Watching the World
Crime in the Suites
● White-collar crime is surging in the United States with more and more corporations and their executives being fined or convicted of major crimes, such as price fixing, bribery, kickbacks, tax evasion or pollution, according to the magazine U.S. News & World Report. In the last decade 115 of the 500 largest U.S. corporations were convicted of at least one major crime or payment of a civil penalty for grave misconduct. Where corporate leadership is ethically sensitive, the company is law-abiding; where leadership is money hungry, the motto is: The real sin is being caught.
Who eventually pays the cost of corporate crime? The consumer—an estimated 200 billion dollars a year! The time-honored principle: “When the righteous become many, the people rejoice; but when anyone wicked bears rule, the people sigh,” can find application in corporate leadership.—Proverbs 29:2.
● Intent on basking in the financial fallout from the Falkland crisis, entrepreneurs are bombarding English book stands with quickie paperbacks, developing games, promoting documentary television programs and producing a fictional film version of the war. One British airline has set up packaged tours of the Falklands battleground. This thirst for quick profits reaches the Australian shore where The Sun, of Melbourne, reports: “As public interest in the war grows, so does the sale of books on military planes and ships. Demand for war games is also increasing.” A boom in fallout-shelter orders is also noted, with one Melbourne firm having a back-order list of 50 shelters on its books.
Europe out of Work?
● Eleven million Europeans are out of work and four million more will join them by 1985, estimates the commissioner for social affairs of the European Common Market. And British unemployment is the highest since 1886, when employment statistics were first kept. What makes this flood of unemployed workers different from past ones, according to an editorial in The Listener of London, is that the present group contains professional, skilled workers. And the book World out of Work asserts: “Work is going to become so scarce that by the mid-Eighties unemployment will have become one of the most widely shared conditions . . . A sixth of Europeans will be unemployed, a third will have had recent experience of unemployment, and the lives of 80 per cent will have been touched by joblessness among friends or family.”
Down’s Syndrome Surgery
● Plastic surgery is being advocated by Israeli psychologist Dr. Reuven Feuerstein as a means of making children with Down’s syndrome less conspicuously different. Since 1977 two German plastic surgeons have “operated on more than 250 Down’s syndrome children between the ages of 3 and 24 at Frankfurt’s St. Markus Hospital,” states The New York Times. In a single operating session of an hour and a half “the doctors have generally reduced the size of each child’s protruding tongue . . . brought the ears closer to the head, raised hanging lower lips, altered the axis of the eyelids,” and left no visible scars. The surgery cannot make the children look completely normal but “gives the children an opportunity to be seen as individuals” and to be “more socially acceptable,” says Dr. Feuerstein.
Girls Outsmoke Boys
● In Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Greece, Holland, Italy, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, West Germany, United States and Uruguay teenage girls now smoke as much as, or more than, their male counterparts, reveals a WHO (World Health Organization) survey. WHO polled 22 countries and found, with few exceptions, that tobacco smoking is increasing among all teenagers, prompting this warning directed to women: “The rise in female smoking, in combination with the use of oral contraceptives which has risen more than ever before, increases the risk later in life of circulatory disorders, such as cerebral thrombosis and hemorrhage, as well as coronary heart disease.”
Giant Squid Caught
● A fishing trawler operating 80 miles (128 km) off Christchurch, New Zealand, caught in its net a 2.5-tonne (5,500-lb) giant squid, reports Star Weekender of Auckland, New Zealand. The squid was 8.5 meters (27 ft) in length, its tentacles 3.8 meters (12.5 ft), suckers as large as dinner plates and eyes .6 meter (2 ft) across. One man on the trawler said: “We’ve never seen a squid like that one.” The squid was dumped back into the sea.
Homosexuals in Religion
● The United Church of Canada has formed a national group of homosexuals and lesbians named Affirm. This brings to three the number of major religions in Canada sponsoring national homosexual organizations. The other two are the Anglican Church with its group Integrity and the Roman Catholic Church whose group is called Dignity. Affirm will aid the United Church in making decisions about ordaining homosexual ministers. But some within the United Church find ordination of homosexuals incongruous with Bible principles, reports the Toronto Star, and they petitioned the church: “The ordination of unrepentant, avowed homosexuals conflicts with the biblical witness.”
● The death of the world’s longest-reigning monarch (61 years), His Majesty King Sobhuza II, left the mini-kingdom of Swaziland with a big two-pronged problem. One, finding a replacement for a man who at his funeral was described, by neighboring King Moshoeshoe II of Lesotho, as “one of Africa’s greatest leaders” and “a man of peace.” King Sobhuza’s good qualities often came into play in the defense of persecuted minority groups, such as Jehovah’s Witnesses.
The second problem, selecting such a successor from among the king’s 600 children. The king died unexpectedly without naming a specific successor to his throne. This former head of one of Africa’s last ruling dynasties is survived by 100 wives. And making the matter of succession more complicated, 20 percent of the population of Swaziland lay claim to the royal name.
Pollution Smothering East Europe
● For years communists looked upon environmental pollution as a consequence of capitalism. But now, industrial pollution is reported spreading over Eastern Europe and causing serious problems. Half the rivers in Poland are said to be dangerously contaminated. This prompted the country’s official press agency to state: “The situation in this respect is so serious in some parts of the country that one can speak of an approaching ecological disaster.” And in Prague, Czechoslovakia, coal furnaces and domestic stoves push the sulfur dioxide level to three times the maximum permissible limit set by the World Health Organization. East Germany also points to coal burning, in addition to chemicals and automobile exhaust fumes, as major sources of pollution. Lake Balaton, Hungary’s recreational area, is receiving millions of dollars to clean up its befouled water.
● For the hundreds of millions of Muslims who must pray each day facing Mecca, the problem arises as to which direction to face. Now a British-based company has solved the problem by developing a special “prayer compass” that can be used to locate Mecca wherever one happens to be in the world. So successful has the compass been that orders have been pouring in for it. One company ordered a million of the compasses to sew into a corner of the prayer mats it makes.
The “Bug Room”
● Yale University’s Peabody Museum of Natural History has strange “employees”—bugs! For the last 20 years Yale has been using carrion beetles “to strip the flesh from gutted and dried animal skeletons” prior to display, states Parade magazine. Zoologists have long known that beetles can do a better job than humans in cleaning the small, delicate carcasses of animals. It takes only a few hours for these insect workers to strip clean a small carcass, but larger carcasses take a few days. The carcasses are brought to where the beetles live, a four-by-eight-foot (1.2-by-2.4-m) basement room of the museum. Are they fussy eaters? No, but marine animals are preferred to snakes. Can you blame them?
New Mothers’ Emotions
● A new mother can experience wide mood swings between feelings of elation over her baby to feelings of depression and worry, according to nurse Cathy Kohm of the Post-partum Programme in Toronto, Canada. Emotionally, the first six weeks after birth are the most difficult for the new mother. Flexibility and a sense of humor, along with understanding and support from others, will help her to cope. “One of the biggest problems I see,” says Kohm, “is women being so intense about doing everything perfectly.” According to the Toronto Star, her suggestions include: “In the first few weeks a woman should let her housework slide, taking time to nest in bed with the baby. She should eat well, take the phone off the hook while she naps with the baby and try to take things as they come.”
Faithless Religious Teachers
● Upon granting church authorization to 120 instructors to teach religion in public schools, the bishop of Regensburg, Federal Republic of Germany, warned of the “loss of faith even among religious instructors” throughout the country. According to the Frankenpost newspaper, he based his words of admonition on the “shocking” results of a poll taken in the bishopric of Trier, where 40 percent of the priests and 70 percent of the laymen teaching religion in the public school system “are no longer standing upon the ground of church doctrine.” This “loss of faith” is even more remarkable in view of the fact that Trier is considered a stronghold of German Catholicism.
Lutherans Back Arms Freeze
● Increasing world tension has caused millions to become more aware of the growing threat of nuclear war. Many look to religiously backed political movements for relief. For example, the 2.3 million-member American Lutheran Church and the 2.9 million-member Lutheran Church in America ratified the same resolution that advocates “the elimination of nuclear weapons from the earth.” The two churches adopted a “Mandate for Peace” calling not only for a halt to the buildup of the world’s nuclear arsenal but also for a decrease in nuclear weapons capability. Both churches urge the United States to “invite the Soviet Union and other nations to join us in a freeze and in a step-by-step reduction of the number of warheads of delivery vehicles.”