Watching the World
Interested in God’s Way
◆ From late June through early August, assemblies of Jehovah’s witnesses convened throughout the Northern Hemisphere. The principal discourse was on the urgent subject “Saving the Human Race—in the Kingdom Way.” There was keen interest in what was said. The number in attendance, including the public, often far exceeded expectations. At the twenty-six assemblies in the United States from which reports have been received to date, a total of 435,280 persons were on hand to hear about God’s way for saving the human race, by means of his kingdom.
New Vistas for Korea
◆ The Republic of Korea dedicated its first superhighway on July 7. It extends from Seoul on the north to Pusan on the south, a distance of 428 kilometers, or 267 miles. Opening day was a big moment for the people of Korea. Some 13,000 individual vehicles took advantage of the highway that day, which was free of tolls from 4 p.m. until midnight. It took two years and five months to complete the highway, some 8,500,000 man-days of work! The total cost for the four-lane highway was 42,973 million won, or approximately $138,600,000. To the “super powers” of the world that may not sound like much money, but one must remember that the total money in circulation in Korea just before completion of the road was only 253,000 million won. So a large portion of the nation’s assets went into completing this project. The road has 318 bridges, 29 of which are over 100 meters long. It also has six tunnels and four emergency air strips. Where the highway is flat, it serves also as an air strip.
Guatemala’s New President
◆ For the third time in Guatemala’s 150-year history as an independent nation, there was a turning over of power to a duly elected president by one having completed his full term of office. On July 1, Colonel Carlos Arana Osorio became the nation’s new president. Outgoing President Julio César Méndez Montenegro had a word to say about the continued violence in Guatemala: “Violence as applied to the country causes fright if one thinks of Guatemala as a large island of affliction lost in a sea of tranquility; but it does not stir up the same terror if Guatemala is seen as a small part of the earth on a world map raging with violence. It suffices to read any newspaper in any country any day of the year, to realize that violence runs loose through the world like a pack of wolves.”
◆ The National Emergency Committee of Peru on July 14 set the official estimate for Peru’s May 31 earthquake toll at 70,000. Previous estimates put the number of dead at 50,000.
On July 30 a powerful earthquake caused ruin to scores of villages in Iran. Initial figures show that at least a hundred people were killed and about 200 were seriously injured. About one hundred villages were known to have been affected and at least 26 of them are known to have been leveled. The prophecy of Jesus Christ concerning the end of this wicked system of things becomes more impressive with each passing day. It says: “There will be earthquakes in one place after another, there will be food shortages. These are a beginning of pangs of distress.”—Mark 13:8.
◆ In the United States it was charged, on July 23, that 40 of the 60 leading dry cereals were so low in nutritional value that they constituted “empty calories.” Some 40 cereals “fail as a complete meal even with milk added,” the critic said. Robert B. Choate, Jr., a former consultant on hunger, said: “Our children are deliberately being sold the sponsor’s less nutritious products” and are “being programed to demand sugar and sweetness in every food.” The most serious failing, Choate said, is that advertising “misinformation displaces any solid nutritional message which might give the youngster an understanding through life of the relationship between what he eats and how he feels.” The cereal companies, of course, protested that this was not true.
Dock Strike Ends
◆ A state of emergency was proclaimed in Britain as a result of the national dock strike that closed all major ports. The declaration empowered the government to use troops to move all essential cargo and to take any other measure required. Britain, a country that produces only half of the food it eats, felt the impact of the strike when food prices began to rise. But before the month of July was through, the strike had been settled and the men went back to work.
Dirty Air over Cities
◆ A hundred million people crowd the tiny nation of Japan, where the pollution of the soil, water and atmosphere has reached the crisis stage. People by the thousands are being treated in Tokyo hospitals for smarting eyes, burning throats and other physical ailments because of a white smog that has blanketed large areas of the city.
Over Sydney, Australia, a noxious industrial smog also hung low. There was an uproar from citizens, and the city fathers promised to act. They traced the strong odor to an oil company plant, but, because of “lack of sufficient evidence” against the company, were ‘unable to prosecute.’
New York city was also undergoing an air pollution alert, plus an electric power crisis, during the hottest day of the year. The entire eastern seaboard was smarting under filthy smoggy air.
Civilization Broke Down—1914
◆ Kenneth Rexroth, a 65-year-old poet, critic and translator, writes: “If ‘civilization’ means the control of life to insure steadily increasing experience of values in intensity, scope and depth,” then it broke down in August of 1914, continued to function “in a dangerous patched-up fashion” until the end of World War II, and ceased to exist thereafter. “We live in a corpse, which jerks like a dead frog on a hot wire,” he said.
Bombings—A Growing Threat
◆ A wave of bombings in New York had reached “gigantic” proportions, the United States Senate was told on July 16. There had been 368 bombings from January 1969 through May of this year—more than twice as many as in the eight preceding years. It was disclosed that bomb threats in New York city had risen from about 3,300 in 1969 to more than 6,000 in the first six months of this year.
Inflation: A Worldwide Crisis
◆ Prices are moving up in practically every country of the world—often to crisis proportions. Price rises in the past 12 months have ranged from 29.3 percent in Chile and 21.7 percent in Brazil, to 8.3 percent in Japan and 6.3 percent in Sweden. In the United States, prices paid by consumers have gone up 6.2 percent in the past year. Inflation, in other words, has become a world problem. It is particularly acute right now in Europe. The warning now is that unless America and Europe join forces to bring inflation under control, the big depression of the 1930’s will seem like nothing by comparison. Said a Swiss economist: “The greatest trouble for the world now is American inflation. If the United States, with its powerful economy and the world’s leading currency cannot hold its rate of inflation below 5 percent to 6 percent annually, what hope is there for the rest of the world to restore stable conditions?”
◆ A pop festival held in Byron, Georgia, was described by state officials as “Sodom and Gomorrah all over again.” Out in the open drugs were sold. Legislators testified of seeing several hundred people on drug “trips” at one time. They told of nudity on public highways and of fornication in broad daylight. It was estimated that the crowd ranged from 35,000 to as high as 500,000. What more obvious sign of a civilization hastening to destruction could there be?
◆ Colleges and universities in America are in serious trouble. The students are obviously disenchanted with the rigidities of the educational process, but the higher educational system is also being rocked by a money crisis. The views of eleven public and private universities’ presidents in New York State, Connecticut and New Jersey and the gravity of their fears over inadequate funds were well underscored by Kingman Brewster, Jr., president of Yale University, who said: “I would say that if the present shrinkage of funds were to continue for another year, we [at Yale] would have to either abandon the quality of what we’re doing, abandon great discernible areas of activity or abandon the effort to be accessible on the merits of talent, not of wealth or of race or of inheritance.”
Syphilis Up Sharply
◆ In 1962, the United States Public Health Service began a drive to stop the growth of all venereal diseases. Hope was expressed that these diseases could be eradicated. But since the beginning of this year syphilis has been rising sharply. Last year syphilis increased by 8.5 percent. “This increase is so dramatic that national emergency action is needed,” Dr. James S. McKenzie-Pollock, medical director of the American Social Health Association, warned. Gonorrhea and syphilis, if not treated in time, can destroy the brain cells and produce blindness, death or insanity.
◆ In the June 22 issue of Awake! under the heading “Watching the World” appeared a quotation from Look magazine of May 19 inferring that the Roman Catholic Church owns stock in the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. However, we have learned from the insurance company itself that such is not the case.
Ra II Crosses Atlantic
◆ The Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl at the helm of Ra II sailed his papyrus vessel into Carlisle Bay Bridgetown Harbor, Barbados. The voyage from Morocco took 57 days. On May 17 Heyerdahl with his crew set sail to prove that the ancient Egyptians could have reached the Caribbean thousands of years ago in a similar boat. And on July 12 the captain said that he felt they had established their point. “I think we have proved what we set out to do,” he said. However, he stated, pollution at sea is shocking. On some days he and his crew had been reluctant to wash because of the filth in the ocean.
“Miracle of the Roses”
◆ Thousands of people came from all over the world to St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church at Heaton Norris, in Stockport, Cheshire, England, in 1947 to see the “miracle of the roses.” There they patiently filed past the statue of the madonna. On the head of the statue was a crown of roses from which the petals never fell, even when they withered. The parish priest, James Turner, stated that this was “above and beyond the ordinary workings of nature,” and nobody disputed him. But it was no miracle. It was simply the work of a skilled florist. People who came to see the “miracle” threw money over the altar rail because of the roses. In 1950 an appeal was made for gold so that a replica could be made of the crown of roses. People gave wedding rings and gold watches. The response was overwhelming. A small golden crown was made and placed on the head of Our Lady of Lourdes. Soon thereafter priest Turner went on a long holiday from which he never returned. A former altar boy and the florist admitted that the petals were wired and the whole thing was a fraud. Catholic people of Stockport are not too anxious now to talk about the “miracle of the roses.”