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Eastern Chinese province first to ease one-child policy

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's wealthy eastern province of Zhejiang became the first to implement a new landmark relaxation of the country's strict one-child policy on Friday, state media reported, allowing more parents to have a second child. The government said late last year it would allow millions of families to have two children, the most radical relaxation of its strict one-child policy in close to three decades. The move is part of a plan to raise fertility rates and ease the financial burden on China's rapidly ageing population.

China starts relaxing one-child policy

China began to implement the loosening of its controversial one-child policy Friday when a province announced it has made it legal for couples to have two children if one parent is an only child. Legislators in Zhejiang in eastern China Monday passed a revision to the local rules on Monday making the change, the provincial legislature said in a statement.

French birth rate falls below two children per woman

PARIS (Reuters) - France's birth rate fell under the symbolically important bar of two children per woman and the country saw its lowest population growth in a decade in 2013, data showed on Tuesday in a blow to one of its economic strengths. The population reached 66 million inhabitants on January 1 2014, up by 280,000 residents or 0.4 percent from the previous year. That was its weakest growth rate since 2000, a census by the INSEE statistics office showed.

French birth rate falls below two children per woman

PARIS (Reuters) - France's birth rate fell under the symbolically important bar of two children per woman and the country saw its lowest population growth in a decade in 2013, data showed on Tuesday in a blow to one of its economic strengths. The population reached 66 million inhabitants on January 1 2014, up by 280,000 residents or 0.4 percent from the previous year. That was its weakest growth rate since 2000, a census by the INSEE statistics office showed.

China jails doctor found guilty of baby trafficking

A Chinese former obstetrician was given a suspended death sentence on Tuesday for abducting newborn babies and selling them to traffickers, in a case that drew widespread outrage. Zhang Shuxia sold seven children in the northern province of Shaanxi, the intermediate court in Weinan city said on a verified social media account, adding that she had tricked parents into giving up their babies by telling them the newborns were sick or had died. Her penalty is likely to be commuted to life imprisonment.

China doctor guilty of baby trafficking

A Chinese court on Tuesday convicted a former obstetrician of abducting newborn babies and gave her a suspended death sentence, it said, in a case that drew widespread outrage. Zhang Shuxia sold seven children in the northern province of Shaanxi, the intermediate court in Weinan city said on a verified social media account, adding that she had tricked parents into giving up their babies by telling them the newborns were sick or had died. Her penalty is likely to be commuted to life imprisonment.

China fines top filmmaker $1.2 mn over children

Chinese authorities said Thursday they have fined the country's best-known film director Zhang Yimou 7.5 million yuan ($1.2 million) for violating the one-child policy. After months of rumours that he had fathered as many as seven children with several different women, Zhang -- who already has a daughter with his ex-wife -- acknowledged in December that he has two sons and another daughter with his current wife -- all born before they got married.

British minister says PM will fail over immigration target

Prime Minister David Cameron will fail in his pledge to slash net migration to Britain to "tens of thousands" by 2015, his business minister claimed Tuesday, as a poll showed a large majority of Britons want immigration to fall. Business Secretary Vince Cable, whose Liberal Democrat party shares power with Cameron's Conservatives, said the target was "not sensible" because Britain cannot control migration from the European Union or the number of Britons returning from abroad.

Cuba ends 2013 with lowest infant mortality rate in its history

Havana, Jan 2 (EFE).- Cuba ended 2013 with an infant mortality rate of 4.2 per 1,000 live births, the lowest level in the island's history, state media reported Thursday. The Caribbean nation first achieved an infant mortality rate of less than 5.0 in 2008, when the rate was 4.7 per 1,000 live births. Cuba has registered infant mortality rates of 4.8 per 1,000 live births in 2009; 4.5 per 1,000 live births in 2010; 4.9 per 1,000 live births in 2011; and 4.6 per 1,000 live births in 2012.

Japan sees fewer newborn babies in 2013

Japan's population is expected to have declined further in 2013, with the estimated number of newborn babies in the country totaling 1,031,000, down about 6,000 from a year earlier, according to health ministry estimates released Tuesday. The estimated number of people who died in 2013 totaled 1,275,000, up about 19,000 from the previous year. As a result, the natural population decline, calculated by deducting the number of deaths from that of births, came to a record 244,000.
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