Beijing gets ready for rush of births


Beijing will have more than half a million extra births in the next few years because of the recently adopted national two-child policy.

The birth rush will bring challenges to public services in Beijing, such as maternal health, baby nurseries and kindergarten education, according to the Beijing Municipal Commission of Health and Family Planning.

The policy has made another 2.36 million couples who are permanent residents in Beijing eligible to have a second baby, the commission said on Thursday.

The policy, which encourages all couples in China to have two children to ease problems such as a shrinking workforce and aging population, was adopted nationwide on Jan 1 after being approved by the National People’s Congress in December. About 90 million Chinese couples will be eligible to have a second child under the policy.

It is predicted that 580,000 extra babies will be born in Beijing between 2017 and 2021, which will bring the total number of births between 2017 and 2021 in Beijing to 300,000 annually on average, the commission said.

The birth rush will diminish within three to five years and will end after 2021, the commission said.

Most of the couples newly eligible to have a second baby under the universal two-child policy are those born after 1970. It is predicted that, considering their ages, most who want a second baby will finish childbirth by 2021, said Yao Tienan, a publicity official at the Beijing Municipal Commission of Health and Family Planning.

More than 61,000 couples in Beijing applied to have a second baby after the city allowed couples where only one was an only child to have a second baby, a measure initiated in February 2014, the commission said.

The Beijing government will work on challenges brought by the birth peak, such as improving distribution of medical and educational resources, helping the development of grassroots hospitals and encouraging hospitals to reduce C-sections so the length of childbirth stays in hospital can be reduced, the commission said.

Chao Wei, a publicity official at the Beijing Obstetrics and Gynecology Hospital, said the hospital has been preparing for the birth peak.

“The number of patients has been increasing since late last year, and we predict a big increase this year,” he said.

Chao said the hospital has opened special clinics since Monday to help patients see doctors in the evening. The clinics run Monday to Friday from 5 pm to 8 pm, he said.

The hospital has also prepared itself to receive more older pregnant women, who suffer higher risks when giving birth, and has increased the number of beds for newborns suffering critical diseases, he said.

Abe aims for constitutional revision with help from opposition




Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Sunday he aimed to get a two-thirds majority from his ruling bloc and like-minded opposition parties at an upper house election this summer to enable him to revise the constitution.

Abe has made clear he wants to revise the U.S.-drafted, pacifist constitution, but formal amendment requires approval by two-thirds of both houses of parliament and a majority in a referendum.

Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and its junior coalition partner, the Komeito party, already command a two-thirds majority in the lower house, but only hold a simple majority in the upper chamber.

“It will be very difficult for the ruling bloc alone to win a two-thirds majority,” Abe told a TV news program.

“Besides the LDP and Komeito, I aim to form a two-thirds majority with those positive and responsible people who are thinking of a constitutional revision.”

Abe mentioned Osaka Ishin No Kai, or the Osaka Innovation Party, as one possible partner backing the revision.

Admirers view the constitution as the source of Japan’s peace, prosperity and democracy.

Many of Abe’s conservative backers, who have long wanted to rewrite the constitution but lacked the political means, view it as a shoddy document written, in the words of one commentary,
“with malice and vengeance” to keep Japan forever subdued.

A change proposed by the LDP would make clear Japan has the right to maintain a military and deploy it at home and abroad, but Abe said debate would probably deepen as to which chapter of the constitution should be revised.

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2016.

Pro-sharia group in Canada is ‘political party’

A group that hosted a pro-sharia, pro-caliphate talk at an Ontario college describes itself as a “political party.”

A press release distributed Friday says “Hizb ut-Tahrir is a political party that works with the global Muslim community to resume the Islamic way of life by re-establishing the Khilafah (caliphate) in the Muslim lands, and this work is achieved through intellectual and political means alone.”

On Wednesday, Sun Media broke the news that Hizb ut-Tahrir was banned from hosting events at Mohawk College in Hamilton. In November, the group hosted a speech headlined “The Truth Behind the Syrian Refugee Crisis” on college property that included sharia and caliphate promotion.

“We’ve been sitting and not really doing very much for the application of Islam in society,” Mazin Abdul-Adhim said in the 40-minute lecture posted to YouTube. “We’re required to call for something — the full implementation of Islam — we’re not allowed to call for anything else or compromise in any other way.”


He called sharia “the best system that exists on Earth” and observed that Muslims combined have the most armies, greatest wealth and youngest demographics in the world.

Over the years, the global group, which was founded in 1953, has been banned in various countries around the world.

The press release was sent out to clarify what the group considered inaccuracies in reporting by other media.

It denies the event contained any form of hate speech and says “the efforts of the Hizb revolve entirely around creating awareness of the Islamic systems and how they correctly solve mankind’s problems, and disagreements are respectfully addressed through discussions and sincere debates in an intellectual manner.”

In 2005, then-Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty effectively banned sharia law following public outcry over faith-based arbitration, stating: “There will be no sharia law in Ontario. There will be no religious arbitration in Ontario.”

Police release suspect images after man attacked following music dispute on TTC bus


Toronto police have released security camera images of two men suspected of attacking and robbing a man after a dispute about loud music on a TTC bus.

The incident happened at around 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 26.

Police say the victim and suspects were all on a bus travelling north on Jane Street, approaching Lawrence Avenue West.


Two men on the bus were playing music loudly through a device and the third man asked them to lower the volume.

The men became agitated and started swearing at the man after he made his request, police said.

When the lone man exited the bus at Lawrence Avenue, the two suspects followed him off the bus, attacked him, robbed him and then ran away.

Both suspects are described as being between 18 and 25 years of age, standing about five-foot-seven.

The first suspect is described as having a medium build. He was unshaven with blonde/brown hair. He was last seen wearing a black Blue Jays baseball cap and a grey hooded sweatshirt.

The second suspect has a thin build, short black hair, was clean-shaven and was last seen wearing a black Moose-Knuckle jacket with a fur hood.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 416-808-1200 or call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477).