News Bites

  • Poor Diet. In April, Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski encouraged all Oregonians to take the "Food Stamp Challenge" by living on an average food stamp budget of $21 per person per week. "Budgeting just $1 a meal each day for food, and trying to make that food nutritious, is a difficult task," said Kulongoski.

  • Bad Seed. El Salvador's Lutheran Bishop Medardo Gómez spoke out in April against a proposal encouraged by the Bush administration that El Salvador launch an ethanol-producing project using sugar cane and yellow corn. Gomez fears the project will increase poverty and environmental degradation. "Its negative impact on the family economy will be greater than the benefits that it could bring about," said Gomez.

  • Yen for Peace. Japan's Catholic bishops are resisting efforts by the Bush and Abe administrations to remove the "peace clause" from the Japanese constitution. Article 9, which was added in 1946, asserts that "the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation."

  • Green Cross. Ugandan church leaders are protesting a government plan to sell the Mabira Forest, a large nature preserve, to a sugar company that intends to level it for sugar cane production. "In the book of Genesis," said Rev. Frank Tukwasibwe, "God calls on us to protect our environment. Let us pray for the protection of Mabira Forest."

  • Power Grrrls. The media's sexualization of girls has consequences that "are very real and are likely to be a negative influence on girls' healthy development," said Dr. Eileen Zurbriggen, chair of the American Psychological Association's task force on the sexualization of girls. APA's report found that sexualized imaging of girls impairs their ability to think and contributes to poor body image, low self-esteem, and depression.

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