Survey suggests higher autism rate
About one in 100 8-year-old children in the United States have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers who will release details of their study later this year. • The rate is significantly higher than the government's 2007 estimate of 1 in 150. • Calling autism "an urgent public health concern," CDC's deputy director, Dr. Ileana Arias, said the agency considers the disorder "a significant issue that needs immediate attention." • But researchers cautioned that the higher rate might not mean more kids have the disorder. • "It is not entirely clear what (the) increase is due to," said Dr. Thomas Insel of the National Institute of Mental Health. "It is not clear more children are affected rather than just changes in our ability to detect." • The rate echoes findings of a survey of parents published Monday in the journal Pediatrics. • The survey, conducted by the CDC and the Health Resources and Services Administration, asked parents of 78,000 children ages 3 to 17 whether a health care worker or doctor had ever told them their child had autism spectrum disorder. • Parents of 1 in 91 children said yes and also said their child currently has the disorder. For boys, the figure was 1 in 58. • Autism has no known cause and no cure. Chicago Tribune
180. Sierra Leone
179. Central African Republic
177. Burkina Faso
173. Guinea- Bissau
French fries in shadow of French institution
In January 2007, a French trade union sarcastically remarked about a Starbucks opening near the Louvre, "When will McDonald's set up shop?" Turns out, pretty soon. The Golden Arches will set up shop next to the building where the Sun King once reigned. McDonald's will be part of a food court in an underground mall adjoining the world's most famous museum. McDonald's has more than 1,000 outlets in France, making it the company's biggest market outside the United States, and the restaurant on the Champs-Elysee in Paris is the world's most profitable.
Exec quits company in wake of suicides
France Telecom said Monday that Louis-Pierre Wenes, the company's second-in-command, has quit after weeks of criticism over management's handling of suicides by employees. Unions say the company's restructuring could be to blame for some of the 24 suicides by employees in the past 18 months. The company laid off some 22,000 people in 2006-08. France Telecom, which has 100,000 employees, has taken measures in response to the suicides, including suspending around 500 transfers. Management has asked employees to watch out for signs of depression and suicidal tendencies among colleagues.
If choice is Norway or Niger, take Norway
Norway enjoys the world's highest quality of life, while Niger suffers the lowest, a U.N. agency said Monday, as it released a ranking that highlights the wide disparities in well-being between rich and poor countries. The annual Human Development Index takes into account life expectancy, literacy, school enrollment and per capita gross domestic product in 182 countries. "A child born in Niger can expect to live to just over 50 years, which is 30 years less than a child born in Norway. Furthermore, the differences in per capita income are huge . . . for every dollar earned per person in Niger, $85 are earned in Norway," the U.N. Development Program said in a statement. The United States was listed as 13th.