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chinadaily.com.cn 2018-12-04 16:46

Indian elementary school students carrying heavy schoolbags [Photo/IC]

>India bans heavy schoolbags
Concerned about producing a generation of children with hunched backs and other spine problems, India has denounced schools for making students carry heavy school bags and giving young children homework. One survey done by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India found that 68% of pre-teen children might suffer from mild back pain, which can develop into chronic back pain, and later into a hunchback. The study, which covered more than 2,500 children and 1,000 parents in major cities, found that more than 88% of children from seven to 13 carry more than 45% of their body weight on their backs. The state of Maharashtra, where Mumbai is located, mandates that the weight on the bag should not exceed 10% of the child's body weight. The federal circular also suggests that no homework be assigned to kids in grades 1 and 2, which also will ensure they don't need to carry books home.


Plastic bags and a lot of other plastic garbage drift through oceans driven by wind and ocean currents.[Photo/IC]

>Plastic garbage engulf sea
A photographer has captured the damage being done to the planet's oceans with a shocking "sea of plastic and styrofoam" image taken near a tranquil Caribbean island. Caroline Power, the photographer, said witnessing the plastic blanket of forks, bottles and rubbish between the islands Roatan and Cayos Cochinos, off the coast of Honduras, was "devastating". "Once the trash is in the ocean, it is incredibly difficult and costly to remove. The key is to stop the trash before it enters the ocean," she said. The worst of the rubbish the dive team found was about 2,400 meters off the coast of Roatan heading towards the Cayos Cochinos Marine Reserve. Power said they passed through floating garbage for "nearly 8 km". She hopes her photos will encourage others to "make changes to their habits and daily lives to help protect and conserve this planet".


Residential and office buildings are pictured in Tokyo, Japan, 08 February 2017.[Photo/IC]

>Abandoned homes available
Japan is giving away homes or selling them at heavily discounted prices amid a growing number of abandoned properties. The country has an estimated 10 million empty homes, and its "Akiya" scheme is designed to address this problem while helping young families to get into the property market. "Akiya" means "vacant" or "abandoned" in Japanese. Properties up for grabs tend to be in rural areas, which have seen an exodus of young people heading for the city. Many find their rural locations and spacious layouts desirable, but there are a number of risks to consider when taking on an "Akiya" property. First is the cost of renovation, which, in some cases, could amount to the same price as purchasing a property elsewhere. Another hazard is the ambiguity surrounding the property's abandonment, and what might stop an original owner turning up one day and demanding ownership. According to some, purchasing an "Akiya" home is deemed "absolute social failure", but with house prices in Tokyo creeping up (around $790,000 for a new build property in January 2018), it may be an option worth considering for many young families.


Candidates walk out of the No 3 Middle School in Nanchang, East China's Jiangxi province, after taking the national civil servant exam on Dec 2, 2018. [Photo/IC]

>920K sit civil servant exam
A total of 920,000 people took the National Public Servant Exam on Sunday to compete for 14,500 positions, the State Administration of Civil Service said. The exam is considered one of the most competitive tests in China, as only one out of every 63 candidates is expected to get a government job this year. The number of job vacancies this year saw a sharp decline, nearly half that of 2017, when more than 28,000 vacancies were on offer. In addition to the national written exam on Sunday, those applying for certain positions related to finance, public security, foreign affairs and other fields will need to take an additional professional skill test.

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