SOUTH AFRICA – BLEACHING CREAMS
One study suggests that a third of South African women use skin-bleaching soaps and creams to lighten the color of their skin. Such skin-lighteners are dangerous, and several countries have banned them. Among the dangers are different types of cancer, kidney damage, depression, anxiety, rashes, and scarring.
EXCESS BODY WEIGHT – WORLD
A global health assessment found an 82 percent jump in obesity between 1990 and 2020. Excess body weight causes more than three times as many deaths as malnutrition—although not getting enough food is still a problem in many lands. In a real sense, though, “we’ve gone from a world 20 years ago where people weren’t getting enough to eat to a world now where too much food and unhealthy food—even in developing countries—is making us sick,” said Majid Ezzati, one of the lead researchers.
TV WATCHING – NEW ZEALAND
Researchers who investigated TV watching by children and adolescents concluded that excessive viewing is “associated with increased antisocial behavior in early adulthood.” Their findings, say the researchers, support the recommendation that children should watch “no more than 1 to 2 hours of quality programming per day.”
BINGE DRINKING – SPAIN
A study of university students found that about 56 percent of women and 41 percent of men admitted to binge drinking, which this study defined as consuming at least eight standard drink units (for men) or six standard drink units (for women) in one sitting.
OBESITY – UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
In an effort to combat increasing obesity, the authorities of Dubai recently offered residents one gram of gold, at that time worth approximately $45 (U.S.), for every 2.2 pounds (1 kg) of body weight that they lost. To receive the gold, people had to register and then lose a minimum of 4.4 pounds (2 kg) during the month of Ramadan.
READING THE BIBLE – RUSSIA
According to a 2013 survey conducted by Russia’s Public Opinion Foundation, about 52 percent of Russians who identified themselves as Orthodox Christians said that they have never read even a part of the Bible, and 28 percent said that they rarely prayed.
AGING PARENTS – CHINA
According to media reports, recently amended legislation requires adult children not only to visit their aging parents often but also to tend to their “emotional needs.” The law “does not stipulate any punishments” for children who fail to comply.
SCHOOLS – UNITED STATES
A number of schools and universities are replacing textbooks with electronic tablets that are loaded with the necessary reading material, software, apps, and other media. Whether this is more cost-effective, however, has been questioned.
MARRIAGES – INDIA
A survey showed that despite rapid social changes, 74 percent of the respondents still prefer arranged marriages over “love matches.” An overwhelming 89 percent also prefer to live with their extended family instead of just their “nuclear family,” composed of parents and children.
PREGNANCY – CHINA
“Almost half of female migrant workers under 30 have become pregnant before marriage, a dramatic jump in the number of unwed [Chinese] mothers compared with only a generation ago,” reports China Daily. Chinese society is also said to be “more open to . . . unwed couples living together.
MARRIAGES – AUSTRALIA
In Australia, 8 out of 10 couples live together before getting married.
CHAMELEON – MADAGASCAR
The world’s smallest chameleon was recently discovered in Madagascar. Growing to a length of 1.1 inches (29 mm), some of these tiny brown lizards can perch on a fingernail. Because of threats to its habitat, the animal may be at risk of extinction.
HUNGER – WORLD
Eradicating hunger is more than a question of food production. It is estimated that farmers now produce sufficient food to feed 12 billion people—5 billion more than the current population of our planet. The issues are mainly problems related to economics, distribution, and waste.
FOOD WASTES – UNITED STATES
Almost 40 percent of food nationwide is wasted, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. It is estimated, for example, that 7 percent of food crops are never harvested, that 17 percent of meals served in restaurants and cafeterias remain uneaten, and that families throw out some 25 percent of the food they purchase.
WORK – BRITAIN AND THE UNITED STATES
Almost a quarter (24 percent) of respondents among professionals who work in finance believe that they “may need to engage in unethical or illegal conduct in order to be successful.” Sixteen percent admitted that they would commit a crime “if they could get away with it.”
TEACHERS – ARGENTINA
In Argentina, 3 out of 5 teachers ask for time off work because of stress or violence in their workplace.
PARENTS & CHILDREN – ITALY
In one survey, Italians said that, on average, they played with their children for 15 minutes a day. “Only 1 parent in 5 thinks that playing is educational,” says La Repubblica. Through play, parents help their children develop their imagination and a “sense of rules,” says Andrea Angiolino, a professional designer of board games.
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