▪ The results of one poll indicated that Russians believe the most important issues to be tackled by government include fighting “against corruption” and “curbing soaring prices.”—PRAVDA, RUSSIA.
▪ According to one survey, some 26.4 percent of fifth and sixth graders in Taiwan “have had thoughts of taking their own life.”—THE CHINA POST, TAIWAN.
▪ “While technology has helped shrink the average U.S. workweek over a century by 38%, employees have no more leisure time, thanks to longer commutes, more adult schooling and increased household chores.”—FORBES, UNITED STATES.
▪ Emissions of greenhouse gases in industrialized nations rose 1.6 percent between 2003 and 2004, reaching “the highest level in more than a decade.”—REUTERS, OSLO, NORWAY.
China’s Water Crisis
China suffers from “water pollution and a shortage of clean water.” Most cities are equipped with wastewater treatment plants, but many lack the funds to run them. “Most of the country’s rivers, lakes and canals are polluted by discharges of untreated industrial and domestic wastewater as well as pesticide-laden runoff from farms,” reports The Wall Street Journal. Moreover, “some 300 million people don’t have access to clean drinking water.” The picture is “grim,” says the Journal, and the situation is deteriorating.
“Who Are You? Jehovah’s Witnesses?”
Last year on the beaches of the Italian Isle of Elba, tourists were approached by young Catholics who had accepted an invitation by the bishop of the diocese of Massa Marittima-Piombino. He had told them that if they wanted to be Christians and remain such, they should proclaim their faith. This surprised vacationers. According to the newspaper Il Tempo, the most common response the youths received was, “Who are you? Jehovah’s Witnesses?”
Music Linked to Sexual Activity
Teenagers who listen to music with “raunchy, sexual lyrics” are likely to “start having sex sooner than those who prefer other songs,” says one study reported on by the Associated Press. “Songs depicting men as ‘sex-driven studs,’ women as sex objects and with explicit references to sex acts are more likely to trigger early sexual behavior than those where sexual references are more veiled and relationships appear more committed,” said the report. It noted that “parents, educators and teens themselves need to think more critically about messages in music lyrics.”
During 2004, Australians threw away 5.3 billion dollars ($4.1 billion, U.S.) worth of uneaten food, reports The Australia Institute, a research organization. This is more than 13 times the amount Australians donated for overseas aid in 2003. Overall, the total amount Australians waste on goods and services that are never or rarely used amounts to over $10.5 billion ($8.1 billion, U.S.) annually—more than that country spends on universities and roads. (Note from Ghost - I found this interesting since we, in the USA, are now subjected to commercials that display and claim that fact that we throw away a % of our food yearly.)