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The world's population is getting older and growing at a slower pace but is still expected to increase from 7.7 billion currently to 9.7 billion in 2050, the United Nations said Monday.

The U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs' Population Division said in a new report that world population could reach its peak of nearly 11 billion around the end of the century.

But Population Division Director John Wilmoth cautioned that because 2100 is many decades away this outcome "is not certain, and in the end the peak could come earlier or later, at a lower or higher level of total population."

The new population projections indicate that nine countries will be responsible for more than half the projected population growth between now and 2050. In descending order of the expected increase, they are: India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Congo, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Indonesia, Egypt and the United States.

In sub-Saharan Africa, population is projected to nearly double by 2050, the report said.

Undersecretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Lu Zhenmin said in a statement: "Many of the fastest growing populations are in the poorest countries, where population growth brings additional challenges in the effort to eradicate poverty," promote gender equality and improve health care and education.

The report confirmed that the world's population is growing older due to increasing life expectancy and falling fertility levels.

The global fertility rate fell from 3.2 births per woman in 1990 to 2.5 births in 2019 and is projected to decline further to 2.2 births by 2050.

A fertility rate of 2.1 births per woman is need to ensure population replacement and avoid declines, according to the report.

In 2019, the fertility rate in sub-Saharan Africa was the highest at 4.6 births per woman, with Pacific islands, northern Africa, and western, central and southern Asia above the replacement level, the report said.

But since 2010, it said 27 countries or areas have lost one percent or more of their population.

"Between 2019 and 2050 populations are projected to decrease by one percent or more in 55 countries or areas, of which 26 may see a reduction of at least 10 percent," the U.N. said. "In China, for example, the population is projected to decrease by 31.4 million, or around 2.2 percent, between 2019 and 2050."

Wilmoth, the head of the Population Division, told a news conference launching the report that the population growth rate is slowing down as the fertility level gradually decreases. That decrease usually follows a reduction in the mortality level that initially instigated growth, he said.

Wilmoth stressed that multiple factors lead to lower fertility including increasing education and employment, especially for women, and more jobs in urban than rural areas, which motivate people away from costly large families to smaller families.

But to achieve this, he said, people also need access to modern methods of contraception.

According to the "World Population Prospects 2019: Highlights" report, migration is also a major component of population growth or loss in some countries.

Between 2010 and 2020, it said 14 countries or areas will see a net inflow of more than one million migrants while 10 countries will experience a similar loss.

For example, some of the largest outflows of people — including from Bangladesh, Mepal and the Philippines — are driven by the demand for migrant workers, the report said. But some migrants are driven from their home countries by violence, insecurity and conflict, including from Myanmar, Syria and Venezuela.

The U.N. said countries experiencing a net inflow of migrants over the decade include Belarus, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Russia, Serbia and Ukraine.

FILE - Ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi is seen behind bars during his trial at a court in Cairo, May 8, 2014.

Egypt's former President Mohamed Morsi, the country's first democratically elected head of state who was later ousted from power, collapsed and died during a court session Monday.

Officials said the 67-year-old had just addressed the court during his trial on espionage charges when he collapsed. They say Morsi spoke for five minutes from the glass cage he is kept in during the trial and a few minutes later fell to the ground.

State television said Morsi was taken to the hospital, but was dead on arrival.

Morsi, long a top figure in the Islamic group, the Muslim Brotherhood, was overthrown as president in 2013 by Egypt's military after mass protests against his rule.

FILE - Members of the Muslim Brotherhood and supporters of Egypt's President Mohamed Mursi hold pictures of him as they react after the Egyptian army's statement was read out on state TV, at the Raba El-Adwyia mosque square in Cairo, July 3, 2013.
FILE - Members of the Muslim Brotherhood and supporters of Egypt's President Mohamed Mursi hold pictures of him as they react after the Egyptian army's statement was read out on state TV, at the Raba El-Adwyia mosque square in Cairo, July 3, 2013.

The Muslim Brotherhood was later outlawed by the military and Morsi arrested. The former president has faced multiple trials since his ouster on charges that included spying for Iran and Qatar and for the killing of Egyptian protesters during demonstrations in 2012.

He has been in prison since 2013 and was on trial Monday on charges of espionage related to suspected contacts with the Palestinian group Hamas, which has close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice political party said in a statement published on its website Monday that Egyptian authorities are responsible for Morsi's "deliberate slow death" because they "withheld medication and gave him disgusting food. They did not give him the most basic human rights."

The leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood in London, Mohammed Sudan, said, "This is premeditated murder. This is slow death."

Global reaction

Human Rights Watch has described the charges against Morsi as political. The group's Middle East director, Sarah Leah Whitson, said Monday on Twitter that Morsi's imprisonment was "cruel and inhumane" and said he was "deprived of family visits and medical care."

Amnesty International called for Egyptian authorities to conduct an impartial investigation into the circumstances of Morsi's death, including the medical care he was receiving.

Egypt's chief prosecutor said a team of forensic experts will examine Morsi's body to determine the cause of death.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was a strong ally of Morsi when he was in power, paid tribute to the former president on Monday calling him a "martyr," while calling current Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi "cruel."

Qatar's ruler Sheikh Tamin bin Hamad al-Thani, another backer of Morsi, tweeted his condolences, saying he received the news of Morsi's death with "deep sorrow."

Morsi's rise, fall

Morsi was elected president in 2012 in Egypt's first free elections following the ouster the previous year of longtime leader Hosni Mubarak.

Morsi promised a moderate Islamist agenda and a new democratic era, but his time in power proved difficult, with critics accusing him of trying to amass power and impose the Muslim Brotherhood's conservative brand of politics on the country.

After his arrest, Morsi gave angry speeches in court and has continuously insisted he remains Egypt's legitimate president. His speeches led judges to order him kept in a glass cage during court sessions where they could turn off his audio.

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