Watching the World
Even though the August 15, 1989, Watchtower article exposed the persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Burundi, the attacks and oppression have continued without letup. Nevertheless, the most recent reports from Burundi show an increase of 8.9 percent in the number of active Witnesses in one circuit of congregations. In another circuit, where the persecution has been most violent, there has been a 4.2-percent increase. These Witnesses spend an average of from 17 to 18 hours each month in their public preaching work. Fellow believers around the world have continued to write the Burundi government to protest the ill-treatment of the Witnesses.
SOFTENING THE BLOWS
When Hurricane Hugo hurtled against the North American coast on September 21 and 22 of this year, its 135-mile-an-hour [220 km/hr] winds crushed buildings and threw boats around as if they were toys. Jehovah’s Witnesses from surrounding areas mobilized quickly to bring relief to their brothers in Charleston, South Carolina, where the storm hit hard. By the morning of the 23rd, 125 volunteers were already working, clearing debris and fallen trees from the homes of fellow Witnesses and from Kingdom Halls. Supplies of water, generators, and gasoline were brought in. The following day, 14 trucks arrived in Charleston and stocked its five Kingdom Halls with food, dry ice, water, and other supplies for the local Witnesses. Within days, one group of the Witnesses had contributed $10,000 to address these immediate needs.
When summer comes to London, so do the pickpockets. Some four dozen of them, known internationally to be the most professional in the world, fly into the city and steal an estimated £10 million in cash and goods in less than two months, reports The Sunday Times. Called Los Chileanos, after Chile, their country of origin, they travel first to Madrid, Spain, or Milan, Italy, where they steal passports to gain illegal entry into England. Oxford Street department stores, Underground rail stations, and the lobbies of West End hotels are prime targets. They also mingle with crowds at social events and with tourists at such well-known attractions as the Tower of London and Westminster Abbey. Since they are highly skilled and clever and can easily distract their victim, police advise against carrying a lot of money in crowded places. “The simple rule is this,” said one officer, “always keep a direct line of sight between you and your valuables.”
RIGHT TO KNOW?
The emperor of Japan died “without knowing the nature of his illness or even asking about it,” said The Daily Yomiuri. He died of cancer, just as his younger brother did almost two years earlier, without knowing. Although an increasing number of Japanese say they would wish to know if they had cancer, two thirds say they would not tell a relative so afflicted. This thinking was reflected by the Japanese mass media, which, although knowing of the emperor’s cancer long before he died, as a whole avoided the subject. A major newspaper that named the emperor’s illness was forced by the public’s immediate strong outcry to withhold any subsequent comment while the emperor was still alive.
Researchers, long puzzled over the reason AIDS spreads so readily among heterosexuals in Africa, may now have part of their answer. The magazine Science reports that several recent studies have shown that uncircumcised African men were from five to eight times more likely to contract the deadly virus from sexual relations than were circumcised men. Science suggests a possible reason: The “foreskin provides a warm, moist environment that allows a longer time for viral survival and penetration. The virus is very short-lived in a dry environment.” Epidemiologist Thomas Quinn concludes: “The finding suggests that circumcision should be advocated.” But prostitutes play their part in the spread of AIDS as well. In some parts of Africa, from 50 to 80 percent of them are infected with AIDS.