In The World—January 1, 2017

January 1, 2017 No Comments »
In The World—January 1, 2017

By Melissa Wuske

Officer Helps a Grieving Man

When Mark Ross heard his sister had been killed in a car accident, he asked a friend to give him a ride from his home in Ohio to Detroit to be with his family. During the drive, the friend was pulled over for speeding, then arrested for outstanding violations. With his friend and his friend’s car in custody, Ross was trapped. “I broke down crying and [the officer, Trooper J. Davis,] saw the sincerity in my cry,” he said. “[Davis] reaches over and began praying over me and my family. He offered to bring me 100 miles further to Detroit.”

Suffering for North Korean Christians

In North Korea, “Christians suffer significantly because of the antirevolutionary and imperialist labels attached to them by the country’s leadership,” according to a report by Christian Solidarity Worldwide.

The simple fact of persecution is chilling, but the details are startling: believers are “being hung on a cross over a fire, crushed under a steamroller, herded off bridges and trampled underfoot . . . extrajudicial killing, extermination, enslavement/forced labor, forcible transfer of population, arbitrary imprisonment, torture, persecution, enforced disappearance, rape and sexual violence, and other inhumane acts.”

Even family members face consequences for the beliefs of their relatives, and North Koreans who’ve fled to China may be forced to return and pay the consequences for their faith. Despite the risks, there are 200,000 to 300,000 Christians in the nation, most practicing in secret, though the state’s official records only note 13,000.

Racial Bias in Preschool

A study by the Yale Child Study Center found implicit racial bias in a surprising place: preschools. “Implicit biases are a natural process by which we take information, and we judge people on the basis of generalizations regarding that information,” said lead researcher Walter Gilliam. “We all do it.”

The study observed teachers watching film of a group of four students—a black boy, a white boy, and black girl, and a white girl—and used technology to follow teacher’s gaze, and asked teachers to hit a button when they detected a behavior that may become problematic. But the trick to the research was—none of the children exhibited challenging behavior.

“What we found was exactly what we expected based on the rates at which children are expelled from preschool programs,” Gilliam says. It’s about where teachers are expecting to find bad behavior. “Teachers looked more at the black children than the white children, and they looked specifically more at the African-American boy.”

U.S. Department of Education data shows that black children are 3.6 times more likely than white children to be suspended from preschool. The research suggests, “If you look for something in one place, that’s the only place you can typically find it,” said Gilliam.

Most of the World Lacks Clean Air

“For people to be healthy, they must breathe clean air from their first breath to their last,” said Dr. Flavia Bustreo, assistant director general at the World Health Organization (WHO). But a recent WHO report shows that clean air is not a reality for more than 90 percent of the world’s population.

“In 2012, one out of every nine deaths was the result of air-pollution-related conditions,” the report stated. That includes 3 million deaths due to outdoor air pollution. The pollution has a particular affect on children and elderly people, and the deaths are more likely in lower-income regions. China had the most air-quality deaths at 1,032,833. The Americas had 93,000 total deaths, 44,000 in high-income nations.

Melissa Wuske is a freelance editor and writer. She and her husband, Shawn, live and minister in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. Find her work online (melissaannewuske.com).

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