Watching the World
The number of unmarried persons living together hit an all-time high, with 2.22 million couples in the United States, reported the Census Bureau last December. For the previous year, the figure was 1.98 million. Thus, the upward trend in the number of unwed-couple households, although temporarily stalled in 1985, continues. Unwed couples now make up 4.1 percent of all couples in the United States, according to the Bureau’s statistics.
A 15-year-old boy in Melbourne, Australia, was recently granted a “divorce” from his parents. He had applied for a Children’s Court Order so that he could be made a ward of the State. The grounds? “Irreconcilable differences”! According to The Australian, the parents claimed that their son had ‘fallen into bad company’ and had been missing school regularly. When they took a stand against his misconduct, the boy ran away from home and began legal proceedings against his parents. Because the boy said that he was afraid of both of his parents but especially of his mother, the court magistrate ordered the boy made a ward of the State. He is now living with a foster family in Melbourne.
They Prayed for Peace
Spiritual leaders from 12 different faiths and representing every major religion of the world assembled in Assisi, Italy, last October at the request of Pope John Paul II. They came as delegates to the “World Day of Prayer for Peace.” Their goal: global peace for 24 hours. In at least 11 nations fighting reportedly stopped temporarily, but in others, such as Northern Ireland and Lebanon, violence persisted.
Although united in their search for worldwide peace, the representatives were divided along religious lines. They came, not to pray together, but as the pope said, to be “together to pray.” The religious leaders, 155 or more, divided into 12 groups so that each faith could pray separately. Some of the “religious families” represented were: Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Shintoists, Zoroastrians, African animists, Jews, and American Indians. According to The New York Times, the Dalai Lama, a Buddhist leader, “converted the altar of the Church of San Pietro by placing a small statue of the Buddha atop the tabernacle and setting prayer scrolls and incense burners around it.” And two American Indians of the Crow tribe, John and Burton Pretty On Top, “smoked a peace pipe at the final ceremony.”
The Nuprin Pain Report on “The High Cost of Pain” showed that 550 million workdays are lost each year in the United States because workers suffer pain of one kind or another. Headaches topped the list with 157 million workdays lost. Bone-joint pains of various kinds ranked second with 108 million lost workdays. Then followed 99 million workdays lost for stomach pains, 89 million for backaches, 58 million for muscle pains, 25 million for menstrual pains, and 15 million for dental pains.
Ever since Sputnik blazed a trail on October 4, 1957, almost 3,500 space vehicles have been launched into orbit by man. An analysis revealed that as of the middle of last year, there were 1,619 satellites and space probes still in orbit, whereas 1,876 had perished. In addition, numerous rocket stages and other leftovers, such as covers and bolts needed when putting a satellite into orbit, were still revolving around the earth. According to the German magazine Luft- und Raumfahrt, 4,457 of these registered wreckage fragments were still circling the earth on June 30, 1986.
Vatican View of Homosexuality
A new document by the Catholic Church has reinforced its previous teachings on homosexuality. For the first time, the church has explicitly condemned the mere inclination toward homosexuality as “an objective disorder.” In past statements the church concentrated on the sinfulness of homosexual acts. Although not mentioning it directly, the document alluded to the AIDS epidemic when it criticized the prohomosexual movement. The 14-page document, issued by the Vatican’s Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and sent to all Catholic bishops around the world, also says that persons who engage in homosexual acts commit an “intrinsic moral evil.” One reason for the new guidelines, say Vatican officials, is the Vatican’s concern that some pastors and theologians may have the wrong view of the church’s stand on homosexuality.
Last December a featherweight aircraft called Voyager flew into aviation history after successfully completing the first nonstop flight around the world without refueling. After nine perilous days in the air and covering 25,012 miles (40,252 km), the handcrafted airplane piloted by a man and a woman landed in California. This flight broke the previous world distance record of 12,532 miles (20,168 km) set in 1962. The peculiar-looking Voyager, described as resembling a dragonfly and made mostly of stiffened paper and plastic, carried three times as much fuel as its weight of 2,680 pounds (1,216 kg). The craft’s designer cited simplicity as its greatest strength. “We succeeded by keeping everything pared to a minimum,” he said.
“I thought a giraffe was a tame animal,” said a visitor to one of South Africa’s game parks. His party, traveling in a minibus, had to stop because a giraffe stood in the road and refused to move. So one of the tourists got out and tried to chase it away. Instead, the giraffe charged. The tourist quickly dived under the minibus for safety. The animal kept attacking, reared on its hind legs, and smashed its hooves through the windshield. The occupants narrowly escaped injury. The giraffe’s anger finally subsided, and it wandered into the bush. Why the attack? It appears that the minibus had stopped between the giraffe and its mate.
Businessmen Terrorist Target
Terrorists now set their sights on businessmen as one of their prime targets. “Forty-eight percent of all terrorist kidnapings have involved businessmen,” says Brian M. Jenkins, security director for the Rand Corporation, in Leaders magazine. Terrorists kidnap corporate executives to finance violent operations. There have been twice as many terrorist attacks against businesses in the 1980’s as there were in the early 1970’s. “If terrorists do not spark an Armageddon with chemical, biological or even nuclear weapons, as some observers predict,” he adds, “incidents of large-scale, indiscriminate murder will increase.”
Running and aerobic dancing have a growing number of adherents. But for people who suffer from weak knees or ankles, or a bad back, those exercises could be hazardous to their health. “Most people shouldn’t run, but they don’t learn this until after the fact,” Dr. James A. Nicholas, an orthopedic surgeon and director of the Institute for Sports Medicine and Athletic Trauma at a New York City hospital, told The New York Times. Another doctor, a consultant to the President’s Council on Physical Fitness, agrees. “Running is tough on the body,” he says. “But it is not as bad as the jumping steps in high-speed aerobic dance. Swimming, bicycling and walking are much better.” For these reasons, the gentler exercises—walking for fitness and low-impact or nonimpact aerobics—are gaining popularity among the health-conscious population.