Japan census shows nearly a population decrease of nearly 1 million from 2010 – 2015.


Japan’s rate of population growth has declined continuously since 1975, reaching zero in 2011 (Image courtesy of Alamy)

Japan’s latest 2015 census has confirmed a population shrinkage of 947 000 since 2010. In 2015, Japan’s population was 127.1 million down from 128.1 million in 2010. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has made preventing a decline below 100 million a top priority; however, without a substantial increase in birth rate or a loosening resistance to immigration, the population is projected to fall to 108 million by 2050, and 87 million by 2060. While Japan’s biggest cities have continued to grow, regional cities and villages have been abandoned as owners have either retired or are deceased. In the past two decades, Japan’s economy has stagnated. Companies are reluctant to invest in a market they believe will continue to shrink, choosing instead to invest in faster growing overseas markets.

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Rapidly warming Arctic could have catastrophic effect on planet’s climate.


Massive storms called “bomb cyclones” are among the various consequences of the warming Arctic (Image courtesy of http://blog.metoffice.gov.uk/)

Leading scientist Dr. Peter Gleick, President of the Pacific Institute in California, says that there is growing evidence that higher temperatures in the Arctic were driving the creation of dangerous storms in parts of the northern hemisphere. Since around 10 February, the area covered by sea ice has been noticeably smaller than any of the last 30 years as the Arctic experienced record breaking high temperatures. While these changes will affect Arctic creatures such as walruses and polar bears, global implications such as massive flooding in the UK and strong tornados in the central US are also a concern. The reduced amount of white ice also decreases the solar energy reflected back into space, which speeds the warming process.

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Syrian ceasefire begins; US expects violations.

Syrian children walk past heavily damaged buildings in the rebel-held town of Douma, on the eastern edges of the capital Damascus on February 27, 2016, on the first day of the landmark ceasefire agreement. Less than a day into a landmark ceasefire deal in parts of the country, residents say their usual routine has been thrown off without the usual sounds of artillery, rocket attacks, or helicopter-borne barrel bombs. / AFP / Sameer Al-Doumy (Photo credit should read SAMEER AL-DOUMY/AFP/Getty Images)

The truce came into effect at midnight local time (10 pm GMT) (Image courtesy of Getty Images)

A brief cessation in hostilities has begun after 97 fighting groups, the Syrian government, and Russian air force signed a ceasefire. A monitoring group said that fighting appears to have stopped across most of western Syria. However, UN Syria mediator Staffan de Mistura warned that there would be violations of the agreement. He also confirmed that he will seek to convene peace talks lasting three weeks in Geneva on 7 March. Large areas of Syria will be excluded from the ceasefire due to Russian insistence that the Syrian government and Russian air force be allowed to continue attacks against Islamic State as well as the Syrian franchise of al – Qaida, al – Nusra Front. The UN Security has council passed a joint Russian American resolution urging all sides to honour the ceasefire and allow humanitarian convoys free access for relief effort. 

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59% of Swiss Nationalists vote against proposal for automatic deportation of foreigners who commit crimes. 

A poster encouraging voters to vote for the proposal in the referendum. (Image courtesy of Ruben Sprich/Reuters.)

A poster encouraging voters to vote for the proposal in the referendum. (Image courtesy of Ruben Sprich/Reuters.)

For the past few months, Europe has experienced growing unease with the sudden influx of immigrants. Most recently, the Swiss people rejected a proposed policy by the Swiss People’s Party (SVP) to automatically deport foreigners, many who have been born in Switzerland, who break minor laws. The SVP, a right-wing party, had won the largest part of the votes during parliamentary elections last October. The proposal stated that immigrants who break two minor laws, such as traffic laws, in the span of ten years should be immediately expelled from the country. If put in place, the legislation would have created a two-tiered system where almost 25% of the Swiss population would have been effected. Ultimately, 59% of Swiss nationalists, the only group allowed to vote, rejected the proposal.

Source and more information can be found here and here.

Cameroonian and Nigerian forces release hundreds of Boko Haram captives. 

Cameroon soldiers defending from a lookout post. (Image courtesy of VOA News.)

Cameroon soldiers defending against Boko Haram from a lookout post. (Image courtesy of VOA News.)

On Saturday, Cameroon released hundreds of people from Boko Haram, including young girls who have been trained to perform suicide bombings. 100 Boko Haram fighters were killed. The captives were liberated from the Nigerian town of Kumshe, a town close to the Cameroon border. Cameroon and Nigerian forces have been collaborating since December to eliminate Boko Haram. The terrorist group has been attempting to set up a radical islamic state in Nigeria for seven years through suicide bombings and terrorist acts.

Source and more information can be found here and here.