Migrant remittances to developing countries are expected to reach $406 billion in 2012, a 6.5 percent increase over the previous year, and $534 billion in 2015. These officially recorded remittances have kept increasing despite high remittance costs and the financial crisis. This source of income for developing economies constitutes more than three times the size of Official Development Assistance (ODA).
The highest recipients of migrant remittances among developing economies for 2012 are India, China, the Philippines and Mexico. As a percentage of GDP, the highest recipients in 2011 were Tajikistan, Liberia, the Kyrgyz Republic and Lesotho.
The amount of plastic pollution in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre (NPSG), more often referred to as the North Pacific Garbage Patch, has increased dramatically in the last forty years, according to this map by The Economist. The plastic pieces 5mm in diameter or less, known as ‘microplastic’, are known to have an impact on the ocean’s ecosystem, mainly through ingestion of these particles by fish and invertebrates. The species that seems to be benefiting from the presence of the microplastic debris is the insect known as Halobates sericeus, that has way more surface where to lay its eggs. For detailed information see the complete research paper: Increased Oceanic Microplastic Debris Enhances Oviposition in an Endemic Pelagic Insect by Miriam C. Goldstein,
Marci Rosenberg, and Lanna Cheng.
As we start analyzing the results of the 2012 presidential election in the US, it is becoming clear that political polarization continues to increase across the country. Take North Carolina for instance. As the thematic maps above show, the number of counties where the Republican party won by 40% or more reached a new high in 2012. This year there were 14 deeply red counties, compared to only 4 in 2008. On the other hand, there were 10 deeply red counties in 2004, which suggests that 2008 was an outlier due to the extraordinary circumstances that allowed Obama to win the state.
Temperatures on the Earth’s surface and moisture levels in the atmosphere have been on the rise. These two factors might be at the root of the drastic change in weather patterns causing severe droughts, heat waves, heavy rains and other extreme weather phenomena.