Maternal mortality declines across the globe, and more

Since 1980, the rate at which women die in childbirth has fallen by 40 percent.

Maternal mortality declines across the globe

Maternal mortality is down significantly across the globe, according to a new study in The Lancet. Since 1980, the rate at which women die in childbirth has fallen by 40 percent, with major reductions in the world’s most populous nations, India and China. Experts credit better education for women, which correlates with lower pregnancy rates, along with more access to doctors and midwives. “Two decades of concerted campaigning by those dedicated to maternal health is working,” said Lancet editor Richard Horton.

Girl saves friend with Heimlich maneuver learned from SpongeBob

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A 12-year-old Long Island, N.Y., girl saved her best friend’s life using the Heimlich maneuver—a trick she learned from SpongeBob SquarePants. Miriam Starobin said that when she saw Allyson Golden choking on her gum during music class, she remembered having seen the Nickelodeon cartoon character SpongeBob using the Heimlich maneuver on another character, Squidward, who had swallowed a clarinet. “And I get her up and I do the Heimlich and the gum goes flying out of her mouth,” Miriam said. Teacher Sanford Mauskopf said his view had been blocked by a music stand, but he realized what happened when he saw the gum fly through the air.

Circus reopens in Turkmenistan after decade-long ban

The circus has returned to Turkmenistan, after being banned a decade ago by the former Soviet republic’s late dictator. Saparmurat Niyazov, who ruled for 21 years until his death in 2006, had closed all movie theaters and libraries, and banned the opera, ballet, and circus as “alien culture” that was “contrary to the Turkmen mentality.” Those bans have all been lifted, and last week, the circus reopened, delighting more than 1,000 children with acrobats and clowns and a display of traditional Turkmen horseback-riding stunts.

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