Making news this week: Demands for abortion soar over Zika virus fears, animal rights advocates fear a new Disney movie will cause harm to natural reef habitat, a solar powered plane has crossed the Atlantic, and a study finds that Australia’s gun laws stopped mass shootings and reduced homicides.
Abortion demand ‘soars’ amid Zika fear
Fears over the Zika virus have contributed to a “huge” increase in the number of women in Latin America wanting abortions, researchers say.
Estimates suggest there has been at least a doubling in requests in Brazil and an increase of a third in other countries.
Many governments have advised women not to get pregnant due to the risk of babies being born with tiny brains.
A termination remains illegal in many parts of Latin America, but women simply turn to unofficial providers.
Women on Web, which advises women online and then delivers pills to end a pregnancy, is one of the largest.
Don’t buy a real Blue Tang if you love Finding Dory, experts advise
Animal-rights advocates fear that the cute talking fish in the animated movie sequel Finding Dory will send parents flooding into pet stores to buy their kids the real tropical fish that inspired the character.
Unlike the Clownfish that hooked audiences in Finding Nemo, the Blue Tang that stars in Finding Dory doesn’t do well in captivity, and is captured in a way that can damage its reef habitat, according to the Vancouver Humane Society.
“In 2003, when Finding Nemo came out, there was a surge in Clownfish capture and sales,” said Emily Pickett, the society’s program coordinator. “it seems that is continuing to be an issue, but Blue Tang are a very unsuitable species for home aquariums.”
A release from the U.S. Humane Society said the 2003 run on the capture and purchase of Clownfish as pets depleted the numbers in the wild and damaged their habitat.
Solar plane completes Atlantic crossing
The zero-fuel aeroplane, Solar Impulse, has touched down in Spain, completing the 70-hour Atlantic leg of its historic bid to circle the globe.
The landing in Seville marked the end of the 15th stage of Solar Impulse’s journey.
Pilot Bertrand Piccard made swift progress over the ocean after leaving New York on Monday.
Mission managers will now plot a route to Abu Dhabi where the venture began in March, 2015.
The project had hoped to end the 6,000km Atlantic leg in Paris, to echo the pioneering flight in 1927 of Charles Lindbergh.
Australia’s gun laws stopped mass shootings and reduced homicides, study finds
Since major gun law reforms were introduced in Australia, mass shootings have not only stopped, but there has also been an accelerating reduction in rates of firearm-related homicide and suicides, a landmark study has found.
It has been two decades since rapid-fire long guns were banned in Australia, including those already in private ownership, and 19 years since the mandatory buyback of prohibited firearms by government at market price was introduced. A handgun buyback program was later introduced, in 2003.
Researchers from the University of Sydney and Macquarie University analysed data on intentional suicide and homicide deaths caused by firearms from the National Injury Surveillance Unit, and intentional firearm death rates from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. For the period after the 1996 reforms, rates of total homicides and suicides from all causes were also examined to consider whether people may have substituted guns for alternative means.