Daily Archives: November 15, 2013

By Luisa Frey
♦ Lobbies will ensure that the US sugar industry remains protected in the farm bill. The US sugar programme “supports US sugar prices above comparable levels in the world market.”
♦ The Iran talks may yet succeed or fail, but “the organising facts shaping the negotiations have not changed”, comments FT’s associate editor Philip Stephens. One of them is that Tehran’s acquisition of a bomb would be more than dangerous for international security.
♦ Islamist rebels in Syria have accidentally decapitated a fellow extremist instead of an enemy and now say they are sorry for the mistake, reports The Telegraph.
♦ In the Philippines, President Benigno Aquino appears to have been caught off guard by the magnitude of Typhoon Haiyan and now faces a “challenge that could define and undermine his presidency”, analyses Reuters.
♦ The first American to join the Bolshoi Ballet has left the company alleging she would have to pay a bribe of $10,000 to get a solo role, reveals The New York Times. Read more

STR/AFP/Getty Images

By Norma Cohen, Demography Correspondent

News that China is planning to ease its decades-old “one child” family planning policy should come as no surprise to anyone who has looked at demographic change in that region.

The working age population – defined as those aged 15 to 64, had been predicted by the United Nations Population Division to peak at 1.01bn by 2015 and fall gradually thereafter. In fact, it had already peaked in 2012 and is now headed the other way.

But the reality is that China’s “one-child” policy did not apply all over. Couples are allowed to have more than one child when both parents are only children. Rural parents were allowed to have more children which is why the current fertility rate for the 2010/15 period is 1.66 per woman. Although that is below the 2.1 children per woman that demographers say is required to keep population steady – not growing – it is clear that at least some women are already having more than one. Read more