Watching the World
▪ Last year was “the warmest on record in the Northern Hemisphere” and the “second warmest globally.” “Eight of the 10 warmest years [on record] have occurred within the last decade.”—BBC NEWS, BRITAIN.
▪ The 2005 Atlantic hurricane season was the “busiest” and “arguably . . . the most devastating” on record. Seven out of the 14 hurricanes recorded registered wind speeds in excess of 110 miles [177 km] per hour.—U.S. NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION.
▪ “In 1850, there were more than 150 glaciers in Glacier National Park in Montana [U.S.A.]. Now there are 27.”—THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, U.S.A.
▪ “The blunt truth about the politics of climate change is that no country will want to sacrifice its economy in order to meet this challenge.”—TONY BLAIR, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER.
Catholics From “House to House”?
According to Cláudio Hummes, archbishop of São Paulo, the proportion of Brazilians who are Catholic has fallen from 83 percent to 67 percent over the last 14 years. The prelate blames the church’s “inability, for various reasons, to preach the gospel to its baptized members thoroughly.” Says Hummes: “We have to reach out to the faithful, from house to house, in the schools, in institutions, and not just in the parishes.” Folha Online notes that this work will have to be undertaken by laity who are trained as missionaries. A shortage of priests is one of the major problems facing the Catholic Church in Brazil and in the rest of Latin America as a whole.
Legal Recognition in Germany
In a decision published on February 10, 2006, the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig, Germany, ruled that the State of Berlin must recognize the Religious Association of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Germany as a public corporation. This ended a 15-year-long legal battle, during which the case was reviewed by several different German courts, including the Federal Constitutional Court. As a public corporation, the Religious Association of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Germany is entitled to tax exemptions and other privileges enjoyed by the country’s major religious denominations.
Chinese Youth Addicted to Internet Games
“Internet game addiction is rife among China’s youth,” says Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post. The phenomenon is also evident among youngsters from other areas of the Orient, such as Hong Kong, Japan, and the Republic of Korea. The newspaper notes: “The growing desire to plug in and tune out reflects a backlash against society’s stranglehold on kids that stems from parents’ weighty expectations and cutthroat competition to get into university.” It is estimated that up to six million Chinese children need help to overcome the addiction.