The Washington Post Sunday - - TAKING STOCK -

Don­ald Trump has been U.S. pres­i­dent for less than six months, but it’s been enough time to send opin­ions of Amer­i­can lead­er­ship plung­ing. Ac­cord­ing to a Pew Re­search Cen­ter public sur­vey of 37 coun­tries, a me­dian of just 22 per­cent of re­spon­dents have con­fi­dence in Trump to do the right thing in in­ter­na­tional mat­ters, com­pared with 64 per­cent at the end of Barack Obama’s pres­i­dency. As a coun­try, the United States’ fa­vor­able rat­ing fell in the same pe­riod to 49 per­cent from 64 per­cent. Is­rael and Rus­sia were the only coun­tries sur­veyed where the public prefers Trump to Obama. The United States is in the midst of what some worry is a baby cri­sis. The num­ber of women giv­ing birth has been de­clin­ing for years and has hit a his­toric low. If the trend con­tin­ues — ex­perts dis­agree on whether it will — the coun­try could face eco­nomic and cul­tural tur­moil. Ac­cord­ing to pro­vi­sional 2016 pop­u­la­tion data re­leased by the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Preven­tion, the num­ber of births fell 1 per­cent from a year ear­lier, bring­ing the gen­eral fer­til­ity rate to 62.0 births per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44. The trend is be­ing driven by a de­cline in birthrates for teens and 20-some­things. The birthrate for women in their 30s and 40s in­creased — but not enough to make up for the lower num­bers of their younger peers. Michael Bond, the Bri­tish writer whose ur­sine cre­ation, Padding­ton Bear, be­came one of the most beloved char­ac­ters in the an­i­mal king­dom of chil­dren’s lit­er­a­ture, died in Lon­don. He was 91.

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