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?
Human Rights in the era of Donald Trump President Trump’s UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley, said today the US might pull out of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council. Serious violators of human rights are members of the Council itself–and a US resignation could make things worse. Later on today’s show, now that he’s into his second term, comedian turned US Senator Al Franken is telling jokes again.
The Trump agenda: where's the beef? President Trump says big things are happening. After celebrating a House bill on health care, he doesn’t yet have Senate agreement. With James Comey’s public testimony scheduled tomorrow, the President today tweeted his selection of a new FBI Director. Is the Chief Executive all style and no substance? Later, terror attacks in Iran and conflicting claims about who’s behind them.