Watching the World
Church Support for Guerrillas
● The World Council of Churches has announced another money grant to “combat racism.” This time $587,000 (U.S.) was given to 46 groups in 17 countries. The largest amount ($125,000) went to the guerrilla movement in South-West Africa (Namibia) for “administrative and legal defense costs in Namibia and administrative costs in four countries which border Namibia.” Said the New York Times: “In all, $4.7 million has been allotted since the council initiated the program in 1970. The Namibian rebels alone have drawn $698,500. . . . The antiracism program has stirred controversy among the council’s members.”
Archbishop Denied Visa
● Greek Catholic Archbishop Hilarion Capucci said recently that the U.S. refused him a visa to enter the country. Capucci charged that this was a violation of human rights, but U.S. officials explained that the Immigration and Nationality Act forbids the entry of any person who has connections with terrorist groups. The archbishop had served a prison term in Israel for smuggling guns and explosives to terrorists in that country.
‘Sick of Political Preachers’
● “I’m frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in ‘A,’ ‘B,’ ‘C,’ and ‘D,’” said U.S. Senator Barry Goldwater recently in a speech on the Senate floor. Expressing his dismay at those who would inject religion into politics, he continued: “I am even more angry as a legislator who must endure the threats of every religious group that thinks it has some God-granted right to control my vote on every roll call in the Senate. I am warning them today: I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of ‘conservatism.’”
The Great Gold Recovery
● Possibly the greatest treasure ever retrieved from the ocean floor is a recent gold recovery by a British firm. The gold—465 ingots—was in the British cruiser Edinburgh 780 feet (238 m) below the surface in the frigid Barents Sea deep inside the Arctic Circle. The warship was torpedoed and sunk in 1942 when carrying the gold from Russia to the U.S. as payment for military supplies. Using technology developed around Britain’s North Sea oil fields, divers recovered 431 of the gold ingots—valued at more than $80 million (U.S.)—in the span of one month amid formidable pressure and cold.
Who got the gold? The salvage firm received 45 percent, and, of the remainder, the British government got one third and the Soviet Union two thirds, paralleling the original insurance obligations. However, the salvage firm, after deducting about $2 million in costs, will have to pay British taxes of some 90 percent. When weather permits, the operation is expected to resume to recover the remaining 34 ingots of gold.
Canada’s Tyrannosaurus Find
● The remains of the first tyrannosaurus ever to be found in Canada have been unearthed. The bones of the giant land reptile were dug up on a farm 65 miles (105 km) southeast of Red Deer, Alberta. Said paleontologist Dale McInnes: “There’s no specimen around like this one. It’s world class.” This dinosaur had a length of 39 feet (12 m) and was 19 and a half feet (6 m) high. Besides the skeleton, which is about 90 percent complete, Dr. McInnes and his team believe that they have found the world’s first fossilized skin imprint of a tyrannosaurus. He added that there are three more of the same kind of dinosaurs that will be dug up later. Dinosaurs were the giants of the animal kingdom, a remarkable testimony to God’s power of creation.
“One in a Million”
● Four years ago a young woman in England was told that she could never have children because she had two wombs. But recently the 22-year-old woman gave birth to two healthy baby boys. “It is very rare indeed for a woman to have two wombs,” said a hospital spokesman, “and rarer still to have a pregnancy in each one.” According to gynecologists, the chances of this happening are one in a million.
Upsurge in African Medicine
● Some African countries have legalized the work of African medicine men, who have been called “witch doctors.” Zimbabwe’s minister of health, Dr. Herbert Ushewokunze, said that, in the past, white colonists had crushed African traditions by beheading medicine men. “As a result,” he explained, “most of our big ancestral spirits became dormant because they feared their mediums would suffer the same fate. But there has been a religious revival in Zimbabwe accompanied by our political renaissance, and our great ancestral spirits are coming back as part of this upsurge.” By October 1980 about 4,000 African herbalists and spirit mediums had been registered by the government. Rejecting the label “witch doctor,” the minister of health said: “Describe him in any way you like, but he remains one of the most influential human beings in Zimbabwean culture.” Some of the healers prescribe medicine for an ailment while they are in a trance.
Blotter for Oil Slicks
● According to Russia’s Sputnik magazine, a digest of the Soviet press, researchers of the Institute of Oceanology of the USSR Academy of Sciences have devised “a synthetic preparation capable of quickly removing oil products from large areas of the ocean surface.” The new Soviet preparation has been put to the test, and Sputnik reports that “an oil slick which claimed an area of several thousand square metres was cleared in 15 minutes.” The new product is sprayed over the oil slick; it then goes to work to collect and remove the pollution.
Pyramids in Danger?
● Egypt’s Institute of Astronomy and Geophysics in Cairo recently reported that the “cultural heritage of Egypt,” including the famous pyramids in the desert, is, in effect, floating on a gigantic sea of underground water. And the water table is rising, so that now it is just three meters (10 feet) below the pyramids and the Sphinx at Giza. At the Valley of the Kings and the Temple of Karnak, the water table is said to be just two meters (6.5 feet) beneath the surface. “The rise in the water table,” explained the journal Science & Mechanics, “is said to have resulted from the construction of the Aswan High Dam, the inefficient use of irrigation water, and the lack of adequate and sufficiently extensive drainage canals to handle the increase of irrigation water.” It is feared that if the water table keeps rising, the pyramids and other ancient structures will be in danger of collapse.
Anemia and Vitamin A
● A Central American study, involving six countries, has linked a deficiency of vitamin A to widespread anemia in children and nursing mothers in developing countries. Dr. Luis Antonio Mejia recently told an international nutrition conference that unless the vitamin deficiency is corrected the anemia cannot be cleared up even if dietary iron is adequate. “The implication,” he said, “is that if an anemia doesn’t respond to conventional therapy, consider vitamin A deficiency.”
Rock Fans Rock Hotel
● When some 400 fans of the Rolling Stones moved out of New York City’s Alexandria Hotel, they left the rooms a shambles. “The damage was incredible,” said the night manager. He explained that nearly 250 of the 500 hotel rooms were vandalized, resulting in damages of at least $100,000 (U.S.). The hotel had just been redecorated at a cost of $3.5 million.
Fork with a Stop-and-Go Light
● To help dieters to lose weight, Joe Caruso has invented the Slenderfork. When the battery-powered fork is in use, a green light shows, for six seconds. This is the signal to eat a bit of food. Then the fork registers a red light, for 25 seconds. The eater waits until the green light reappears before he takes another bit. “I would gain and I would lose,” explained inventor Caruso. “I really had to find something.” He believes it has helped him to tell when his stomach is full. The theory is that by slowing the eating process one will do less eating and hence lose weight. Not all nutritionists, however, are enthusiastic about the fork with a built-in stop-and-go light. “Who’s going to eat that way?” asks the dean of the Tufts University school of nutrition. “What is it, the idiot fork? There’s no evidence that fast eaters are fatter.”
Antibiotic with a Wallop
● As a result of a new generation of antibiotics, strains of resistant bacteria may be in line for destruction. A pharmaceutical firm in England spent 12 years to develop an antibiotic capable of destroying resistant bacteria. Called Augmentin, it is said to be effective against 95 percent of bacteria that cause common infections. It was known that many strains of bacteria defend themselves by means of an enzyme that renders antibiotics ineffective. But the scientist in England discovered a substance that nullifies the effect of this enzyme, breaking down the bacteria’s defense. However, said The Guardian, “the big catch is that, sooner or later, the cunning bacteria will find a defence against Augmentin.”
High Cost of Shoplifting
● Shoplifting continues to register new highs in the U.S. It has now reached $16 billion a year. During 1981, according to Burns International Security Services, Inc., this costs each household in the country $200.
A Disco Death?
● An 11-year-old boy in England attended a junior disco session and performed a “head-shake” in which the head is shaken more violently as the music gets faster. The next day the boy complained of a headache, and the symptoms gradually intensified until, about three weeks after the dance, he died. According to the London Daily Mail, consultant pathologist Dr. John Torry told the inquest that the boy “died from acute swelling of the brain due to a haemorrhage, which would have been caused by a vibration or bang.” However, the mother said her son had not complained of receiving a bang on the head.
Money Up in Smoke
● In its yearly report to Congress on smoking, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission reported that the money spent on cigarette advertising in 1979 went over $1 billion for the first time. This was a 20-percent increase over the previous year. The FTC report said: “Comparisons between 1970 and 1979 are illuminating. In 1970, before the ban on radio and television cigaret advertising, total newspaper ad expenditures were about $14 million. By 1979, the figure had risen to more than $240 million.” During the same period, magazine advertising for cigarettes jumped from $50 million to $260 million. In 1979 the average smoker puffed 11,500 cigarettes—costing over $300 a year.