China‘s Fracking Ambitions — Al Jazeera reports that energy-hungry China is taking advantage of its shale gas potential. Hydraulic fracturing, better known as “fracking,” is a process in which large amounts of water and chemicals are pumped into the earth to extract natural gas. In March, according to Al Jazeera, “the central government estimated that 25 trillion cubic meters of potentially recoverable resources lay beneath the country – enough to sustain current gas demand for nearly 200 years.” China has set ambitious shale gas production targets for itself: 6.5 billion m³ per year by 2015 and 100 billion m³ by 2020.
Life Expectancy — A new report shows that life expectancy worldwide has increased over the past 20 years, notes the New York Times. “Global Burden of Disease Study 2010” by the medical journal Lancet, reveals that deaths from malnutrition and infectious diseases dropped sharply and that chronic diseases like cancer are now responsible for about two out of every three deaths worldwide. “The shift,” according to the Times, “reflects improvements in sanitation, medical services and access to food throughout the developing world, as well as the success of broad public health efforts like vaccine programs.”
Internet & Language — The BBC examines how the Internet is changing English, a common language online for users from around the world. Some linguists contend that English will dominate the Internet in 10 years but “in forms very different to what we accept and recognize as English today,” writes the BBC. Even though variations of English within individual nations existed for a long time, online communications are expanding and commingling these differences.
Turkey Deployment – An official deployment order was signed on Friday by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to send 400 American military personnel and two patriot defense batteries to Turkey, reports the New YorkTimes. A Pentagon spokesperson explained that the U.S. is supporting Turkey in its efforts to defend itself as border tensions with Syria intensify. The American batteries will be joined, under NATO control and command, by four others — two from Germany and two from the Netherlands. Panetta also confirmed that the U.S. is working with Turkey, Jordan and Israel to monitor Syrian chemical weapons.
Judge Rape Comment – Southern Californian Judge Derek Johnson, much like Republican Senate nominee Todd Akin earlier in the year, has been strongly criticized for saying that a rape victim “didn’t put up a fight” and claiming that if a body does not want to have sexual intercourse, it “will not permit that to happen,” writes the Guardian. The California Commission on Judicial Performance have called the judge’s comments “outdate, biased and insensitive,” saying they were a breach of judicial ethics. The comments were made in response to the case of a man who threatened to mutilate the face and genitals of his former girlfriend before raping her.
Cyclone Hits Samoa – Tropical Cyclone Evan hit land on Thursday very close to the Samoan capital of Apia with winds of more than 68mph, reports Aljazeera. Evan is the first named cyclone of the South Pacific’s summer cyclone season. There are reports of three deaths as flash flooding blocked roads and phone lines and electricity cut out across the island. The storm was originally thought to be headed towards American Somoa but took a sharp turn at the last moment and moved northwards. Fiji will be directly affected by the cyclone on Sunday with winds expected to reach up to 108mph.