Watching the World
Witnesses Legally Recognized in Mozambique
The preaching activity of Jehovah’s Witnesses has been given legal recognition in the southeast African country of Mozambique. A letter from the Ministry of Justice, dated February 11, 1991, states: “Jehovah’s Witnesses, as other religious institutions, enjoy all the rights and guarantees stipulated in the Constitution of the Republic of Mozambique.” It was signed by the country’s Director of Religious Affairs. This good news was happily welcomed by the 5,235 Witnesses who reported preaching the Bible’s message there this past January. Also thankful for the declaration of official recognition are the 13,971 delegates who attended the three “Pure Language” District Conventions recently held in Mozambique, where 357 were baptized.
Good News From the U.S.S.R.
On March 28, 1991, the Minister of Justice handed representatives of Jehovah’s Witnesses a document granting legal recognition in the Soviet Union.
Victims of Buchenwald
The name Buchenwald sends thoughts of horror through the minds of those who remember Nazi Germany. Located near Weimar, in what was until recently East Germany, Buchenwald was a concentration camp infamous for human cruelty to a quarter of a million prisoners. Today, it stands as a public memorial and museum to victims of evil, yet controversy still swirls around it. Ulrich Schneider, new director of the memorial, was appointed to lift the shroud of identity from the 65,000 slave laborers who died there. “It is quite appropriate, for example, that Soviet soldiers be memorialized here,” he said. “But very many French, Belgian and Dutch people also died here, and far too little attention has been paid to them.” He mentioned also the need to “give a much stronger account” of other groups, including Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Acupuncture for Pets
According to The Wall Street Journal, the American Veterinary Medical Association now recognizes acupuncture as an acceptable treatment for ailing animals. The newspaper notes that “once dismissed as quackery, veterinary acupuncture has established itself as a drug-free alternative treatment, handy when conventional methods fail.” Some veterinarians are using low-intensity lasers, ultrasound, and other approaches to stimulate the acupuncture points in animals. Reportedly, the insertion of very fine stainless steel needles into various reflex points in the body has proved successful in treating dogs, horses, birds, and even goldfish.
Religion in Chinese Rurals
Wang Zhen, China’s vice-premier, states that farming communities in China are being invaded by Western religions, according to the South China Morning Post and reported in the United States Chinese-language newspaper World Daily. Wang Zhen says that in the farming villages, where 70 percent of the population live, “more and more people want to join the churches.”
Too Much Honor?
United Methodist congregations should find some ways to honor their bishops other than giving them huge financial windfalls. That is the recommendation of a study by a Methodist divinity school in the United States. The study found that the congregations often bestow cash gifts of up to $40,000 and cars worth up to $20,000 upon retiring or transferring bishops. Notes Christianity Today: “There was a time when such rewards were intended to make up for the low pay given to church officials. But as of next year, a UM [United Methodist] bishop’s salary will exceed $66,000. In addition, bishops receive free housing and an office allowance of $41,000.”
The smoke released by tobacco smokers is often involuntarily inhaled by nonsmokers. This passive smoking is now claiming the lives of thousands in Australia, according to a recent study. It is believed that “more than 1000 non-smoking Australians die each year as a result of heart disease attributable to passive smoking,” reported The Australian. The newspaper noted that this ‘secondhand smoke’ contains carbon monoxide and nicotine, which reduce heart efficiency and “the ability of the blood to carry oxygen to the heart and the rest of the body.” The study concluded that “for every eight smokers killed by tobacco, one non-smoker dies due to smoke exposure.”
World’s Greatest Drug Consumers
L’Express magazine of Paris reports that the world’s greatest consumers of prescription drugs are the French. They spent 90 thousand million francs ($18 thousand million, U.S.) in 1989 on pharmaceuticals, which is an average of 1,598 francs ($320, U.S.) per person. According to the French newspaper La Croix, the French consume five times as many tranquilizers and sleeping pills as Americans. The problem is widespread and touches all age-groups. Many now fear that the danger of addiction is very real. One in five adolescents leaves the doctor’s office with a prescription for sleepings pills or tranquilizers. Of children under one year of age, 15 percent regularly receive tranquilizers to treat nervousness and feeding difficulties. The daily Le Figaro reports that in France, between 25 and 30 percent of adults are regular long-term users of some type of tranquilizer.
Solar Race Down Under
An assortment of outlandish-looking wheeled contraptions—39 of them, from all over the world—set out from Darwin, in northern Australia, on November 11, 1990, headed for Adelaide, in the south of the island continent. The first of the vehicles arrived there six days later. They made the 1,900-mile [3,000 km] journey powered only by the sun’s rays. This race, the second World Solar Challenge, was won by the Swiss entry, the Spirit of Biel. The victor averaged 43 miles per hour [70 km/hr], and sometimes managed speeds of up to 62 miles per hour [100 km/hr]. The runner-up, which came in 250 miles [400 km] behind the winner, cost some $15,000,000 to develop, reports Asiaweek magazine. The Spirit of Biel, however, cost only $600,000.
Librarians and others in the book industry are troubled by the increase in book thefts. According to The New York Times Book Review, Mary Ellen Quinn, director of collection development for the Chicago Public Library, says that ‘the library system probably buys as many books each year as are stolen.’ Some doctors, journalists, lawyers, seminarians, teachers, and even librarians have been included in the list of book thieves, and one expert referred to people who steal books as “some of the best people in the world.” Researchers claim that the Bible “is clearly the most stolen book, an all-time favorite that people can’t resist lifting.”
Higher Risk for Painters
According to an agency of WHO (World Health Organization) in Lyons, France, painters run a 20-percent higher risk of contracting cancer than the rest of the population. “For lung cancer,” reports the German magazine Naturwissenschaftliche Rundschau, “this occupationally increased risk reaches 40 percent above average. The risk of developing an ailment of the central and peripheral nervous system is also significantly higher.” The magazine claims that even the children of some painters might be affected by their parents’ occupation; they seem to run a greater risk of developing brain tumors and leukemia. According to WHO, the solvents contained in paint and varnish are the source of danger, not the occupation of painting per se.
Harassment of Female Clergy
In a survey conducted by the United Methodist Church in the United States, over three fourths of the church’s women clergy reported that they have experienced sexual harassment. According to Ecumenical Press Service (the news service of the World Council of Churches), the same survey also reported that 41 percent of that church’s female clergy revealed that the sexual harassment “was perpetrated by colleagues or other pastors.”