This Week in the News

US Power Severely Limited—but the USA Does Not Notice it.

Foreign Policy wrote on April 26:

“The era of unilateralism is over—and Washington is the last to realize it.

“Just how powerful is the United States? Is it still the unipolar power, able to impose its will on adversaries, allies, and neutrals, and force them—however reluctantly—to go along with policies they think are foolish, dangerous, or simply contrary to their interests? Or are there clear and significant limits to U.S. power…?

“The Trump administration has embraced the first position, especially since John Bolton became White House national security advisor and Mike Pompeo took over as secretary of state. Whatever President Donald Trump’s initial instincts may have been, their arrival marked a return to the unilateralist… approach to foreign policy that characterized George W. Bush’s first term as president, when Vice President Dick Cheney and the neoconservatives held sway. A key feature of that earlier period was the assumption that the United States was so powerful that it could go it alone on many issues and that other states could be cowed into submission by demonstrations of U.S. power and resolve…

“The Bush-Cheney approach produced a string of failures, but the same unilateral arrogance lives on in the Trump administration… The underlying assumption… is… that other states won’t find ways to evade, obstruct, divert, dilute, hedge, hinder, or otherwise negate what Washington is trying to do…  Plus, most Americans don’t care all that much about foreign policy and are usually willing to go along with whatever the executive branch is doing, provided that it doesn’t prove too costly or embarrassing…”

Not only don’t most Americans care about foreign policy, they are also woefully uninformed about what is happening in the world outside the borders of the USA. And even then, most don’t realize what is really happening within the borders of the USA either. The Bible has prophesied that the UK and, by extension the USA, will become burned cakes which have not been turned, and they will not notice it.

Extending Trump’s Presidency?

Axios wrote on May 5:

“President Trump retweeted Liberty University President Jerry Falwell’s Twitter post calling for the first term of his presidency to be extended by 2 years for ‘time stolen’ and tweeted his own thoughts on the Mueller investigation Sunday. ‘Despite the tremendous success that I have had as President, including perhaps the greatest ECONOMY and most successful first two years of any President in history, they have stollen [sic] two years of my (our) Presidency (Collusion Delusion) that we will never be able to get back…’

“Trump made the remarks after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi… told The New York Times she worried the president might not give up power voluntarily if he lost the 2020 election by a narrow margin.”

It’s a moot question as Donald Trump will win the 2020 election. The issue is, however, what might happen in 2024.

650 Former Federal Prosecutors Charge Trump with Obstruction of Justice

Axios wrote on May 7:

“More than 650 former federal prosecutors have signed onto a statement asserting that if the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) did not prohibit a sitting president from being indicted, President Trump would be charged with obstruction of justice…

“Special counsel Robert Mueller laid out extensive evidence of possible obstruction by Trump in volume 2 of his report, though he ultimately opted not to make a ‘traditional prosecutorial judgment’ in part because of the OLC opinion. Attorney General Bill Barr’s decision to clear Trump of obstruction has drawn the ire of many Democrats and former prosecutors who believe he is acting as the president’s personal lawyer, rather than the country’s top law enforcement official.

“The statement is signed by more than 20 former U.S. attorneys and more than 100 career Justice Department officials who worked in every administration dating back to President Eisenhower. It cites a number of episodes Mueller detailed in his report as ‘acts that satisfy all of the elements for an obstruction charge’ — meaning obstructive conduct and ‘corrupt intent.’ Specifically, the prosecutors point to: ‘The President’s efforts to fire Mueller and to falsify evidence about that effort; The President’s efforts to limit the scope of Mueller’s investigation to exclude his conduct; and The President’s efforts to prevent witnesses from cooperating with investigators probing him and his campaign.’”

None of this matters, because Trump will not be indicted, and he will win the re-election in 2020.

Placing Iran on Notice

JTA wrote on May 5:

“The Trump administration is deploying air and sea strike forces to the Middle East in response to what it described as ‘troubling and escalatory indications and warnings’ from Iran… Israel blames a deadly escalation over the weekend on the Gaza Strip border in part on Iranian arming and funding of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist group. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the hostilities were not related to the military ramp-up in the Persian Gulf…

“[National Security Adviser, John] Bolton said the U.S. was deploying the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and a bomber task force to the U.S. Central Command region ‘to send a clear and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime that any attack on United States interests or on those of our allies will be met with unrelenting force.’ ‘The United States is not seeking war with the Iranian regime,’ he said, ‘but we are fully prepared to respond to any attack, whether by proxy, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps or regular Iranian forces.’

“The Trump administration is also backing Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen, and the Saudis say the Houthi forces they are engaging in that country are a proxy for Iran. The Syrian civil war is in its final stages and parties to that conflict, including Iran and its ally, the Lebanese Hezbollah militia, are seeking to establish permanence in that country. The United States also wants to diminish Iranian influence in Iraq.”

Deutsche Welle reported on May 7:

“US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made a surprise visit to Baghdad over concerns Iran ‘is escalating their activity.’… Pompeo had been on his way to Germany where he was due to meet both Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, but suddenly canceled the trip due to ‘pressing issues,’ the State Department initially said…

“Pompeo said he made the trip to Iraq because Iranian forces are ‘escalating their activity’ and the threat of attacks were ‘very specific.’ ‘These were attacks that were imminent,’ Pompeo said without discussing the intelligence in detail.”

North Korea vs. USA?

Donald Trump has said he does not think North Korea is ‘ready to negotiate’ after it launched suspected short-range missiles, in the second such weapons test in five days. ‘We’re looking at it very seriously right now,’ Trump told reporters in the White House. ‘Nobody’s happy about it.’…

“In another development likely to dent hopes of a resumption of talks, the US justice department said it had taken custody of a North Korean cargo ship it alleged had been involving in sanctions-busting by smuggling coal from Russia in defiance of a UN embargo.”

Ending USA-China Trade Truce?

Breitbart wrote on May 5:

“President Donald Trump said Sunday that he will hike the tariffs on $200 billion of imports from China to 25 percent from 10 percent on Friday…

“Trump’s tweets essentially end the so-called trade truce that has been in effect since December, when the president agreed with his Chinese counterpart to hold off on higher tariffs while the two nations negotiated a trade deal…”

The Sun wrote on May 9:

“Donald Trump wiped nearly $1.5 TRILLION off global markets in a single tweet after threatening to double China trade tariffs. Analysts have now pointed out that the President’s message cost a staggering $13bn a word.”

CNBC added on May 9:

“Dow falls 138 points, S&P drops for a fourth day as new China tariffs set to kick in at midnight.”

Germany Condemns Turkey

Deutsche Welle wrote on May 7:

“German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Tuesday condemned a controversial order to scrap the results of Istanbul’s mayoral election. Turkey’s top election body on Monday ordered a rerun of the vote after the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan alleged Ballot ‘irregularities’ and ‘organized corruption.’ Although AKP won most races in the March local polls, it lost the major cities of Ankara and Istanbul to the opposition.  Maas called the election body’s decision… ‘incomprehensible to us.’…

“The electoral board’s decision means a new Istanbul vote will be held on June 23. Erdogan described the planned rerun as an ‘important step’ for the country… Former German Greens leader Cem Özdemir, who has Turkish roots, told Agence France-Presse the annulment had ‘nothing to [do] with democracy,’ but rather proves that Erdogan is a ‘bitter old man, who has long passed the zenith of his power.’ ‘In the world of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, everyone who thinks differently to him is a terrorist, and every election he loses is a sham election,’ he said…

“Turkey’s opposition called the election board’s decision undemocratic and a sign the country had become a ‘dictatorship.’ Critics have long accused Erdogan of using his power to repress political opponents and silence critical voices in the media. The local elections in March were seen as his first test at the polls since last year’s currency crisis, which led to skyrocketing inflation and recession. And although his AKP won overall, the loss of the capital, Ankara, and economic powerhouse Istanbul, served a huge blow

“The defeat in Turkey’s largest city, home to 16 million people, came as a major shock to Erdogan and his AK party. Istanbul had been held by the AKP and its Islamic predecessors for more than two decades. It was also a personal loss for Erdogan, who grew up in the city and began his rise to political prominence as mayor there in the early 90s…”

Even though Turkey is becoming more and more alienated from the rest of Europe, due to Erdogan’s dictatorship, the Bible shows that in the future, Turkey will collaborate with Europe against Israel.

A European Army

Euractiv wrote on May 3:

“The controversial subject of the EU’s future plans for a common army provoked lively exchanges during the second Spitzenkandidaten debate on Thursday (2 May), just three weeks before the European polls. With security and defence likely to become one of the main priorities for the next European Commission, the most confrontational moment revolved around the question of whether the EU should pool its military resources.

“The idea has gained political momentum in recent months, floated by French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. However, the issue exposed a rift along party lines, with both Verhofstadt and Weber speaking out in favour, while Timmermans and Keller [voiced] their opposition against the plans.

“Liberal Verhofstadt called for Europe’s armies to merge within five years… ‘We spend nearly half of the Americans, we spend three times more than the Russians on the military in Europe, but I am not sure if the Russians come this way that we are capable to stop them…’

“His comments feed into the current state of play around the bloc, whereas there are currently approximately 178 different weapon systems in the EU, compared to only around 30 in the US… In a nod to Verhofstadt, Weber defended the vision of the EU army and called for ‘great ambitions’ when talking about the future of European defence…

“Green candidate Keller responded. ‘… if the one, big dream for Europe is about an army… [who] would send such an army into action?’… Timmermans, former Dutch foreign minister… declared the project unrealistic. He scolded Verhofstadt, telling him not to ‘over-promise’, and that ‘there will be no EU army for the foreseeable future.’”

Well, Keller and Timmermans will be proven to be wrong. A European army will exist, and a charismatic figure, called the beast in the Bible, will ultimately be in complete command of the army and send it into action.

Sebastian Kurz—“No EU Army, Need for a New Treaty”

Politico wrote on May 4:

“The EU must negotiate a new treaty with stronger collective rules and tougher sanctions for member countries that step out of line while at the same time reining in expansive projects such as an EU army, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (32) told Die Presse…

“His comments in a wide-ranging interview with the Vienna-based newspaper on the day his party launched its European election campaign are particularly crucial because he occupies an unusually strategic spot within the European Council, which must nominate the next European Commission president. He is a member of the center-right European People’s Party (EPP), which is projected once again to win the most seats in the European Parliament. He is a fierce supporter of the EU, but has also taken a tough line on immigration that makes him something of a bridge to more conservative leaders to Austria’s east…

“Kurz’s most substantive argument was that the Lisbon Treaty, which came into force in 2009, needs to be renovated to meet modern challenges, including stiff punishment for countries that violate rule of law and democracy standards or penalties for those that fail to enforce immigration laws. ‘Since the Lisbon Treaty, much has changed in Europe,’ Kurz said. ‘We had a debt crisis, a euro crisis, the migration crisis, the climate crisis and also the Brexit chaos.’…

“On the EU army, for which there is little appetite in Austria, Kurz said Brussels should better focus on increasing military and defense cooperation. ‘There will be no EU army, with member states giving up command,’ he said.

“Kurz has endorsed Manfred Weber, the EPP lead candidate for Commission president, but the interview offered some warnings for Weber, particularly the cautionary note on an EU army. Weber strongly endorsed the idea of an EU army, at least as an aspiration…

“The Austrian leader also issued a particularly pointed challenge to Emmanuel Macron. He demanded that the French president back up his claims to be an EU reformer by agreeing to a single seat for the European Parliament in Brussels, and ending the monthly plenary sessions in Strasbourg, which remains the Parliament’s official base. ‘We have to end the EU Parliament’s wandering circus,’ said Kurz.

“In the interview, Kurz also criticized right-wing populists — a point that some might view as hypocritical given that his governing coalition in Austria includes the far-right Freedom Party…”

Die Welt reported on May 7 that anti-Semitic statements were shouted during a demonstration in Vienna, Austria, and indirectly, the demand for theextinction of Israel, but that nothing happened. However, when an Israeli flag was shown in a counter-demonstration, the police intervened.

In addition, Sebastian Kurz is a mixed bag. Some of his proposals would be in line with biblical prophecy, while others would clearly not be. His young age might explain the occasional shortsightedness of his positions.

EU Life Without Britain

Express wrote on May 7:

“EU leaders this week will focus on ‘far more important’ issues as they ignore Brexit at a crunch gathering in the Romanian town of Sibiu without Theresa May… On Thursday, the EU27 will hold the informal gathering to discuss life without Britain, despite Mrs May’s failure to quit the Brussels bloc. Brussels hopes a show of unity will send a strong message to Britain that the Prime Minister’s hated Brexit deal is not up for negotiation and there is no room for compromise on the terms of the divorce.

“Diplomats and officials are looking forward to the event as it gives them an opportunity to discuss anything but Britain’s divorce, which has prominently featured on their agenda for the last three years…

“Shunning Brexit, they will instead focus on migration, the European Commission’s role and potential candidates for top jobs after the European elections at the end of [this] month.”

The EUObserver wrote on May 9:

“EU leaders pledged at a meeting in Romania on Thursday (9 May) to stay united… after Brexit and amid a geopolitical shake-up… ‘We reaffirm our belief that united, we are stronger in this increasingly unsettled and challenging world,’ the broad-brush statement said. ‘We have been able to go thick and thin, we have proved this in numerous crises, […] we know the rest of the world is not asleep and we need to work hard to make it flourish,’ German chancellor Angela Merkel concluded to reporters after the meeting.

“‘One country on its own cannot solve the great global problems,’ Merkel added, saying leaders discussed defining the EU’s role in the world, and that multilateral cooperation needs to be translated into the way the EU grapples with the big issues.

“In the declaration, leaders said: ‘we will show each other solidarity in times of need and we will always stand together. We can and we will speak with one voice…’ The declaration vows that the EU will act where it matters…”

Stockpiling Coins and Banknotes in a “Cashless” Society

The Sunday Times wrote on May 5:

“Sweden, [a] nation that pioneered living without cash, warns: Hoard your banknotes. As Britain edges towards a cashless future, Sweden has urged its citizens to stockpile change in case of power cuts, a cyber-attack or war.

“Everyone in Sweden has been urged to stockpile coins and banknotes in case the country’s move towards a cashless society leaves them without money in a cyber-crisis. In a move that will sound alarm bells in the UK, Sweden – one of the most advanced nations for digital payments – has warned that its people could be unable to buy anything if its computer networks were put out of action.

“The Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency, an arm of the government, has sent guidance to every home telling residents to squirrel away ‘cash in small denominations’ in case of emergencies ranging from power cuts or technology glitches to terrorism, cyber-attacks by a rogue government or war.”

It is always good advice to have some cash at home in case of unforeseen emergencies, including power outages, earthquakes and other natural catastrophes.

The Vaccination War against Religious Freedom

NPR wrote on May 6:

“Oregon is one of more than 10 states considering tightening their vaccine laws this year… Currently, parents in Oregon and most other states can cite religious or philosophical reasons if they don’t want to vaccinate their kids… Oregon kindergartners claim vaccine exemptions at the highest rate in the nation.

“But a bill in the state Legislature would do away with those nonmedical exemptions. Parents who didn’t secure a doctor’s permission would face a choice between vaccination or not sending their kids to school… If passed, Oregon would become the fourth state to eliminate nonmedical exemptions. Opponents are keen on preventing that. In the two months since the bill was filed, it has spurred thousands of letters and phone calls, and hours of passionate testimony…

“States such as Colorado, Maine and New York have considered bills this year to tighten vaccine laws, with varying outcomes. Colorado’s effort reportedly stalled when it failed to pass the state’s Senate, while Maine recently pared back a bill that would have eliminated all nonmedical exemptions…

“In Oregon, doctors and other health care professionals have come out overwhelmingly in favor of the vaccine bill, which is among the broadest proposed nationwide. They point out that vaccines have been proved safe for the vast majority of the population and effective at stopping the spread of disease. Opponents are far less trusting. Many are parents who worry that their children could be harmed by vaccines. Though rare, some claim their kids have already been injured by the shots. They also make an overarching argument: that lawmakers are taking away their medical choice…”

Even though the scientific world is anxious to claim that vaccines are harmless and do not cause any side effects, this is CLEARLY untrue, especially for those with a weakened immune system.

As Time reported on May 8, “Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. [an attorney, author, environmental activist and son of Bobby Kennedy] has become a hero of the anti-vax crowd with his persistent claims that vaccines contain deadly ingredients, particularly a mercury-based preservative known as thimerosal, and that they are linked to autism.”

Some of Kennedy’s relatives [a brother, a sister and a niece] disagree with him, stating he is wrong on both counts and that he is spreading “dangerous misinformation,” and so does most of the main-stream media. But the question is, who IS right in this emotionally charged battle? The mere fact that scientists and pharmaceutical doctors, who have been proven wrong many times, take the position of mandatory vaccinations does not have to mean that the vaccinations are harmless and without dangerous complications and side effects.

Crazy! Cruise Ship Quarantined Because of Measles

The Guardian wrote on May 6:

“A Church of Scientology cruise ship docked in the Caribbean island of Curaçao will remain under quarantine until government authorities determine how many of the ship’s 318 passengers are infected with measles. Health officials have taken 277 blood samples from those onboard the ship and sent them to the Netherlands… Ten passengers and 31 crew members were able to provide proof of vaccination.

“Health officials in St Lucia were notified on 30 April that a female crew member onboard the ship had been diagnosed with measles. The crew member had traveled to Europe, arrived on Curaçao on 17 April and visited a doctor for cold symptoms on 22 April. A blood sample sent to Aruba confirmed she had measles on 29 April, a day after the ship departed for St Lucia, according to the Associated Press.

“After deliberations with the Pan American Health Organization, St Lucia health officials put the ship under quarantine on 30 April. The ship left St Lucia on Thursday and returned to its home port in Curaçao on Saturday. A team of nine medical professionals and authorities boarded the vessel to start interviewing and testing passengers… As they await the test results, passengers and crew members are not allowed to leave the ship because of the risk that they carry the highly infectious disease, authorities said…

“The Church of Scientology has not taken a specific position on vaccinations, though it says that Scientologists seek standard medical care and prescription drugs when ill…”

No Surprise! Vaccination Hysteria in Germany

Deutsche Welle wrote on May 5, 2019:

“German Health Minister Jens Spahn is proposing a law that allows for fining parents of unvaccinated children up to €2,500 ($2,800). The conservative [openly gay] lawmaker said he wants to ‘eradicate’ measles.

“Parents in Germany who refuse to vaccinate their children against measles would be required to pay up to €2,500 ($2,800) in fines and their children would be thrown out of kindergarten… The bill has a different solution for parents of schoolchildren. Elementary education is mandatory in Germany, so the law would not be able to keep unvaccinated children out of schools. Instead, their parents would be required to pay the fine.

“In addition to newborns, there are also older children whose health prevents them from getting immunized, such as organ recipients or people suffering from leukemia. Their parents would need to provide proof of the medical condition that prevents them from getting the vaccine. By July 2020, other parents who attempt to sign up their children for kindergartens or schools would need to provide confirmation that their children have been vaccinated.

“Vaccinations will also become mandatory for employees of hospitals and private medical practices. The draft legislation is currently being discussed in the Cabinet. It is expected to be adopted this year and go into force in March 2020…

Bild Online added on May 6 that CDU-Chief Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (56), SPD-Chief Andrea Nahles (48) und SPD-health „expert“ Karl Lauterbach (56) support the draft, while others criticize or oppose it. Politicians from the SPD claim that the law might be unconstitutional, while the Green Party categorically rejects mandatory vaccinations. And while FDP-general secretary supports mandatory vaccinations, she is opposed to fines. That the vaccination hysteria and its wide-reaching reactions have reached German politicians is no surprise, given the fact that Germany has always been known for acting and reacting in extreme fashion.

Plant and Animal Life at Risk of Extinction

The New York Times wrote on May 6:

“Humans are transforming Earth’s natural landscapes so dramatically that as many as one million plant and animal species are now at risk of extinction, posing a dire threat to ecosystems that people all over the world depend on for their survival, a sweeping new United Nations assessment has concluded.

“The 1,500-page report, compiled by hundreds of international experts and based on thousands of scientific studies, is the most exhaustive look yet at the decline in biodiversity across the globe and the dangers that creates for human civilization. A summary of its findings, which was approved by representatives from the United States and 131 other countries, was released Monday in Paris. The full report is set to be published this year.

“Its conclusions are stark. In most major land habitats, from the savannas of Africa to the rain forests of South America, the average abundance of native plant and animal life has fallen by 20 percent or more, mainly over the past century. With the human population passing 7 billion, activities like farming, logging, poaching, fishing and mining are altering the natural world at a rate ‘unprecedented in human history.’

“At the same time, a new threat has emerged: Global warming has become a major driver of wildlife decline, the assessment found, by shifting or shrinking the local climates that many mammals, birds, insects, fish and plants evolved to survive in. When combined with the other ways humans are damaging the environment, climate change is now pushing a growing number of species, such as the Bengal tiger, closer to extinction…

Humans are producing more food than ever, but land degradation is already harming agricultural productivity on 23 percent of the planet’s land area, the new report said. The decline of wild bees and other insects that help pollinate fruits and vegetables is putting up to $577 billion in annual crop production at risk. The loss of mangrove forests and coral reefs along coasts could expose up to 300 million people to increased risk of flooding.

“The authors note that the devastation of nature has become so severe that piecemeal efforts to protect individual species or to set up wildlife refuges will no longer be sufficient…”

Acknowledgement and Disclaimer

These Current Events are compiled and commented on by Norbert Link. We gratefully acknowledge the many contributions of news articles from our readership. The publication of articles in this section is not to be viewed as an endorsement or approval as to contents or accuracy of the selected articles, but they are published for the purpose of pointing at worldwide developments in the light of biblical end-time prophecy and godly instruction. Our own comments are provided in italics.

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