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Watching the World

Watching the World

 Watching the World

Italy held its first divorce fair. Visitors consulted marriage agencies to find a new partner, travel agencies to organize vacations for singles, and divorce-planning agencies to find lawyers, accountants, psychologists, and family mediators.​—CORRIERE DELLA SERA, ITALY.

The “credibility gap” caused by the Catholic Church’s “mismanagement of the clergy sex abuse crisis” has resulted in its “largest institutional crisis in centuries, possibly in church history.”​—NATIONAL CATHOLIC REPORTER, U.S.A.

Scientists who sequenced DNA from the frozen hair of a Greenlander who died some 4,000 years ago found that he “appears to have originated in Siberia.”​—REUTERS NEWS SERVICE, U.S.A.

Trust in Church Has Plummeted

“Most people no longer trust [the Catholic] Church,” says a headline in The Irish Times. The report places the Catholic Church in the same category as other institutions in which a majority of the Irish have lost confidence​—the government and the banks. In a country where loyalty to the church has been legendary, over half those interviewed in a recent poll said either that they did not trust the church “at all” (32 percent) or that they did “not really” trust the church (21 percent). Scandals that have recently rocked the church are blamed for the fact that public trust in it has “plummeted.”

Unemployed College Graduates

Is a college education a guarantee of a job? Not for many, according to the Manila Bulletin. It quotes Herbert Bautista, mayor of Quezon City, as saying: “Every year our colleges and universities are producing millions of graduates who simply end up among the unemployed because their courses are incompatible with what jobs are available.” Many end up working in clerical positions or fast-food restaurants. The government is encouraging high school graduates to take short courses in practical skills or technical fields in which work may be found more easily.

Bridge Corroded by Spit

In Calcutta, India, the 1,500-foot-long (457 m) Howrah Bridge is being threatened by pedestrians’ spit. Why? Gutkha​—the popular mixture of betel leaf, areca nut, and slaked lime, which many citizens chew and spit—​is highly corrosive. According to the Calcutta newspaper The Telegraph, “the commuters’ collective spit power [has] reduced the thickness of the steel hoods protecting the [bridge’s] pillars from six [.24 in] to three [.12 in] millimetre[s] since 2007.” Some 500,000 pedestrians and 100,000 vehicles use this river crossing every day.