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NHNE News Brief 43
Friday, January 3, 1997
Happy New Year!

"A thought-provoking exploration
of the extraordinary times in which we live."

Millennium Countdown:
1,093 days until January 1, 2000

Total Paid Online Subscribers: 81
Total Paid Offline Subscribers: 10
Total Online Update Mailing List: 795

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CONTENTS:
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QUOTABLES:
The Demons Begin to Stir

NEWS WATCH:
Universities Consider "One Card" System
Cult Network Bites the Dust
Privacy & the Net
Global Bumping Cars
The Unexpected Quake
Hot Springs Predict Earthquakes
Beat that Lingering Cold
SAD Relief
Naturopaths Organize to Meet Demand
Soybean: Good or Bad?

GOOD NEWS WATCH:
U.S. Cancer Rate Falls
Fear of Teen Crime Wave Eases

NEWS BRIEF SPONSOR:
Spirit of Sedona: Experience of a Lifetime

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR:
Only One Knows the Appointed Hour
Millennium Madness Begins!
Any Power Radio
Cut Loose a Little

CONSPIRACY WATCH:
Conspiracy Theories

PROPHECY WATCH:
Tabloid Psychic Predictions

MEDIA WATCH:
Better Living Through Soap

EARTH WATCH:
1996: A Disastrous Year

WEB WATCH:
Corporate Watch
Clear

NHNE STAFF
ABOUT NHNE & HOW TO JOIN US

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QUOTABLES:
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THE DEMONS BEGIN TO STIR

"I worry that as the Millennium edges nearer, pseudoscience and superstition will seem more tempting, the siren song of unreason more sonorous and attractive. Where have we heard it before? Whenever our ethnic or national prejudices are aroused, in times of scarcity, during challenges to national self-esteem or nerve, when we agonize about our diminished cosmic place and purpose, or when fanaticism is bubbling up around us -- then habits of thought familiar from ages past reach for the controls. The candle flame gutters. Its little pool of light trembles. Darkness gathers. The demons begin to stir."

---Carl Sagan, one of the world's greatest popularizers of science, in his last book, "The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark." Sagan died on December 20, 1996.

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NEWS WATCH:
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UNIVERSITIES CONSIDER "ONE CARD" SYSTEM
(Source: RED ROCK EATER NEWS SERVICE 11/10/96 via Phil Agre)

A number of universities are considering "one card" systems whereby all of the means of identification issued by various campus entities would be consolidated into a single card. These cards have the potential to simplify tasks and provide new services, but they also raise very significant privacy issues, particularly when their use is extended to include such tasks as opening doors and making phone calls and bank withdrawals and deposits. CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY (CSU) is planning a unified one-card system that would apply to all of CSU's 20 campuses and 300,000 students. The system would be funded by including the functionalities of a telephone calling card and a bank debit card with the student ID card. Long-distance phone companies and banks would then bid for access to 300,000 potential new customers. The CALIFORNIA STATE STUDENT ASSOCIATION, which consists of student government representatives from all of the CSU campuses, has raised several objections to the one-card plan. One of their proposals is that CSU should formally adopt a privacy code in consultation with the students of CSU. Such a code would not only define how privacy issues would be handled, but must also provide for a system of auditing data security and detailed penalties for violation of the code. (JG)

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CULT NETWORK BITES THE DUST
(Source: COMMUNITIES, Issue 93, Winter 1996)

Since the 1970s, THE CULT AWARENESS NETWORK (CAN) made life difficult for communities and organizations it deemed a "cult." Along with distributing literature and newspaper clippings , CAN also organized hundreds of kidnappings and "deprogrammings." Last year, all that came to an end: due to numerous legal difficulties (mostly lawsuits filed by people they had abducted), CAN went bankrupt. In 1993, CAN's security chief, Glen Kelly, pled guilty to kidnapping-related charges and served a year in prison. Ted Patrick, the founder of CAN's predecessor group, who was also involved in the kidnapping-for-hire business of religious adherents and members of various intentional communities, was convicted and sent to prison three times for his abductions. (DS)

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PRIVACY & THE NET
(Source: Jon Handler, RED ROCK EATER NEWS SERVICE via Phil Agre)

The Internet has become a powerful tool for creating new social connections across barriers of geography and society. Recently, however, several firms have started abusing the power of the Internet by publishing on the Net large databases of personal information. The widespread dispersal of personal information without prior consent, is a serious invasion of privacy and because these services gather their data silently and from many sources, they present a real threat to those who require anonymity. In addition, public databases could serve as a source for stalkers, scam artists, and junk mailers. Here are some of the big data collectors: <http://www.four11.com>, <http://www.whowhere.com>, <http://www.switchboard.com>, <http://bigfoot.com>, <http://www.searchamerica.com>. Before you make up your mind as to how you feel about this new phenomenon, why not first check some of the databases and see what information they have on you. You may be surprised. Information merchants are under no obligation to delete your file, even if you request it. (JG)

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GLOBAL BUMPING CARS
(Source: Tim Appenzeller, DISCOVER, 1/97)

By 1980, geological research had confirmed Alfred Wegner's 1912 theory of the supercontinent of Pangea, which split apart 200 million years ago to form present-day land masses. Subsequent research also confirmed that Pangea was made up of pieces of an older supercontinent called Rodinia. This year, geologist John Rogers of the UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA peered back 3 billion years in time to discern the protocontinent of Ur. He speculated that for 500 million years, Ur wandered alone, growing slowly as its volcanoes spewed magma and material accreted along its edges. Meanwhile, other parts of the Earth's crust were thickening and cooling, and in the next 500 million years, three more continents appeared: Arctica, which was to make up Canada, Greenland and Siberia; Baltica, representing Europe; and Atlantica, seen now in western Africa and eastern South America. Then over the next billion years, in a scenario reminiscent of global bumping cars, Baltica and Arctica collided to form Nena; Ur and Atlantica plowed into Nena producing Rodinia, which reformed into Pangea, the mother of all modern continents.

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THE UNEXPECTED QUAKE
(Source: Rachel Preiser, DISCOVER, 1/97)

The magnitude 8 quake which struck the New Guinea Trench in the western Pacific this past February was the first seismic activity of any significance ever from that area of the world. Despite the fact that the trench represents the point where the Australian and Pacific plates collide, the area has been traditionally quiet, showing no evidence of ocean crust being thrust down into the hot mantle underlying the trench, a process that normally results in quakes along deep sea trenches. According to geophysicist, Emile Okal at NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY, the rogue quake may represent a subduction process just starting up. This is cause for alarm for local residents. The February quake generated a 20-foot tsunami which killed 100 people and destroyed 600 homes.

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HOT SPRINGS PREDICT EARTHQUAKES
(Source: EARTH CHANGES REPORT, 12/96)

Scientists in China have discovered that shortly before some earthquakes occur, temperatures in nearby hot springs go up. For example, before the 7.4 magnitude quake at Yunnan Longling in 1976, the temperature in a hot spring 10 miles away rose 10 degrees; in nearby Tangshan, which was hit the same year by a devastating quake that killed 240,000 people, the temperature of a local hot spring rose 22 degrees in the weeks before the disaster. Chinese officials are now monitoring more than 2,000 hot springs around the country. (JG)

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BEAT THAT LINGERING COLD
(Source: Anita Manning, USA TODAY, 12/12/96)

Does a lingering cold have you down? Try these herbal remedies:

-- Echinacea, a flower extract, is the most widely used botanical in the nation. Clinical trials are ongoing, but when taken at the onset of a cold, it stimulates the immune system.

-- Goldenseal, a root, also enhances the immune system, and can be taken in combination with echinacea, for added nourishment.

-- Vitamin C, in a timed-release form may help to reduce a cold's severity. 2,000 to 5,000 milligrams a day are recommended.

-- Vitamin E has also been shown to have a positive effect on the immune system in daily doses of 100 to 400 IU.

And of course, do not neglect the time-honored methods of plenty of liquids (including chicken soup) and plenty of rest. (JG)

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SAD RELIEF
(Source: AMERICAN HEALTH, 10/95)

Up to now, people suffering from seasonal affective disorder (SAD) have only been able to find relief by exposing themselves to bright full-spectrum lights during the dark months. Scientists have recently discovered that part of the SAD symptoms may also be caused by a lack of negative ions. Cool dry winter air, cooling and heating systems, computers, certain kinds of clothing and construction materials all seem to strip away the electrons necessary to maintain a feeling of well being, leaving us feeling draggy and depressed. So before you take antidepressant drugs because your light therapy isn't working to help your SAD condition, try sitting in front of a high-capacity negative ion generator for 30 minutes each day. (JG)

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NATUROPATHS ORGANIZE TO MEET DEMAND
(Sources: Gerard McIntee, ENERGY TIMES 11/12/96; Rhonda Rowland, CNN ONLINE, 11/24/96)

According to a study published in 1993 by the NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE, one in three people in the U.S. claimed to have used non-traditional medicine at least once during the previous year. With the increasing numbers of people insisting on their right to choose alternative health care systems, organizations are forming in many states to satisfy the demand. 22 states currently have associations for alternative healers such as naturopaths. The associations' legal status opens the door for insurance coverage. More than a dozen progressive insurance companies like ALLSTATE and PRUDENTIAL offer some kind of coverage for alternative treatments. Naturopathy is recognized by the American Medical Association (AMA) as "complimentary medicine" and conventional physicians are being encouraged to learn more about it. (KAB, JG)

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SOYBEAN: GOOD OR BAD?
(Source: Simone Gabbay, VENTURE INWARD, Jan-Feb/97)

In 1996, it was found that the regular consumption of soy protein reduced the risk of cancer and the lowered blood chloresterol levels, something long suspected by vegetarians and those concerned about health and diet. However, several new studies are now questioning the miracle-food status of this universal health food. Tests indicate that the protein in tofu, an unfermented form of soybean, may not be as digestible as once thought. Some reports further suggest that the phylates in soybeans may inhibit the absorption of essential minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc. Tofu and soy milk are particularly phylate-rich members of the soybean family. The high-heat processing required for soy milk production further denatures the proteins. This throws into question the value of soy milk as an alternative to cow's milk, especially since it is becoming apparent that allergies to soy milk are almost as common as to those of cow's milk. In addition, substituting soy milk for mother's milk is also being questioned. Not only does it block the absorption of minerals, soy milk lacks the chloresterol which naturally occurs in breast milk as well as a substance found to be vital for normal growth and development, particularly of the brain and nervous system. In his readings, Edgar Cayce advised that members of the "pod" family (to which the soybean belongs) should be eaten only in small quantities, and although soy products were recommended by name in some of his readings, they were said to be beneficial only for physically-active people since they were acid-forming. (JG)

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GOOD NEWS WATCH:
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U.S. CANCER RATE FALLS
(Source: Doug Levy, USA TODAY, 11/14/96)

For the first time since cancer statistics started to be kept in the 1930s, the U.S. cancer rate is going down. According to the NATIONAL CANCER INSTITUTE, the rate of cancer deaths went down 2.6 percent from 1991 to 1995, reversing the rising trend of 6.4 percent from 1971 to 1990. Philip Cole, an epidemiologist at the UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA, adds, "This decline is accelerating and is now continuing at about 2 percent per year." Experts attribute the decline to reduced smoking and improved prevention and treatment. Says HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Secretary Donna Shalala, "This looks like a turning point in the 25-year war on cancer." Cancer rates still remain disappropriately high amongst minorities and the poor; for example, the cancer death rate for black males is 40 percent higher than for white males. (JG)

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FEAR OF TEEN CRIME WAVE EASES
(Source: Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY, 12/13/96)

A sharp rise in juvenile crime in the 1980s and early 90s coupled with an rapidly growing juvenile population (expected to increase 48 percent by 2010) prompted dire predictions of a juvenile crime wave. However, recent crime statistics show a drop in every major category of youth violent crime, and criminologists and other law enforcement officials now believe the predicted wave of juvenile violence will not occur. No one seems to have a definitive explanation for the decline, but experts feel the changes can be attributed to a myriad of strategies like police outreach to the schools, mentoring programs sponsored by local businesses, and specialized training of police officers to understand the issues of juveniles and deal with them effectively. As an example of the drop in the crime rate, in 1994 there 212 arrests per 100,000 kids aged 10-14 for violent crime and 1,555 arrests of kids 15-17. By 1995, the total number of arrests had dropped to 198 and 1,493, respectively. (JG)

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NEWS BRIEF SPONSOR:
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NHNE is sponsoring a 7-day, all-expense-paid trip to Sedona, Arizona, USA, for two people from anywhere in North America. Activities include sacred hikes, tours, vision quests, body and healing work, massages, hot air balloon rides, and a special banquet with some of Sedona's movers and shakers (including David Sunfellow, the founder and publisher of NHNE, and James Gregory the Editor-in-Chief of the NHNE News Brief). All you have to do is write an essay about why you want to come to Sedona and include a donation ($50.00 is suggested). The contest ends March 1, 1997. Winners will be announced March 15, 1997. Seven runners up will also receive prizes.

Via regular mail, send your essays and donations to:

NewHeavenNewEarth
P.O. Box 2242
Sedona, AZ 86339

Via email, send your essays and a credit card number indicating what size of donation you would like to make to NHNE to:

angels@sedona.net

For more information, including a growing list of participating individuals and business, visit our Web site:

http://nen.sedona.net/nhne/spiritofsedona/

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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR:
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ONLY ONE KNOWS THE APPOINTED HOUR

"After watching a DISCOVERY CHANNEL program entitled "Ancient Prophecies," my wife, Vickie, and I were a little bewildered with Scallion's and Edgar Cayce's dire predictions for the world and its destructive ending. Using a search engine, I immediately came to your Web site to obtain additional information. Your detailed analysis has enlightened us. We want to thank you for taking the time to provide a great synopsis of Scallion's failed predictions for 1995. Being the imperfect creation that we are, Mankind's attempt to interpret the Holy Bible's last book will always be fraught with error. We should remember that the Bible tells us (Mt 24:36 and Mk 13:32-33) that only ONE knows the appointed hour."

---Gene Berry, San Marcos, California

[Coming soon: an NHNE report on Scallion's predictions for 1997 and a review of his track record for 1996. JG]

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MILLENNIUM MADNESS BEGINS!

"I recently read one of your News Briefs and noticed that your 'Millennium Countdown' gives the number of days until January 1, 2000. This is a common mistake. The year 2000 is the concluding year of the Second Millennium. Year 0 through the end of Year 1000 equals 1,000 total years, or the first Millennium. From January 1, 1001 through December 31, 2000 equals the next 1,000 total years. The 'Third Millennium' begins January 1, 2001... really. And by the way, while 1992 and 1996 (years divisible by 4) were leap years, the year 2000 (divisible by 4, but also divisible by 100) is not a leap year, so only add 365 days to your total for the correct Millennium Countdown figure."

---C.F. Nye, Cottonwood, Arizona

[We are aware of the differing opinions as to when the next millennium would actually start. Our Millennium Countdown is not meant to be the definitive time clock, but just something fun. Setting math and logic aside, most people are going to celebrate the arrival of "2K" on January 1, 2000. JG]

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ANY POWER RADIO

"In NEWS BRIEF 38, you mentioned that the Freeplay wind-up radio was available for $99.95 from REAL GOODS. [The current price is now up to $120.] Your readers may be interested in knowing that DEWEY RESEARCH CENTER has for years sold an AM/FM radio, powered by either batteries, AC/DC adapter, solar, or wind-up dynamo, called the Any Power Radio. It is made by SONY, and offers clear sound, a hi-fi monoral speaker, headphone jack, nylon strap, and telescoping antenna. The cost is a reasonable $27.95. See our Net site <http://www.4drc.com> for more information."

---Bill Dewey, President, DEWEY RESEARCH CENTER, Rochester, New York

[This offer seemed too good to be true so I ordered one of these Any Power radios for myself. It is even better than Bill Dewey describes. The solar collector is built in and there is a little handle on the side connected to an internal dynamo for optional wind up play. The Any Power Radio makes a nifty present. JG]

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CUT LOOSE A LITTLE

"Your Special Report on Remote Viewing was very comprehensive. I've done some research on the subject myself, and I have some comments about the conclusion of the report.

"The report states: 'Courtney Brown went out on a very long limb over the mysterious object near Comet Hale-Bopp. Despite claims by Alan Hale, one of the professional astronomers who discovered the comet, that the object was a faint star, Brown still stands by his story. One wonders if they are looking at the same thing.' This is precisely where the debate should begin, not end! They ARE looking at the same thing, but they are so epistemologically different that it is impossible to tell. The world view of most astronomers simply doesn't allow for ET stuff like this. It is therefore not surprising that they think it's not true. The recent stuff on FARSIGHT's Web site suggests that events are accelerating quite rapidly. It seems very likely that there is some sort of ET involvement there, and entirely possible that this will soon be public knowledge.

"Your report ends with the comment: 'The greatest implication of remote viewing -- of poking your head through the clouds and into the sunshine of the collective unconsciousness, as described by Ed Dames -- is the possibility of a quantum leap in consciousness that would be nothing short of the birth of a new species of human being. This is powerful stuff. Caution and discernment are advised.' The problem with RV is that, staggering as it is, it only scratches the surface of what may well be going on. What if all the Mayan prophecies, which see us all moving into the fifth dimension in 2012 (and remember that we'll have to get through the fourth to get there!), are true? The Schumann Resonance has been rising and the Sun's magnetic field has been changing right on cue. Our current 3D thinking is just not up to the task. And RV, which is basically a 4D technology, would also not be able to see the situation as it is. My point is this: rigorous caution and discernment lead us to a point where we realize that these very qualities limit and do not serve us. The global bus is trundling up the exponential slope, and God is driving. So I recommend that we cut loose a little, while remaining super-aware of all dimensions. It's a toughie, but we wouldn't have this chosen this life if we weren't up to it."

---Ben Swift, London, England

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CONSPIRACY WATCH:
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CONSPIRACY THEORIES
(Source: Rick Martin, T. Trent Gegax, NEWSWEEK, 12/30/96)

The U.S. has always had its share of conspiracies; in fact, the country was founded by the Freemasons, the ultimate secret society, who were responsible for, amongst other things, the mysterious all-seeing eye and pyramid symbols found on every dollar bill. Conspiracy paranoia surrounds us, but these days it seems even more prevalent, fanned by the Internet and TV shows such as "The X-Files" and "Dark Skies." Kendrick Frazier, Editor of the SKEPTICAL INQUIRER, comments, "There certainly seems to be a resurgence in sympathy toward conspiracy theory and an increasing strain of paranoia." AMERICA ONLINE has started up a "channel" called "Parascope" to appeal to afficianados of the paranormal and paranoid. Mel Gibson's next movie is entitled, "Conspiracy Theory." And a recent survey in GEORGE magazine indicated that 75 percent of Americans believe that "the Government is involved in conspiracy."

Here are some of the latest conspiracies which are making the rounds at the moment:

-- The aliens who landed on Earth in 1947 masterminded the JFK assassination.

-- The CIA started the Crack epidemic by backing Nicaraguan drug lords whose profits went to the Contras.

-- AIDS is a plot to wipe out African-Americans.

-- Grunge rock star Curt Cobain did not die by his own hand -- he was murdered.

-- O.J. Simpson was set up by the Japanese mafia.

-- Prince Charles is a puppet of the New World Order, and receives instructions by a computer chip in his buttock.

-- Oklahoma City bomber suspect Timothy McVeigh reportedly claimed that he too had a computer chip implanted in his buttock and was controlled by the U.S. Army.

-- White House aide Vince Foster did not die by his own hand.

-- The label on SNAPPLE Iced Tea depicts a slave galley, a reflection of the company's solidarity with the KKK.

-- Rapper Tupac Shakur faked his own death.

-- The Government keeps a genetic record of every citizen in secret DNA banks.

-- The Roswell incident was a smoke screen set up by the Government to distract people from the real truth about aliens.

-- The scientific community all know that a huge spaceship is trailing the Hale-Bopp Comet, but are keeping the information from the rest of us for our own good.

Chris Carter, creator of the "X-Files" and "Millennium" explains his personal fascination with conspiracies: "My paranoia and mistrust of authority came of age during Watergate. It [doesn't] help when you pick up the paper every day and see how the Government has lied to us." As examples, he cites the Gulf War Syndrome coverup and radiation experiments performed on unwitting Americans as late as 1974.

For a light-hearted look at all the latest conspiracies, check out CONSPIRACY.NET:
http://www.warwick.ac.uk/~aeram/conspir.html (JG)

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PROPHECY WATCH:
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TABLOID PSYCHIC PREDICTIONS
(Source: Gene Emery, SKEPTICAL INQUIRER, 12/15/96)

1996 was quite a year: Rush Limbaugh became the Republican nominee for President; Roseanne killed off her popular TV character; cures for baldness, arthritis, and AIDS were announced; and Michael Jackson had a sex-change operation. It's no surprise if you don't remember those headlines, because they didn't happen. Those are some of the events that were supposed to occur in 1996 according to the top psychics who reported their predictions a year ago in the supermarket tabloids. As in previous years, their batting record for forecasting major unexpected news events was abysmal. Here's a tabloid-by-tabloid rundown of the year that should have been, according to some of the world's best "psychics."

THE NATIONAL ENQUIRER:

-- O.J. Simpson will become a minister after confessing during testimony in a civil suit that he killed Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman.

-- Barbara Walters will be kidnapped by Middle East terrorists, but will be freed after ABC agrees to let the terrorists air their views on a three-hour broadcast hosted by Barbara.

THE GLOBE:

-- O.J. prosecutors Marcia Clark and Chris Darden will marry; meanwhile Simpson will join a monastery.

-- Angela Lansbury will devise a dramatic departure from "Murder, She Wrote" by casting herself as the show's final victim.

THE NATIONAL EXAMINER:

-- Michael Jackson will undergo a complete sex change and insist that everyone call him Michelle.

-- Nuclear missiles will be used to break up a giant asteroid found to be hurtling toward Earth.

THE SUN:

-- An American astronaut will give birth to a healthy baby girl during a six-month mission aboard the Russian space station Mir.

-- The South Pacific island nation of Tonga will mount a manned lunar mission which will become stranded on the Moon.

The prize for the most embarrassing prediction goes to Mystic Meg, a psychic for the GLOBE. In the January 2, 1996, issue she said that Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin would reunite for an emotional reunion on TV. Martin died around the time the prediction hit the newsstands.

On the medical front, 1996 was supposed to be the year that "Star Trek" star Patrick Stewart discovered an herbal cure for baldness, actor James Garner discovered a cure for arthritis that people could make in their own kitchens, and a miracle cure for AIDS was found.

The psychics' horrible batting average isn't surprising. What is surprising is that the tabloids keep carrying the predictions of the same psychics year after year. Any professional ball player who missed as often as these folks, would have been sent to the showers long ago. Last year, in response to a similar analysis, NATIONAL ENQUIRER Executive Editor Steve Coz said that the list of predictions "isn't something to be critiqued because it's a fun read, and it's meant to be taken as that." However, later in the same interview, Coz said the predictions are published to tell readers, "what you can look forward to." In short, THE ENQUIRER tries to have it both ways.

So what's in store for next year? According to the tabloid psychics, 1997 will be the year plastic surgeons discover a way to give dogs the faces of movie stars, Castro will fall from power, the future of the British royal family will be shaken by the appearance of a rival claimant to the throne, Americans will get a $1,000 tax deduction for every career criminal they kill, time travel will become as affordable as a Disneyland vacation, the stock market will tumble, and Indians from Canada and the U.S. will form an alliance to win independence from both countries. (JG)

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MEDIA WATCH:
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BETTER LIVING THROUGH SOAP
By SwiftWing Reporter Joya Pope

The population of the world now exceeds 5.8 billion, with another billion being added every ten years. As the world's population increases, so, it seems, does its misery. Almost half the people on the planet don't have adequate sanitation. 88 countries are unable to grow or purchase enough food to feed themselves. By 2000, there will be 46 cities in the developing world with populations of over five million -- in 1950 there was one. In 2025, the population of Asia and Africa alone will be 6.5 billion -- more than the current population of the entire world.

One organization that has set out to make a difference in the population/environment equation is POPULATION COMMUNICATIONS INTERNATIONAL (PCI) -- a ten-year-old organization whose mission is to work creatively with Third World countries to influence population trends favoring sustainable development and environmental protection. PCI is best known for their radio and TV soap operas and serial dramas that promote elevating the status of women, using family planning, and embracing small family norms.

Most Third World cultures have traditional big-family norms and much of this big-family thinking has not been updated for centuries. While women may secretly desire fewer children and the government may be pushing for smaller families, this does not in itself change emotional thinking. PCI dramas challenge old ways of thinking and appear to be successful in this end. In a world which is no longer spacious or expansively rural, they reach the uneducated and illiterate and encourage them to think through the issues surrounding family size. Male machismo and the desire for big families are tackled both head on and indirectly through different characters and their behaviors. Female exhaustion, temper, moodiness, and hopelessness are shown to be related to large families. Opportunities for sex are shown to be greater, both time and energy-wise, in small families. Money is clearly demonstrated to be a greater problem with a large family to feed, shelter and provide for medically.

PCI currently has programs on the air in Brazil, India, Philippines, St. Lucia, and Tanzania. Programs are in planning stages in seven additional countries where the governments have invited PCI to promote smaller families. These shows are often the most popular programs on the air because the dramas are well-written, use local actors, and deal with local problems and issues. PCI doesn't actually produce the soap operas; rather they help organize the in-country efforts and provide ongoing technical assistance on both production and research.

Audiences tend to bond and identify with soap opera characters. In a typical PCI soap, the good characters live richer fuller lives; the bad characters reap the consequences of their behaviors; transitional characters exhibit behaviors which challenge viewer assumptions and reinforce positive values. In the locations where these soap operas have been broadcast, there has been a significant increase in traffic to local family planning clinics and a steady drop in the birthrate.

Aware of the power to be found in the soap opera and its consequences, PCI has twice gathered American producers and writers for a "Soap Summit" to encourage the movers and shakers in the industry to be socially responsible and to realize that their characters become social models. This year, for example, PCI brought in three teenage fathers who urged soap makers to show the difficulties of parenting and not to make teen parenting look like a happy fantasy.

While we are all a little squeamish about propaganda, PCI appears to have found a middle road in successfully promoting programming that has the power to change people's lives from the inside out, while at the same time providing wholesome entertainment.

PCI is funded by donations and foundation grants. They can be reached "Pci@together.org" for more information. (Sources: THE POPULATION INSTITUTE, 8/96; PCI MEMBER NEWSLETTER, Fall/96)

[Joya Pope is the author of "Upcoming Changes" and "The World According to Michael: An Old Soul's Guide to the Universe." She can be reached at: "joyapope@aol.com".]

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EARTH WATCH:
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1996: A DISASTROUS YEAR
(Source: FEMA Press Release, 12/26/96)

While 1996 was nowhere near as active as most psychics had predicted, it had more than its share of natural disasters. In fact, in the wake of the year's unusual siege of extreme weather and abnormal demand for federal aid, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Director James Lee Witt, the nation's top emergency manager, has called for a renewed national commitment to control the rising toll of American disaster losses. In the past five years, the annual federal disaster expenditure has risen from $3.3 billion to more than $13 billion.

According to agency year-end figures, more than half of the year's declared disasters, a total of 40 declarations, resulted from seven high-impact incidents:

-- The two East Coast Blizzards of '96 (14 declarations)

-- The massive mid-Atlantic and Pacific Northwest floods in January and February (12 declarations)

-- Hurricanes Bertha, Fran and Hortense (9 declarations)

-- The Atlantic coastal storm that lashed the Northeast in October (5 declarations).

From a cost standpoint, these seven events accounted for $1.3 billion of the more than $1.7 billion in FEMA funds that have been obligated to date in responding to the year's declared disasters.

The year's single most costly disaster was Hurricane Fran, which ravaged North Carolina in early September and damaged parts of Maryland, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia. To date, $416 million in FEMA relief assistance has been provided to these affected states, with North Carolina receiving $360 million of the overall amount. The hardest hit state was Pennsylvania, requiring six Presidential major disaster declarations to recover from the effects of a string of damaging natural disasters highlighted by the mid-Atlantic floods in January and Hurricane Fran in September. The most common disaster, as usual, was flooding which figured in 44 of the year's declared disasters. Severe winter storms were involved in 17 declarations, hurricanes and tropical storms in 9, and tornadoes in 7.

FEMA is the central point of contact within the federal government responsible for a wide variety of emergency preparedness, and response and recovery activities. The agency administers the President's Disaster Relief Fund and coordinates federal assistance when major disasters and emergencies are declared. The aid supplements existing state and local resources and is authorized by the President only when those combined capabilities fall short of effective recovery. FEMA is on the World Wide Web: <http://www.fema.gov>. (JG)

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WEB WATCH:
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CORPORATE WATCH:
http://www.corpwatch.org

CORPORATE WATCH is a new Web site designed to provide journalists, activists and policy makers with up-to-date information and analysis on social, ecological and economic impacts of transnational corporations. "One of the reasons we've created CORPORATE WATCH is to keep an eye on all those Fortune 500 companies that are jumping on the World Wide Web bandwagon," remarked the site's Editorial Coordinator, Joshua Karliner. In addition to serving as a mini-online magazine that runs features on related issues, the site also includes a manual on how to research transnational corporations, monthly "greenwash" awards given to the most outrageous corporate "environmental" advertisements, and direct links to the CORPORATE WATCH AFFILIATE GROUP -- a collection of organizations which provide in-depth research services. (Source: RED ROCK EATER NEWS SERVICE, 12/10/96, JG)

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CLEAR:
http://www.ewg.org/pub/home/clear/clear.html

ENVIRONMENTAL WORKING GROUP'S CLEARINGHOUSE ON ENVIRONMENTAL ADVOCACY AND RESEARCH (CLEAR), tracks the industry-supported backlash against the environmental movement. Anti-environmental activists, who often call themselves the "Wise Use Movement," seek to roll back or weaken laws that protect wildlife, habitat, and public lands, as well as health and safety standards for our water, food and air. (DS)

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NHNE STAFF:
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Publisher:
David Sunfellow (DS)

Editor-in-Chief:
James Gregory (JG)

SwiftWing Reporters:
Gail Rossi (GR)
Lea Harwood (LH)
Joya Pope (JP)
Palden Jenkins (PJ)
Sandy Ezrine (SE)
Kathleen-Blake Frankel (KBF)
Karol Ann Barnett (KAB)
Mary Koch (MK)

NHNE Web Page Programming:
David Sunfellow

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ABOUT NHNE & HOW TO JOIN US:
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COPYRIGHT NOTICE:
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Copyright 1997 by NewHeavenNewEarth

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