Watching the World
Violent Persecution in Malawi
◆ Violent persecution of Jehovah’s witnesses has again broken out in Malawi, in southeastern Africa. In 1964, over a thousand of their homes and more than a hundred of their Kingdom Halls were burned or otherwise demolished in a wave of violence directed against the Witnesses. Many of the Witnesses were so brutally assaulted that they had to be taken to hospitals for treatment; eight were murdered because of their faith. In 1967, with encouragement from official sources, savage violence was again unleashed against the Witnesses; their homes were destroyed, they were beaten and over a thousand of their wives and daughters were raped. The Witnesses are banned because, as conscientious Christians, they refuse to join the Malawi Congress Party. In September of 1972 the Malawi Congress Party, the only political party in the country, passed a resolution urging that Jehovah’s witnesses be deprived of all employment and driven from their homes, and that Party members who carried this out be given government protection. As a result, another wave of vicious persecution has broken out, large numbers of Witnesses have been driven out of the cities and towns into the bush, and over 18,000 have fled the country on foot. Press reports indicate that at least ten Witnesses have been killed.
More Peace Accords
◆ After almost a century of hostility, Japan and China have established diplomatic relations. Japanese Premier Kakuei Tanaka apologized for his country’s aggressive behavior during the 1930’s and 1940’s, in which some 25 million Chinese died. A communiqué reports: “The Japanese side is keenly aware of Japan’s responsibility for causing enormous damages in the past to the Chinese people through war, and deeply reproaches itself.” Observers say that the two nations’ pledge to work peacefully ushers in a new era in Asia. And recently West Germany announced that it would establish diplomatic relations with Communist China.
Mexico’s Worst Train Wreck
◆ In early October over 200 persons died and over 1,100 were injured in the worst train wreck in Mexico’s history. Most of the some 2,000 passengers were returning from a religious pilgrimage. What caused the accident? Authorities report that the engineer, the fireman and a brakeman admitted that they were drinking tequila with women friends they had picked up at a small stop. It was reported that the train sped 75 miles an hour around a curve limited to 35 miles per hour and derailed. The accused men were charged with homicide, but claim that, not their drinking, but a faulty brake was responsible for the accident.
Priest Asks Devil’s Help
◆ A priest running for the office of chief of police in the town of Patos, Brazil, recently asked the help of God and the Devil to win the election. In a radio speech he said: “I am depending on the help of God, but if the Devil sends money I will accept that too.”
Irish Clergy Shortage
◆ Since 1965 there has been a 45-percent drop in the number of entrants to Ireland’s Roman Catholic priesthood and religious orders. The number of priests who were ordained to serve in dioceses in England fell from 39 to 26. Deaths and retirements are exceeding the number of entrants by 200 a year. An acute shortage is in the making, seriously affecting the strength of the Irish Catholic priesthood and religious orders.
◆ There is a growing demand for home maternity care and child delivery. During the past twenty-five years Dr. Morris Gold of Washington state has delivered more than 2,000 babies in homes and in his office. He says: “We know that home delivery fills deep human needs.” Patients, wives of farmers and loggers, helped him to overcome his fears of complications when he started home deliveries. “The babies came out yelling,” he said, “and the mothers were up and around immediately.” He believes that women in labor should be in their own beds, with relatives and friends nearby to help, and that babies should not be separated in a nursery down the hall from their mothers. Is home delivery safe? The doctor answers: “Our young couples think it is. The experienced English and Kentucky midwives think it is. The Chicago Maternity Center, after 10,000 home births in the slums, think it is safe. The Netherlands, with 70 per cent of its births at home and a mortality record that America envies, thinks it is safe.”
Alcoholism and Accidents
◆ Alcohol played a sinister part in the number of road deaths in the United States last year. Alcohol was involved in 27,000 of the 55,000 deaths. Such a toll tends to minimize the importance of other safety factors such as better trained drivers, safer vehicles and safer highways. Recent surveys reveal that one out of every 25 drivers at night is intoxicated. The government report on this matter says: “By any reckoning, this amounts to a version of Russian roulette.”
◆ Brazilian authorities are warning against a fast-growing begging racket. Calculating adults are posing as poor and destitute. In Rio de Janeiro it is estimated that 120 adults are involved in a “rent-a-beggar” racket. They take in as much as $30 a day. One 34-year-old woman used 13 children, ranging from 2 months to 14 years, renting them for various rates. The newspaper Jornal do Brasil describes the children needed for this racket. “They must be actors. They must demonstrate poverty, humility and aggressiveness, be daring, calculating, and cold and know how to fake crying so as to play on the public’s emotions.” The children vehemently curse any who refuse to respond. One woman’s purse was snatched; another’s watch was ripped off.
Debris in Space
◆ Early this year, 5,850 man-made objects were known to be orbiting the earth. It is feared that some might fall and someday cause damage. Hence the United States Senate recently ratified a treaty making any nation liable for damage caused by debris that it launched into space.
◆ Three Canadian researchers recently reported testing Linus Pauling’s claim that vitamin C is an effective cold preventive and remedy. One thousand patients who claimed normally to have one cold a winter were chosen. Half were given 1,000 milligrams of vitamin C daily and 4,000 milligrams when they felt they were catching a cold. The other half were given placebos. The vitamin C group had 30-percent fewer days of disability due to colds, and they had fewer colds than the placebo group. One of the researchers reports: “We feel there is some definite effect of these big doses of Vitamin C.”
Fetuses Left to Die
◆ Dr. Thomas Hilgers, graduate fellow in obstetrics and gynecology, asserts that 400,000 unborn children have lost their lives due to legalized abortion in New York state. Of these, he claims that 1,800 were “born alive and left to die.” Deputy Administrator of the City Health Department Michael Blumenfeld says there were only 73 such cases and that two of them are still alive. Hilgers reports being told by an operating room scrub nurse that one 20-week-old fetus was aborted “alive and breathing.” When she begged the doctor to put the baby in the premature intensive care unit, he answered: “This is a pathological specimen and goes to the pathology lab.” Hilgers notes that, of doctors who perform abortions, a number drink heavily afterward. Many women who have abortions suffer both psychologically and physically.
Clergy Approve Youth Immorality
◆ Dr. John Robinson, Anglican Dean of Trinity College, Cambridge, England, says that boys and girls should be legally allowed to engage in heterosexual and homosexual intercourse at the age of 14. Some in his Methodist Conference audience were not pleased with such views. However, Harry O. Morton, the president of the conference, publicly defended Robinson’s right to suggest the passage of such a law. He declared that sexual relations should be openly discussed and that if Robinson’s speech would “help people to do that, it is to be welcomed.”
U.S. Catholic Decline
◆ The Catholic Church in the United States is losing ground. According to the 1972 official Catholic directory, during the past year the number of priests decreased by 740 and nuns by 6,731. To fill in, parochial schools have turned to salaried lay teachers. Lay teachers in 1944 constituted 8 percent of the faculty. This year they are 55 percent. Also, while the total number of Catholics in the country reached an all-time high of 48,390,990, actual increase was less than four tenths of one percent. This is less than half the U.S. population growth rate.
Motorcycles Are Dangerous
◆ Motorcycle deaths in the United States last year were 223 percent higher than ten years ago. There are almost 3.3 million motorcycles registered in the country. Dr. John A. Perry, orthopedic surgeon at Mercy Hospital in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, remarks that motorcycle riders “come in mangled and in trouble . . . on a daily basis. It’s been happening over the last two to three years. It’s almost unbelievable, the loss of limbs in young people, the amputations, the paraplegics, kids who won’t walk again.” And Dr. Robert B. Rutherford, director of emergency service at the Colorado General Hospital in Denver, says that doctors are reporting a rise in motorcycle accidents involving “the shearing off of genitals.”
Quit Smoking and Gain Weight?
◆ Does giving up smoking mean that one will gain an excessive amount of weight? Not according to a National Heart and Lung Institute study of 501 men over a five- to six-year period. Though men who quit smoking gained an average of eleven pounds, the figure is misleading, since one gained 114 pounds. A more accurate figure for actual average weight increase would be 3.7 pounds. Researchers involved feel that other factors play a role in weight gain. Also, they believe that weight gain is far less dangerous than smoking. One who stops smoking cuts down the risk of death due to lung cancer and other diseases.
What’s on Television?
◆ Television executive, Elton Rule, said in a speech in Toronto, Canada: “Today there is virtually no subject that is taboo on network television.” He added that television not only reflects a liberalizing trend at work within our society, but gives it acceleration. Current television shows deal with wife swapping, adultery, fornication, homosexuality, impotency, venereal disease, group marriage and commune living, along with the usual fare of crime and violence. How great the need is to be selective when one turns on the television!
◆ Dr. Walter Ebeling, professor at the University of California in Los Angeles, has found boric acid an effective pesticide against cockroaches. It is cheaper and safer than most insecticides, and also gives long-lasting control with only one application. Cockroaches do not appear to build an immunity to it. How is it used? By filling a rubber squeeze bulb with the fine white powder and blowing it under and behind furniture and in corners, as well as other places. Roaches walk through the powder. Later they pass their legs through their mouths to clean them, swallowing the boric acid, a stomach poison, that kills them. The process is slow but effective.