by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Election Commission has intervened, instructing the state government to cease the filling of forms for the welfare scheme until the conclusion of the election code of conduct. This directive has thrown the scheme’s future into uncertainty, leaving many potential beneficiaries in a state of suspense. The Election Commission’s mandate stipulates that no new forms should be processed during the electoral period, prompting concerns over the scheme’s stalled progress. Furthermore, the commission has demanded comprehensive data from the concerned department to assess the scheme’s implementation status, including details on applications received, approvals granted, and pending applications. In response, the Secretary of the Social Justice and Empowerment Department has issued directives to relevant authorities, directing adherence to the election code of conduct guidelines. Copies of these directives have been disseminated to Deputy Commissioners and District Welfare Officers across all districts, emphasizing the need for compliance with regulatory mandates. The scheme, which had garnered attention following a pre-election announcement by Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, now finds itself embroiled in controversy. Allegations raised by BJP leaders, including Leader of Opposition Jairam Thakur and other party MLAs, have cast doubts on the scheme’s integrity, prompting scrutiny from electoral authorities. As Himachal Pradesh navigates the intricate landscape of electoral politics, the fate of the women’s welfare scheme remains uncertain. While the promise of financial aid had initially sparked hope among eligible women, the collision with the election code of conduct has cast a shadow of doubt over its realization. With the scheme’s implementation on hold and political tensions running high, the plight of women in Himachal Pradesh hangs in the balance, awaiting resolution amidst the regulatory conundrum. As stakeholders await clarity on the scheme’s future, the broader discourse surrounding women’s welfare and electoral dynamics continues to unfold in the state.

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Former SF Giants PA voice Renel Brooks-Moon thanks fans, San Francisco for ‘overwhelming support, love and concern’

After two days of emotional social media posts and sports talk by fans about the Giants’ controversial split with their longtime public-address announcer, Renel Brooks-Moon on Wednesday evening had a message for San Francisco and Giants fans: Thank you! Brooks-Moon, who has been the Giants’ PA voice since the team moved into its waterfront ballpark in 2000, wrote a lengthy post on her Instagram account as her first extended public comments on the breakup. She was quoted in a statement the team released Monday when it announced that “although they discussed an extension of Brooks-Moon’s contract which ended in December 2023, after extensive discussions they mutually and amicably agreed to part ways.” The trailblazing former radio host used the platform on Wednesday as a thank you to her fans and friends and did not address the decision specifically in the post. “Dear San Francisco and San Francisco Giants Fans,” Brooks-Moon wrote, “Needless to say, it’s been an emotional few days. But couldn’t let another day go by w/o expressing my gratitude for your overwhelming support, love and concern.” She added, “It was, and always will be, the greatest honor of my life and career to serve as your PAA and community ambassador.” Brooks-Moon noted that she was a “Giants fan in utero” because her mother — “a huge baseball & Giants fan” — was pregnant with Renel when the Giants moved from New York in 1958. Brooks-Moon praised her co-workers at the stadium as well as on NBCSports Bay Area among the memories she and her husband, Tommie, made during her time behind the mic. She wrote, in part, “We have shared so many great times together over 24 years. Tommie and I have become personal friends w/ so many of you, which has been a joy! “I will miss you all so much. From our pregame selfies and hugs – (you know I’m gonna hug!), your generous and unique gifts, (shout out “bracelet sisters”), to just talking baseball before and after games, and so much more. And all the precious babies I have held! “Shout out to sections 214 and 213, right below the booth! Oh did we have fun during the 7th inning stretch! “And the way you lifted me up when mother died, I’ll never ever forget.” Brooks-Moon, the first woman to serve as PA announcer for a World Series game, concluded the post by writing, “… it will always be my hope that I have inspired little girls, young women and people of color to pursue their dreams, no matter what. “Best of luck to my successor and I hope you enjoy every single minute of it! Go get em Bo Mel! Love, Renel” The team said it will name the announcer’s booth at Oracle Park in Brooks-Moon’s honor and recognize her years of service during a ceremony at a game this season. “Renel has been the familiar and inspirational voice for generations of players and fans at Oracle Park,” Giants CEO Larry Baer said in a statement on Monday when it was announced that Brooks-Moon would not return this season. “As an ambassador for the organization and a respected leader, Renel has been a Giant voice in the ballpark and in the community, and will be a Forever Giant.”

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Excess cash in circulation may worsen inflation – MPC members

Members of the Monetary Policy Committee of the Central Bank of Nigeria have blamed the excess cash in circulation for the accelerating inflation in the country. This was revealed in the statements they made at the February MPC meeting, which was posted on the website of the apex bank on Monday. One of the MPC members, Pauline Odinkemelu, said, “On the monetary sector, growth in money supply (M3) rose by 18.25 per cent to N93.72tn at end-January 2024 over the preceding December. Broad money (M2) and narrow money (M1) grew by 17.81 and 3.68 per cent, respectively at end-January 2024. “The growth in broad money supply was driven by the rise in other deposits, transferable deposits, and securities other than shares. In my view, the growth in M1 could further worsen inflationary pressures in the economy, as it signals rising transactional motives or excess liquidity in the system. The motive for holding excess liquidity is generally classified into precautionary or voluntary motives.” According to to Odinkemelu, precautionary excess liquidity portion is useful as a buffer for insuring bank capital and uncertainty surrounding customers’ withdrawal, and does not have negative effect on monetary policy. “However, involuntary motive usually above the desired level– a common feature of developing economies banking system – is not desirable during this period of persistent inflationary pressure, and also influences my decision to vote for monetary policy tightening. In voting for tightening, I am mindful of the implications of a rate hike on the stability of the banking system and therefore, will vote to raise the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) by 300 basis points from 18.75 per cent to 21.75 per cent,” she stated. Money Supply statistics from the CBN as of January 2024 revealed that currency in circulation surged by 163 per cent in January 2024 to N3.651tn from N1.39tn in the corresponding period of last year. Month-on-month, there was a marginal 0.1 per cent decline from the historic high of N3.653tn in December 2023. In the same vein, currency outside banks grew by 314 per cent to N3.28tn in January 2024 from N0.79tn (January 2023), implying that 89.86 per cent of the currency in circulation was outside the banking system as of January 2024. That was a notable rise from the 57.14 per cent recorded in January 2023, following the CBN’s naira redesign. The currency out banking system marked its all-time high at 94 per cent in December 2023 and makes up 84.46 per cent on average of currency in circulation between 1960 and January 2024. Another MPC member, Mustapha Akinkunmi, added that Nigeria witnessed a decrease in its reserve money to approximately N24.2tn by the end of January 2024, while broad money supply increased to N93.7tn, noting that this exacerbated inflationary pressures within the country. The Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Lamido Yuguda, who is also a member of the MPC, said that loose monetary policy prevailed for most of 2023 leading to excess liquidity in the system. “Reserve money increased by 54.28 per cent between December 2022 and December 2023, while broad money (M3) increased by 50.88 per cent over the same period, well above the provisional benchmark of 28.21 per cent. “The 50.88 per cent increase in broad money from NGN 52.2tn in December 2022 to N78.7tn in December 2023 was driven mostly by a 46.27 per cent increase in net domestic assets, which rose by NGN 22.4tn. In other words, this represents additional credit created in the economy.” According to Yuguda, while reserve money declined by 2.34 per cent in January 2024 relative to December 2023 driven largely by a decline in liabilities to other depository corporations broad money (M3) increased by 18.25 per cent within one month, adding to the high level of excess liquidity in the system.

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World Happiness Report 2024: Australia cracks top 10 on list of ‘happiest’ countries

The West Australian Perth Now Click to open navigation ‌‌ News Chevron Down Icon Breaking News Western Australia National World Technology Opinion Weather Sport Chevron Down Icon AFL Cricket Soccer Basketball Tennis NRL Rugby Motor Racing MMA Golf Netball Cycling Entertainment Chevron Down Icon Confidential Movies Best Short Film Television Music Reviews Books Competitions Business Chevron Down Icon Breaking News Economy Markets Property Commercial Property Workplace Matters Lifestyle Chevron Down Icon Food Personal Finance Health Parenting Fashion Travel Home & Garden Relationships Stars Real Estate HUH? Local News Chevron Down Icon North Central South Mandurah Competitions Find My Paper Digital Editions Shop Now Read your local paperNews to your inbox Food Personal Finance Health Parenting Fashion Travel Home & Garden Relationships Stars Real Estate HUH? Camera IconAustralia has made the top 10 of happiest nations in the world, with Finland in first place. Credit: Supplied World Happiness Report 2024: Australia cracks top 10 on list of ‘happiest’ countries Zach MargoliusPerthNow March 21, 2024 9:48AM Comments TopicsCultureAustraliaLifestyle Every year a World Happiness Report is produced listing the world’s most content nations — and once again Scandinavia appears the place to be! According to the report — which averages survey responses from each nation’s residents over a two-year period — countries are ranked according to their “self-assessed life evaluations”. To produce an overall metric, researchers measured participants’ rating of variables affecting their standard of living — including GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom, generosity, and corruption. Camera IconA holistic approach was taken by researchers. Credit: JillWellington/Pixabay (user JillWellington) TheNightly Get in front of tomorrow’s news for FREE Journalism for the curious Australian across politics, business, culture and opinion.READ NOW Importantly, no index or extraneous data influenced the results, relying purely on “individual’s own assessments of their lives”. Topping the list for the seventh consecutive year is the northern European nation of Finland, where its 5.5 million residents apparently have very little to complain about. In second place and close proximity was Denmark, followed by Iceland and Sweden respectively.Camera IconThe great outdoors are a feature of Scandinavian nations. Credit: 11417994/Pixabay (user 11417994)Camera IconEurope’s stunning scenery. Credit: JebBuchman/Pixabay (user JebBuchman) While the rest of the world may perceive their conditions as cold, dark and miserable, Scandinavians commonly cite their work-life balance, government support and social belonging as key to smiling more often. Many might be surprised to learn Israel has placed fifth on the list, with their current conflict with Gaza having some impact on the assumed safety and well-being of residents. However, as the list gathered responses from the rolling period of 2021-2023, Israel’s typically laid-back lifestyle and enviable weather in parts could have been factors. Australians have admitted to feeling pretty darn happy with their lives as a whole, rounding out the top 10 ahead of our little Trans-Tasman brother, New Zealand.Camera IconAussies love the beach. Credit: summerstock/Pixabay (user summerstock)Camera IconBondi Beach, an Aussie icon. Credit: flok85/Pixabay (user flok85) Roles were reversed in last year’s study, where the rugby-loving nation placed tenth ahead of Aussies in 12th. Other notable mentions go to the UK in 20th, and the US in 23rd, with Germany, Mexico and France filling the twenties.Camera IconHappiness varies all over the world. Credit: drkiranhania/Pixabay (user drkiranhania) Residents of African and Middle-Eastern nations called out their poor living standards and the perceived corruption influencing their governing bodies, with Afghanistan being the lowest-rated country overall at 143rd. Separating respondents by age group, Lithuania topped the list of happiest residents under 30 years of age, with Israel in second. Evident here was a slight deviation from older generations of Aussies in overall happiness, as our youth found themselves in 19th place. See the full list here. Top 20 World’s Happiest Nations 1. Finland 2. Denmark 3. Iceland 4. Sweden 5. Israel 6. Netherlands 7. Norway 8. Luxembourg 9. Switzerland 10. Australia 11. New Zealand 12. Costa Rica 13. Kuwait 14. Austria 15. Canada 16. Belgium 17. Ireland 18. Czechia 19. Lithuania 20. United Kingdom Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Email Us Copy the Link Register and have your say. Register to comment Already have an account? 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