Japanese women are world’s longest-lived females; Hong Kong men longest-lived males

The average life expectancy of Japanese women increased to 86.61 years in 2013, up from 86.41 the previous year, making them the world’s longest-lived females for the second consecutive year.  Japanese men’s lifespan rose above 80 for the first time in 2013.

A Japanese infant born in 2013 can be expected to live 80.21 years, up from 79.94 years in 2012. Women in Hong Kong held the second spot on the longevity list, whose life expectancy rose to 86.57 in 2013.  Japanese men positioned 4th fourth on the longevity list of the world’s 50 major countries and regions behind Hong Kong, Iceland and Switzerland. Hong Kong’s average male life expectancy was 80.87.  However, Japan’s ageing population is a serious issue for policymakers who have to find solutions to ensure that the declining pool of workers can pay for the increasing number of pensioners.

Japan’s population contracted for the third consecutive year, with the aged comprising around 1/4th of the total population for the first time. The proportion of people aged 65 or over is estimated to reach nearly 40% of the population in 2060.

General Dalbir Singh Suhag assumes charge as new Chief of Indian Army

General Dalbir Singh Suhag (59) took charge as the new Chief of the Army Staff of 1.3-million strong Indian Army. He succeeded out going General Bikram Singh whose tenure ended.

The decision to appoint Gen. Suhag, who was the army vice chief, as the next chief was taken by the previous United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government during the April-May Lok Sabha polls.

The move was objected by the BJP at that time. However, after the party came to power, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley, made it clear that there “shall be no controversy” over Gen. Suhag’s appointment. Gen. Suhag’s tenure as Chief of Army Staff will be of 30 months.

General Dalbir Singh Suhag:

  • Belongs to a family of soldiers from a village in Jhajjar, Haryana.
  • He served as a Company Commander during Operation Pawan in Sri Lanka, led the 53 Infantry Brigade that was involved in counter-insurgency operations in the Kashmir Valley, and commanded the 8 Mountain Division in Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Second officer from the Gorkha Rifles to rise to the position of army chief after the late Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw.

Controversies surrounding him:

  • In 2012, the then outgoing army chief Gen. V.K. Singh had put him under a Discipline and Vigilance ban for a failed intelligence operation at Jorhat in Assam.
  • After General Bikram Singh took over as the army chief the ban was revoked that paved the way for Gen. Suhag’s elevation as the Eastern Army Commander in June 2012.