Teens Giving Birth In 2014 Was At T...

Only 25,977 under 20 had babies in 2014. According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS), this is the fewest number the UK has reached since 1946...

Fracking Hurts House Prices, Enviro...

According to a Department For Environment Food & Rural Affairs (Defra), underground fracking could reduce nearby house prices to 7%. It could also...

Syria-Bound Families Fear For Safet...

Three British sisters who have travelled to Syria with their nine children to join ISIS made the headlines and stirred public concern. Thirty-years ol...

 Chinese Ferry The Latest Sea Trag...

The Chinese authorities have recorded 20 individuals rescued from a drowning vessel of 458 passengers in China’s Yangtze River. The People’...

Teens Giving Birth In 2014 Was At The Lowest Level Since 1946   

Only 25,977 under 20 had babies in 2014. According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS), this is the fewest number the UK has reached since 1946. About a total of 695,233 births were recorded in 2014 with half mostly to unmarried mothers.

The number of deaths in the same period was 501,424.

The ONS celebrates it as a huge improvement in developed countries. However, the later pregnancy years could decrease the fertility in most women. Today, women aged 40 have lower fertility rates than women in their 30s. Women aged about 30 to 34 years old have the highest fertility of any age group.

Midwifery Director Louise Silverton of the Royal College of Midwives said “births are becoming more complex as the average age of mothers increases. As obesity levels contribute to the risk and complexity, many more women will need support and care.”

“This places additional and significant pressures on maternity services.

“Midwives want to give these and all women the best levels of care.”

Middlesbrough had the highest mortality level for 2014. The ratio in the town was 137, a total of 37 points above the national level.


Fracking Hurts House Prices, Environment

According to a Department For Environment Food & Rural Affairs (Defra), underground fracking could reduce nearby house prices to 7%. It could also create a risk of environmental damage.

The Shale Gas Rural Economy Impacts report released on Wednesday by power of freedom of information showed their official assessment of the impact of fracking. It warned of leakage of waste fluids that could contaminate water sources designed for human consumption and for growing agrcultural products.

Several parts of the report were omitted last year. Caroline Lucas, Green MP, accused the government of censorship and hiding the negative impacts of fracking.

Through an ICO ruling, the document was released without any redactions and censorship.

These omitted sections showed that:

House prices near fracking wells were likely to fall, and there was a potential reduction of up to 7% in property values within a mile of wells.

  • Properties within a one- to five-mile radius of fracking sites may incur additional insurance costs.
  • Leakage of waste fluids from fracking processes has resulted in environmental damage in the US.
  • Even if contaminated surface water did not directly impact on drinking-water supplies, fracking could affect human health indirectly through consumption of contaminated wildlife, livestock or agricultural products. It concluded that the UK regulatory regime was “likely to be more robust” but the impact on water-resource availability, aquatic habitats and ecosystems, and water quality was “uncertain”.

According to Environment Secretary Liz Truss, the report was misleading. She emphasized more on its draft nature.


Syria-Bound Families Fear For Safety Of Children

Three British sisters who have travelled to Syria with their nine children to join ISIS made the headlines and stirred public concern. Thirty-years old, Khadija Dawood, 34-year old Sugra Dawood and 33-year old Zohra Dawood who had children aged between three and 15 went missing after an Islamic pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia.

They came from Bradford, West Yorkshire. Authorities believe their children to be with their mothers as they travelled from Medina in Saudi Arabia to Istanbul, Turkey, a common route heading to Syria.

The radicalisation of 17-year-old Talha Asmal had pushed community leaders to push efforts to reduce the radicalisation of Islamic youth in the United Kingdom.

The three sisters’ mobile phones have been turned off and their social messengers and accounts have not been updated ever since. It is understood the three sisters might have a relative fighting for the IS or another Syrian extremist group in Syria.

UK police are unable to do anything as the situation is out of their jurisdiction. Assistant Chief Constable Russ Foster said they prioritise only the safe return of the family and the welfare of the young children.

ISIS recruits most of their members online using a sophisticated social media campaign showing a romantic, utopian world they are establishing in Iraq.

 Chinese Ferry The Latest Sea Tragedy With 458 Passengers On-Board

The Chinese authorities have recorded 20 individuals rescued from a drowning vessel of 458 passengers in China’s Yangtze River.

The People’s Daily Newspaper has reported that seven individuals have managed to swim to shore. A total of 27 have been rescued so far. A major rescue effort has been promised.

About 406 tourists aged from 50-80 were on board the Eastern Star.

The vessel was travelling a route organised by a Shanghai tour group with 47 crew members on board.

The captain and the engineer of the ship both managed to be rescued. They both said the vessel was caught in a storm as waves had rolled and capsized the sea vessel.

Dozens of boats are now looking for survivors. Poor weather has hampered rescue efforts.

International concern revolves around Chinese individuals not learning to swim. According to local media, it is not something they learn as children.

Experts estimate the ship had sunk around 9:28 PM local time in the Jianli section of the river.

The Chongqing Eastern Shipping Corporation may be due to pay for damages and compensation for possible victims as they have owned the Eastern Star.

Chinese President Xi Jinping had called for hasty rescue efforts and that no effort be spared.


‘Life After Death’ and God Plays Lesser Roles In British Deathbeds

Britons now consider religion and spiritual needs as the least important factor as they reach the end of their lives.

Religious faith is declining rapidly in the western world as many turn away from the idea of a superior being and turning to God before they die.

About 33 per cent of Britons said their deaths are hopefully pain-free. Some 17 per cent said they would want to have their friends and family along with them. Some have singled out that retaining their dignity before their death is their goal. About 60 per cent said that religion or having a priest alongside their death is important to them upon their death.

About one in eight older people said they wished to live forever.

The survey by “Dying Matters”, a coalition of 16,000 hospices, charities, care homes and others working with people about to end their life, indicate that most Britons think death is still a taboo.

However, they also indicate the a vast amount of people have their willingness to face death in spite of many individuals not talking about it.

Local churches, including the Church of England are launching drives to encourage worshippers and those who visit churches to discuss death and dying.

Australia Mourns Deaths of Dolphins And Seals Saying Conduct For Their Deaths Unacceptable.

According to Australian Environment Minister Greg Hunt, the ship that slaughtered eight dolphins and four seals exhibited outrageous and unacceptable behavior. He condemned the killing of the sea animals by a factory fishing trawler.

Environmental Groups and Australian MPs wanted the trawler Geelong Star to be banned from fishing in Australian waters. It had returned to its home port after it caught four dolphins and two seals during its second local outing.

Hunt said in a statement that he is “absolutely appalled” by the news.

The trawler has factory freezer capabilities. However, it is not considered a super-trawler that measures about 130 meteres as the Geelong Star is only 90 meters

Green Party Senator peter Whish-Wilson said that the government should consider cancelling the trawler’s fishing permit and management plan effectively because the regulators have failed twice to protect Australian marine life.

The Australian Fisheries Management Authority said they would install stricter controls on the ship after it caught and killed four dolphins and two seals during its first trip.


ECB Bond Buying Program Looking Up

To save its economy by stimulating it through a bond-buying program for 18 months, European Central Bank’s Mario Draghi is proud to say that the new measure is showing positive signs.

Because of the low oil prices in the market, the bloc only needed improved government policies and the stimulus program.

The program, which started a month ago, has gone well. Meanwhile, ECB President Draghi’s news conference didn’t go smoothly as a young woman had scattered papers and confetti in the newsroom and shouted “end ECB dictatorship before security had subdued her.

According to the bank, the woman had masqueraded as a journalist before she was able to enter the bank’s newsroom.

Meanwhile, economists advise the ECB to start planning on minimising its purchases.

German Insurer Allianz had called on the ECB to establish benchmarks on bond-buying to avoid negative side effects.

However, Draghi said that it was too early for the ECB to think about having an “escape plan” should anything happen during the bond buying.

He stressed that the ECB was only a month into the program and described it as running a marathon and asking one’s self to quit or continue after finishing one kilometre.

The bond-buying had eased government borrowing growth. Along with low oil prices, the stimulus had taken full effect.

However, Draghi stresses that Greece’s economic situation would be the downfall of the Euro zone’s recovery plan.

Palestine Officially Joins International Criminal Court

Palestinians have officially become a member of the International Criminal Court.

On January 2, Palestine had moved to join the court. The process was finalised on Wednesday, allowing Palestine to indict Israeli officials for possible war crimes.

“Palestine has and will continue to use all legitimate tools within its means in order to defend itself against Israeli colonisation and other violations of international law,” said senior Palestinian official Saeb Erakat.

Meanwhile, Palestine may have to wait until the ICC begins investigating Israelis accused of war crimes to obtain justice.

According to Erakat, the case is widely politicised, making it difficult for the court to indict Israeli officials quickly.

Former ICC Official Diana Chehade said preliminary examinations can be finished by year end, but the courts do not investigate cases with a judicial institution already looking into the matter.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki participated in a receiving ceremony wherein a copy of the the ICC’s founding treaty, the Rome Statute, would be given to him.

The ICC membership would prove integral to Palestine’s case during the summer war between Israel and Gaza fighters that left 2,200 Palestinians dead while only bringing 73 dead in Israel.

Palestine rejects the argument that the ICC cannot try Israeli officials.

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the ICC is absurd in ignoring international law and agreements because Palestine does not have a state and could only get negotiations if they directly talk to Israel.

Ryanair Arrives To The United States Offering a $15 Flight To Europe

Ireland-based Ryanair has confirmed it would add trans-Atlantic flights. Speculations about the airline steering its way into North America had been confirmed.

The company said in a statement:

The board of Ryanair have approved the business plans for future growth, including trans-Atlantic. European consumers want lower cost travel to the U.S. and the same for Americans coming to Europe. We see it as a logical development in the European market.”

This would mean tickets from the United Kingdom to the United States could cost as much as £10 apiece. The service would not be active until after five years.

A Ryanair spokesman said that it depends on attaining viable long-haul aircraft, which would take five years.

Meanwhile, Boston, New York, Chicago, London, Berlin and Dublin are some of the countries included in the £10 plan.

This is Ryanair’s response to other European low-cost carriers now entering the European market. However, it differentiates itself from the other markets in this manner.

“We’ve seen what others have done, we’ve listened and observed what’s gone on in the past 12 months and now have a better view on how we’d like to launch it and market it, and what the product would look like,” Jacobs, the Ryanair marketing chief, says to the Financial Times.
Jacobs described Ryanair’s North America plan as part of an ambitious growth strategy that would differ from Norwegian’s because “we’re a bigger business — a bigger brand with more traffic and a much more efficient cost model.”

Bees Are Actually Human When It Comes To Memory.

Researcher Lars Chittka’s Team discovered that bees could create false memories. According to their news release, distinct bouts of training could combine in the animal’s mind, allowing them to create combinations, including false memories, during memory recall.”

Bees remember patterns, colours and scents of various types of flowers. Scientists first thought that animals failed to learn the task, which is why they err when they perform their tasks. Chittka’s team used this hypothesis in their newest study.

Using a reward-and-punishment system, the bees that returned from a solid yellow artificial flower received rewards. Artificial flowers with black and white rings and another flower with yellow and white rings have been used alongside the solid yellow to examine the bees’ capability to understand the reward and punishment system.

Recognising they are rewarded for visiting the yellow flower, the bees came to it more often. After a few days, they grew confused with the yellow and white ringed flowers, showing evidence that they could create false memories similar to humans.

Chitkka said:

“There is no question that the ability to extract patterns and commonalities between different events in our environment [is] adaptive. Indeed, the ability to memorize the overarching principles of a number of different events might help us respond to new situations. But these abilities might come at the expense of remembering every detail correctly.”