Watching the World
First for Witnesses!
Authorities in the African country of Tanzania have for the first time given approval for Jehovah’s Witnesses to meet together freely for Christian worship. During May and June last year, a series of five circuit assemblies was successfully held throughout the country. The combined attendance for these gatherings was 5,177, with 124 baptized—the highest number of baptisms ever recorded in the history of the work of the Witnesses in Tanzania. For most in attendance, it was their first assembly. One assembly was held in the main auditorium on the campus of the University of Dar es Salaam.
One out of every five persons raised as a Roman Catholic “no longer considers himself or herself an adherent of the faith,” reports The New York Times. When compared to the number of people converting to Catholicism, the number of defections, the survey shows, is three times greater. The survey cited interfaith marriages as a primary factor among those defecting. At least one half of the former Catholics interviewed stated they married non-Catholics, while one fourth said they were presently divorced or had been divorced and were now remarried. The average age of those who have distanced themselves from the church was 36.
A growing number of chiropractors are treating animals as well as humans, reports The Wall Street Journal. “A few chiropractors now practice on animals full time, including several who are also veterinarians.” While not universally acclaimed, the animal chiropractors say they have got results where traditional veterinarians have failed. Among the animals worked on have been horses, llamas, cats, dogs, and parakeets. Because of tiny or, more often, massive bones, new techniques have had to be developed. “Some chiropractors place a padded 2-by-4 against a large animal’s bones and pound the board with a mallet,” says the Journal.
“In 1985 alone, countries around the world produced 9,141 [new issues of] stamps and 915 miniature sheets of stamps,” notes The New York Times. “Purchasing just one of each would have cost a collector more than $12,000.” Stamps are now one of the most lucrative exports among South Pacific nations. Only 20 percent of the stamps produced by Tonga, for instance, are actually used for mail. Distinctive stamps that are round, the shape of pineapples or bananas, or shaped like the country have been snapped up by collectors. “The Pitcairn Islands, home to only about 50 people, issues new sets of stamps four times a year and exports almost nothing else,” says the Times. And Tuvalu, a nation of 8,000 population, “issues an average of one new stamp a day.”
The Belgian daily newspaper Le Soir reports that positive steps have been taken by the new president of Burundi to restore religious freedom throughout the country. In a 30-minute speech shortly after the coup ousting the former president, the newly installed president, Major Pierre Buyoya, “affirmed his intention to reestablish freedom of worship, which supposed the lifting of a number of restrictive measures that were aimed at Catholics, but also Jehovah’s Witnesses, Protestants, and Muslims,” notes Le Soir. President Buyoya criticized “the increasing number of preventive detentions that were too prolonged, arbitrary and often under inhuman conditions, and the absence of a coordinated stand against criminality.” Upholding the president’s policy on human rights, the new government of Burundi has released all imprisoned Jehovah’s Witnesses.
According to the book The Canadian Parents’ Sourcebook, warming baby’s milk bottles in a microwave oven poses a danger to the baby. In a section on “Microwave Alert,” the authors warn that the practice “has caused scalding when it has been done improperly” because the oven “heats the milk unevenly.” Even though the bottle itself may feel deceptively cool, “different parts of the milk will be different temperatures,” say the authors. Similar warnings are given about warming jars of baby food in microwave ovens. Always test the temperature of the milk or food before feeding the baby. They also recommend telling baby-sitters and others of this precaution. And because “rapid heating could cause bacterial problems,” they caution against warming frozen breast milk in the microwave oven.
Nuclear-reactor safety must be improved, says Dr. Robert Gale, a bone-marrow-transplant specialist who treated victims of the Chernobyl accident in the U.S.S.R. last year. He contends that there is a 25-percent chance of a nuclear-power-plant catastrophe of similar proportions happening somewhere in the next decade and a 50-percent chance in the United States. The German newspaper Hannoversche Allgemeine notes that statistics compiled so far indicate that “in the next 50 years an estimated 60,000 people all over the world would die of cancer as a result of the Soviet reactor meltdown . . . A further 5,000 would suffer serious genetic damage and up to 1,000 would suffer from health defects from birth as a result of Chernobyl.” Atomic energy, said Dr. Gale, could be beneficial only if handled properly.
While their contemporaries in Florida and California are trained to balance beach balls on their noses and do other entertaining tricks, some seals in New York City are currently being trained to do police work. The harbor seals are taught to retrieve handguns that are thrown into the water. Retrieving dumped contraband and drugs, taking underwater photographs, and finding submerged objects are also up for consideration. Stanley, a two-year-old harbor seal who already knows how to retrieve guns, has added unbuckling seat belts on submerged humans to his repertoire. Such ability is expected to be useful in recovering bodies from sea disasters.
Last October 1, a 48-year-old South African gave birth to her own three grandchildren. Pat Anthony acted as surrogate mother for her 25-year-old daughter, whose uterus was removed three years ago. Mrs. Anthony was implanted with four of her daughter’s eggs that were fertilized in a laboratory with sperm from her son-in-law. The triplets, two boys and a girl, were delivered by cesarean section at a Johannesburg hospital. This case not only adds fuel to the moral and legal controversy surrounding surrogacy but has also become a religious dilemma. Since the family are Roman Catholics, and the Vatican has condemned the practice of surrogate parenting, can church policy allow the babies to be baptized?
An official statement released to the press from the Rwandese Republic Embassy in Canada announced that the president of Rwanda, General Major Juvénal Habyarimana, has granted “a total suspension of sentences” for all Jehovah’s Witnesses who were incarcerated for religious reasons. According to the embassy statement, this action took place on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the independence of Rwanda. Following their release, the Witnesses were allowed to return to their homes and to resume their secular work. It is reported that local officials who failed to uphold the presidential pardon were reprimanded by the central government.