Watching the World

The average number of people served by each doctor in Tanzania is 64,000.​—THE CITIZEN, TANZANIA.

‘There are at least 1 billion poor people living with chronic undernourishment, and the United Nations Millennium Development Goal of substantially reducing the number of the world’s hungry by 2015 will not be met.’​—SCIENCE, U.S.A.

“The world’s 100 largest arms-producing companies” registered $385 billion in sales in 2008, an increase of $39 billion over 2007.​—STOCKHOLM INTERNATIONAL PEACE RESEARCH INSTITUTE, SWEDEN.

Too Few Germs?

“Our research suggests that ultra-clean, ultra-hygienic environments early in life may contribute to higher levels of inflammation as an adult, which in turn increases risks for a wide range of diseases,” states Thomas McDade, associate professor at Northwestern University, Illinois, U.S.A. In a study that compared Filipino children with their American counterparts, it was found that, overall, the Filipinos suffered many more infectious diseases as youngsters. Yet, contrary to expectations, young Filipino adults had much lower blood levels of C-reactive protein, the concentration of which rises in response to inflammation. The conclusion? Greater childhood exposure to common bacteria may actually protect adults from deadly illnesses.

Lost Work Ethic

Many Finnish employers are perplexed by a new generation of job applicants who do not seem to have a clue about the social skills necessary to hold a job. “The recruits tend to interpret work hours freely and think that they can clock in and out whenever they please,” says Anne Mikkola, a restaurateur, in an interview made by a Finnish national service broadcasting company. Codes of conduct and dress also present difficulties. Especially in the service sector, employers often have to point out which types of attire are not appropriate. That the line between work and private life has blurred is also seen when recruits’ friends drop in at the workplace just to visit.

Territorial Dispute “Resolved”

A long-standing territorial dispute between Bangladesh and India over a small island in the Bay of Bengal has been resolved​—by a rise in sea level. The uninhabited territory, known to the Indians as New Moore Island and to the Bangladeshis as South Talpatti Island, never extended more than six feet (1.9 m) above sea level. However, satellite images show that the sea has recently submerged it. “What these two countries could not achieve from years of talking has been resolved by global warming,” says Professor Sugata Hazra, of Calcutta’s Jadavpur University School of Oceanographic Studies.