Watching the World

Fewer than a quarter of Germans under the age of 40 are in favor of daily prayer with children, and among church members, only 4 in 10 consider it important.​—APOTHEKEN UMSCHAU, GERMANY.

A sperm donor with an undetected genetic mutation linked to heart disease transmitted the same condition to 9 of the 24 children known to be his offspring. Of these, one died from heart failure at the age of two.​—JAMA, U.S.A.

“Over 50% of Russians believe that corruption is an unavoidable and permanent fact of life.”​—RIA NOVOSTI, RUSSIA.

Few True Friends

“The average Briton has only three true friends [he or she] can rely on,” says London’s Daily Telegraph. According to one study, among the reasons that cause a typical person to lose touch “with an average of 36 friends over the years” are a “busy lifestyle,” ‘just drifting apart’ and, in the case of 43 percent of those polled, “falling out . . . and deciding never to speak again.” Nearly one fifth confide in colleagues, having “no-one else to whom they can turn.” A poll spokesman commented: “It takes something special to be trusted and relied upon.”

Drug-Running Semisubmersibles

The methods used by Colombian drug traffickers to smuggle cocaine into Central America, Mexico, and the United States are becoming more and more sophisticated. Since 1993, at least 42 drug-running semisubmersibles have been intercepted and seized by the Colombian authorities. A number of workshops where such vessels are assembled have also been discovered. Although these diesel-powered vessels cannot dive, they are very difficult to detect by radar. Some have a range of 2,000 miles (3,200 km), are capable of carrying between six and ten tons of cocaine, and probably cost up to $1 million (U.S.) to build.

Benefits of Family Meals

Fewer than half of the Finnish 14- to 16-year-olds interviewed in a recent survey eat with their family. The study revealed that in many homes no meals are actually served. Yet, youths yearn for these regular, relaxed moments with their family. When asked what they wanted from their parents, the message was clear: “Warm meals, eating together as a family, and someone who listens and has time for you,” reports the newspaper Helsingin Sanomat. Family meals have an important impact on a youth’s mental health. According to the article, “youths who take part in family meals are usually doing well in school, they seldom smoke, drink, or use drugs, and they are less frequently depressed.”