This Week in the World: November 21st 2013

China’s one child policy to be relaxed

China’s ruling Communist Party has announced that the regulations for the one child policy are to be loosened due to the gender imbalance and age imbalance of the population. By 2050, over a quarter of the population will be over the age of sixty-five, and by 2020, twenty-four million men will be what have become known as ‘leftover men’, who are unable to find wives due to the gender imbalance. From now on, families will be allowed to have a second child if one of the parents is an only child. The one child policy will be adjusted gradually to improve and promote long-term balanced development of the Chinese population. Some experts have expressed concern that this may create a massive population boom.


Missing California family found in shallow graves

The bones of a family that went missing in 2010 are believed to have been found in the southern California desert. DNA tests have confirmed that the bones of Joseph McStay and his wife Summer have been found. Investigators are still waiting to hear whether the bones that were found with them are the bones of their two toddler sons. In 2010, the family left their house with no warning, and without telling anyone. They left behind their pet dogs in the backyard and thousands of dollars in the bank. It was believed at the time that they had crossed the border into Mexico, but it was unknown what had happened to make them run away. It is unknown who killed them or why, but investigators believe it to be a multiple homicide.


19-year-old woman shot through door in Detroit

Renisha McBride was killed by a shot to the face through a screen door, while sitting on a suburban Detroit porch. The homeowner, Theodore Wafer, argued that he shot McBride in self-defence, although prosecutors say there is no reason to believe that she was trying to forcefully enter the house. Toxicology reports show that there was alcohol and marijuana in her system and it is believed that she was knocking on Wafer’s door to ask for help after being in a car accident. It is believed that she crashed her car into a parked vehicle about a block away from Wafer’s house. Family members say she was probably knocking on his door to ask for help. Her alcohol level was above the legal limit for driving. The Associated Press reports that prosecutors have raised doubts that the unarmed nineteen year-old have posed a threat to Wafer. who shot her through a “locked and closed screen door.” Some members of McBride’s family have suggested she was the victim of racial profiling. Wafer is facing second-degree murder and manslaughter charges.


Typhoon hits Philippines, causing thousands of deaths

A typhoon hit the Philippines over a week ago, causing some 10,000 injuries and over 3,500 deaths, as well as causing over a million people to be displaced, and millions more were affected in other ways. The death toll is expected to rise significantly as aid agencies from around the world arrive to assess the situation and help rebuild the country. Thus far, it has been difficult for aid agencies to get into the country, as the airports have been destroyed, and the agencies can only land during the day. The emergency services of the Philippines have also been crippled, with only a quarter of the police force reporting for work after the typhoon. The CBC’s David Common reported that while a lot of aid is being offered, the difficult part will be making sure that the right kind of aid is received, and that it goes into the hands of those who really need it.


San Francisco rallies for leukemia survivor, ‘Batkid’

Thousands of people in San Francisco helped Miles Scott, a leukemia survivor, fulfill his dream to be Batman for a day. The Make-A-Wish Foundation organized the event, and received pledges from over 10,000 who offered to lend a hand. Miles, a five-year-old boy whose cancer is in remission, participated in activities around the city such as fighting mock crime and receiving an honour from the mayor. According to local television, Miles thought he was getting a Batman costume so he could dress up as his favourite superhero when he heard a radio broadcast asking for the help of ‘Batkid.’ Hundreds of people gathered and cheered while Batkid saved a damsel in distress, and then again later when he stopped a fake bank robbery with the help of an adult Batman. Toward the end of the day, the mayor of San Francisco presented Batkid with the keys to the city.


Mandela still unable to speak properly

Former South African President Nelson Mandela is unable to speak due to tubes that are in his mouth to clear fluid from his lungs, but uses facial expressions to communicate. He has been ill for some time, with a recurring lung infection, and his condition is said to be critical and unstable. His ex-wife Winnie has dismissed rumours that he is on life support, and says that doctors believe that he will be able to regain his voice. Mandela has been receiving intensive care at his home, which has been specially adapted for his care. BBC correspondents report that the government has eagerly reassured the public that Mandela is no more vulnerable in his home than in a hospital, and has asked that his family’s privacy be respected.

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