Watching the World
Another U Thant Warning
◆ Over a year ago U Thant, secretary-general of the United Nations, warned that the nations had perhaps ten years left to solve their problems. Recently he again stated that mankind must quickly find global solutions to their problems or “perish—if not with the bang of a nuclear holocaust, then with the whimper of a species and a civilization which ran out of air, water, resources and food.”
Nigerian Official Blasts Church
◆ Nigeria’s Federal Commissioner for Finance, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, aroused much attention by sharply attacking the Methodist church in that country. As reported in Nigeria’s Sunday Times, he said that the church had been turned “into a modern counterpart of the temple which Jesus saw in Jerusalem and which he likened to a robbers’ cave.” Speaking directly to church leaders at a conference, he told his grim-faced audience: “Money or mammon now sits on a high throne in the church.” He declared that hypocrisy was rife, that the poor had lost all recognition and that only the rich and socially important got prominence in the church. He told the clergy that they “vie with one another, sometimes with unparalleled ruthlessness, for promotion.”
Hepatitis-laden Blood Kills
◆ The Boston Evening Globe states that hepatitis transmitted by blood transfusions is killing an average of one person a month in the Boston area. In Chicago it is said to be one death every four days. In a New York hospital, 25 percent of open-heart-surgery patients contracted the liver disease from infected blood. The paper adds: “It is a growing problem that doctors and public health officials seem powerless to eliminate.” One reason for its growth is that more persons are becoming drug addicts and contract hepatitis from dirty hypodermic needles, then sell their blood for money.
Jumbo Jet “Tornadoes”
◆ Authorities reveal that the wing tips of the 747 jumbo jet aircraft create winds comparable to tornadoes. These funnel-shaped winds spin off the wings and can tear apart lighter aircraft or cause other jet planes to veer off course. While no crashes have been reported from 747 “wake turbulence,” records show 98 cases where such turbulence caused by smaller jets contributed to crashes, resulting in 20 deaths and 54 serious injuries. The 747 “tornadoes” are said to be nearly twice as powerful as those created by smaller jets such as the 707. Spacing instructions have been issued with respect to flying aircraft to minimize this danger.
What About White Flour?
◆ Many have long claimed that milled and bleached white flour used in bread lacks nutrients. Recent tests by U.S. Department of Agriculture scientists agree that this is so. They note the loss of much of the nutrients such as the natural B vitamins and also vitamin E. This occurs both in the milling and in bleaching processes, with the latter causing the greatest loss. Thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and vitamin B6 were also greatly reduced. Only 15 percent of the original amount of vitamin B6 was left.
Britain’s Unemployment Rises
◆ The number of unemployed in Britain grew to 605,843 in August. That is the highest August figure in at least thirty years, according to the Guardian Weekly. Unemployment among men is more than one-third greater than in any recession since World War II. The total unemployed represents 2.6 percent of the work force, compared to 5 percent in the United States.
Criminals Victimize Own Race
◆ The National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence has issued statistics showing that about 90 percent of the homicides, assaults and rapes committed in urban areas of the United States were against members of the same race—black against black, white against white. Only robberies were significantly different: 47 percent were committed by blacks against whites. Without regard to race, those in the 18-to-24 age-group committed four times as many crimes as older persons.
Gonorrhea Resisting Drugs
◆ Doctors treating American troops in Vietnam report that gonorrhea, the most prevalent of venereal diseases, is getting more difficult to treat. The germ has increased resistance to penicillin, the basic drug used in treatment. An army doctor stated: “The increased resistance is a worldwide thing.” According to U.S. Army figures, venereal disease infects 200 servicemen out of every 1,000 each year.
Growing Soviet Sea Power
◆ Several months ago, Western experts noted that the Soviet Union’s nuclear and conventional military strength was at “flood tide.” Now Britain’s authoritative “Jane’s Fighting Ships” says Soviet sea power is “rising to a flood tide in the 1970s.” The Soviet buildup of sea power is seen as another evidence of its determination to surpass the United States in all areas of armed power.
Oil Treasures in Danger
◆ Dr. Wilson M. Laird of the U.S. Interior Department drew a gloomy picture of the non-Communist world’s oil situation. Non-Communist nations are dependent on Arab oil more than ever, with Western Europe getting about 85 percent of its supply from the Middle East and North Africa, and Japan about 90 percent from the Middle East. If another Arab-Israeli conflict should halt the flow of oil from Arab lands, what then? In Laird’s view, it would be impossible to replace that oil from other known sources.
Why the Strike?
◆ Over 323,000 United Auto Workers in the United States and about 22,000 in Canada went on strike against General Motors, the world’s largest manufacturer, in September. Why? A main culprit was inflation. The Wall Street Journal reported: “The benefits gained in the 1967 auto contracts, as with wage and salary increases elsewhere in the economy, have been to a large extent offset by the rising prices of food, clothes, housing and less-necessary items. . . . Obviously enough the union expects more inflation and is trying to race well ahead of it.”
Work Aids Longevity
◆ A recent study shows that persons in rural areas who started work early in life and continued after retirement age lived the longest. Moderation in living habits, proper motivation and creative interests were also found to be important. Work, particularly that which includes physical exercise, is a blessing, not a curse.
Truck Hijackings Soar
◆ Airplane hijacking gets the headlines. But hijacking of freight cargoes, particularly those hauled by truck, is a far greater problem. On an average, in the New York city area alone, each week ten trucks carrying $300,000 in cargo are hijacked. Truck cargo losses amount to more than $800,000,000 a year now, ship cargo thefts are at about $100,000,000, and railroad and air freight each show $50,000,000. In the year ending in June, there were 20,349 interstate cargo thefts in addition to many others within each state. An insurance investigator estimates that not more than 5 percent of the stolen goods is ever recovered.
Decline of Serious Music
◆ Music record makers say that in 1960 classical music sales were about 18 percent of total volume. Now it is down to about 5 percent. The main reason? Said one official: “We’ve lost the younger generation.” To what? To “rock.” An official declared that youngsters are “buying rock like pot [marijuana].” This decline in music standards reflects the decline of all moral standards in our time.
Fewer Heart Transplants
◆ The first heart transplant was performed in December of 1967. In 1968, 101 were attempted. In 1969, the number dropped to 47. In 1970, only 15 were performed up to September. Of all these, only 21 recipients are still alive. Dr. Norman E. Shumway of Stanford University said: “The initial enthusiasm, approaching hysteria, which greeted the first clinical cardiac transplants now seems to have been replaced by a generally pessimistic outlook.”
Bulletproof Change Booths
◆ The subway system in New York city got its first change booths with bulletproof walls and windows. About 100 are planned to try to stem the tide of change-booth holdups. The first eight months of 1970 saw 461 attempted or actual robberies of booths, compared to 178 in the same period last year.
“Suicide” by Smoking
◆ Surgeon General Jesse L. Steinfeld, chief health officer of the United States, said that the country should portray cigarette smoking “as what it really is—a dirty, smelly, foul, chronic form of suicide.” A British researcher, Dr. Charles M. Fletcher, said: “If you want to die 10 years before your time, cigarette smoking is an easy way to do it.” He estimated that a 35-year-old man who smokes 15 cigarettes a day forfeits 15 minutes of life for every cigarette smoked.
Corn Blight Strikes
◆ Widespread damage was done to America’s 1970 corn crop by a deadly new strain of fungus disease, a leaf blight. It struck every corn-growing state in the country. A rise in prices of beef, pork, chicken and eggs was predicted because of increased feed costs, since about 85 percent of the corn crop is used as an animal feed grain.
Total Cyclamate Ban Again
◆ Cyclamates, chemical food additives, again have been totally banned by the Food and Drug Administration, effective in September. Found to be harmful in animal experiments, these additives first were banned in October of 1969. But a month later this was modified to allow their use by persons restricted to a low-calorie diet. Now the FDA has concluded that their use with food is of little value in weight control and has reimposed the total ban.
Clergy Losses Large
◆ The Yearbook of American Churches shows that the total number of all clergy dropped from 402,355 in 1967 to 360,092 in 1969, more than 10 percent in two years. The 1970 Official Catholic Directory shows net losses in every important category during 1969. The number attending Catholic seminaries dropped significantly, from 33,990 to 28,906, and 43 seminaries were closed. There was also a net loss of 6,000 nuns.
Killings of Police
◆ Attacks on policemen in the United States have reached record proportions. In 1969, eighty-six were killed in the line of duty, the highest ever recorded. So far in 1970, twice as many have been killed in unprovoked attacks as in 1969 and four times as many as in 1968. Deaths from sniper attacks and bombings are mounting.
A Condor Comeback
◆ Last year only 52 condors were sighted in California. The year before that only 47. The black birds with the 10-foot-wide wingspread appeared on the edge of extinction. Recently when the annual count was taken, more than 270 sightings were made. That is a substantial comeback from the official low of 38 in 1965.