Watching the World
◆ On Monday, August 16, Hong Kong was hit by typhoon Rose, which lashed the island with 100-mile-per-hour winds. By Tuesday the wind velocity had risen to 120 miles per hour. A fire started by a short circuit in a big power substation was fanned by the winds to such intensity that firemen were unable to control it. The result was a total blackout of the Kowloon peninsula, also panic and near riots in restaurants. Thousands were trapped in elevators. Ships were torn from their anchorages and driven ashore. Forty oceangoing vessels were strewn along the rocky beaches. One ship capsized in heavy seas with a loss of 76 lives. The storm took more than 100 lives, injured 400 and left 1,500 without homes.
Nigerian Churches Condemned
◆ The head of Nigeria’s West Civil Service condemned the churches in Nigeria as being infested with corruption and deviating from the “path of honour.” At a symposium organized by the Agbeni Methodist Church and which was entitled “The Christian Church has failed in Nigeria” he stated that the “Church,” referring to the churches collectively, “pampers to the high tastes of the rich and powerful even when such dignitary revels in corruption and anti-christian habits.”
Church Influence Declining in Quebec
◆ According to the Toronto Daily Star of September 4, 1971, there is widespread disaffection with the Roman Catholic Church in Quebec, Canada. It said that in 1961 only “2 percent of the Quebec population reported having no religious affiliation. Now less than half the French-speaking residents of the larger cities are considered practising Catholics.” The three Catholic universities in Quebec are planning to sever formal ties with the church and become public, nondenominational institutions. Recognizing the church’s declining influence, a Jesuit is quoted by the paper as saying that ‘the growing unpopularity of organized religion amounts to a worldwide crisis.’
Tokyo’s Dead Air
◆ Much to the surprise of Tokyo officials, pockets of air that are deficient in oxygen have been found in basements, wells and construction tunnels. A survey of 158 buildings revealed that 30 of them have dead-air sites, some with less than 10 percent oxygen. Normal air contains 21 percent oxygen. Almost no oxygen was found in the water-pumping room of one of Tokyo’s main auditoriums. The problem seems to stem from a construction practice in Tokyo. Air is forced into holes at construction sites and subway tunnels that are under construction in order to prevent water from seeping in. A layer of iron-bearing sand that is about 30 feet underground absorbs the oxygen in the pressurized air by oxidation. The oxygen-deficient air seeps to the surface, where it accumulates in enclosed spaces in or under buildings. Two construction men working in the basement of a new Supreme Court building were killed by such oxygen-deficient air.
◆ With supplies of freshwater declining in the face of a continually growing demand for water, some American communities are seriously thinking about recycling their sewage. This could be cheaper in some instances than desalting seawater or piping in freshwater from great distances. Plans are already being made in Denver, Colorado, to build a sewage plant that would be capable of converting sewage into 10 million gallons of drinking water a day. The resort area of Lake Tahoe, California, is already giving sewage advanced treatment that produces water sufficiently pure for use in a recreational lake in which people can swim. Americans use, on the average, 42 billion gallons of water a day just to flush wastes through their sewers.
Improving Land with Garbage
◆ Food canners in California have begun an effort to improve local farmland by dumping on it pear peelings, tomato skins and culled fruit resulting from the canning process. Nearly 70,000 tons of such garbage were spread over 700 acres of marginal farmland in 1970 and mixed with the soil. The soil absorbed this organic waste and tests indicate improvement in the soil.
◆ A new 68-page newspaper is being published in a unique way for stock investors and brokers. Its pages consist of statistical information about the performance of thousands of stocks, and it is prepared at lightning speed by computers. A cathode-ray-tube typesetting unit automatically sets a full newspaper page in 63 seconds. The page is photographed, and then plastic plates are made that go on the printing press. A day’s production of 30,000 newspapers can be turned out in five hours.
Crime Continues to Rise
◆ According to a report from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, crime in the United States continued its alarming rate of increase during 1970. It was up 11 percent for the nation. There were over 5,568,000 major crimes committed in the U.S. during 1970 as compared with over 4,466,000 in 1968. Crime by women showed a sharp rise. The chance of becoming a victim of a major crime in 1970 was two and a half times as great as in 1960. It is also of interest to note that the crime rate in the United States rose 176 percent during the 1960’s as compared with a population rise of 13 percent.
Methodists Approve Infanticide
◆ The Kansas West Conference of the United Methodist Church has voiced approval of the killing of developing, unborn infants. It unanimously agreed “to support and encourage the Wesley Medical Center in providing legal, medical abortions.” The board also stated: “The state laws of Kansas today provide a safe and appropriate way for any mother to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. We support these laws and encourage their application.” How contrary this is to the Divine command against murder. Whether an infant is intentionally killed before he is born or after he is born, is it not still murder?
Teaching Children to Read
◆ The National Foundation for Educational Research in England studied the progress of 450 students in London who were seven years of age. It found that one-third of the boys and 15 percent of the girls could not read. Regarding its findings the London Daily Express reported: “Those brought up in classes firmly controlled by the teacher and with an early start on vocal-sound learning, were the best readers.”
Biggest Killer of Youths
◆ The automobile, when driven by young people, is regarded as the biggest killer of young people. The National Transportation Safety Board reported that of the total number of persons between the ages of 15 and 24 who die each year half are killed in automobile accidents. While young drivers make up only 21 percent of the total number of automobile drivers, they were involved in nearly 33 percent of the traffic fatalities in 1969.
◆ Dissidents in the Lutheran and Presbyterian churches are mapping separate routes that will mean further disunity in these churches. Representatives of four Presbyterian groups met in Atlanta to plan a constitution and confessional documents for a separate church. They disliked the decision of the governing assembly of the Southern Presbyterians to merge with the United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. Conservative Lutherans have formed the Federation for Authentic Lutheranism. They have a constitution and plans for a Lutheran group that is independent of the Missouri Synod. They dislike church involvement in social actions.
Church-sponsored Sex Film
◆ The Unitarian church has produced a sex film that is mainly for junior-high-school students in Unitarian churches’ weekly religion classes. It is a well-lighted color film of three separate couples having intercourse. The film is part of a course that covers masturbation, intercourse, contraception, homosexuality, petting and so forth. It includes recordings in which young people describe their first heterosexual sex experience. No effort is made to teach the children Christian moral standards, but the course is built upon the unchristian principle of “situation ethics,” in which a person decides his ethics according to the situation facing him. If a student asks if it is all right for junior-high students to have intercourse, the teacher is instructed to say neither yes nor no. The student is left without moral guidance. Would you want this church to teach your children?
Rape Often Invited
◆ According to Dr. Menachem Amir in his book Patterns in Forcible Rape, the crime of rape is often victim-precipitated. After examining 646 cases of rape he found that in 19 percent of them the victim either agreed in advance to sexual relations or failed to resist strongly when the suggestion was made. In 87 percent of the cases temptation and verbal coercion were used by the attacker rather than physical force. He also noted that 20 percent of the victims had police records for such things as disorderly conduct, drunkenness or prostitution. Another 20 percent had promiscuous reputations in their neighborhoods.
Blood in Food
◆ The Agriculture Department of the United States has expressed its intention of permitting the use of swine blood in human food. Federal regulations already permit the use of blood from cattle in human food. Any person that wants to respect God’s law against eating blood will avoid foods that contain blood. If he is uncertain as to whether a certain food product contains blood or not, he can always write the manufacturer for information about its ingredients.
Soaring Medical Costs
◆ Medical treatment for Americans is becoming so expensive that the average family can hardly afford it. Ten years ago the cost of an appendectomy in New York city was $485, but now the going rate is $1,175. Over this same period hospital rates have shot up fivefold, to $100 a day. Doctors’ fees are 70-percent higher than they were a little over ten years ago. This rise is nearly double the Consumer Price Index.
Soft Water and Heart Attacks
◆ The British medical magazine Lancet is reported by the London Daily Express as presenting evidence that softening a city’s water supply contributes to heart attacks. It was found that in British towns where the water was hardened, coronary deaths between 1948 and 1964 averaged 8.5 percent. But in towns where the water was softened, the coronary deaths averaged 20 percent. Regarding these findings, Dr. Margaret Crawford observed: “We are well aware that there are many other causes of coronary disease, but this is a consistent picture.”
◆ For some people the approach of middle age and its signs in one’s face is so upsetting that they are willing to endure the risks associated with chemosurgery or face peeling. This is a process in which the outer layer of skin is burned off with a chemical solution. It is hoped that the new layer will give their face a more youthful appearance. But there is a real risk of being scarred for life. One woman was permanently disfigured, being burned so badly that she could not move her neck.