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Why is there so much distress, uncertainty, injustice and oppression in the world? How can mankind be freed from the wars, diseases, famines, natural disasters and violence that make each day a horror to contemplate? Will there ever be a place and time in which present fears and afflictions will be a distant memory? How will a new order of peace and security come to this earth? These are the most urgent questions facing humanity today and every intelligent person should and must seek reliable answers to them for his or her existence to be meaningful.
     The word peace as defined by the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English means “calmness, quietness; freedom from anxiety or troubling thoughts; a condition in which there is no war”. Safety is defined by the same dictionary as “freedom from danger, harm or risk”. 
     In no part of the world are people free from fears and dangers.  Infectious diseases are spreading unchecked; in various places there is a state of permanent warfare which is spiralling out of the grip of politicians; climatic change is triggering major emergencies, unpopular government policies spark off revolts; from the cold war to the rise of intra-state conflicts, from the spread of the AIDS crisis to the escalation of terrorism, hunger, ignorance, poverty and disease, religious, ethnic or cultural divides are daily multiplying the tensions and distresses among peoples of the earth.
 

Bible prophecies on this age

    In the book of Matthew chapter 24 verses 3-8 the disciples of Christ asked him the signs of his coming and of the end of the world to which he gave them answers. The principal sign he gave them was that a time would come when “nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.” This text does not refer, as some contend, to the dissensions, insurrections and wars among provinces that occurred in the Roman empire shortly after the ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Rather, it fulfilled in World War 1 of 1914-1918 when for the first time the whole world was engulfed in war  From that time the world has been marching into harder and harder times hence Jesus Christ declared in verse 8 “All these are the beginning of sorrows.”
Sequel to his expulsion from heaven to the earth by Jesus Christ, (Revelation 12:9) satan, in a bid to destroy all flesh plunged the whole earth into World War 1.  In Revelations chapter 12 verse 12 the angel declared: “Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.”   Thus, the devil is the one responsible for the troubles of the world today. – Ephesians 2:2; 1 John 5:19; 1 Peter 5:6,9.
Also during his earthly ministry our Lord Jesus Christ spoke of these last days as a time of such great and overwhelming calamities that there would be deep anxiety among people at the impending evils.  Many of the people would not know what to do to escape.  Christ stated: “And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.” – Luke 21: 25,26,28,34-36.
The desperate state of affairs in the world which create deep distress and horror among people attest to the fulfilment of this prophecy.  The sea (the people) and the waves (the rulers) roaring refer to the constant disagreements or conflicts  between the government and the people, a situation  fostered by the confusions and injustices wrought by satan the devil and the liberalism of the modern age. 
In the words of the prophet Daniel while many “shall be purified and made white, and tried” in this age, “the wicked shall do wickedly”- (Daniel 12:4,10) Writing in the same vein St. Paul, in his letter to Timothy, described these last days as “perilous times” He said it would be a time when men would be enemies of God because of carnality and dangerous to one another due to greed. (2 Timothy 3:1-5) He added in verse 13 thatevil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived”.
These prophecies about the grievous state the world would be in is fulfilling to the letter as could be seen from global tensions and worries over wars, global warming, terrorism, incurable diseases, natural disasters, food shortages, etc.
The situation in the world is made worse by the deceit and hypocrisy that are the hall marks of International diplomacy. Thus, though the world powers are fulsome in declaring their commitments to peace, justice, and well being of the people, they are hardly sincere as they are busy promoting their vested interests or preparing for war. The prophet David prayed: “Draw me not away with the wicked and with the workers of iniquity, which speak peace to their neighbours, but mischief is in their hearts.” - Psalm 28:3.

God of Peace

It is not by the stockpiling of weapons or the strength of ones armies or knowledge of diplomacy but by the grace of God that any body can be saved. All people who love life should therefore look to God and not to man. David, speaking under inspiration of God said: “There is no king saved by the multitude of an host: a mighty man is not delivered by much strength.  An horse is a vain thing for safety: neither shall he deliver any by his great strength. Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy; To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine.” – Psalm 33: 16-20. See also Psalm 146:3,4; Proverbs 21:31.   Moreover God declared through the prophet Isaiah: “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.” – Isaiah 45:22.
The Almighty God abhors confusion and disorder.  He is the God of peace.  (1 Corinthians 14:33; 2 Thessalonians 3:16; Romans 15:33) David the prophet was inspired to write: “The LORD will give strength unto his people; the LORD will bless his people with peace.” - Psalm 29:11.
It was for the purpose of re-establishing the peace which was shattered by the fall of man at the influence of satan the devil that God sent Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace into the world to die for mankind hence his birth was heralded by angelic acclaims of peace. (Luke 2:14)  Peace was the centre-piece of the message Jesus Christ the Messiah brought and that is why the message he brought is also called “the gospel of peace”. – Romans 10:15; Ephesians 6:15.
While on earth Jesus Christ told his apostles “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27) He added in John 16:33 “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
     The “peace” of the world is fraught with fears and pains; it does not give true happiness. But the people of God, will continue to enjoy the untainted peace that comes from the freedom into which He had given them through Jesus Christ.
It is only in God’s organisation where the truth of His word is preached without corruption and where righteousness is practised that peace and safety could be found.  The Lord’s Organisation is the true Church symbolically called “Mountain” where God is served in truth.  Jesus Christ knew that it is in this Mountain that is, God’s Kingdom Organisation in any part of the world his sheep would find peace, protection and deliverance in this period of the end of the world hence he advised his disciples to “flee into the mountains”.  (Matthew 24:15,16; Ezekiel 20:40,41)  Just as Noah and his family of seven found safety in the ark and as Lot and his two daughters were protected when they fled to the mountain so all those who remain in God’s organisation doing righteousness till the end will be saved by His grace. (Genesis 7:1-24; 19:1-30; Luke 17:26-30; Psalm 91:1-8,14; Psalm 27:1,5)  God’s Kingdom Society, GKS is one of such organisations in this part of the world.
It must be pointed out that it is only God Almighty, not man or man-made institutions that can bring peace to the earth.  This will be when satan the devil, the author of confusion in the world is killed along with his wicked followers consisting of demons and wicked human beings. - Isaiah 14:12-17; Romans 16:20.
In Jeremiah 3:23 it is written: “Truly in vain is salvation hoped for from the hills, and from the multitude of mountains: truly in the LORD our God is the salvation of Israel.”

Knowledge and Faith

  To enjoy true peace and safety one must have the accurate knowledge of God.  Solomon the prophet declared: “Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding …Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace”. – Proverbs 3:13-17.
Faith comes from knowledge.  One who exercises strong faith in Jehovah’s promises will be blessed with His spirit so as to be calm, steady and resolute even in times of crisis.  “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” said St. Paul in Romans 5:1.  Faith is exercised when the Christian “casts his burden upon the Lord” by taking his problems to God in prayer.  The person must believe that God will do what is best in each circumstance (Psalm 55:20,21)  Such ones then remain at ease because of their faith that with God nothing is impossible.  Moreover the Bible says: “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6,7) Moreover, the prophet David declared: “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.” - Psalm 119:165; See also Isaiah 48:18
To live a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty is a deeply rooted Christian ideal. But when people fail to do the will of God they will never have peace. – Jeremiah 16:5; Jeremiah 14:11; Luke 10:1-7
To all those who have implicit trust in God the following assurance is given: “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength…” - Isaiah 26:3,4. See also Psalm 4:8.

Perfect Peace and Safety

       It is in God’s Kingdom fully established that mankind shall enjoy perfect peace and safety. This was typified by God’s promise to the children of Israel as it is written: “And I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid: and I will rid evil beasts out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land.” (Leviticus 26:6) The state of the nation of Israel under King Solomon when “he had peace on all sides round about him” foreshadowed the kingdom of God under Jesus Christ “the greater Solomon” where God will reveal to His people “the abundance of peace and truth”. – 1 Kings 4:21-24; Jeremiah 33:6.
Jerusalem in Israel was only a type of God’s perfect Kingdom which He would establish on earth. (2 Chronicles 6:6; Galatians 4:26) John the apostle was privileged to see it in vision and he wrote that in that Kingdom God would remove all that would make anyone to cry or be sorrowful: “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. (trouble) And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. … And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.”  - Revelation 21:1-5. See also Isaiah 65:17-25
Furthermore in Isaiah 32:17,18 it is written: “And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever. And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.” At that time  every man shall sit “under his vine and under his fig tree and none shall make them afraid”.- Micah 4:4.
With this knowledge therefore it is vital for us to look to God always and not to man and to serve Him faithfully till the end in order to enjoy perfect peace and safety in His kingdom fully established by His grace. – Hebrews 12:1,28; Isaiah 45:22.

A world of distress and perplexity

The Bible speaks of the last days as perilous times.  The brief account below underscores the fact that the last days are here and that men should be in quest of the place of peace and safety provided by God Himself.

Wars: The Irish Times of September 22, 2004 said in a special report at page 11 that there were 21 major conflicts in the world today.  The countries listed include Iraq where since the US-led invasion in March 2003, more than 1,000 Coalition troops, 4,895 to 6,370 Iraqi soldiers and 12,778 to 14,820 Iraqi civilians have been killed. In Columbia Marxist FARC rebels are continuing their 40-year old Chechnya separatist with the government claiming thousands of lives a year. In Russia, the struggle by Chechnyan separatists for independence which has been on since the early days of the Soviet Union, led to the September 3, 2004 massacre of more than 330 hostages most of them children in the North Ossetian town of Beslan. In Saudi Arabia a campaign of suicide bombings and shootings in the oil-rich kingdom aimed at driving Westerners out has been on since 2003.
Other flash points in the world are Northern Ireland, Spain, Algeria, Congo, Burundi, Sudan, Uganda, Turkey, Israel, Palestine, Afghanistan, Kashmir, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast and Uganda. As a result of these wars the world now has an estimated 12 million refugees, with 7.4 million of them living in camps or settlements for more than 10 years.  Presently about 6,000 to 10,000 people are dying each day in Dafur region of Sudan where a civil war has been raging for decades. Close to 50,000 have been murdered in an orgy of ethnic cleansing by rampaging militia.

Terrorism: Global terrorism has put big and small nations in a permanent state of fear. Following the bombing of the World Trade Centre twin towers on September 11, 2001 by two hijacked passenger aircrafts, several countries now have fighter jets at the alert ready to intercept airlines possibly loaded with terrorist bombs or prevent the jets themselves from being used as weapons.  For example on Sunday September 26, 2004, a Greek airliner was escorted to a nearby base following alerts that a bomb had been planted in the aircraft which had 301 passengers on board.. Tornado jet fighters armed with guns and air-to-air missiles, were quickly scrambled to monitor the passenger aircraft with orders “to bring (i.e. shoot) the airliner down in the event of a 9/11-style hijacking. -The Scotsman September 27, 2004, pages 8,9.
Besides, so many groups around the world complaining of one grudge or the other are causing mayhem and destruction largely to innocent citizens.  Security at airports and other entry points in many countries are now at its peak. Most Western countries now have specialized anti-terrorist units maintaining round-the-clock surveillance of public buildings and suspicious individuals in their countries.

Global Warming:     Another area of concern is global warming, the rise in average global temperatures due to the high rate of emission of dangerous gases from mostly the industrialized countries.  The gases create “holes” in the sky (the ozone layer) causing dangerous rays of the sun to penetrate the earth. Experts say the situation will cause sea levels to rise 89cm (3ft) by the end of the century as glaciers melt, threatening 100 million people in low-lying areas.  The heat wave in Europe which killed 26,000 people was said to have been influenced by global warming. British Prime Minister, Tony Blair was recently reported to have declared that “global warming is the world’s greatest environmental challenge and urgent action is needed to avert an ecological disaster”.  He said the situation was “shocking” and alarming” An environment group, Friends of the Earth, was reported by newspapers to have stated that “global warming dwarfs all other threats to the security of mankind”.

 Natural disasters: Except for the grace of God people are practically helpless in the face of natural disasters – be they hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, etc. In late September 2004, the hurricane Jeanne ripped through Haiti causing 1,500 deaths and on to Florida devastating 1.2 million homes. Some areas were submerged in five feet of water.  The Guardian of Friday December 3, 2004 reported that 1000 people have been confirmed dead or missing after flash floods and mudslides swept through three coastal towns in the Philippines.  An estimated 160,000 people have escaped to higher grounds.

Depression:  The uncertainties and fears that ravage mankind today accounts for the high rate of depression among people - even in the advanced countries of the world. It is estimated that more than a million children aged between 5 and 15 in Britain could be suffering from anxiety or depression brought on by the pressures of modern life.  A recent study found that the children “were prone to stress, panic attacks and depression caused by factors such as bullying, exams and pressure from society over body image”.  More than 50,000 children were estimated to be on anti-depressants last year.
Matters are made worse by the breakdown in many families, the fragmentation of family life, were the children draw the vital support system to negotiate their way through the world, and draw the confidence to do so.  These network of security and love provided by the family has been shattered by the fragmentation of family life.  A study entitled Time Trends in Adolescent Mental Health by the Institute of Psychiatry Kings College London and the University of Manchester looked at three generations of 15-year-olds (1974; 1986; 1999) compared today’s teenage behaviour to those of their counterparts in the 1970s and 1980s. It found that many teenagers are effectively out of control.  They commit a great many more offences; they “lie, steal and bully and defy authority more than previous generations” and “are also more disturbed” Part of the cause is that divorces have doubled while single parent families have more than trebled.

 

Trends in Adolescent Mental Health compared today’s teenage behaviour to those of their counterparts in the 1970s and 1980s. It found that many teenagers are effectively out of control.  They commit a great many more offences; they “lie, steal and bully and defy authority more than previous generations” and “are also more disturbed” Part of the cause is that divorces have doubled while single parent families have more than trebled.


 It was in a bid to ensure international peace and security that the United Nations  (UN) was set up on October 24, 1945. The UN was the second of such organisation with worldwide scope and membership set up in the 20th century. The first was the League of Nations, established by the treaty of Versailles in 1919.  To underscore its commitment to peace, the UN established by resolution in 1981 the International Day of Peace with the hope that member states would “devote a specific time to…promoting the ideals of peace and to giving positive evidence of their commitment to peace in all viable ways…to commemorating and strengthening the ideal of peace both within and among all nations and peoples.
Though the establishment of world peace is the main object of the League of Nations and the United Nations the world bodies have been as effective in that task as a toothless bulldog is in checking criminals. Few examples will suffice.  When Italy invaded Ethiopia (then Abyssinia) on October 3, 1935, the League could only come up with tepid responses. And while Hitler was busy invading and annexing Germany’s neighbouring countries in 1938/39 the League was helpless as the World Powers preferred to offer policies of appeasement and pacification. In 1994, Hutu extremists slaughtered more than 500,000 minority Tutsis and moderate Hutus while the world looked on. When the Tutsi-dominated army took the bull by the horns and routed the Hutu marauders, most of them fled to the Democratic Republic of Congo.  Consequently in 1996 and 1998, the Rwandese forces invaded the Congo in search of Hutu extremists leading to the intervention of Zimbabwe, Angola and Namiba in a bid to save the Congolese government in Kinshasa from collapse.  This was dubbed Africa’s First World War. The UN could only watch helplessly. Even the civilian and military peacekeeping personnel sent buy the UN  to the Congo have been indicted for sexually abusing refugees in their care! According to UN secretary-general, Mr. Kofi Annan “This is a shameful thing for the UN to have to say, and I am absolutely outraged by it.”  A similar accusation against the UN staff in West Africa two years ago was rejected by the world body. -See The Guardian, November 21, 2004, page 8.
In the Western Dafur region of Sudan, over 70,000 people have been killed or have died from hunger and diseases in the fight between rebels and government forces since last year leading to the displacement of more than 1.6 million people. As the soldiers loot and rape and kill the United Nations is busy holding one meeting after another, choosing the right words to use in condemning the crisis and threatening sanctions! In a scathing indictment carried in the International Herald Tribune of September 27, 2004, page 6 a writer David Brooks stated: “WE are now used to the pattern.  Every time there is an ongoing atrocity, we watch the world community go through the same series of stages (1) shock and concern (2) gathering resolve (3) fruitless negotiation 4) pathetic inaction (5) shame and humiliation (6) steadfast vows to never let this happen again.”  He adds that the “never again” always comes” !
The failure of the UN to secure peace on earth throws into sharp relief the futility of human wisdom when God and His world are relegated to the background.  God declared: “The wise men are ashamed, they are dismayed and taken: lo, they have rejected the word of the LORD; and what wisdom is in them?” – Jeremiah 8:9.

CONFLICTS

  • Wars
  • The Irish Times noted in a special report that there were 21 major conflicts in the world today.  The countries listed include Iraqi where since the US-led invasion in March 2003, more than 1,000 Coalition troops have been killed,  as well as 4,895 to 6,370 Iraqi soldiers and 12,778 to 14,820 Iraqi civilians. In Columbia Marxist FARC rebels are continuing their 40-year old war with the government claiming thousands of lives a year. In Chechnya the struggle by separatists for independence from Russia which has been on since the early days of the Soviet Union led to the September 3, 2004 massacre of more than 330 hostages most of them children. In Saudi Arabia a campaign of suicide bombings and shootings in the oil-rich kingdom aimed at driving Westerners out have been waged since 2003.
    Other flash points in the world are  Northern Ireland, Spain, Algeria, Congo, Burundi, Sudan, Uganda, Turkey, Israeli, Palestine, Afghanistan, Kashmir, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Uganda.

    Northern Ireland – While the conflict edges close to a conclusion, so-called punishment beatings continue to be carried out by both republican and loyalist paramilitaries.

    SPAIN – The group ETA has been fighting for independence for the Basque region, over 850 people has been killed since 1968.

    Algeria – Militants have been fighting since 1990s to overthrow the government and set up a purist Islamic state in Algeria.  At least 150,000  people have since died according to human rights groups.

    Congo – the war in the Congo which has affected six neighbouring countries has in the last five years led to the death of three million people, mostly from hunger and disease.

    Burundi – sporadic fighting continues between government forces and Hutu rebels despite a recent peace deal aimed at ending a decade of ethnic conflict that has killed 300,000 people.

    Sudan
    The 19-month conflict between the Sudanese army and rebel forces in Darfur continue.  This has led to the displacement of 1.5 million people.

    Uganda
    Uganda troops have been fighting the LORD’S Resistance Army in an 18-month insurgency which has forced more than 1.5 million people from their homes.

    Turkey
    Kurdish separatists, leftists and Islamist militants have all carried out bomb attacks in Turkish cities in their quest for independence.

    Israeli/Palestine Conflict has been on since the nation of Israel in 1948

     

    Iraqi
    Since the US-led invasion in March 2003, more than 1,000 Coalition troops have been killed, 4,895 to 6,370 Iraqi soldiers and 12,778 to 14,820 Iraqi civilians.

    Saudi Arabia
    A campaign of suicide bombings and shootings in the oil-rich kingdom aimed at driving Westerners out have been waged since 2003

    Chechnya
    The struggle by separatists for independence from Russia which has been on since the early days of the Soviet Union led to the September 3, 2004 massacre of more than 330 hostages most of them children. It is the same story of shootings, bombings in

    Afghanistan
    Since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001 militants have been waging a war against the Americans and the American-backed government.

     Kashmir
    Separatists are still exchanging fire with Indian government troops bent on securing independence for Kashmir.  More than 40,000 people have been killed the Kashmir rebellion started in 1989.  The Indian army is still battling with more than a dozen armed groups fighting for secession in the Indian region of Manipur where 10,000 people have been killed in the last three decades.  Nepal More than 10,000 lives have been lost in the conflict with Maoist rebels since 1996.

    Sri Lanka
    Nepalese government  soldiers has been at war with Tamil tigers who are fighting for autonomy.

    Indonesia
    Indonesian security forces and separatist groups in Indonesia.  In West Papua, up to 300,000 people have been killed in a 40-year conflict by groups agitating for independence.

    Liberia, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Uganda,

  • Refugees
  • The world has 12 million refugees, and 7.4 million of them have been living in camps or settlements for more than 10 years.  Presently about 6,000 to 10,000 people are dying each day in Dafur region of Sudan where a civil war has been raging for decades. Close to 50, 000 have been murdered in an orgy of ethnic cleansing by rampaging militia.

  • Depression
  • It is estimated that more than a million children aged between 5 and 15 in Britain could be suffering from anxiety or depression brought on by the pressures of modern life.  A recent study found that the children “were prone to stress, panic attacks and depression caused by factors such as bullying, exams and pressure from society over body image.  More than 50,000 children were estimated to be on anti-depressants last year. Matters made worse by the breakdown in many families, the fragmentation of family life, were the children draw the vital support system to negotiate their way through the world, and draw the confidence to do so.  These network of security and love provided by the family has been shattered by the fragmentation of family life.  A study by the Institute of Psychiatry Kings College London and the University of Manchester looked at three generations of 15-year-olds (1974; 1986; 1999) Time Trends in Adolescent Mental Health compared today’s teenage behaviour to those of their counterparts in the 1970s and 1980s. Many teenagers are effectively out of control.  A great many offences are committed by teenage boys
    Consequently the youths of today “lie, steal and bully and defy authority more than previous generations” and “are also more disturbed” Part of the cause is that divorces have doubled while single parent families have more than trebled.

  • Terrorism 
  • Following the bombing of the World Trade Centre twin towers on September 11, 2001 by two seized aircrafts, several countries now have fighter jets at the ready to intercept airlines possibly loaded with terrorist bombs or prevent the jets themselves being used as weapons.  For example on Sunday September 26, 2004, a Greek passenger airliner was escorted to a nearby base following alerts that a bomb had been planted on a passenger aircraft with 301 passengers on board.. Tornado jet fighters armed with guns and air-to-air missiles, were quickly scrambled to monitor the passenger aircraft with orders “to bring the airliner down in the event of a 9/11-style hijacking. (The Scotsman September 27, 2004, pages 8,9) Besides, so many groups around the world complaining of one grudge or the other are causing mayhem and destruction largely to innocent citizens.  Security at airports and other entry points in many countries are now at its peak.

  • Global Warming
  • Global warming the depletion of the ozone layer due to the emission of dangerous chemicals from mostly the industrialized countries of the world causing dangerous rays of the sun to penetrate the earth and melt the ice in the polar regions? Experts say sea levels would rise 89cm (3ft) by the end of the century as glaciers melted, threatening 100 million people in low-lying areas.  The heat wave in Europe which killed 26,000 people in Europe was influenced by global warming. British Prime Minister, Tony Blair was recently reported to have declared that “global warming is the world’s greatest environmental challenge and urgent action is needed to avert an ecological disaster”.  He said the situation was “shocking” and alarming” According to Friends of the Earth, an environment group “global warming dwarfs all other threats to the security of mankind. – Metro Newspaper page 1?

  • Natural Disasters
  • In late September 2004, the hurricane Jeanne ripped through Haiti causing 1,500 deaths and on to Florida devastating 1.2 million homes, some areas were submerged in five feet of water.

  • Depression
  • Mental health problems and suicides are rising in several countries especially among adolescents. It is estimated that more than a million children aged between 5 and 15 in Britain could be suffering from anxiety or depression brought on by the pressures of modern life.  A recent study found that the children “were prone to stress, panic attacks and depression caused by factors such as bullying, exams and pressure from society over body image.  More than 50,000 children were estimated to be on anti-depressants last year. Matters made worse by the breakdown in many families, the fragmentation of family life, were the children draw the vital support system to negotiate their way through the world, and draw the confidence to do so.  A study by the Institute of Psychiatry Kings College London and the University of Manchester looked at three generations of 15-year-olds (1974; 1986; 1999) noted that the youths of today “lie, steal and bully and defy authority more than previous generations” and “are also more disturbed”.

    .  According to the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, for half a century since its inauguration in 1954, the tolling of the bell to mark the day has sent a powerful message around the world “about mankind’s aspiration for peace”.  He spoke of the need to build greater international solidarity in tackling grave humanitarian emergencies and to forge “a true global partnership for development  to fight hunger, ignorance, poverty and disease and meet the Millennium Development Goals agreed by all member-states as a blueprint for building a better world in the 21st century.  He added: “nothing can be more dangerous to our efforts to build peace and development than a world divided along religious, ethnic or cultural lines.  In each nation and among all nations, we must work to promote unity based  in our shared humanity. – The Irish Times, September 22, 2004, page 11

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