Watching the World

According to 76.3 percent of adults surveyed in Germany, flirting is “totally harmless” and “does not commit those involved to anything.” Almost half of those polled said it was all right for a married person to flirt with a stranger.​—APOTHEKEN UMSCHAU, GERMANY.

A nationwide poll shows that 48 percent of Russians believe that terrorist attacks have become a “fully expected” and “routine part of life.”​—KOMMERSANT, RUSSIA.

“In a brazen attempt reminiscent of a medieval siege,” Mexican smugglers recently tried a novel method to evade border security​—a “hefty catapult” mounted on a trailer and equipped with powerful elastic, “to hurl drugs north” over the U.S. border fence.​—REUTERS NEWS SERVICE, U.S.A.

“Two of every five pregnancies” in New York City end in abortion. The proportion has “barely changed in more than a decade.”​—THE NEW YORK TIMES, U.S.A.

Pest controllers were amazed when they were called to catch a fox on the 72nd floor of a skyscraper under construction in central London. The animal, which was “living off scraps left by builders,” was released nearby.​—THE TELEGRAPH, LONDON.

Russian Orthodox Priests Can Run for Office

“The Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church has given approval for its clerics to run for political office in exceptional circumstances to protect the church from schisms and other direct threats,” reports the news agency RIA Novosti. According to a statement by the bishops, such circumstances arise when there is a need “to confront forces, including schismatic ones and those from other confessions, who seek to use electoral power to fight the Orthodox Church.”

New Legal Problems

Practices in reproductive medicine, which were once considered science fiction, are creating new legal dilemmas. “Every year, more babies are born stemming from sperm or embryos that have been stored for months or years,” explains The Wall Street Journal. “In some cases, one parent has already died, usually the father.” In the United States, some orphans receive monthly payments from the Social Security system. But the laws of different states vary as to whether such payments ought to be made if the child is conceived after the death of one of the parents. “Technology has gone far beyond where the law ever dreamed it would,” states Minnesota lawyer Sonny Miller.