Watching the World
Wars Cover World
● “We often console ourselves with the knowledge that despite the advent of the nuclear age, the world has so far averted a terminal conflagration.” Thus spoke Jordan’s United Nations ambassador, Nazem Nuseibeh. “Yet,” he continued, “since the Second World War the world has seen 130 regional wars.”
While the Falkland Islands and Lebanon were grabbing the world’s attention, hundreds were dying every day in dozens of miniwars fought in the jungles, the deserts and the mountain valleys around the globe. The Middle East, Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe are peppered with political violence, border skirmishes, civil wars, secessionist upheavals and ideological or religious conflicts. Jesus predicted that his invisible presence would be marked by ‘nation against nation.’—Matthew 24:3, 7.
● “More and more people in Switzerland no longer profess belonging to a ‘traditional’ religion, do not feel associated with any religious group, or refuse to answer questions regarding membership,” comments the Swiss newspaper Der Bund. Similar findings come from Germany. The German Südwest Presse, reporting on a poll conducted by Germany’s Allensbach Institute, shows that church attendance has plunged in the last three decades. Catholics who attend have dropped from 82 percent down to 45 percent, and Protestants from 53 percent down to 14 percent. “Young people particularly are turning their backs on the established churches to a degree that threatens their very substance,” says the article.
Although some denominations in the United States have seen attendance gains, a recent Gallup survey shows overall United States church and synagogue attendance sliding downhill from its 1958 peak of 49 percent to its present 40 percent.
Spinal Curvature Halted
● Nightly electrical muscle stimulation is proving effective nine out of ten times in halting or reversing mild-to-moderate spinal curvature (scoliosis) in youth, two medical journals report. While the youth sleeps, painless electrical impulses contract muscles and straighten the spine. “Our patients are delighted with stimulation because they can look and act like other youngsters during the day,” says orthopedist John B. Emans of Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Boston. Rancho Los Amigos Hospital in California uses electrode disks placed on the skin of the back and a portable pulse generator to stimulate muscles, according to Medical World News. And Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto uses an implanted model and a bedside transmitter to evoke muscle contractions, says the Journal of the American Medical Association. It is predicted that this type of treatment may eliminate back braces or possibly surgery.
Green Revolution—Bleak Revolution
● The Green Revolution once hailed as the answer to the Philippine food production has turned bleak. Filipinos are now looking for native seed varieties to plant. The New York Times reports project director Domingo Panganiban as saying: “The seed-retrieval program seeks to rebuild the national genetic pool of plants geared to small farmers.” The high-yield cereal and vegetable seeds of the Green Revolution are not only very susceptible to diseases that can wipe out an entire crop but also require heavy doses of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. This becomes a financial burden for small farmers. Domingo Abadilla, president of the Earthman Society, said of the Green Revolution: “True, it increased yields, but it also contaminated the environment. How many fish no longer swim in farm streams because these are poisoned by chemicals?”
● The venereal disease genital herpes is called the third-fastest-growing virus in the United States, reports the Denver Post. “This is spreading faster than any other (virus) with the exception of the common cold and influenza,” says Mary Guinan of the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC). One in every ten Americans is infected, with a half million being added each year. According to the CDC, this represents a ninefold increase since the epidemic began in 1966. There is no known method of immunization and “once someone has genital herpes, it’s for life,” reports the New York Daily News. “The virus burrows into nerve cells and stays there forever, ineradicable by any known treatment.” Besides genital herpes, bizarre, frightening new diseases are attacking the sexually permissive, says the Daily News. For example, chancroid, a sexually transmitted disease that causes painful genital ulcers, is reported on the increase.
● Generating electric energy from the wind is being tried on the Greek island of Kythnos as a possible aid in reducing Greece’s dependence on petroleum imports and their successive price rises, reports Greece’s daily paper Kathimerini. This joint effort by Greece and Germany to tap the strong, almost continually blowing winds in the Aegean Sea is expected to supply 24 percent of Kythnos’ electric power demands. Similar wind-power generators are scheduled for installation on other Aegean islands in the near future. The answer as to whether or not wind power will sufficiently solve the energy problems of oil dependent countries lies “blowing in the wind.”
Garlic and Cancer
● Why should one county have the lowest rate of stomach cancer in the province and the county right next to it the highest rate? That was the question faced by doctors at Shandong Medical College in China’s Shandong Province. The answer, they believe, has to do with garlic. Those in Gangshan County, where the stomach cancer rate was the lowest, ate up to twenty grams of garlic a day. Those in Quixia County ate hardly any garlic at all. The doctors suspect that this low rate of stomach cancer is due to the property of garlic juice to inhibit bacterial growth. Says Health magazine: “Besides healthy stomachs, Gangshan residents also probably have very few extended visits from distant relatives.”
● Although Roman Catholic Church policy forbids it, some Catholic Churches in Canada are using girls instead of boys in their services. In a survey conducted by the Toronto Star, sixteen of the seventy-eight churches contacted said they had altar girls. The girls light the candles, ring the bells, lead the processions to the altar and do other things formerly done only by altar boys. In explaining why he used girls, one priest said: “The boys never came out to the Saturday mass. But the girls were there.” Though official policy remains the same, a spokesman for the archdiocese of Toronto said the responsibility lies with the individual parishes and that they would not go on “a witch hunt for altar girls.”
● It was meant to preserve cherished memories; instead it preserved an act of larceny that ended the marriage. That was what happened when a young couple decided to videotape their wedding festivities. According to a report in the New York Post, everything was proceeding well at the reception following the ceremony. The guests ate, sang and danced joyously. Many of the men took their jackets off, including the father of the bride—forgetting the envelope in the pocket that held the thousands of dollars to pay the bill. When it was near time to pay and depart, the envelope was missing. Unable to find it, the bride’s father quietly paid by check and sat down with the remaining guests to sip coffee. Why not enjoy the wonderful wedding all over again, they thought. The cameraman obliged by showing the videotape of the wedding and reception. There, clear for all to see, was the groom’s father removing the envelope and money from the jacket pocket. Though the envelope was finally returned, nothing else could be set straight and the marriage was annulled.
● For a small fee, a Californian messenger service, Heaven’s Union, guarantees delivery of messages of up to fifty words to friends and relatives in the ‘Great Beyond.’ The messengers are terminal patients who agree to memorize the messages before their departure. For a higher fee, the message is placed with three messengers to ensure early delivery. Customers are assured that the message will not go to the wrong place because “Heaven’s Union messengers are fully aware of their situation and have had time to be repentant of past mistakes,” says the Union’s brochure. So far 500 messages have been submitted for delivery to friends, relatives and celebrities like John F. Kennedy and John Lennon. But, according to the Bible, the dead “are conscious of nothing at all.”—Ecclesiastes 9:5.
● Americans sustain an estimated thirty-three million product-related injuries each year, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s 1982 annual report. The report lists 183 products and activities, but excludes auto accidents. Highest on the list are injuries that occurred on steps, ramps or landings: 763,000 cases. Next come injuries associated with bicycles, baseball, football and basketball. Dancing ranks seventy-second on the list, with 26,000 injuries. This is not surprising in view of what goes on at some of the “wilder discothèques,” says a Commission spokesman. What is surprising is that 199,000 people were injured getting in and out of bed, and 83,000 injuries occur in the bath or shower each year. It seems that people manage to injure themselves on virtually everything, including pens and pencils, telephones and aquariums.
Malnutrition Kills Youths
● Malnutrition annually kills 75,000 children in Nigeria, states Professor Adewale Omololu of the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. He adds, malnutrition also results in less than 3 percent of Nigeria’s population living beyond the age of 60. Efforts are being made to improve this situation, reports the Daily Sketch of Nigeria. “Work now going on in my department,” Omololu explains, “includes studies on breastmilk and breastfeeding, weaning food for infants and children, and energy and protein requirements for Nigerians.”
Business Turns to Fox God
● Japanese companies are rushing to build office shrines for their fox god to combat economic recession, notes the Mainichi Daily News. According to Shinto religious belief, the fox is the patron deity of business prosperity. The Inari (fox god) Shrine in Fushimi, Kyoto, is being kept busy filling twenty requests per day for some of the fox god’s spirit. At least for the shrine in Kyoto there is no business recession.