FROM Deborah Seligsohn
Can Planet Earth Handle Seven Billion People? The United Nations says the world's population will reach seven billion sometime today, although the US Census Bureau says it'll happen sometime in March. Regardless of the date, there are some reasons for optimism as well as predictions of doom and gloom. We hear some of both -- from the US, China, India and sub-Saharan Africa.
Can Planet Earth Handle Seven Billion People? Although the US Census Bureau says it'll happen sometime in March, the United Nations says the world's population will reach seven billion sometime today, creating new challenges for generations to come. The rate of human growth is finally slowing down, and Earth's resources are sufficient for three billion more, depending on technology and distribution. But will all those people be able to urbanize and increase their consumption and waste without creating famine, poverty and an unhealthy environment? We look at what might be in store for the United States, developing countries including China and India and the fastest-growing part of the world, sub-Saharan Africa.
No Economic Downturn in China Two things most Americans associate with China are astonishing economic growth and mind-boggling pollution. But growth also means stock-market and real-estate bubbles, a shrinking private sector and a restive working class. Now China’s trying to go green at the same time it builds coal plants and imports oil.
In China, the Recession Is Over — or Is It? With a massive government stimulus that's fueled a frenzy of building, China's economy grew by 8.9% in the third quarter, compared to the United States' 3.2%. But growth also means stock-market and real-estate bubbles, a shrinking private sector and a restive working class. Emphasis on manufacturing has created world-class pollution, and now China's trying to go green at the same time it builds coal plants and imports oil. Does China, holding 23% of America's debt, threaten this country's interests? Will global problems force the US and China to be partners as well as competitors?
Explosive Growth in China Causes Explosive Pollution Problems As China strives to be an economic colossus, hundreds of thousands of people are dying prematurely from un-breathable air and contaminated water. During next summer's Olympics , auto traffic and manufacturing will be curtailed in greater Beijing, and nearby coal mines may be shut down. American athletes may be housed in South Korea and flown to Beijing only to participate in their events. The International Olympic Committee says the marathon and other endurance contests may be postponed altogether. But the basic problem remains, that of mind-boggling expansion in the world's most populous country with few controls on waste and emissions. What does it mean for the rest of the world? What's China trying to do about it?
Who's to blame for the opioid crisis? Some of the lawyers who took on Big Tobacco are now going after Big Pharma. It’s all about the deadly epidemic of opioid use. Are the drug companies to blame? What about the users? Later, on today’s Talking Point: making sense of Britain’s upset election.
Is the threat from Russia missing from the Russia meddling probe? There's much being made about the Trump administration's possible ties with Russia. But the bottom line is Russia's effort to influence American democracy. Do the President and his aides care enough to take action before voters go back to the polls?
Replacing Obamacare: Now you see it… now you don’t As the Senate deliberates replacing Obmacare, health coverage for millions of people is at stake. There've been no public hearings, and a draft measure won't be made public. Is the House version so unpopular that that Senate is hiding a version that looks much the same?
The longest US war: Will Trump send more troops to Afghanistan? The Trump White House is divided over the Pentagon's request for more troops in Afghanistan—where the US has been fighting for the past 16 years. Is there a formula -- either for "victory" or a political settlement? Is there an end in sight for America's longest war?