Notes and shorts from around the world


Twin brothers may harm girls
Having a twin brother seems to be bad for women’s life chances, a study has found – perhaps because they are adversely impacted by their exposure to testosterone in the womb. A team of US scientists analysed school records and other data on nearly 7,000 sets of twins born in Norway between 1967 and 1978. They found that women with a twin brother were 15% more likely to drop out of high school than women with a twin sister. They were also 12% less likely to have got married by the age of 32, and earning 9% less. Because these trends also applied to female twins whose brothers had died in infancy, the researchers conclude that they cannot be the result of social pressures, but must be prenatal in origin. Writing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the scientists propose a “twin testosterone transfer hypothesis” – the idea that exposure to male hormones in the womb has a lasting impact on female behaviour. “Women exposed to testosterone have some of the educational challenges more frequently associated with men,” said David Figlio of Northwestern University, one of the study’s co-authors.
Family’s Nazi past
The billionaire German family behind JAB Holdings – which owns brands including Krispy Kreme and Pret A Manger – has been rocked by the revelation that it profited from slave labour during the War, and that two of its leading members were committed supporters of the Third Reich. The Reimann family made its first fortune from chemicals in the 19th century. Today JAB is a conglomerate valued at 33 billion euros. According to research commissioned by the family, the father and son team who ran the firm in the 1930s and 1940s joined the Nazi party in 1931, gave money to the paramilitary SS and used Russian civilians and French prisoners of war as forced labourers in their factories and private villas in Ludwigshafen. “There is nothing to gloss over,” said a spokesman for the family, which has pledged to donate 10 million euros to an anti-slavery charity. “These crimes are disgusting.”
The ideal boss
Employees of Richer Sounds, became richer after the firm’s founder transferred 60% of his shares into a trust that will give staff control of the British hi-fi and TV chain. The firm will pay Julian Richer £9.2 million for his stake. He will give £3.5 million of that back to the staff, who will each get £1,000 for every year they have worked there.
Bons mots
“All wars are fought twice, the first time on the battlefield, the second time in memory.” – Viet Thanh Nguyen, Vietnamese-American novelist

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