Watching the World

Statistics produced by the Arab Road Safety Organization, based in Tunisia, indicate that more than 500,000 road accidents occur in the Arab world each year, resulting in over 36,000 deaths.​—REUTERS NEWS SERVICE, TUNISIA.

“The Internet is the most important source of information about sex for Chinese teenagers, as sex education at school and home is inadequate, according to a survey.”​—CHINA DAILY, CHINA.

Spying Webcams

German police recently arrested a man who is accused of accessing the rooms of dozens of young girls by using their Webcams. The hacker is said to have cracked a poorly chosen password of one Internet account, making it possible for him to access contact information for several people. It is alleged that he used the hijacked account to send malware (malicious software) disguised as a screen saver to female friends of his victim​—which would enable him to control remotely the friends’ computers and use their Webcams at any time. It is said that when investigators raided the hacker’s apartment, he had three million images and “was simultaneously connected to the computers of 80 girls without their knowledge,” according to the Aachener Zeitung.

Languages New to Science

Linguists analyzing the little-known languages of Aka and Miji​—spoken in India’s northeastern state Arunachal Pradesh, bordering Bhutan and China—​detected a third local tongue, which is known as Koro. “This is a language that had been undocumented, completely unrecognized, and unrecorded,” said researcher Gregory Anderson, director of the Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages. Koro had eluded detection because it is spoken by only about 800 people in an area to which travel is restricted. During 2009, 24 languages were identified in an area of China where just one had previously been reported.

Radioactive Boars

“Government payments compensating hunters for lost income due to radioactive boar have quadrupled [in Germany] since 2007,” reports Spiegel Online. Many hunters sell boar meat for human consumption, but government regulations forbid the sale of meat with high levels of cesium-137, a radioactive element released by the Chernobyl accident 25 years ago. Boars are susceptible to such contamination because of their taste for “mushrooms and truffles, which are particularly efficient at absorbing radioactivity,” explains Spiegel. “The reason for the climbing payments, of course, has more to do with Germany’s skyrocketing wild boar population than with an increase in radioactive contamination.” Experts say that the radiation problem will likely last for another 50 years.