Watching the World
Turning Point in History?
◆ President Nixon’s proposed trip to the People’s Republic of China before May of 1972 has aroused high expectations. Lord Caradon, formerly England’s ambassador to the United Nations, said: “This is a turning point in world history—I cannot remember anything in my lifetime more exciting or more encouraging.” Joseph Luns of the Netherlands, new Secretary-General of NATO, said: “This is one of the great moments in the world’s history.” Regardless of how the trip turns out, events that will mark a far greater turning point in history, affecting all nations, are scheduled for the immediate future according to God’s timetable.—Dan. 2:44.
Huge War Cost
◆ The Vietnam, or Indochina, war has cost the United States more money than any of its other wars except World War II. It amounts to nearly $500 for every man, woman and child in the country. However, more than twice as many bombs, rockets and cannon shells have been used as in World War II.
Navy’s Drug Problem
◆ The United States Navy has revealed that it has an enormous drug problem. The office of the Secretary of the Navy confirmed that “no Navy station or ship in the Pacific is free from the problem.” Estimates of those who have used drugs vary from the 20 percent given by the headquarters of the Pacific Fleet to the 50-percent estimate of a presidential task force investigating the problem.
◆ The inner core of many large American cities is dying. Small stores, shops and now even large supermarkets are being abandoned, making it more difficult to get goods and services. Businesses, and individuals who can afford to, are leaving the inner city and fleeing to the suburbs. All indications are that the decay is intensifying.
Parents Influence Drug Use
◆ Large-scale studies in Canada and the United States show that illicit drug use among teen-agers is much higher when their parents use various drugs such as tranquilizers or stimulants. The Canadian study revealed that a parent who uses ‘legal’ drugs is three times as likely to have children using marijuana, LSD and other drugs, compared with children whose parents do not use drugs. And youngsters whose parents use drugs are six times as likely to use heroin.
Child Crime Up Sharply
◆ In New Zealand, Commissioner of Police W. Sharp reported to Parliament that crimes committed by children had increased alarmingly, doubling from 1966 to 1970. In the most recent year, offenses rose by more than 37 percent. Now about one quarter of all crimes are committed by youngsters.
◆ A California agency reports a shocking growth of teen-age venereal disease and pregnancies. In 1970 nearly ten times as many teen-agers contracted gonorrhea as in 1960. It is now estimated that one in five high school students will contract a venereal disease before graduating. In some schools the estimate is that half the student body will get VD. Also, in 1970 more than 44 percent of teen-age brides were pregnant at the time of their marriage. About half of such forced marriages end in divorce within four years.
Results of Abortion Law
◆ On July 1, 1970, a liberal abortion law went into effect in New York state. In the year ending June 30, 1971, nearly 165,000 abortions had been performed in New York city alone—well above the estimates of officials when the law took effect.
Car Thefts Soar
◆ As is true in most places, automobile thefts in west Australia reached an all-time high in 1970. The corresponding period for 1971 is much worse—nearly 50 percent more vehicles have been stolen. In Perth, about 80 percent of car thefts are the work of teenagers. A police official said: “It is no longer unusual to find a kid of 13 behind the wheel of a stolen vehicle.” Many of the stolen cars are being wantonly damaged or destroyed.
Classical Music Decline
◆ In 1910, classical music records accounted for about 85 percent of all records sold in the United States. Now classical music accounts for only 3 to 5 percent of record sales.
Decadence That Destroys
◆ President Nixon warned that the United States was turning to “drugs and defeatism” and was approaching the kind of decadence that destroyed history’s greatest civilizations. He said that the country needed a moral regeneration to save it. But such is nowhere in sight.
Loss of Faith in Governments
◆ The Detroit Free Press reports: “Cynicism toward government has reached epidemic proportions among American voters, new data from a widely researched scholarly survey revealed Tuesday . . . . Only seven percent said the government could be trusted ‘almost always’ to do the right thing.”
Science Undermining Belief
◆ Belief in God is being undermined mainly by the notion that science is an infallible source of truth, says Louis Cassels, a senior editor of United Press International. He states: “Every age has its superstitions, and ours is the notion that science is an infallible and all-sufficient guide to truth.” He adds: “In our uncritical adulation of science and our preoccupation with secular concerns, we have drifted into the habit of thinking that we live in an open-book universe where everything that happens can be explained in ‘natural terms,’ and there are no irruptions of the mysterious, the inexplicable.” Cassels declared, however, that “this is not such a universe. From birth to death, we are surrounded by marvels—not least the shocking fact of our own existence—which should keep us in a state of continual awe.”
Blasts Trigger Earthquakes
◆ Two underground atomic explosions in Nevada released more than ten times as much pent-up energy in earth movements as was produced by the blasts themselves. The tests were conducted in areas where strain had apparently accumulated in earth’s rocks. While these small atomic devices produced relatively insignificant earthquakes, some point out that under similar conditions the underground testing of a large atomic device could have serious consequences.
Leaking Microwave Ovens
◆ The United States Public Health Service says that about one out of every ten microwave ovens in the country leaks radiation in excess of the amounts specified by the manufacturers themselves. Prolonged exposure to microwave radiation has been linked to burns and eye cataracts in humans, and blood damage and sterility in animals.
Peril from Sprays
◆ Concern is being expressed over the misuse of aerosol sprays such as deodorants, household cleaners, hair sprays and others. Young people are spraying these into paper bags or balloons and then inhaling the spray because it is said to produce a ‘high.’ This relatively new drug-abuse problem has taken the lives of more than 100 youths since 1967, with an average of four deaths a month now being recorded in America.
◆ Government figures show that about 700,000 children in the United States are injured each year by toys. And this does not even include bicycles, swings or slides. Congressmen charge that many dangerous toys carry no warnings to either parent or child. Among those listed as dangerous were toys with sharp cutting edges, those easily shatterable, toys with high explosive or flammable potential and lethal electrical hazards. Some ‘psychologically dangerous’ toys were toy hypodermic needles, plastic guillotine kits, kits with simulated human organs with painted blood dripping from them, and others suggesting violence and gore.
Coffee Linked to Cancer
◆ A connection between cancer of the bladder and coffee drinking is reported as a result of studies conducted by scientists at the Harvard School of Public Health. Their findings reportedly showed that about a fourth of bladder cancers in men and half in women could be due to coffee drinking. Much more study is needed to definitely establish such a relationship.
City’s Restaurants Unhealthy
◆ New York city’s Health Commissioner, Dr. Mary McLaughlin, claimed that most of the city’s restaurants serve food prepared under filthy and unhealthy conditions. She said that often food comes from rat-infested kitchens containing hot refrigerators and cold dishwashing machines, and from employees who seldom wash their hands. A survey of 745 midtown restaurants showed that 86 percent had serious health-code violations.
Sea of Galilee ‘Dying’
◆ Israeli scientists predict the ‘death’ of the Sea of Galilee in from three to ten years unless corrective measures are taken soon. Eutrophication similar to that taking place in Lake Erie and other bodies of water is being caused by thousands of tons of nitrates flowing into the lake from the Hula region, about 50 miles northeast of Haifa. This marshy region was drained about 15 years ago and planted with crops irrigated by waters from the Jordan River. The draining exposed the peat-moss soil to the air, hastening decomposition. This has produced poisonous accumulations of nitrates. Irrigation is washing these nitrates into minor canals and then into the Sea of Galilee.
New Pollution Worry
◆ Cadmium, a toxic metal, is becoming a rival to mercury as a pollutant, some experts say. Already, deaths have been caused by cadmium poisoning in Japan. In Illinois, California and Washington at least 15 people have become ill from eating candy that contained large amounts of cadmium. The metal’s use is increasing because of its high corrosion resistance. It goes into automobile parts, appliances, machinery, hardware, fasteners and many other items.
‘Blood on Their Hands’
◆ Professor of Religion Peter Riga of La Salle College comments as follows regarding the conduct of Catholic bishops in America during the Vietnam war: “Because of their massive failure of moral leadership in the greatest moral issue of our day, these American Catholic bishops who supported this war (some 95 per cent) should resign en masse because they are no longer fit for the office; . . . The ancient adage of the church is as applicable today as it ever was: he who has blood on his hands is not fit to be minister. I say that the American Catholic bishops, by their moral failure, have the blood of men on their hands.”
A Sick Church
◆ At Harrowgate, England, delegates to a Methodist church conference were told by their president, Kenneth Waights, that the church is sick. He said: “I believe this malady is greatly due to the wrong food upon which the Church has been living. She has been trying to exist on a diet of humanism, which has been served up to look like Christian nourishment. . . . What is the use of a sick doctor to his patient? A sick Church in a sick community is a supreme tragedy, not only for the Church but for mankind.”