Russia’s Migrant Workers — Russia’s muddled policy toward migrant workers, most of them from the former Soviet republics of Central Asia, are pushing them to the fringes of society, reports Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. The Kremlin’s poor enforcement of existing regulations, a thriving shadow economy, and anti-immigrant sentiments are obstacles for the country’s estimated 10-12 million migrant workers to integrate into Russian society, notes RFE. Although the government recognized in a policy paper that migrants are needed to solve a labor shortage resulting from an aging population, the Kremlin has yet to facilitate legal migration.
Food Production — A new report reveals that up to half of the world’s food production goes to waste even as millions of people suffer from hunger and malnutrition, notes VOA News. The report by the British Institution of Mechanical Engineers said the world produces roughly four billion tons of food every year but between a third and half of it is wasted because “it’s past its sell-by date or because it doesn’t reach the supermarket shelves at all,” according to VOA. The report concludes that cutting food waste is essential for meeting the demand of a global population that is projected to reach 9.5 billion people by 2075.
Online Surge — The number of Internet users in China grew by 10% last year to 564 million, reports the Associated Press. According to the China Internet Network Information Center, the country had 51 million new Internet users in 2012. Dramatic growth in the popularity of mobile web surfing has led to the rise in Internet users, notes AP.
Satellite Shutdown — One of Iran’s most popular satellite channels, Dubai’s GEM TV, has been taken offline without explanation, reports the New York Times. The channel, which was broadcasting illegally into the country, screens the hugely popular soap opera The Tulip Age, which is seen as a source of escapism for millions of Iranians troubled by sanctions and the country’s financial crisis. Rumors as to the reason for the cutoff abound, notes the Times, with some suspecting a government crackdown and others a plan to force viewers to subscribe for a monthly fee.
Tower Troubles — Recent wintry weather in the Japanese capital has led to snow sticking to the 634 meter tall Tokyo Skytree – the world’s tallest freestanding tower – putting passersby far below at risk, the WSJ reports. There have been no reported injuries so far, according to a tower spokesman, but last year there were four reported incidents where snow from the tower is thought to have crashed through roofs up to 200 meters away. The building’s operators have introduced measures to avoid a repeat of such incidents, with 50 staff on observation duty around the tower and around 60 security guards warning pedestrians of the possibility of falling snow.