The Vatican Gives In To China

Grind for September 26th, 2018
“There must be quite a few things that a hot bath won’t cure, but I don’t know many of them.”

– Sylvia Plath

Did You Know?

The Headline

Jet Airways flight makes emergency landing after cabin loses pressure

The Grind

Have you ever wondered what would happen to the human body in the case of an airline cabin losing pressure?

Just ask one of the 121 passengers who booked Jet Airways Flight 9W 697 from Mumbai to Jaipur.

“Scores of passengers including me bleeding from the nose,” tweeted passenger Satish Nair. “No staff to help…no announcement on board to wear the oxygen mask.” Other passengers suffered intense pain and bleeding from their ears.

Jet Airways has been vague about the details of the incident, but apparently the flight crew simply “forgot” to pressurize the cabin before takeoff.

The Details

Planes flying above 10,000 feet must pressurize their cabins so that everyone on board can breathe. That’s because at higher altitudes, the oxygen molecules in the air are further apart; this makes it difficult to breathe.

In the case of flight 9W 697, the lack of pressure lead to the rupturing of blood vessels in passengers’ ears and nose. Continued lack of pressure would have caused hypoxia (oxygen deficiency), which completely destroys your ability to function.

Hypoxia occurs quickly. Planes flying at 20,000 feet have just 5-12 minutes to correct the problem before passengers start experiencing symptoms.

For planes flying as high as 35,000 feet, that window shrinks to just 30 seconds. That’s why it’s so important to put on your oxygen mask as soon as it drops from the ceiling.

The effects of hypoxia can be hard to notice in cases where pressure decreases gradually. Symptoms include confusion, disorientation, rapid breathing, headache, and drowsiness.

As you can imagine, hypoxia is particularly dangerous for passengers who have already fallen asleep and for pilots if symptoms begin before they realize what is happening.

Bad Move

The Headline

Vatican sells out to the Chinese government

The Grind

The Chinese government on Saturday signed a “provisional agreement” with the Vatican which gives Beijing the ability to nominate and approve future Catholic bishops.

The agreement ends a decades-long fight over who chooses Catholic bishops in the world’s most populous country.

While exact details were not made public, those close to the matter insist the pope will have the power to veto any nominee proposed by the Chinese government.

The Details

Ever since China turned Communist (1949), the nation’s Catholic population has been split between a state-approved church and an underground church that remains loyal to the Vatican.

The Vatican has long hesitated to give up full control over the nomination process despite Beijing’s insistence that it should have the power to appoint bishops on its own (and has done so on multiple occasions).

Saturday’s agreement “could pave the way to formal diplomatic ties, but it will also anger many Chinese Catholics as a sellout to the Communist government,” notes NPR’s Sylvia Poggioli.

“Many underground Chinese Catholics fear greater suppression if the Vatican cedes more control to Beijing. Other Catholics see the accord as a rapprochement that will avert a potential schism.”

While the agreement certainly has the potential to improve ties between Beijing and the Holy See, it also means that China’s atheist government will have the ability to pick and choose new leaders within the Catholic church.

Did you know… Babies start dreaming even before they’re born.