Why I hate reading the news:
Bush’s legacy: ince Bush took office, five million more Americans live in poverty, three million more have lost their pensions, seven million more have lost their health insurance and median household income is now $2,000 less. In America, 18% of our children live in poverty, in Scandinavia it’s 3 or 4 %.
Death penalty: Nearly 70 crimes can carry the death penalty in China, including tax fraud, stealing VAT receipts, damaging electric power facilities, selling counterfeit medicine, embezzlement, accepting bribes and drugs offences.
In total, today’s league table showed there were 1,250 people executed worldwide last year, down from 1,591 over the previous 12 months.
There was a large rise in the number of executions in Iran – at least 317 people, up from 177 – and Saudi Arabia, where the total rose from 39 to at least 143.
Cases in Iran included the stoning to death of a man for adultery, and the execution of three teenagers who were aged between 13 and 16 at the time of their arrests.
In Saudi Arabia, a child offender aged 15 or 16 at the time of his detention was among those executed, and a man was beheaded for “sorcery” and adultery.
Last year Albania, Rwanda and the Cook Islands abolished the death penalty, bringing the total number of countries to have done so to 135.
Executions in the United States, usually among the world’s most frequent users of the death penalty, dropped to 42 in 2007.
And why I love it:
“Three first novelists remain in contention for this year’s Orange prize for fiction, in a shortlist announced this morning that pits them against three others with a total of 24 novels behind them.
Chair of the judges Kirsty Lang said she was “extremely pleased” to see Sadie Jones’s The Outcast, Heather O’Neill’s Lullabies for Little Criminals and Patricia Wood’s Lottery make the shortlist alongside some very established authors “on a list that reflects the scope, variety and international breadth of the Orange prize.”