Archive for the ‘India’ Tag

Woman becomes mother at age 70, sets record

The Flag of India is a horizontal tricolor with the 24-spoke Ashoka Chakra wheel in the middle

The Flag of India is a horizontal tricolor with the 24-spoke Ashoka Chakra wheel in the middle

Rajo Devi of Alewa, India has become the oldest woman ever to give birth, as reported by Slate. She is 70 years old; the father, her husband, is 72.

Obviously, she is two decades past menopause and incapable of having children normally.  However, there are fertility treatments now by which a woman can have a child at virtually any age.  But just because we can do a thing does not mean that we must do that thing.  Or even that we should.  Rajo Devi and her husban will be octogenarians by the time the kid is 10.  I’m not sure what the age of majority is in India, but the mom will be 88 when the kid is 18.  How is this a good idea?

The desire to be parents is natural and understandable.  But if you can’t have children naturally, as Rajo Devi and her husband couldn’t, why not adopt?  There are surely enough orphans in the world (a lack of them would be a problem worth having). Why create a new child who will be deprived of parents while still young?  I think that maybe we should think a little bit more about this whole old people having babies after drastic medical intervention thing.

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Entire country sinking, may need to be relocated

As hinted at by the crescent on their flag, the Maldives is a predominantly Muslim nation

As hinted at by the crescent on their flag, the Maldives is a predominantly Muslim nation

CNN reports that the nation of the Maldives, located entirely on a series of coral islands in the Indian Ocean, is in danger of being swamped by rising sea levels.  The highest point in the whole country is just two meters above sea level and doesn’t even have a name; recent storms have flooded the entire nation.

They just held their first competitive elections in 30 years and their new president,  Mohamed Nasheed, is serious about addressing his nation’s big problem.  He has suggested they acquire land in another country and move their entire nation there, saying “We do not want to end up in refugee tents if the worst happens.”  Nearby India and Sri Lanka are possibilities, as is Australia, which has plenty of room to spare.  Nasheed reports that after initial inquiries, several other countries have been “receptive” to the idea of the Maldives, a country of about 270,000 people, moving there.

Malé, the capital of the Maldives,  is less than one square mile but has about 105,000 people, all less than two meters above sea level. (click to enlarge)

Malé, the capital of the Maldives, is less than one square mile but has about 105,000 people, all less than two meters above sea level. (click to enlarge)

The nation is made up of 1,192 islands, about 250 of which are inhabited.  Tourism is a chief industry there, bringing in over $1 billion U.S. dollars per anum.  The new administration is talking about setting aside part of this revenue for use in the event that the population does need to be relocated somewhere.

The Astralian reports that global warming has been overstated as a cause of concern for Maldivians.  A much bigger problem, they say, is increased mining for coral, about the only indiginous building material available in the country.  This removes barrier reefs that protect the islands of the country from erosion from waves and storm surges.  The incoming government indicates that they will seek international help to strengthen and preserve the nation’s natural reef barriers.

Some climate models predict that sea level could rise by as much as 59 centimeters (about two feet) in the next century; this would put most of the Maldives under water.

Palin protected from the probing presence of the press

If this woman can't handle questions from the American press corps, do we really want her meeting with foreign leaders when it counts?

She can give a speech, but if this woman can't take questions from the American press corps, do we really want her meeting with hostile foreign leaders when it counts?

Alaska governor and Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin visited with foreign heads of state yesterday and today, including Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, and Pakistan’s newly elected President Asif Ali Zardari. Palin has accumulated little to no foreign policy experience so far in her political career and didn’t travel outside of North America until last year. This is her first opportunity to meet with foreign leaders.

The meetings are designed in part as a photo op, to show her meeting world leaders and thus enhance her foreign policy credentials in the eyes of voters. It is also to continue her crash course in foreign affairs ahead of the upcoming Vice Presidential debate with Senator Joe Biden, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. To this end she also met with former National Security Advisor and Secretary of State Henry Kissenger.

The meetings have all been tightly choreographed and carefully controlled. Palin has taken no questions from the media. Initially, John McCain’s campaign wanted to exclude reporters even from the photo ops, in case they might overhear something worth reporting or maybe ask a question. However, the five major TV networks threatened to boycott the meetings and not broadcast the pictures and video if no reporter could be present. The McCain campaign relented; a journalist was allowed to be there, but not to ask any questions.

Today, the foreign policy crash course continued with Palin and McCain scheduled to meet with the Presidents of Urkarine and Georgia, Viktor Yushchenko and Mikheil Saakashvili, respectively.  They were also to speak with U2 singer Bono and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.  Previously, Palin had cited Alaska’s proximity to Russia as evidence of her international exposure and her foreign travel has been so scant that her campaign initially counted a touchdown in Ireland as a visit.  She has backed away from both claims.

Today, First Lady Laura Bush, while openly acknowledging Palin’s lack of foreign policy experience, characterized her as a “quick study.”  We’d better hope so.