The number of Japanese births hit a record low in 2013 while the death rate was the highest since the end of World War II, according to health ministry estimates.
Ministry officials determined the nation’s population fell by a record 244,000 for the year by deducting the number of births from the number of deaths.“The trend of population decline will likely continue for a substantially long period of time,” a ministry official said. …
The Asahi Shimbun
Australian home prices jumped almost 10 per cent in 2013, boosted by a record-low cash rate.
Sydney’s property market was the strongest, helping to deliver the strongest year of national capital city prices since 2009. House values rose by 14.5 per cent in Sydney in 2013, pushing the city’s median dwelling price to $655,250, according to the RP Data-Rismark December Home Value Index.
Perth was the second best performer, with an annual growth rate of 9.9 per cent. …
Iceland: New Year’s Day Spent in Bed
As most people stayed up late on New Year’s Eve in Iceland people tend to sleep in on January 1.
But in the evening it is time to celebrate the first day of the New Year. The immediate family usually has dinner at home, which might consist of fish rather than meat, as meat is eaten almost every day during the Christmas holidays. Salmon is a popular choice. …
Only a fraction of Scottish forests felled to make way for wind farms have been replanted, figures show, sparking calls for a ban on new developments.
Forestry Commission statistics reveal that about five million trees – almost one for every person in Scotland – have been cut down to clear space for turbines in the past six years but less than a third of them have been replaced. …
Dr. Kevin Corbit, a scientist for the pharmaceutical giant Amgen, is convinced that by studying the behavior of the brown bear — an animal that can weigh up to 500 kilograms (1,100 pounds) and consume up to 58,000 calories daily — we can understand a lot about our own eating habits and identify aspects of obesity that have yet to be fully explored.
“When I think of obesity, Yogi Bear comes to mind,” Corbit says, speaking in his Washington State University lab. More than a dozen beautiful grizzlies are being hosted here in Pullman, Washington as rather large and cuddly stand-ins for mice and guinea pigs.
Bears are incredibly strong and sometimes fierce animals, that are also the guardians of precious nutritional secrets that may be able to help solve the human obesity phenomenon. …
La Stampa via Worldcrunch
The number of people seeking asylum in Sweden increased by 24 percent in 2013 to 54,259, with the highest number of migrants seeking refuge coming from Syria.
In 2012, 43,887 asylum seekers came to Sweden although the record year remains 1992, when there was a large influx from former Yugoslavia and from Iraq.
More than a third of cases were Syrians – 16,317 in total in the past year- The second largest category of refugee seekers were people registered as ‘stateless’. The majority of those 6,921 cases were persons considered to be Palestinian. Migrants fleeing Eritrea were third on the list at 4,844 asylum cases. …
Over 80 thousand Kazakhstan nationals have been forbidden to the country and travel abroad because of their debts, Tengrinews reports referring to the Ministry of Justice of Kazakhstan.
According to the Ministry, a person who fails to pay a debt on time is restricted from leaving the country by the law enforcement officer based on the plaintiff’s complain. …