Watching the World
◼ “The connection between media violence and real-life [adolescent] aggression is nearly as strong as the link between smoking and lung cancer.”—THE MEDICAL JOURNAL OF AUSTRALIA.
◼ Evidence has been found suggesting that fruit bats, which are eaten in some parts of Africa, “may be a natural incubator for the Ebola virus.”—MACLEANS, CANADA.
◼ Data from the office of the attorney general in Mexico reveal that over the last eight years, at least 130,000 children in that country have been kidnapped for sale, for sexual or labor exploitation, or for the removal and sale of their organs.—MILENIO, MEXICO.
Twelve Years in Prison—Why?
Three of Jehovah’s Witnesses have been imprisoned in Sawa, Eritrea, East Africa, for the past 12 years. No charges have been filed against them, and they have never been given a trial. They are denied visitors, including family members. The reason? Their refusal to participate in military service. Eritrean law makes no provision for conscientious objection. When young men are arrested, they are detained at a military camp, where they are often severely beaten and undergo various forms of torture.
Internet a Threat to Wildlife?
“Is the Internet hastening the demise of the African elephant?” asks The New York Times. Some animal welfare advocates believe that it is and that scores of other species are at risk as well. Illegal online trade is said to have increased as the Web itself has grown. Searches on English-language Web sites during a three-month period found “more than 6,000 illegal or potentially illegal wildlife items for sale,” including turtle shells, elephant-bone sculptures, and even live black leopards.
Ecological Central Heating
“Central heating fueled by olive pits has arrived,” reports the Spanish newspaper El País. This energy source provides heat and hot water for at least 300 homes in Madrid. As a fuel, olive pits are cheap, costing 60 percent less than oil and 20 percent less than coal. They do not pollute the environment, since the amount of carbon dioxide released during combustion is the same as that released during natural decomposition. Another advantage is availability. Olive pits are a residue obtained after extracting oil from olives, and Spain is reputed to be the world’s number one olive oil producer.
Scientists say they have unearthed what they are calling “the world’s oldest known noodles,” reports The New York Times. The noodles are thin, yellow, 20 inches [50 cm] long, and are made from a millet native to China. They were found in a sealed earthenware bowl beneath a ten-foot-thick [3 m] layer of sediment near the Huang River in northwestern China. The site was probably destroyed by an earthquake and “catastrophic flooding” some 4,000 years ago, according to the journal Nature. As to the debate over whether pasta originated in Italy, the Middle East, or the Orient, one of the discoverers, according to the Times, Houyuan Lu of the Chinese Academy of Sciences claims: “This study has established that the earliest noodle production occurred in China.”