Watching the World
Ireland’s Death Toll
◆ On May 20 the number of persons killed in Ireland’s sectarian war between Catholics and Protestants passed 800.
More Priests Quit
◆ In the last seven years the number of priests in religious orders in the U.S. has dropped 10 percent, to 20,694. Gabriel Moran, a leader of the Christian Brothers teaching order, pronounces the orders “already dead.” Also, over a hundred men have left the priesthood in recent years in Kerala, India. Why? One explains, according to the Bombay Blitz: “Christ did not establish institutionalised priesthood; He did not specify any particular dress for priests; He never advocated compulsory celibacy . . . The Church now practices ritually what Christ has not taught and conveniently forgets the principles He sacrificed His life for.”
◆ Membership in the U.S. United Presbyterian Church sagged by 104,000 in 1972. Church authorities wonder what can be done about the decline. One spokesman at the 185th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. suggested turning to the Bible: “Let us each one, as St. Paul urged in his second letter to Timothy, do the work of an evangelist.” In contrast, however, according to the Toronto Star, a few weeks earlier the former moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Canada was speaking highly of the Communist dictator Mao Tse-tung as one who “‘has been used by God’ to perform a miracle for the Chinese people.”
◆ A. Brewer in Manila, Arkansas, has a gun collection valued at $15,000. An item published in the Arkansas Gazette says the display includes: “A French ‘Zulu’ breech loader, complete with a small compartment in its stock where a priest could place a drop of holy water to sanctify the rifle.”
◆ In 1967 William and Paul Paddock wrote the book Famine—1975. At the time many scoffed at their view that large-scale famines were possible by the mid-seventies. But what is being said now? The “deepening crisis” in food production and population growth world wide leads J. P. Brown to write in the New York Times: “It appears that the Paddock brothers’ prophecy for 1975 could begin to become a reality as early as 1974.”
◆ A deepening world-wide food crisis has been aggravated by an outbreak of hoof-and-mouth disease in Austria. During the first five months of the year more than 30,000 pigs and 3,000 cattle were slaughtered. Some schools, theaters and churches have been closed to try to contain the disease. “Farmers,” says the International Herald Tribune, “are practically forced to remain in quarantine.” The epidemic struck several east European nations last year.
Gold and Dollars
◆ In May the price of gold topped $100 per ounce on the London Gold Market; it was $64.90 on January 1. This indicates continuing loss of confidence in American dollars. Gold—not the dollar—is in demand. Why less trust in dollars? An American economics professor says in Directors Digest: “America has lived beyond her means . . . We have consumed too much, . . . and have saved and invested too little.” European money experts admit their failure to solve the shaky international money situation. Says Europe’s Vision: “Every time there is a crisis, we fall back on hasty expedients that do no more than postpone the day when a lasting solution has to be found.”
Search for Oil
◆ The “energy crisis” is pushing the pursuit for oil. Arab countries currently possess over 60 percent of the world’s known reserves. “But what of the future?” asks Kuwait’s Daily News. It says the search is now being made in parts of the U.S. and Canada. Britain hopes to take more oil from the North Sea; East Germany and Poland, from the Baltic. Japan looks to Indonesian waters. Oil is known to exist in northeastern China and the Mediterranean Sea. Peru and Brazil as well as the Arctic ice cap are now receiving attention. The paper says: “The difficulties and rigours of harsh climatic and environmental conditions are now no barrier in the search for oil.”
Is There Peace?
◆ The Yearbook of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute reports that since the Strategic Arms Limitation Agreement of May 1972, the U.S. has added 1,150 nuclear warheads to weapons; Russia, 90. The two countries currently have about 9,300 such weapons. Of over 1,200 satellites launched by them since 1957, almost 50 percent have been for military reconnaissance.
World War I a Surprise
◆ Were men ready for World War I in 1914? Dr. Scott Nearing, recently named Honorary Emeritus Professor of Economics at the University of Pennsylvania, says ‘No.’ A Philadelphia Evening Bulletin item says: “Before World War I, [Nearing] said, he believed, as did most other economists, that a general war was impossible. ‘We assumed it was impossible because people were too civilized, war was too expensive, there was too much feeling against war.’ But war did come, he pointed out, and ‘I was made a radical by having my assumptions torn up and thrown in my face by historical forces.’”
A “Christian Association”?
◆ Some 550 high school students from thirty-seven countries met in Sacramento, California, in February for the twenty-fifth annual “Young Men’s Christian Association [YMCA]” Model Legislature. What were their conclusions? The Sacramento Union reports: “They voted to establish beaches for nude bathing, set up a state lottery and allowed licensed physicians to issue contraceptives to minors without parental consent.”
Just 100 Workers
◆ What will 100 new factory workers mean to a town? According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, it means 97 more families, 351 more people, 79 more schoolchildren, over one million more dollars in personal income, about one-half million more dollars in bank deposits, one more retail establishment and $565,000 more in annual retail sales.
Tonsillectomy Pro and Con
◆ The debate continues about the most common surgical procedure in the United States: tonsillectomy. Many doctors say the operation is useless, providing few benefits and perhaps weakening the body’s immunity system. They now hold that removal of the tonsils predisposes a person for Hodgkin’s disease, a form of cancer. On the other hand, many physicians still believe there are definite reasons for performing the operation.
◆ The Sears Tower in Chicago, topped out in early May, is now the world’s tallest building. Its 110 stories rise 1,454 feet; that’s 104 feet higher than New York’s World Trade Center.
◆ Machine Design reports that a scientific balloon twice orbited the earth for the first time; the trips took 36 days. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s 64-foot balloon followed east-to-west prevailing winds at a height of 78,000 feet. It carried equipment to study the effects of radiation on corn seedlings and to collect micrometeorites.
◆ Two U.S. western states with high suicide rates are California (19 per 100,000 population) and Arizona (18). A pair of experts living in those states have tried to find why. They conclude, according to the Arizona Republic: “Arizona’s new mobile population has come here seeking new opportunities, new starts in life, a new beginning. When realities don’t match expectation, the old problems and pressures lead to trouble.” In other words, one does not successfully run away from life.
Drug Problem Grows
◆ The United Nations International Narcotics Control Board says that drug addiction is increasing around the world. One reason is popular delusions about the value of narcotics. Some people, for instance, say that marihuana makes one ‘more creative.’ But Dr. G. J. Kidera writes in Mainliner magazine: “Despite the claims of marihuana advocates, there is zero evidence that creativity is enhanced . . . Occasionally, I am reminded that some great artist, musician or academician is an admitted marihuana user. But when you determine which came first, the achievement or the drug, it’s always the achievement.”
◆ New York city visitors are often shocked by a “visual plague” of enormous proportions. Since youths have discovered spray paint cans and marking pens that can be used to mark almost any surface, the city’s subway cars and buses, as well as public housing and school buildings, are covered with graffiti. Lettering and designs of all descriptions and sizes are applied by vandals who spend late-night hours in the subway yards on their projects. The money from 6,000 subway rides is required to clean just one subway car completely, and it will quickly be defaced again. The decay of respect for others in modern society becomes increasingly evident.
◆ Dr. Donald Coggan, archbishop of York, says that many homosexuals are clergymen in the Church of England. Coggan defended the homosexuals, arguing: ‘They put up a tremendous fight against being practising homosexuals. When they give in to that we must treat them with great sympathy and understanding—remembering, of course, that they are in a position of very great responsibility, having under their care a lot of youngsters.’ But who should have the sympathy—Biblically condemned homosexual clergymen, or the youngsters?
Styles Can Be Dangerous
◆ Women’s modern high-fashion clothing could cause serious auto accidents if worn when driving. The Insurance Information Institute in the U.S. pointed out that the wide-cuffed, bell-bottomed slacks and high-platform shoes can delay quick foot movements necessary in driving situations.
Prison Blood Canceled
◆ Folsom State Prison in California announced through its chief medical officer: “It is with sincere regret that we must announce the end of our Cutter Bloodletting Program. . . . the Federal Food/Drug Administration is responsible . . . These FDA regulations became necessary because of the increasing and alarming spread of hepatitis, mostly through blood transfusions.”
Experimental “Blood Substitute”
◆ According to a report in Science magazine, scientists have been working with perfluorochemical compounds to produce a “blood substitute.” It is reported that these compounds can dissolve twice as much oxygen and carbon dioxide as whole blood. Up to 100 percent of the blood of mice and other animals has been replaced by perfluorochemical emulsions with no ill effects that were identified. Professor Robert Goyer of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts, told an interviewer: “The final preparation will probably be clear, although it will be possible to make it red, white or blue, or any other color.”
◆ Who owns your body—you or your doctor? Medical Economics magazine, in summarizing recent U.S. court rulings in malpractice suits, says: “The courts are holding, it’s the patient, not the doctor, who has the last word on what’s to be done to and for his own body.”