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Watching the World

Watching the World


Beijing’s divorce rate rocketed 41 percent during the first nine months of 2013 compared with the same period in 2012. Experts believe that the jump may have been caused by couples attempting to avoid a recently imposed 20 percent tax on capital gains from house sales. Under certain conditions a tax break is conceded to any divorced couple selling a second home.


The United Nations has proposed the possibility of more people eating insects as a way to combat malnutrition. High in nutritional value and efficient in turning feed into food, edible insects represent “a promising alternative for the conventional production of meat,” says a recent report. The document recognizes, however, that “in some societies there is a degree of distaste for [insect] consumption.”


Fertility clinics are wrestling with the legal and moral dilemma of what to do with frozen human embryos whose “owners” can no longer be traced. One clinic alone is reported to be holding 1,000 viable embryos belonging to in vitro fertilization patients who have “essentially disappeared.”


Catholics getting married in Ireland had to choose between a religious ceremony and a civil ceremony until 2013, when secular weddings performed by a humanist group became an option. According to a Reuters news report, “pent-up demand from those who want more than a civil ceremony in a registry office but reject a religious wedding has created a major backlog” for providers of the newly available option.