Watching the World
Clergy Garb “Unchristian”
● A clergyman in Britain has called the distinctive dress of the clergy “basically unchristian.” Writing in the journal Theology, Lincolnshire vicar Martin Down explains: “Clerical dress can be a real barrier to communication between clergy and laity.” As to the so-called dog-collar, cleric Down writes: “Because he wears a peculiar collar what the clergyman has to say is taken out of the realm of ordinary realistic conversation and becomes, like him, a part of some other unreal world which the clergyman alone inhabits.”
High Cost of Gambling
● In spite of Spain’s high unemployment rate and the general economic crisis that plagues many nations, Spaniards gambled away an estimated 10 percent of their average salaries during 1981. A total of 266,000,000,000 pesetas ($2,330,000,000, U.S.) was spent just on State-authorized bingo, and an additional 288,000,000,000 pesetas ($2,530,000,000) on the State lottery, football pool and in casinos. The total of 554,000,000,000 pesetas ($4,860,000,000) makes one think of the many who have been deprived of basic necessities due to this vice. And even in regard to the few who win, Proverbs 13:11 observes: “Wealth from gambling quickly disappears; wealth from hard work grows.”—The Living Bible.
Hazards of Bloodstains
● Handling bloodstained exhibits can be dangerous to your health—so warned a judge in Britain. In a court case at Chester Crown Court, beer glasses smeared with coagulated blood were about to be handed to the jury, but Judge Robin David stopped the procedure. According to the Liverpool Daily Post, he told the jury: “Forensic scientists now say there is a considerable risk of infection from dried blood. It can give rise to very severe infection.” The court staff were given surgeon’s gloves to handle the bloodstained exhibits.
Avoiding Need for Money Bags
● Though Turkey had a 133-percent inflation rate in 1980, it has now brought the rate down to 30 percent. To help cope with handling large quantities of currency ravaged by inflation, the country recently put into circulation Turkish 10,000-lira bills, worth about $60 (U.S.). The new bills, said the central bank governor, were needed because of “developments concerning the value of money” and to prevent Turks from carrying money around “in bags.”
Grooming Codes in Vogue
● The Administrative Management Society surveyed 366 U.S. companies to see whether they had grooming codes for their employees, specifying hair length, and so forth. The study revealed that 60 percent of the firms had formal or informal grooming codes. What happened to employees who repeatedly violated the codes? The survey showed that 20 percent of the companies suspended offenders without pay and 35 percent discharged them.
● More casualties have been attributed to the Falkland Islands war. Professor Daniel Torres, an expert on marine mammals, with the Antarctic Institute of Chile, commented on the death of 57 stranded whales near Punta Arenas, at the extreme south of Chile. “The recent war in the Falklands, with its many underwater explosions,” explained the professor, “caused the Cetaceans to lose their bearings.”
Africa Fights Illiteracy
● Delegates to the Fifth African Conference of Ministers of Education and Economic Planning, sponsored by UNESCO in Zimbabwe, urged African governments to strive to eradicate illiteracy by the year 2000. It is estimated that in 1980 Africa had 156 million adult illiterates out of a population of 470 million. According to a report in the New Nigerian newspaper, Tanzania is the most literate African nation with a literacy rate of 79 percent. The literacy rate is 45 percent in Kenya, 20 percent in the Ivory Coast and 10 percent in Senegal. Nigeria, with a rural literacy rate of 24 percent, has announced a 10-year program to wipe out illiteracy.
Ice With “Mystique”
● Yokohama bar patrons have avidly been using 2,000-year-old Greenland glacial ice to cool their drinks. The Japanese importer has predicted that sales of the frozen fad item will reach 20 to 30 tons this year, at about $7.50 (U.S.) per kilogram (2.2 lb). “According to the importers,” reports the Asahi Evening News, “a mystique has begun to develop around their product, with customers maintaining Greenland ice makes drinks taste better.” And some even claim that it “prevents hangovers.”
Egypt’s War on Rats
● The Egyptian authorities have decided to wage war against the hordes of rats that threaten the harvest and that also attack man and beast. Some 50,000 specialists were mobilized to work and supervise the campaign. The rat invasion started some time after the Israel-Egypt war of 1967 in the Suez canal zone, resulting in hordes of rats taking up residence in the devastated towns.
Female Priesthood in Sweden
● The Swedish State Church Council has decided that the clerical oath can hereafter be given only by a person who fully accepts female priests. The majority of the Council agreed with the idea of letting men and women serve as priests with complete equality. Bertil Gärtner, the bishop of Göteborg, stated that giving in to the view of the majority was the only way to avoid a distracting problem in the Church of Sweden.
When Is a Gift “Free”?
● “Third World countries suffering from shortages of water traditionally have been inundated with free gifts of a wide variety of water pumps from Western nations,” observes the Ceylon Daily News of Colombo. But “after nearly two or three years more than 50 percent of the pumps invariably break down.” By then the equipment is considered a necessity, and “to keep these pumps functioning, they are at the mercy of manufacturers—and have to expend scarce foreign exchange for spares and technical services,” complains the article. “The gift obviously is tied to the purchase of spares.”
Opposed to Marriage
● The number of illegitimate children born in the 10 European countries of the Common Market has increased by about 70 percent since 1960. Twenty years ago only one out of every 22 children was born out of wedlock; today it is one out of every 13. Heading the list is Denmark, where one of every three children is born of unwedded parents. Great Britain, France and the Federal Republic of Germany follow. The smallest number of illegitimate births is reported from Belgium and Greece. The German newspaper Bremer Nachrichten quotes population expert Professor H. Jürgens as saying that the growing number of children born out of wedlock underscores the trend toward “emancipation from marriage.” The damage to numberless children caused by this rejection of God-given marriage goes unmentioned.
Prodding Parking Offenders
● In many countries, motorists ignore the notice or ticket that shows that they have committed a parking violation, and they do not pay the fine. In Japan the police in six large cities have put into effect a system that has people coming to the police stations to pay their fines. A hardened steel loop is locked onto the door or side mirror. When the offender pays his fine, the loop is unlocked and removed. Motorists are inclined to pay their fine to remove the telltale sign that they are parking offenders. A better option is to obey parking regulations and avoid fines.
22,000 Lawmen Break Law
● Almost 22,000 police constables in Bombay, India, recently rioted over unheeded pay and benefit demands. At least four people died and many were injured in the violent day-long rampage. The disgruntled lawmen led rioting in which hundreds of vehicles were burned, windows smashed and stores looted. Commuter trains were stoned, forcing suspension of rail service. Some 1,000 government troops, together with 8,000 nonstriking police commanding officers, were required to restore order.
● Thousands of people from northeastern Nigeria have migrated to neighboring areas because their land has been lost to the Sahara Desert. The droughts of the 1970’s and the cutting down of trees for firewood have contributed to the situation. Already 12 percent of Nigeria’s landmass (1,250,000 hectares [3,100,000 acres]) has been lost, and tree planting and irrigation projects have not checked the desert’s encroachment. A similar situation exists along the Sahara’s northern area where Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco together lose 100,000 hectares (250,000 acres) of productive land annually. Since 600,000,000 people live “under the shadow of advancing deserts” throughout the world, various other projects are being tried, including the large-scale planting of the jojoba bush from Mexico’s Sonoran Desert.
● Los Angeles, California, has long been known for its heavy pollution called “smog,” and acid rain is common too. Now environmental engineers at the California Institute of Technology say that the Los Angeles fog they tested for a six-month period was more dangerous than either smog or acid rain. The fog reportedly was more acidic than the rain, sometimes as bitter as lemon juice, and “it lingers near the ground where it can harm people, plants, cars, and buildings,” reports Science 82 magazine. Acid rainwater mainly harms life in the lakes that receive the water. One of the researchers said that the 12,000 who died during London’s infamous five-day “killer fog” of 1952 were probably victims of acid fog. Fortunately, the sun usually burns off Los Angeles fogs in a few hours.
Metrics by the Inch
● Seven years ago the Metric Conversion Act was passed by the U.S. Congress. While it did not compel citizens to adopt the metric system of weights and measures used by most of the rest of the world, the Act was intended to be “firmly persuasive.” What has been the result? “Attempts by both government agencies and private industries to convert to the metric system have met with spotty success,” says David T. Goldman, associate director for planning at the National Bureau of Standards. Why the tardiness? Public support is lacking. No clear-cut government directives have been issued. Also, an economic recession in the United States has discouraged industry from using their funds for costly conversion procedures. Many believe that without firm government action metrification will never become a reality.