The world’s population topped 8 billion, double the 1974 level. However, growth is slowing, and populations shrinking in wealthy countries. This can be viewed positively, as fewer children are correlated with reproductive freedom and with confidence of kids reaching adulthood. But low fertility rates cause economic stagnation, and populations are growing fastest in the poorest countries.
During the first Halloween celebration in Seoul since COVID-19 restrictions were eased, 153 people died and 133 were injured when an excessive number of people crowded into a narrow, sloping alley. The area was featured in a South Korean TV drama, and its high profile may have contributed to overcrowding that led to the tragic accident.
Vladimir Putin announced mobilization of additional troops through conscription as the Ukraine war drags on. However, companies are protesting that having employees called up for military service will disrupt operations. The Russian defense ministry now says white-collar workers with higher education will be exempt, but businesses in various fields are likely to be affected.
When Britain’s longest-reigning monarch died at 96, it struck a blow to a country struggling with crises including Brexit, energy costs, and questions about the role of the royal family itself. Private and modest in her personal life, as a public figure she was a stabilizing force over her seven decades on the throne.