The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development group of industrialized nations released the results Tuesday of the test they give to 15-year-old students to measure math, science, and reading capabilities. The test, administered every three years by OECD's Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), was taken in 2009 in the 34 countries of the OECD and in 41 partner countries and economies (i.e. regional economic entities). Below, some of the top findings in the study, which was released today:
North Korea is fueling a debate in ruling circles in Beijing over how far China should go in backing the regime in Pyongyang.
Israeli officials are racing to contain wildfires that began in northern Israel on Thursday morning, prompting the evacuation of 17,000 and a rare request for international assistance. But while these fires are devastating for Israel – as of Friday they've killed at least 42 people and burned an estimated 8,600 acres in the tiny country – they are far smaller than other major forest fires around the globe.
Amid budget cutbacks and a 'diminishing appetite' for war, Europe has turned increasingly to the 'soft power' assignments like training and institution-building.
Russia and Qatar were able to set themselves apart enough from the rest of the World Cup bidders to get FIFA’s vote Thursday. Russia will host the tournament in 2018 and Qatar in 2022. Here are five things they did right:
The 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cup hosting rights will be decided in Zurich, Switzerland today. Here's the short list for the 2022 World Cup bid:
The 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cup hosting rights will be decided today in Zurich, Switzerland. Here's the short list for the 2018 World Cup bid:
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's mother Christine is defending her son as fighting a good fight, saying she gave him a strong grounding in ethics.
In 2009, more than 33 million people worldwide were living with HIV. That's up from 26.2 million in 1999. Despite that staggering statistic, UNAIDS and other AIDS organizations are making progress in their efforts to control and eventually eradicate HIV/AIDS. World AIDS Day is a chance to take stock of how well these organizations are doing and where the world stands today.
The latest WikiLeaks trove of 250,000 diplomatic cables, obtained in advance by five news outlets, has generated enough fodder in the US alone to occupy American readers. But people all over, from Germany to Lebanon to Australia, are also talking about the sometimes troubling, sometimes mundane cables that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is gradually releasing for public consumption.
The newest WikiLeaks release comprises 251,287 cables from more than 250 United States embassies around the world, including thousands classified "Secret." With historical cables dating back to the 1960s, the trove is seven times the size of "The Iraq War Logs," making it the world's largest classified information release. The New York Times, Der Spiegel, El País, the Guardian, and Le Monde had early access to the logs. According to their analysis of the myriad issues discussed in the cables, these five are among the most striking revelations.
It's enough to create a royal tizzy. With Prince William and Kate Middleton engaged to be married, they must now settle on a wedding date – while dodging obstacles posed by friends' weddings, a major political referendum, and, of course, Britain's cold and rainy months. Sources are speculating, guessing, estimating, and guesstimating on the possible day. It's of importance to more than royal watchers, friends, and family of William and Kate. Many brides-to-be are concerned that their special day will be overshadowed by what tabloids are calling the biggest wedding of the decade. Here are the four likely wedding dates being bandied about:
See a lot of people squatting in the open today? Don't be offended. The so-called "big squat" was held worldwide to coincide with the 10th annual World Toilet Day, an initiative to bring awareness to the need for adequate sanitary facilities. Every day, some 1.1 billion people go to the bathroom without any type of toilet, according to the World Health Organization. And even with a toilet, facilities are not necessarily sanitary. WaterAid America estimates that roughly 2.5 billion people – nearly 40 percent of the global population – do their business unsafely, often in public spaces. World Toilet Day is organized by the Singapore-based World Toilet Organization, which has 235 member organizations in 58 countries "working toward eliminating the toilet taboo and delivering sustainable sanitation." Here's a list of the world's worst nations in terms of people lacking access to sanitary facilities.
This year's Nobel Peace Prize ceremony on Dec. 10 won't only be missing its honoree, Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, who is under house arrest in China. The number of countries that have declined invitations to attend has risen from six to 19 in the past two months. Nobel committee members suspect that has something to do with China's "you're either with us or against us" tone urging other nations to join its boycott of the Oslo ceremony. Beijing boasted Tuesday that most countries would stay away from attending the ceremony. In fact, only the 65 countries with embassies in Norway were invited, and 44 of those had accepted, according to the Nobel Prize Committee. Who's standing with China? Here's a list. (click on the blue circle in the upper right corner of this page to move through the slides)
A United Nations index takes a multidimensional look at poverty and finds spikes from 'rising tiger' India to Hungary.
The Global Language Monitor, a language analytics company based in Texas, tracks language trends around the world. One of its projects is an annual list of the year's most buzzed-about words, phrases, and people, which provides a good snapshot of what the world was thinking about in 2010. Click through below for the five most popular words and phrases of 2010.
After 388 days as prisoners of Somali pirates, Paul and Rachel Chandler were released Nov. 14. They were among 1,052 hostages taken in 2009, in addition to the 773 hostages taken in the first nine months of 2010, according to a recent report by the International Maritime Bureau. Click through the following slides to read about the Chandlers' ordeal and other high-profile captures.
Brazil's President-elect Dilma Rousseff is the latest in a power surge of women in global leadership positions.
Global leadership: Rwanda, a tiny African nation, has the highest proportion of women leaders.
Unless governments cut subsidies for fossil fuels and adopt new policies to support renewable energy sources, the Copenhagen Accord to hold global warming to less than a 2-degree increase will not be reached.