Watching the World
▪ “Some 160,000 exhibits are missing from museums throughout Russia.”—RIA NOVOSTI, RUSSIA.
▪ “NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander has detected snow falling from Martian clouds.”—“NASA MISSION NEWS,” U.S.A.
▪ “65 percent of the drivers and passengers who lose their lives on Greek roads do not use their seat belts or crash helmets.”—EIKONES, GREECE.
Baggage That Goes Astray
Loss of baggage during air travel is anything but infrequent. The International Herald Tribune reports that in 2007, “42 million bags went missing, 25 percent more than in 2006.” Most of those bags were delivered to their owners within 48 hours, but 3 percent of them, “one bag for every 2,000 travelers, were never found.” Lost baggage cost airlines $3.8 billion in 2007. Among the causes are “congestion due to growing passenger numbers, tight aircraft turnaround times,” baggage mishandling, and tagging errors.
A French study points to “the decline of religion” as a reason for the change in people’s lives and values, whichever faith is considered, says the magazine Population & Sociétés. For example, some 88 percent of young people between the ages of 18 and 24 in France claim to be Catholic, but 80 percent of these never go to church other than for weddings, baptisms, or funerals. The weakening of traditional values is reflected in family life. Forty years ago, 1 couple in 10 lived together before marriage. Today, the figure is 9 out of 10. “Among the most regular Catholic churchgoers, 75 percent lived together before their marriage,” the study revealed.
Epidemic of Suicides Among Indian Farmers
In India, since 2002, more than 17,000 farmers each year have taken their own life, often by ingesting pesticides, reports the newspaper The Hindu. Among the difficulties farmers face are drought, plummeting crop prices, rising costs of farm cultivation, and problems in obtaining bank credit. As a result, many turn to moneylenders, who charge exorbitant interest rates, leaving borrowers heavily in debt. To cover debts, some farmers even revert to selling their body organs. However, when that fails or nothing else seems to work, thousands turn to the only other escape they know—suicide.
Nile Crocodiles Communicate Before Hatching
“Baby crocodiles talk to each other while still in the egg,” synchronizing hatching, reports The Times of London. Pre-hatch calls of Nile crocodiles in their eggs were recorded. The calls were then played to one group of eggs. The juveniles in those eggs answered the calls and made their eggs move more frequently than those not exposed to the calls. “Those hearing the noises of other unborn crocodiles synchronised their hatching to within ten minutes of each other,” says the report. Eggs that were either kept in silence or exposed to random noise failed to fine-tune their hatching.