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A ban on smoking in indoor public places took effect May 1, but the lax regulations don't include penalties for those who light up. Few think the ban will have any real effect on the country's 300 million smokers, many of whom don't fully understand the health risks. Cigarette smoking is a grave problem in China, taking the lives of an estimated 3,000 people every day. Some experts blame the lenient regulations on the influence of the powerful China National Tobacco Corp. The combined profits earned and taxes paid by the state-owned cigarette monopoly, the world's largest tobacco company, account for roughly 7% of the government's revenues.
China's smoking habit has led to a growing public-health disaster
NUMBER OF TOBACCO-RELATED DEATHS IN CHINA
[The following text appears within a chart. Please see hardcopy or PDF for actual chart.]
1.2 million IN 2010
3.5 million BY 2030 (PROJECTED)
SMOKING WILL KILL ABOUT A THIRD OF ALL YOUNG CHINESE MEN (UNDER AGE 30)
NUMBER OF CHINESE SMOKERS, EQUAL TO THE ENTIRE U.S. POPULATION
1 OUT OF EVERY 3 CIGARETTES CONSUMED WORLDWIDE IS SMOKED IN CHINA
SOURCES: WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION; CHINA CENTER FOR DISEASE CONTROL
Arab Spring Goes South
Following the upheaval in the Maghreb, the first glimmers of Arab Spring--style protests stirred in sub-Saharan Africa. More than three weeks of demonstrations against the government of Yoweri Museveni have led to at least eight people being killed and more than 250 injured. The brutal beating of leading opposition figure Kizza Besigye transformed what were meant to be marches against rising food and fuel prices into a full-fledged challenge of Museveni's regime, in power since 1986. The government has banned demonstrations, but activists say they will continue their protests.
Flames on A Troubled Border
As the Afghan Taliban declared the onset of the fighting season, gunmen on the other side of the border, toting AK-47s and rockets, killed four policemen and set ablaze six NATO trucks (left) carrying supplies to coalition troops in Afghanistan. The U.S. presence in the region is deeply unpopular, and the NATO supply routes through Pakistan are under constant threat of attack.
Conservatives Win Big; Liberals Crash
The Conservative Party of Prime Minister Stephen Harper swept back to power on its platform of lowering taxes and encouraging government decentralization, winning a parliamentary majority in national elections. The polls dealt severe blows to Quebec nationalists as well as to the hopes of the Liberals, once the dominant force in Canadian politics, led by longtime Harvard and Oxford intellectual Michael Ignatieff. Harper's Conservatives now have the New Democratic Party, a leftist party that surged ahead of the Liberals, as their chief political opponents.