Watching the World
First Greek Assembly
◆ Despite heavy opposition from the Greek Orthodox clergy, Jehovah’s witnesses in Greece held their first public assembly, at the Apollo Stadium near Athens, from July 10 to 13. This “Divine Sovereignty” Assembly was attended by 19,211. The new government and its newly adopted constitution made such large assemblies of Jehovah’s witnesses possible for the’ first time. Just a few weeks before, the Greek courts also ruled that marriages among Jehovah’s witnesses were to be considered legal and children from these unions legitimate. Due to clergy influence, this basic recognition by the state had previously been denied Jehovah’s witnesses.
Court Backs Freedom
◆ A woman newly employed by a Texas bank was informed that attendance at monthly business meetings was compulsory, for which she would be paid. But at her first meeting she saw that it began with a religious talk and prayer by a Baptist minister. Feeling that her freedom of conscience was being violated, she resolved not to attend further meetings, but was told they were compulsory, upon which she left the bank. A U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that she had been discriminated against on religious grounds, and that this violated her constitutional rights. It decreed reinstatement if she desired, and that business meetings with religious services could not be compulsory.
◆ American delegate to the United Nations, Daniel Moynihan, noting the trend toward authoritarian rule among U.N. member nations, said: “Liberal democracy is not an ascendant ideology. There aren’t many of us left in the world. Democracies seem to disappear. I don’t notice any new ones emerging.” And James Reston of the New York Times wrote: “Liberal democracy is now in serious trouble in the world. We are living in a time of widespread doubt about the capacity of free societies to deal with the economic, political and philosophical problems of the age.”
Third World War Over?
◆ Exiled Soviet writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn claimed that for the Western nations the last 30 years has been “an unbroken descent toward enfeeblement and decadence.” Regarding the growing proportion of the earth’s population under Communist control, he said that the Western nations have “totally ceded more countries and peoples than have ever been ceded in any surrender in any war in human history.” He asserted: “That is why it is not speaking metaphorically to say: the Third World War has taken place and has ended in defeat” for the West.
How Safe Are Cosmetics?
◆ A government study of 36,000 persons in the United States showed that at least 589 were injured by the cosmetics they used. These allergic injuries were confirmed by physicians. While most were minor irritations, nearly 11 percent were moderate, interfering with normal activities. Over 2 percent were severe, resulting in time lost from work. The highest rate of bad reactions involved deodorants and antiperspirants, followed by hair removers. Next were moisturizers and lotions, then hair sprays and lacquers. Bubble baths, mascara and eye creams, hair colors and dyes, and facial skin creams and cleansers also were offenders.
Everest Once Under Water
◆ A specimen of rock brought back by a recent Japanese expedition that climbed Mt. Everest, the world’s tallest mountain, lends confirmation to the belief that it was once under water. Professor Joyo Kosaka of the Tokyo Institute of Technology examined the specimen under a polarizing microscope and said that it was aqueous rock, formed as a result of sedimentation of particles under warm seawater. Tokyo’s Daily Yomiuri reports: “Kosaka said that the seabed had been pushed up by convulsions of the earth’s crust, until it formed the . . . peak.”
◆ Because of increasing crime, housewives rightly fear muggers and burglars. But the average housewife is twice as likely to suffer bodily harm at home, inflicted by her husband. Wife beating is surfacing as a crime that occurs with shocking frequency, but often goes unreported. In one American city, of 600 women applying for divorce, 37 percent gave physical abuse as the reason. In times past, wives had little protection from the law in this matter, but now law enforcement is moving toward protecting them from this physical abuse.
Nonsmoking Room Preferred
◆ A new Chicago restaurant set aside one dining room where smoking is prohibited. The manager says that customers are willing to wait 30 to 45 minutes to get tables there, rather than be seated immediately in the other dining area where smoking is permitted.
Babies Pay Price
◆ Eighteenth-century British doctors reported that alcoholism in mothers led to “weak, feeble and distempered children.” Modern medicine confirms that alcoholic mothers are far more likely to have children with birth defects, including mental and physical retardation. One investigation revealed that of eight children with birth defects, all were born to alcoholic mothers. In another study, of nine babies born to mothers who were heavy drinkers, only one baby was normal.
Alcohol Epidemic Among Youth
◆ The number one drug problem among young people today appears to be alcoholism. In England, the Daily Mirror says: “Too much pocket money is turning Britain’s teenagers into alcoholics.” In the United States, a national survey found that 60 percent of 12th graders had been drunk one or more times in a year, 30 percent had been drunk four or more times, and 10 percent about once a week. Dr. William Rader of California stated: “Alcoholism is a terminal disease. It affects every organ in the body, . . . if a person continues to drink in excessive amounts, he will die.” And he added: “A teenager can become an alcoholic in 10 months, while it might take 10 years for an adult.”
School Violence the Norm
◆ Crime and violence have become the norm, that is, common in schools all across the United States. A Senate subcommittee said that in the schools surveyed during a recent three-year period there was an increase of 18 percent in homicides, 40 percent in rapes and attempted rapes, 77 percent in assaults on teachers, and 85 percent in assaults on students. Each year an estimated 70,000 teachers are injured badly enough to require medical attention. The violence, stated the Senate report, “is reaching crisis proportions which seriously threaten the ability of our educational system to carry out its primary function.”
Radioactivity Traps Printers
◆ The publication Paper Sales relates a novel use of radioactive tracers in the Soviet Union to suppress an outlawed church printing operation. The operation was reportedly detected by Soviet police who planted radioactive paper with a source suspected of supplying the printers. Sensitive instruments, it is claimed, picked up the radioactivity and led police to the printery under a farmhouse.
◆ For the first time since the early 1800’s, the population of nonmetropolitan areas in the United States is growing faster than in the cities. This does not mean a return to farming, however. One of the most important reasons is the moving of companies into more isolated communities, and the workers following. Also, the construction of the interstate highway system makes it possible for workers to live in rural areas and drive longer distances to work. And many old people are retiring to areas away from city congestion.
◆ The evidence of decay in this world’s religions continues to mount. Larry Hoyt, an official of a Presbyterian lay group, says that the 2.7 million-member United Presbyterian Church is in the “grips of secular humanism and only a great spiritual revival can save us.” But instead of revival, further deterioration is evident. Hoyt said: “It is possible to be ordained in and remain in the United Presbyterian Church while denying the virgin birth of Jesus Christ. . . . We now have a book with several confessions in it and no one is required to believe any of them.” He says that the seminaries are the “root of the problem” because the clergy have largely abandoned belief in the Bible.
“A Disease of the World”
◆ At the International Women’s Conference in Mexico City, a doctor from Africa observed that birth control information was not available in many countries because of religious beliefs. Hence, she said bitterly: “Religion is a disease of the world. Religion was made by men, interpreted and misinterpreted by men and worshiped by women. . . . I don’t see that men will change Hinduism, Buddhism or Christianity within the next 10 years.” But Bible prophecy shows that all hypocritical worldly religions will experience a drastic change in the near future when God executes his judgments against them.—Revelation, chap. 18.
Eight-Year ‘Sleep’ Ends
◆ The Dallas Morning News reported that a man awoke from an eight-year ‘sleep’ recently. He had been in an automobile accident in 1967 and had gone into a coma, being unconscious most of the time since then. At the time of the accident, he was 20 years old. Doctors say that they do not know what woke him up. His own changed appearance, and that of his friends, was a shock to him. He now sleeps normal hours, but has some problems with eye and speech control.
Improved Typewriter Keyboard
◆ The standard typewriter keyboard, designed in 1873, is by no means the most efficient, since it was purposely designed to make typing slower so that the first crude machines would not jam. A different keyboard, first introduced about 40 years ago, enables 70 percent of the typing to be done on the main row, compared to only 30 percent for the present English keyboard. Also, the newer keyboard divides the typing load between both hands, instead of favoring the left hand, as at present. Four models of the newer keyboard are now produced.
◆ People not ordinarily regarded as criminals cheat the American public out of about $40 billion a year. This includes employees who steal from their companies, shoplifters, executives who embezzle or take bribes, doctors who swindle Medicare and Medicaid by padding charges, and other dishonest practices. There are an estimated 75 million shopliftings a year now, but stores regard this as less of a threat than their own dishonest employees who take nearly $6 billion in money and merchandise. Who pays for all these forms of dishonesty? The consumer, since the prices of products and services are increased to cover losses.
New Oil Giant
◆ China is becoming one of the largest oil producers in the world. Crude-oil production has more than doubled since 1971, to well over a million barrels a day at present. China’s oil reserves are thought to be huge, and, since 1973, her swiftly increasing production has enabled her to become an oil exporter.
Watch Your Step
◆ An official report reveals that each year 300,000 Californians are injured by stepping on objects such as broken glass, metal pullout tabs of beverage containers and other abandoned rubbish.