China’s birthrate dropped despite allowing 2-child families

Despite government hopes, studies have predicted the loosening of China’s one-child policy would bring only a relatively small increase in population growth. (AP)
Updated 19 January 2018
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China’s birthrate dropped despite allowing 2-child families

BEIJING: The birthrate in China fell last year despite the country easing its family planning policies and allowing all couples to have two children.
There were 17.2 million births in the country last year, down from 17.9 million in 2016, the National Bureau of Statistics reported Thursday.
China changed its long-standing one-child policy in 2015 in hopes of reversing the trend toward an aging population. The number of births rose nearly 8 percent in 2016, with nearly half of the babies born to couples who already had a child.
That increase appears to have been a one-off however, with couple’s decisions to not have a second child affected by the trend toward later marriage, the desire for smaller families and concerns about the high cost of raising children.
Despite government hopes, studies have predicted the loosening of the one-child policy would bring only a relatively small increase in population growth. Those have been accompanied by recommendations that the country increase its retirement age to address an expected labor shortage and declining economic growth.
With almost 1.4 billion people, China currently has the world’s largest population. It is expected to peak at 1.45 billion in 2029.
China enacted its one-child policy in 1979, enforced with fines and in some cases state-mandated abortions. But it now faces a rapidly aging workforce and the prospect of not having enough younger workers to support its elderly.


Man jailed for hoax bomb call so he could catch UK flight to Los Angeles

Jacob Meir Abdellak.
Updated 53 min 54 sec ago
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Man jailed for hoax bomb call so he could catch UK flight to Los Angeles

  • He was running late for his flight and thought it would be a good idea to call in a hoax bomb

LONDON: A French man who was running late for his flight from London to Los Angeles tried to delay it by calling police to say there was a bomb on board.
Librarian Jacob Meir Abdellak, who lives in east London, made the call eight minutes before his 5.47 a.m. Norwegian Air flight from Gatwick Airport was due to leave on May 11 because he was significantly late and airline staff had refused to allow him on board, a court heard.
His hoax meant passengers had to be re-screened and take-off was delayed by 90 minutes. An investigation by Gatwick revealed that the hoax call had been made using the same number linked to his booking.
When Abdellak returned to the airport to take another flight to the United States on May 22, he was arrested.
He initially claimed he had lost his phone’s SIM card but on Tuesday pleaded guilty at Lewes Crown Court to communicating false information regarding a noxious substance likely to create serious risk to human health. He was sentenced to 10 months in prison.
“This was a quite ridiculous decision made by Abdellak, who fabricated an extremely serious allegation purely for his own benefit,” said Gatwick Police Chief Inspector Marc Clothier on Thursday.
“He was running late for his flight and thought it would be a good idea to call in a hoax bomb, however this turned out to be the worst decision he could have made.”