Watching the World
NEW BIBLE TRANSLATIONS
The entire Bible or parts thereof is now available to about 98 percent of the world’s population, having been translated partially or entirely into some 1,928 different languages. The French newspaper La Croix reports that 21 new translations of the Bible were published in 1989. Included among the new translations are such languages as Tok Pisin, a variety of Pidgin English spoken in parts of Papua New Guinea; Trukese, spoken on the island of Truk and other islands of the South Pacific; Lahu, a non-Chinese Sino-Tibetan language of Southeast Asia; and Bawm, spoken in Bangladesh. Work is now under way on translations into a Lappish language spoken in parts of the Soviet Union and Scandinavia, and into Romany, the language of the Gypsies.
BONE-DISEASE LINK FOUND
Osteoporosis, a sometimes crippling bone disease, affects one fourth of Caucasian women over the age of 60 in the United States. Dr. Jeanne Freeland-Graves of the University of Texas at Austin claims that there is a link between osteoporosis and the level of manganese in the blood. Her research indicates that elderly women with osteoporosis have lower blood levels of the mineral than healthy women of the same age and that the decreased levels may contribute to the disease. “Bones begin to deteriorate after the age of 35,” says Dr. Freeland-Graves. “But when women go through menopause, they lose the protective effect of estrogen and the rate of bone loss really accelerates.” She states that although calcium is important for bones, taking calcium supplements will not prevent the disease because “bone is made up of more than calcium, and manganese is one of the minerals that is stored in the bone.” Foods rich in manganese are pineapple, pecans, peanuts, beans, rice, spinach, sweet potatoes, oatmeal, and whole-wheat bread.
Mothers who breast-feed their babies give them a significant advantage—a decrease in the likelihood of infection—concludes a group of doctors led by Professor Peter Howie of the Ninewells Hospital and Medical School, Dundee, Scotland. A study of babies during their first year, published in the British Medical Journal, reported that babies who are breast-fed for the first 13 weeks of life suffer fewer than a third of the gastrointestinal illnesses that afflict those who are bottle-fed. Breast-feeding also produces a similar but smaller effect in reducing respiratory problems. The doctors conclude that for children to obtain these advantages, mothers “should maintain breast feeding for at least three months.”
CARNIVAL OF CRIME
A Brazilian newspaper, Folha de S.Paulo, recently published a list of serious crimes committed in São Paulo during the carnival prior to Lent. The list included 616 fights; a total of 432 thefts, burglaries, and muggings; 17 rapes; 3 kidnappings; and 39 murders—all in just 18 hours. Additionally, during the same 18-hour period, there were 24 fires, 12 drownings, and 6 suicides; 17 minors were abandoned; and 23 dead bodies were found. Reports also indicate that a daily average of 260 automobiles were stolen during the five days of festivities.
DANGER ON THE STREETS
According to The New York Times, the city of New York is “the worst city in the nation for street robberies.” The report also noted that more killings were committed in New York City during 1989 than ever before, with a total of 1,905 homicides. During the first two months of 1990, killings were “up 20 percent from the same period last year,” not counting the 87 people who died in an arson fire at a Bronx social club in March. According to the Times, police authorities acknowledge that their 25,500-member police force is stretched thin and finds it difficult to maintain law and order on the streets. The total figures for 1989 crime in New York City include 542,932 crimes against property and 169,487 crimes against people.
THEY DREAD GOING HOME
What have years of long hours spent in the workplace achieved for a growing number of Japanese men? A feeling of alienation from their families and a loss of authority as husbands and fathers. A Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance Company survey revealed that 40 percent of male employees at Japan’s top corporations choose not to go home at least once a week. Two thirds of them drink the night away with friends, and one third drink alone. More drastically, others simply disappear. In fact, the National Police Agency told Awake! that family problems were the main reason for the seemingly voluntary disappearance of the 46,577 men they searched for in 1988.
“NO REASON TO CELEBRATE”
“Stanley Matthews, the most celebrated English soccer star, and the only one honored as Knight of the Kingdom, finds no reason to celebrate,” states the Brazilian newspaper O Estado de S.Paulo. “He finds the modern way of playing depressing because the pleasure of the sport is now gone.” Matthews, who quit his professional soccer career in 1965 at the age of 50, finds that modern players lack manners and moral qualities and are characterized by violence and disloyalty. “The modern players commit more fouls than in my time, and a large part of the entertainment and pleasure does not exist anymore,” says Matthews. “Everything has changed so much. Before World War II, if you played on the national team and were expelled, you would never be summoned again. You would be booed by your own fans.”
With so many automobiles being outfitted with antitheft systems, thieves are now taking another tack. “No longer able to simply smash a window before ‘hotwiring’ an unattended vehicle and driving off in it, many car thieves now prefer to hijack unsuspecting motorists while they are travelling or sitting in their vehicles,” reports Saturday Star of Johannesburg, South Africa. Thieves have posed as police officers in vehicles with flashing blue lights. After they get their victim to stop, they steal the car at gunpoint. Other cars have been stolen as drivers stopped for traffic lights or as they unlocked their cars. Police report that commercial vehicles have been hijacked for the purpose of stealing the goods inside as well as the vehicle itself. They have warned motorists to lock their doors, not wind windows down too far, and to be more alert when stopping at lights or at stop signs.
Since 1928, Calaveras County in California has held an annual frog-jumping contest. Most of the frogs entered are California bullfrogs, which rarely weigh more than a pound [0.5 kg]. But an importer of exotic animals has tried to enter his own frogs in the contest: goliath frogs from West Africa. They weigh as much as 15 pounds [7 kg] and extend to about 3 feet [1 m] in length. The current record for the contest is about 21.5 feet [6.5 m], taken in three hops; the importer of the goliaths says that his frogs can jump that far in a single bound. The organizers of the contest moved to block the goliaths from entering the contest, calling it unfair competition. They also object that the goliaths might eat the smaller frogs and that some might jump out of the 35-foot-deep [11 m] arena and strike an onlooker.
HIRED HELP FOR ABORTION FIGHT
Roman Catholic bishops in the United States have hired a top public-relations firm and a politically influential polling operation to conduct a nationwide campaign so that Catholics and non-Catholics may be persuaded to oppose abortions. Over the next three to five years, they expect to spend up to $5 million on the marketing plan. “Polls show that most women, and many Catholic women, support a woman’s right to limited access to abortion,” reports The New York Times.
A HOMOSEXUAL ALIBI
A young man facing charges of rape, indecent assault, simple assault, and unlawful restraint was acquitted by the courts after the testimony of an unexpected witness provided an alibi. The witness in question was a Catholic priest assigned to the diocese of the city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. According to the newspaper National Catholic Reporter, the “priest testified that he and the accused had been lovers and were together when the alleged rape occurred.” As a result of this startling public admission of homosexuality, the homosexual priest was placed on an indefinite leave of absence.