This Week in the News

The Fall of Sebastian Kurz

Deutsche Welle wrote on May 27:

“Austrian lawmakers have voted for a motion of no confidence in the government of Chancellor Sebastian Kurz. The vote was called by parties on the left, and supported by Kurz’s former far-right coalition partners…”

The Local wrote on May 27:

“[The no-confidence vote] comes in the wake of the so-called ‘Ibiza-gate’ scandal, which saw FPÖ leader and Vice-Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache resign from both posts after he was caught appearing to offer public contracts in return for campaign help from a fake Russian backer. That led to Kurz ending his coalition with the FPÖ and calling early elections for the autumn, but the opposition say the 32-year-old leader must also take responsibility for the scandal…”

The Guardian wrote on May 27:

During a debate in which the delegates of the far-right Freedom party (FPÖ) resolutely refused to lend Sebastian Kurz the customary applause, rightwing populist politicians accused the centre-right chancellor of trying to use the so-called Ibiza scandal to consolidate his power at the top of government…

“Sunday evening’s European elections made it look as if the tremors of the Ibiza scandal had done less damage to Austria’s political landscape than many had expected. Kurz’s conservatives emerged as the strongest party on the night on 34.5% of the vote, up 7.5 percentage points on the previous elections. The FPÖ only took a minor hit, losing 2.2 percentage points to come third with 17.5%. Strache received enough preferential votes across the country that he could be headed to the European parliament if he were to accept the mandate…

“The no-confidence vote means that Kurz, 32, will go down in Austria’s history books not only as its youngest ever chancellor, but also it shortest-serving. Kurz spent 525 days in office after a resounding win in the 2017 national elections…”

The German tabloid Bild has been referring to the “Kurz-Sturz” (play on words, “Sturz” is German for fall or downfall).

Austria’s New Temporary Leader

Deutsche Welle wrote on May 28:

“Austria’s finance minister Hartwig Löger has been elevated to run government business after the toppling of Sebastian Kurz…

Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen on Tuesday asked ministers except Kurz to stay in office a few days until a caretaker cabinet is chosen, pending Austria’s next parliamentary election, due in September… Kurz remains, however, leader of his conservative People’s Party (ÖVP)…”

Kurz’s Downfall Only Temporary?

The Washington Post wrote on May 27:

“Kurz was the first Austrian leader to be ousted via a no-confidence vote in the country’s postwar history. But the conservative’s exile from the nation’s most powerful office may be temporary; he already had announced elections slated for September, and polls show that his party holds a commanding lead. In European Parliamentary elections Sunday, his People’s party won a resounding victory, suggesting voters don’t hold him responsible for the controversy that befell the Freedom Party…

“Derided by critics as ‘Trump in a slim-fit suit,’ the young politician had won fans among many in the U.S. president’s orbit by reinvigorating his once-stodgy party and adopting many of the ideas, policies and slogans of the far-right. Kurz took a hard line on immigration, advocating tougher policies aimed at stopping the flow of asylum seekers into Europe. He also aggressively fought culture wars, pushing through a ban on Islamic headscarves in primary schools.

“But unlike the continent’s populist politicians, Kurz generally avoided inflammatory rhetoric and presented himself as a modern conservative who, while clearly to the right of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, is still rooted in the European mainstream…

“Before the vote, Kurz had accused his critics of engaging in ‘a game of revenge,’ while noting in reference to the upcoming election that, ‘at the end of the day, the people will decide.’”

We might not have heard the last word yet about both Kurz and Strache.

Did Israel Leak the Strache Video?

Ynet wrote on May 27:

According to a German Intelligence official, the Israeli Intelligence service Mossad was behind the leak of a damning video, which led to the resignation of Austria’s far right Freedom Party chief Heinz-Christian Strache…

“Rudolf Adam, former diplomat and dep. director of Germany’s secret service, published an article in the German monthly Cicero claiming: ‘Israel has an interest in promoting policies friendly to it and the growth of a radically right party poses a threat to European Jewish communities,’ he said. ‘It is unlikely that a European country is behind this campaign,’ Rudolf wrote. ‘American intelligence agencies are occupied with Korea, Iran and China. The policies of President Donald Trump actually, support the right-wing stance of the former Austrian vice chancellor. The Russians had a good relationship with Strache. Regarding China and the Arab states, they have no reason to get involved in Austrian politics.’

“After eliminating all other options, Rudolf concludes that only ‘one country has the manpower and technological capability to carry out such a campaign, as well as a clear motive — Israel. European Jewish communities fear the rise in anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial. Israel has an interest in promoting friendly policies toward it and toward Jewish communities in Europe and if radical right-wing movements continue to grow, the EU policies may become more extreme and harmful to Jewish communities,’ Rudolf continued…

“In a press conference given upon his resignation, Strache said he fell victim to an illegal political assassination but conceded his conduct in the recorded meeting was stupid and wrong.”

The Guardian wrote on May 27:

“Who exactly organised the sting on the far-right remains the subject of fevered speculation in both Austria and Germany… [Former Vice-Chancellor Heinz-Christian] Strache has called the video ‘a honey trap stage-managed by intelligence agencies’…”

If those suspicions should become proven to be accurate, this would cause a tremendous backlash of the Austrian people against Israel.

European Elections

The EUObserver wrote on May 26:

“Mainstream parties suffered losses at the European election on Sunday (26 May), which saw a high turnout in most EU member states, ushering in massive wins for the Greens, but a lower than expected surge in right-wing populist parties.

“Estimated overall turnout in the EU-27 member states at 51 percent compared to 42.6 percent in 2014, ending a 40-year downward trend in Europe of attracting less and less voter interest. After a decade of crises with the EU at its core, whether the euro crisis, the migration crisis, or a rise of nationalism attacking a perceived Brussels elite, voters across EU countries went to the polls in numbers not seen since the European Parliament was first elected directly in 1979.

“… voters… created a new parliament that will be more fragmented, yet still with a mostly pro-EU majority

Centre-right parties in France and Spain lost heavily, and German chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats have lost some seats too, although with 29 MEPs (down from 34) they are likely to remain the biggest national party in the parliament

“The Greens celebrated early with a massive result from Germany, where Die Gruene became the second-largest party with over 20 percent of the votes, pushing the Social Democrats, Merkel’s junior government coalition partners, into a humiliating third place. The Greens have also done well in France, Ireland, Belgium too, and are set to become the fourth-largest party in the parliament, positioning their expected 67 MEPs (up from 52) as possible kingmakers…

“In France, Macron’s En Marche came second with 22.4 percent of the votes to far-right leader Marine Le Pen’s National Rally with 23.6 percent…“… populists and nationalists had a strong showing in Britain, where Nigel Farage’s new Brexit Party came in first place nationallyand could be one of the biggest parties in Brussels. In Italy, where far-right leader and interior minister Matteo Salvini has led a campaign against the ‘Brussels elite’, they failed to make a splash in the new parliament. Their overall number of right-wing, nationalist, anti-EU MEPs will surge to 108 from 78, with eurosceptic conservatives adding another 61 MEPs to the lot. Their increased number could make legislating more difficult in the parliament, but ultimately fall below some earlier predictions of dominating one-third of the EU parliament.”

The Huffington Post wrote on May 26:

“But there’s certainty on one front: Europe remains, for now, united.”

The Week wrote on May 27:

“… nationalist parties gained significant ground in the U.K., France, Italy, and Poland. Despite the victories of far-right movements like Britain’s Brexit Party and France’s National Rally party, the EU as a whole isn’t expected to undergo a major shift in power. Four pro-EU parties… together were projected to win 504 out of the available 751 seats, though no party took a majority…”

Europe’s Far Right Not a REAL Challenge to European Unification

Politico wrote on May 27:

“Turns out the bark of Europe’s far right is worse than its bite. Yes, illiberal parties did well in France and Italy, Poland, Hungary and beyond. But overall no better than expected, and in some cases worse so. Bottom line: The populists’ finish isn’t that much stronger than in 2014.

“That’s good news for Europe’s democratic parties and even better news for the European Union… In Germany and Austria, the far-right populists finished below their results in national elections in 2017, down by 1.8 and 3.3 percentage points respectively… The anti-immigration Danish People’s Party won only one seat in the European Parliament, compared to four last time out. In the Netherlands, far-right parties performed worse than many of their opponents feared. In Spain, the populist Vox party managed to win only about 6 percent of the vote. Estonia’s far-right EKRE party, which recently joined the country’s governing coalition, finished only third in Sunday’s European election.

“Though Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party did well in the U.K., capturing first place, it’s unlikely to play much of a role in the next Parliament without membership in one of the main alliances, which seems unlikely. Even in France and Italy, where the populists did best on the Continent, the results are below some expectations. Marine Le Pen’s National Rally recorded a strong 23.5 percent of the French vote, finishing first — but that is still slightly below the party’s 2014 result. Her rebranded party is on course to have two seats fewer in the European Parliament this time around.

“Salvini’s League party appears to have performed strongly in Italy, winning more than 33 percent of the vote. But his dreams of forming the biggest group in the European Parliament will remain just that…  his group will have around 70 seats in the 751-member chamber…

“… there are big questions over just how cohesive the planned populist grouping will be. While the parties share a basic aversion to migration and an illiberal, anti-democratic ethos, they don’t have much else in common…”

The unification of Europe and the establishment of core Europe will not be stopped by anyone.

Boris Johnson

nbc news wrote on May 25:

“Boris Johnson is one of the most divisive political figures in the United Kingdom. He is also favorite among bookmakers and pollsters to become the next leader of the Conservative Party — and therefore the next prime minister — after Theresa May announced Friday that she would be stepping down June 7… Thirty two percent of people have a positive opinion about him, according to the pollster YouGov, the highest of any politician in the country. But far more, 46 percent, hold a negative view…

“Critics accuse Johnson of being an arch opportunist. In the past, he has argued for tax cuts and against rises in welfare spending, and in the House of Commons he has voted generally in favor of equal gay rights

“However, there are still big questions about what his government would actually look like, including its relationship with the United States. In 2015, when President Donald Trump said parts of London had been ‘radicalized,’ American-born Johnson, who was the city’s mayor at the time, replied that the president’s ‘ill-informed comments are complete and utter nonsense.’ He added, ‘Crime has been falling steadily in both London and New York. And the only reason I wouldn’t go to some parts of New York is the real risk of meeting Donald Trump.’

“Fast forward to last year, and the two were exchanging pleasantries, with Johnson saying there were many reasons for ‘admiring Trump’ and the president declaring Johnson is ‘a friend of mine’ and backing him to be the next prime minister…

“In any potential matchup, Johnson is the members’ favorite ‘by huge margins’” according to a YouGov poll earlier this month. But whoever wins will inherit a Conservative Party in disarray…”

The Guardian wrote on May 26:

“Boris Johnson [has] been warned that Tory MPs would be prepared to bring down any prime minister backing a no-deal Brexit, triggering a general election, amid fears the leadership [hopeful] will veer to the right in response to a surge in support for Nigel Farage at the European election.

“Johnson and [Dominic] Raab, two of the leading candidates, both said they would take the UK out of the EU at the end of October with a deal or no deal, as they positioned themselves on the hard Brexit side of the contest. Raab even suggested he would be prepared to ignore the will of parliament in order to do so…”

Growing Political Turmoil in Germany

Bloomberg wrote on May 28:

“Angela Merkel has given up hope on her heir apparent and is hunkering down in office in the face of growing turmoil in Germany’s ruling party. Since taking over as leader of the Christian Democratic Union in December, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer slid in opinion polls, roiled the party with a failed effort to accelerate Merkel’s exit, and on Sunday oversaw the CDU’s worst ever result in a national election.

“All that has persuaded Merkel that Kramp-Karrenbauer may not be up to the job… As a result, the chancellor is more determined than ever to stay in power until her term ends in 2021… Merkel has resolved to spend no more political capital helping AKK… The chancellor is expecting to come under more pressure to step aside as AKK’s political problems mount… The direction of the party is completely open again… and what happens after 2021 is entirely uncertain…”

A powerful charismatic male leader is to arise in Germany soon… the only question is, how soon, and who will it be?

Jews in Danger in Germany?

The Algemeiner wrote on May 26:

“Israeli President Reuven Rivlin issued a defiant statement on Saturday after Germany’s top official on fighting antisemitism suggested that Jewish men should limit the wearing of kippot in public. ‘We will never submit, will never lower our gaze, and will never react to antisemitism with defeatism,’ Rivlin said.

“His statement came after the German government’s Commissioner on Antisemitism, Felix Klein, said on Saturday, ‘I cannot advise Jews to wear the kippa everywhere all the time in Germany.’…

“‘Responsibility for the welfare, the freedom, and the right to religious belief of every member of the German Jewish community is in the hands of the government of Germany and its law enforcement agencies,’ [Rivlin] said… ‘fears about the security of German Jews are a capitulation to antisemitism and an admittance that, again, Jews are not safe on German soil.’”

The Local wrote on May 28:

“Following protest, the government has withdrew an earlier warning against wearing the traditional skullcap. In his latest statement… [Felix] Klein said: ‘I call on all citizens of Berlin and across Germany to wear the kippa next Saturday if there are new, intolerable attacks targeting Israel and Jews on the occasion of al-Quds day in Berlin.’ Al-Quds is an annual event against Israeli control of Jerusalem and will take place on Saturday.

“… Earlier Monday, German daily Bild published a cut-out-and-use kippa in a bid to fight rising anti-Semitism. Bild, Germany’s top-selling daily newspaper, called on readers to ‘stand in solidarity with (their) Jewish neighbours’ by making ‘their own kippa’, bearing the star of David, to ‘raise the flag against anti-Semitism’.

Germany, like other Western countries, has watched with alarm as anti-Semitic and other racist hate speech and violence have increased in recent years while the political climate has coarsened and grown more polarized. Anti-Semitic crimes rose by 20 percent in Germany last year…”

CNN wrote on May 28:

“German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said ‘there is work to be done’ in Germany to face up to the dark forces that are finding mainstream support there and in other parts of the world.”

None of these measures will prevent the ongoing rise of anti-Semitism throughout Europe. Please view our StandingWatch program, “Are Anti-Semitism and Anti-Americanism Connected?”

Israeli Coalition Talks Collapse—New Elections in September

JTA wrote on May 29:

For the first time in its history, Israel will hold a second national election in one year, four months after the last election in April. The Israeli Knesset voted at midnight Thursday to dissolve itself, triggering elections on Sept. 17. The unprecedented vote happened after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to assemble a governing coalition by the end of the day Wednesday, his final deadline.

“Netanyahu was seen as the winner of the April 9 election because right-wing parties, which all supported Netanyahu for prime minister, garnered a majority in Knesset. But Netanyahu was unable to get those parties to join a governing coalition with one another.

“The sticking point was a draft law obligating haredi Orthodox men to participate in Israel’s mandatory military draft. Haredi Orthodox parties wanted to soften the text of the law. Avigdor Liberman, head of the Yisrael Beiteinu party, insisted he would not join the government unless the law was passed in its current form. In the end, Liberman did not join the coalition, dooming Netanyahu’s efforts… ‘We are natural partners in a right-wing government; we won’t be partners in a government of Jewish [religious] law,’ [Liberman] added.”

EU Challenged by Russia, China and USA

CNBC wrote on May 22:

“There is at least one thing in common between the U.S. and Russia — their willingness to weaken the European Union, a high-ranking European official told CNBC… Jyrki Katainen, vice president of the European Commission [said] that the external challenges have never been so hard. ‘Countries like Russia, China but also the United States have challenged us harder than before,’ Katainen said in Brussels.

“‘We are (for the) first time in the history in a situation where the President of the United States and (the) President of Russia seem to share the same view on Europe: the weaker, the better, because they think that it’s better for their own country, which is obviously not right,’ Katainen, who is also the former prime minister of Finland said.”

The EU’s reaction to those perceived or real challenges is forthcoming. Note the next article.

The EU to Become an Empire

Breitbart wrote on May 22:

“Leader of the left-progressive group in the European Parliament Guy Verhofstadt has said that in order to compete with the rest of the world, the European Union must become an ‘empire.’… ‘The world is developing into one not of nation states, but of empires. China is an empire. India is an empire. The US is an empire. [He most certainly should have added Russia.] We need to create a European Union that is capable of defending our interests,’ Mr Verhofstadt stated… the former prime minister of Belgium compared a proposed United States of Europe to the United States of America…

“Other Eurocrats have also voiced support for a United States of Europe, including former president of the European Parliament and German socialist politician Martin Schulz who called for its formation by 2025…

“.. a number of prominent European politicians have voiced their support for other measures of greater centralisation of power and federalisation, including President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker who wants an EU army by 2025;  the progressive President of France Emmanuel Macron who proposed full monetary union with a common EU budget, a finance ministry, and an EU public prosecutor to protect the Single Market from abuses; and German Chancellor Angela Merkel who urged the bloc to adopt a common migration policy.”

The Pope’s Stance on Abortion

The Daily Mail wrote on May 25:

“Pope Francis has compared abortion to ‘hiring a hitman’ during a Vatican-sponsored anti-abortion conference. Abortion can never be condoned, even when the fetus is gravely sick or malformed, Pope Francis said… He urged doctors and priests to support families to carry all pregnancies to term – even where death is the result.

“The Pope claimed his opposition to abortion was not for religious issues, but for human ones. He said: ‘Is it licit to throw away a life to resolve a problem? ‘Is it licit to hire a hitman to resolve a problem?’…

“He said often the ‘mere suspicion of disease can change the experience of pregnancy,’ and even risk ‘throwing women and couples’ into a ‘deep despair’.  But ‘the evolution of every disease is always subjective and often not even doctors know how it will manifest itself in the individual’, according to the Pope.

“… Francis has spoken out strongly against abortion, although he has also expressed sympathy for women who have had them and made it easier for them to be forgiven… But in June 2018 the Pope likened abortion to Nazi eugenics – saying parents should accept the children God gives them.

“At a meeting of an Italian family association he told those gathered that as a child he was horrified to hear stories from his teacher about children ‘thrown from the mountain’ if they were born with malformations. ‘Today we do the same thing,’ he said. ‘Last century, the whole world was scandalised by what the Nazis did to purify the race. Today, we do the same thing but with white gloves.’”

Jewish Law on Abortion in Conflict with the Bible

JTA wrote on March 22:

“Jewish law does not consider the fetus to be a being with a soul until it is born. It does not have personhood… The Talmud, in Yevamos 69b, cites the view of Rav Hisda that ‘until forty days from conception the fetus is merely water. It is not yet considered a living being.’

“If there is a threat to a woman’s life, the safety of the mother takes precedence over continuing the pregnancy at any stage…  For example, in a case of maternal danger, we find in Sanhedrin 72b… that ‘a midwife may insert her hand into the womb and kill the fetus … [the reason is] for as long as the fetus has not emerged into the world, it is not a nefesh [a being with a soul]; one is therefore allowed to kill it and save the mother …’

“According to Mishna Oholos 7:3, ‘If a woman is having trouble giving birth, they cut up the child in her womb and bring it forth limb by limb, because her life comes before the life of [the child].’

“Jewish law prohibits killing in all cases — except if one person is trying to murder another. If an individual is trying to end someone’s life, killing that person is actually a requirement. How much more so, a fetus (not yet a full person) who threatens the mother’s life may be aborted.

“In his Mishneh Torah, Maimonides writes the following: The sages ruled that when complications arise and a pregnant woman cannot give birth, it is permitted to abort the fetus in her womb, whether with a knife or drugs, for the fetus is considered a rodef [a murderer in pursuit] of its mother …’ In other words, when a fetus endangers the life of the mother, unless it is in the process of being born, abortion is a halachic requirement

“Jewish law takes psychological and emotional distress into consideration… Waldenberg, considered to be one of the foremost modern scholars of Jewish law in medicine, writes that severe psychological distress is as much of a legitimate reason for an abortion as severe physical distress (Tzitz Eliezer 13:102; 14:101).”

These are absolutely horrible rules and regulations, which are in clear conflict to the biblical teaching. Please view our StandingWatch program, “When Does God Allow Abortions?”

Colorado Enacts Controversial Laws in Favor of LGBTQ Community

The Denver Channel reported on May 24:

“Gov. Jared Polis will sign two pieces of LGBTQ legislation into law on May 31: A bill banning conversion therapy for minors and another that will allow Coloradans to update the gender on their birth certificate without needing surgery or a court order.

“The conversion therapy bill, which outlaws counseling and therapy that tries to change the sexual orientation of a person under the age of 18, was passed after several prior attempts by Democrat legislators.

“The American Psychiatric Association and other psychology governing bodies have taken stances against conversion therapy. The APA on its website says conversion therapy poses ‘a significant risk of harm by subjecting individuals to forms of treatment which have not been scientifically validated’ and that it undermines a person’s self-esteem.

“The birth certificate bill, known as ‘Jude’s Law,’ was aimed at making it easier for transgender individuals to change their birth certificates to reflect their gender designation…”

The signs of the times which the Bible designates as perilous.

Powerful Earthquake Hits Peru

Newsmax wrote on May 26:

“A powerful magnitude 8.0 earthquake struck a remote part of the Amazon jungle in Peru early Sunday, collapsing buildings and knocking out power to some areas but causing only one reported death… Helping limit damage was the earthquake’s depth, at 70 miles below the surface, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Earthquakes that are close to the surface generally cause more destruction…

“Earthquakes are frequent in Peru, which lies on the Pacific’s so-called Ring of Fire. On August 15, 2007, a similarly sized quake struck near Lima, killing more than 500 people.”

“Small Tremors along West Coast Could Lead to ‘Big One’”

Koin 6 News wrote on May 22:

“A small burst of tremors have been recorded along the West Coast in the last few weeks, causing scientists and geologists to pay close attention. Scott Burns, a professor of geology at Portland State University, tells KOIN 6 this event is ‘quite interesting.’ ‘This is what we call a slow slip type of movement,’ he said. ‘The Juan De Fuca Plate is moving underneath us and then all of the sudden, about every 14 months, it stops and it goes in a westerly direction. And as it does that, it creates a lot of tremors. So we are in this slow slip type of movement right now and that’s why we’re getting a lot of tremors up in Washington, Northern California and then some here in Oregon.’…

“Eventually, the Juan De Fuca Plate will continue going in an easterly direction and ‘keep building up the stress in the rocks.’ Burns and other scientists predict the ‘big one’ will likely occur during one of these slow slip events. Each slow slip event puts additional stress onto the ‘lock zone,’ eventually causing it to ‘break’ and create a 9.0 or larger magnitude earthquake. Burns said the ‘big one’ will shake for around four minutes and cause extensive damage. He cautioned that the slow slip events are a good reminder to be prepared and have a plan with family and an emergency kit at your home.”

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.

©2023 Church of the Eternal God