Watching the World
Bible Translation Valuable
● The Globe and Mail, of Toronto, Canada, recently commented on the many new English-language Bible translations published in the last twenty years: “Each new version—including such ones as the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ New World Translation—attempt to clarify the message of the Bible by updating language, and incorporating scholarly findings from the ancient Hebrew, Aramaic . . . and Greek texts.”
Crime Soars in Europe
● “Crime throughout Europe is rising, with France showing the largest increase of eleven countries surveyed,” reports The Daily Telegraph of London. “England and Wales are in second place.” West Germany had the biggest rise in crime in ten years—an 8-percent increase for 1980 over the previous year—with theft up 23 percent and murders up 6 percent. Holland reported a 13-percent increase over a five-year period ending in 1980. Crimes of violence in Brussels rose 17 percent in 1980 over the previous year. Murders and other violent assaults rose in Spain, with muggings committed by youths showing the biggest rise. Scandinavia, too, reported a marked increase in crimes committed by youths.
Banks at Brink?
● “More and more bankers, members of a most conservative profession given to cautious understatement, are talking openly about the possibility that Third World bankruptcies might bring the collapse of the Western banking system,” reports World Press Review magazine. “Third World debt grew by a massive 30 per cent in the past twelve months, rising from $416 billion at the end of 1980 to around $540 billion. The problem is not so much that the debt is large as that it is out of control.” In 1981 eight countries postponed their repayment of debts. The results: “All of this has put the world banking and financial system nearer to the edge of a precipice than the banking world has previously wanted to admit.” More defaults and reschedulings this year, warned the article, could set off “a chain reaction to collapse.”
Patient’s Rights Ignored
● After being seriously injured in an auto accident, South African William Dyson, 51, twice refused a blood transfusion on religious grounds. His family agreed. Yet a court-ordered blood transfusion was forced on him. However, not all medical authorities agreed with the court or the hospital’s action. Dr. D. J. L. van Rooy, medical superintendent of Vereeniging Hospital, stated: “A person of sound mind is within his rights to refuse any medical treatment to which he does not agree . . . The hospital must always respect a patient’s feelings and conditions.” The Rand Daily Mail of Johannesburg agreed. Under the headline “Doctors Violated Patient’s Rights,” the article affirmed: “Saving lives and relieving pain may be what doctors are all about, but that does not give them the right to destroy the values a man lives by, and is prepared to die by, in the process.” Jehovah’s Witnesses refuse blood transfusions because they believe God’s law to ‘abstain from blood’ means just that. They will accept alternate medical treatment.—Acts 15:29.
TV-Violence Link Affirmed
● After ten years of research, a report by the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health concludes that there is “overwhelming” scientific evidence that “excessive” violence on television leads directly to aggression and violent behavior among children and teenagers. “In magnitude, television violence is as strongly correlated with aggressive behavior as any other behavioral variable that has been measured,” says the report. And it calls television “a formidable educator whose effects are both pervasive and cumulative.” Television’s potential for good, by improving family relationships and aiding education, has for the most part gone unrealized, the report noted.
“River Blindness” Vaccine Sought
● The effects of “river blindness” can be devastating. In the savanna zone of West Africa alone over one hundred thousand are blind due to this parasitic disease. In addition, tens of millions in tropical Africa, Yemen, and in Central and South America are afflicted with its symptoms. This has prompted research institutes of industrial and developing nations to fight against this malady. The Abidjan, Ivory Coast, newspaper Fraternité Matin observed: “The perfection of a vaccine against onchocerciasis, or ‘river blindness,’ is the object of a close cooperation between British researchers and their Sudanese counterparts.” The relation of living near rivers and contracting the disease has caused the local population to abandon the fertile river valleys for the less fertile areas. “This sickness, therefore, represents the main obstacle to habitation and consequently to the economic development of the fertile valleys that rest uninhabited and unproductive,” says Fraternité Matin.
Does Headgear Make Hairless?
● Though some may think so, wearing a hard hat on the job does not lead to baldness, according to Dr. Willard D. Steck, a dermatologist at Ohio’s Cleveland Clinic Foundation. Writing in The Journal of the American Medical Association he explained: “Male pattern alopecia (baldness) is a hereditary type of hair loss that usually has a sudden onset in early adult life and progresses rapidly until the genetically determined pattern of baldness has been established.” Since the scalp is thick and well supplied with blood vessels, Dr. Steck does not feel that wearing a hard hat will diminish scalp circulation to the extent that it would cause baldness. And he has found no scientific studies linking the wearing of headgear with the acceleration of baldness or the cause of it.
Greece to Curtail Church
● The Orthodox Church’s recognition by the Greek constitution as the state church with rights to financial aid and involvement in administrative affairs may soon end, according to the government of Prime Minister Papandreou. The government’s ultimate objective is said to be confinement of the Church to a spiritual role and to transfer some of the Church’s three hundred thousand acres of land to farmers and agricultural cooperatives. A constitutional amendment making all religions equal in the eyes of the State also is planned.
Beware of “Bumper-Rapists”
● Women who drive vehicles alone should be aware of a new method used by rapists—auto accidents. “A ‘bumper-rapist’ is a man who spots a woman driving alone and bumps his vehicle . . . into hers,” explains Parade magazine. “When the frightened woman emerges from her car to inspect the damage and exchange licenses, he threatens her with a knife or gun. He forces her into his car, drives off, rapes and robs her.” Jacqueline Connor, the deputy district attorney in Los Angeles, California, warns women: “Never stop your car in a dark area. If you do, never roll down your window to converse with the man whose vehicle has hit yours. If your car can move, drive to a police station, a filling station, or some lighted area where there are people. Don’t get out of your car on a highway. Put on your emergency lights if your car is stalled.”
● A recent study made by the Evangelical Church in Germany reveals how seldom German Protestants read the Bible. Although the majority of church members have a Bible in their home, only 5 percent said that they read it “frequently.” Thirteen percent answered “now and then” and 25 percent said “rarely.” And more than one half (55 percent) responded that they “never” read the Bible. Most church members prefer Martin Luther’s translation of the Bible, and only 7 percent use a modern translation. One-quarter of the Evangelicals do not have any Bible in their home, according to the survey.
An Impossible Dream?
● Usually newlyweds look forward to owning their own property and house. But in Japan “to own a house has become an impossible dream,” states Mainichi Daily News. In Tokyo one square meter of land (eleven square feet) costs 150,000 yen ($650, US). “The situation is absolutely abnormal” comments the editorial, “in that even a well-paid white-collar worker cannot buy one tsubo (3.3 square meters) of land with his monthly pay.” At the above rate a fifty by one hundred foot lot would cost over a quarter of a million dollars. “No wonder the ‘my house’ concept is often compared to reaching for the moon,” observes the article.
Who Lives Longest?
● Women who are born and live in Iceland, Norway or Japan have the longest average life span in the world. Girls born in Iceland can expect to live an average 79.3 years. Close behind is Norway with a 79-year average for women. And Japanese females have a 78-year average life span, reports the Asahi Evening News. What about male longevity? Icelandic and Japanese men now lead the world with an average life span of 73 years, followed by Norwegian males at 72.4 years. According to Verdens Gang of Oslo, researchers have found no proof that heredity alone determines how long one lives. After studying longevity patterns of two thousand old people for seventeen years they conclude: “The aged among us are those who have shown moderation, are tranquil, and have an interest in people and the future.”
Charity Pressures Opposed
● The pressure that some companies apply on employees to contribute to charities is resented by many workers, The Wall Street Journal observed. It cited the case of a bank teller who was fired for refusing to donate. “Pressure is the name of the game,” says Robert Bothwell, director of a group that monitors charities. Of workers surveyed, 15 percent felt that they had been coerced into giving. They complained of such practices “as the holding of group meetings, encouragement of 100% participation, suggestions of fair contribution levels and offers of financial rewards to those who give,” the Journal said.
Ginger Snaps Seasickness
● The British medical journal The Lancet reports that two capsules of powdered ginger root (940 milligrams total) were twice as effective as the commonly used drug Dramamine (100 milligrams) in preventing motion sickness. The study, conducted by two psychologists, involved spinning thirty-six college students in a motorized chair for six minutes. About half of the students who took the ginger lasted the whole time while none who took the Dramamine did. Dr. Mowrey, one of the two psychologists, claims that ginger can counter diarrhea and vomiting from gastrointestinal flu. However, excessive doses may irritate the upper digestive tract, he warned.