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Watching the World

Watching the World


A group of scientists believe that human activity may have influenced the 2011 earthquake at Lorca, in southern Spain, which killed nine and injured dozens. The geologists found a correlation between the deadly quake and locations from which huge quantities of underground water had been extracted for irrigation.


Tourists from China spent $102 billion (U.S.) on international travel in 2012. According to the UN World Tourism Organization, this figure for the first time ranks China top among spenders in international tourism—ahead of Germany and the United States. International tourists from each of these two countries spent about $84 billion (U.S.).


A study reported on in BMJ, a British medical journal, followed almost 68,000 people in Japan for an average of 23 years. Researchers found that women born between 1920 and 1945 who began smoking before age 20 lived an average of ten years less than women who had never smoked; men lived eight years less.


The importation, manufacture, and use of plastic bags have been banned in order to protect the lives of marine and land animals, which can die after ingesting them. The government is promoting the use of biodegradable alternatives instead.


Insurance losses resulting from weather disasters average about $50 billion (U.S.) a year. Such losses, adjusted for inflation, have more than doubled every decade since the 1980’s.