Today’s parents are spending less time talking to their children at mealtimes or read- ing to them at bedtime than parents of pre- vious generations did. “Children are starting primary school with a speaking age of just 18 months and the number unable to form simple sentences is rising,” reports The Times of London. In Britain, “18 per cent of chil- dren aged 5 (more than 100,000) fail to meet the expected level of speech for their age.” Hence, many children who cannot understand basic instructions or express their needs are “like foreigners in the classroom,” not able to understand what is going on.
Irish Churches Without Priests?
“What we are witnessing is the death of a clerically-dominated Catholic Church,” says The Irish Times. Fifty years ago, Ireland was second to no other country in the number of priests it produced. Now the increasing age of the Irish clergy means that soon, when these priests reach the retirement age of 75, some parishes will be without priests. The roots of the crisis are said by some to rest with the pivotal decision banning artificial contraception, which was published in the 1968 papal encyclical Humanae Vitae. That document, continues the Times, led first to “the beginning of people questioning the teachings of the Church” and then to “a decline of confidence in church leadership.”
Magnetic North on the Move
When the magnetic North Pole was located in 1831, it was in northern Canada, “about 1,700 miles from the geographic North Pole,” says the French newspaper Le Figaro. Up until 1989, magnetic north was moving closer to the geographic pole at three to nine miles a year. According to the Paris Institute of Global Physics, the magnetic pole is presently moving “at about 34 miles a year” and in 2007 was located only 342 miles from the geographic pole. At the current speed and direction, by 2020, the aurora borealis, or northern lights, which accompanies magnetic north, “will be more visible above Siberia than Canada,” says the newspaper.
Canadian researchers wanted to examine the effects of pornogra- phy on men. “We started our research seeking men in their twenties who had never consumed pornography,” explains a team member, but “we couldn’t find any.” —UNIVERSITY OF MONTREAL, CANADA.
The world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, was inaugurated in Dubai last January. The tower is 2,717 feet tall, has more than 160 floors, and can be seen from a distance of 59 miles.—GULF NEWS, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES.
“Reform Judaism is nothing if not responsive to changing times. Recently its liturgy incorporated a special prayer for people undergoing sex-change operations.”—THE NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE, U.S.A.