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Japan proposes action to beat low birth rate – cut student debt for young parents!

Facing a demographic crisis due to a declining birthrate, Japan turns to debt-relief to encourage young couples to have children.
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Happy Japanese family smiling in a park in Tokyo with their baby
Young parents needed: Japan addresses its aging population problem

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida of Japan has proposed a social policy for young people holding student debt to boost the birth rate in his country. As part of his plan, Kishida has suggested reducing the debt of students or ex-students who give birth to a baby. The aim of this policy is to encourage young couples to have children, as Japan is facing a demographic crisis due to a declining birthrate and an aging population.

The Japanese society has reacted differently to Kishida’s proposal. Some believe that it is a good incentive for young couples to start families, while others argue that it is unfair to reduce the financial burden for some and not for others.

This proposal has also captured global attention, with some countries, including China, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand, expressing interest in implementing similar policies. However, some have criticized the plan, questioning if it would be effective in increasing the birth rate in Japan.

The pros of this social policy include encouraging young couples to have children, which can help mitigate the impact of Japan’s rapidly aging population. On the other hand, the cons include the potential for increased debt for those who do not have children, creating more social disparities and financial burdens.

Japan’s declining birth rate could have severe implications on its economy and society

There are several reasons why young Japanese people are not having children, including a focus on careers and a lack of supportive social structures. Additionally, high childcare costs and the cost of living in Japan are also significant factors.

The phenomenon of Japan’s birth rate decline is known as ‘shoshika’ or birth dearth.

There are alternative ways Japan could solve this issue, such as improving work-life balance to allow for more family time, incentivizing companies to offer parental leave, and increasing support for child-rearing families.

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House on Fire: Policeman Secures Neighborhood in Shockingly Short Time!

Act quickly and keep your cool... Police officers responding to a fire have very little time to accomplish their mission.
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Bright flames illuminate a burning house, sending plumes of smoke into the sky

The Anne Arundel County Police Department released a video on Thursday showing a police officer from its unit, Officer Moreland, in an emergency response, first in a house that had caught alight, then going door-to-door to get residents to safety.

It was during a routine assignment on March 22 that this police officer operating in Maryland, a state in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States, spotted a house on fire in a residential neighborhood. His coolness and quick response got the occupants out of the burning house unharmed and warned the neighbors of an imminent danger.

In the U.S. and around the world, police and firefighters must often work together to effectively respond to a fire emergency. This synergy is achieved through a collective effort by both agencies to coordinate resources and share information to achieve maximum efficiency.

Law enforcement is responsible for perimeter security (crowd control, traffic detour…), while emergency crews are responsible for extinguishing the flames and assisting those in need.

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Top US General’s Warning: Battle for Ukraine’s Bakhmut Escalates Into Carnage

The struggle to capture Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine is a "slaughter-fest" for the Russians, according to top US General Mark Milley.
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Barricade across war-torn Bakhmut streets during Russian invasion of Ukraine
Struggle for Bakhmut: Russian, Ukrainian soldiers face off in intense fighting
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Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley spoke to US lawmakers on the House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday. He declared that the battle in the city of Bakhmut, in eastern Ukraine, has caused significant damage to the Russians. According to Milley, Russian forces are “getting hammered” by the Ukrainian army in the vicinity.

Bakhmut has been described as a major battlefield in the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia. In this city, the military group known as Wagner represents the largest part of the Russian forces. They comprise about 6,000 actual mercenaries, together with 20,000 to 30,000 recruits. Many of the Wagner fighters involved in the battle have “come from prisons,” explained Milley.

Although he recently admitted that the fierce fighting in Bakhmut has “badly damaged” his private army, Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin remains confident of victory. He said in an audio message on Wednesday that “the battle for Bakhmut [has by now] already practically destroyed the Ukrainian army.” Prigozhin also affirmed Wagner’s role, which is to destroy “foreign forces that are trying to run Russia into the ground.” If Wagner does not win the war but “gives the Russian army the opportunity to go further to protect the interests of Russia, then we have fulfilled our historical role,” he added.

Wagner has control of the majority of the city, according to the Institute for Study of War

“Wagner Group forces have likely taken the AZOM industrial complex in northern Bakhmut,” they “continue to make gains within the city,” and Russian troops “currently occupy roughly 65 percent of the city,” explained the Washington-based Institute for Study of War (ISW) in a report. They are now attempting to consolidate gains in the northern and central Bakhmut and expand their “zone of control into western Bakhmut,” ISW says. According to several credible sources and to videos ZoxNews have access to, fighting has moved on Tuesday to the industrial sector, situated in the southern part of AZOM. Wagner’s soldiers have also advanced further in the direction of Bakhmut’s city center. They have taken over the city market, reaching the Palace of Culture, and they are now continuing their progression.

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Journalists in Ecuador threatened by USB flash drive bombs

A USB flash drive exploded and injured an Ecuadorian journalist when he tried to plug the removable storage device into his work computer.
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In Ecuador, USB flash drives were used as explosive charges (Illustration)

On Tuesday 21 March, Lenin Artieda, a journalist for the television station Ecuavisa, did something in the course of his work that seemed harmless. He plugged a USB flash drive, received by post a few days earlier, into his computer. But as soon as the key was inserted into the port provided, it exploded in the journalist’s face, causing minor injuries to Artieda’s hand and face.

A total of five journalists received similar envelopes in Quito and Guayaquil, Ecuador. They were accompanied by a message providing alleged evidence about a case involving an Ecuadorian political movement or threats.

Álvaro Rosero, a journalist at the radio station EXA FM, and two other colleagues were luckier. Their key did not explode because it was incorrectly inserted in their device or the use of an intermediate cable reduced the voltage of the explosive charge and prevented the detonation.

The police managed to intercept the last identified key and deminers were able to neutralise it directly in the media house.

After opening a terrorism investigation, the Ecuadorian authorities revealed that the USB flash drive contained a military-grade explosive substance called RDX or T4. The substance is in the form of capsules about one centimetre long and can be used in another context as a detonator mixed with TNT.

Already known to cyber security experts, this so-called USB Killer device is generally aimed at damaging computer hardware by destroying its components rather than seeking to injure or cause the death of its user.

Investigations are underway to determine who is behind these attempts at intimidation as journalists in the country are regularly targeted by drug traffickers. In recent years, Ecuador has been facing an increase in the power of criminal groups and brutal methods of silencing the press have become commonplace.

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