This Week in the News

New Invasion of Refugees Threatens Europe

Reuters and Algemeiner wrote on February 28:

“Refugees in Turkey headed towards European frontiers on Friday after an official declared that borders had been thrown open in response to the escalating war in Syria, a day after 33 Turkish soldiers were killed by Russian-backed Syrian government troops… ‘We have decided, effectively immediately, not to stop Syrian refugees from reaching Europe by land or sea,’ a senior Turkish official told Reuters on condition of anonymity… ‘All refugees, including Syrians, are now welcome to cross into the European Union,’ the official said, adding that police and border guards had been stood down…

“Greece and Bulgaria said they were immediately reinforcing their frontiers. Bulgaria’s prime minister said the prospect of a new migration crisis was even more of a threat when European countries were struggling to respond to the coronavirus

“A million civilians have been displaced since December inside Syria near the Turkish border in desperate winter conditions, perhaps the worst humanitarian crisis of a war that has already made half the country homeless. Turkey, already home to 3.7 million Syrian refugees, says it cannot take more…”

The Revival of the European Migration Crisis?

The Associated Press wrote on March 1:

“Thousands of migrants and refugees massed at Turkey’s western frontier Sunday, trying to enter Greece by land and sea… Greek authorities said they stopped about 10,000 crossing attempts Saturday, and another 5,500 on Sunday…

“In Istanbul, a steady stream of buses, taxis, cars and minibuses were ferrying hundreds more throughout Sunday to Edirne, a town near the border with Greece. The vehicles weren’t part of any regular bus route. Those boarding the buses — the vast majority Afghans — said they were heading to Greece and eventually hoped to get to Germany…”

Deutsche Welle wrote on March 3:

“The images from the Greek-Turkish border are shocking… Some refugees hold signs asking for help from German Chancellor Angela Merkel. After all, the chancellor rescued refugees in Hungary from a similar situation by letting them come to Germany. Refugees on the border with Greece are now hoping for the same.

“But Germany in 2020 is not the country it was in 2015. Looking back, Merkel acknowledges there was a ‘loss of control.’ The chancellor has since described the open borders that allowed hundreds of thousands of people to pour into the country as a ‘mistake’ that should not be repeated.

“Many things have happened since 2015. The far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) has become increasingly popular in Germany and right-wing terrorism appears to be on the rise… ‘We are seeing refugees and migrants who are being told on the Turkish side that the route to the EU is now open — and of course it is not,’ Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert underscored at a press conference on Monday in Berlin…

“Friedrich Merz, who is gunning to lead Merkel’s center-right Christian Democrats (CDU), spoke out against accepting more refugees from Turkey. He said Berlin needs to send a clear signal: ‘There is no point in coming to Germany. We cannot take you in.’… The AfD [called] for the immediate closure of Germany’s borders.”

And so, refugees at the border are again becoming pawns in a political game of the mighty. But this could prove costly for the survival of Germany’s grand coalition. Note the next article.

German Protestors for Open Borders

Deutsche Welle wrote on March 4:

“Thousands of protesters gathered in Berlin on Tuesday in front of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s official residence to demand the opening of the border between Turkey and the European Union… similar protests were held in Hamburg and Potsdam…

“The protests come as German politicians are put under increased pressure to deal with the situation at the Greek border… The German chancellor (Angela Merkel, CDU) has so far remained firm that the EU’s borders are closed… German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) also tweeted on Tuesday evening in Arabic… ‘Europe’s borders are not open to refugees from Turkey, and this applies to our German borders as well.’”

“More protests are planned for later in the week.”

Major Companies Cancel Conferences in the USA

MSN wrote on February 29:

“Major companies are beginning to cancel conferences and travel plans within the United States due to the coronavirus, which analysts warn will have cascading impacts on the country’s hotels, airlines and convention centers.

International travel — particularly to Asia — has so far been the hardest-hit part of the industry, though analysts say that could soon change as fears of the coronavirus spread to Europe and North America. Hotels around the country have begun reporting a rise in group cancellations…

Workday called off a sales conference in Orlando scheduled for next week, while Google and Facebook canceled multiple events in California and Nevada between March and May. Amazon this week told employees to put off ‘nonessential travel’ in the United States…

“Shares of hotel companies and airlines plunged this week, as coronavirus-related fears led global markets to post their worst weekly losses since the Great Recession. Shares of Marriott and InterContinental Hotels Group fell about 9 percent apiece, while American Airlines and Jet Blue posted declines of more than 20 percent.”

Airlines Being Hit

USA Today wrote on February 29:

“The Trump administration is urging Americans to avoid travel to parts of Italy and South Korea amid growing concern about the spread of coronavirus… Vice President Mike Pence announced that the U.S. has raised the travel warning to level 4 – its most severe warning – regarding travel to affected areas of Italy and South Korea…

American Airlines late Saturday announced plans to cancel its flights to Milan through April 24…”

The Sun wrote on March 1 that “DELTA is suspending its daily flight between New York’s JFK airport and Milan Malpensa Airport for two months amid coronavirus fears.”

AFP wrote on February 29:

“Due to the ‘accelerated spread of the coronavirus’ [Lufthansa] said it would have to cut the numbers of its short- and medium-haul flights by up to a quarter and ground 23 of its long-haul planes. [This also includes a 40% reduction of flights to Italy]…[The German press reported that Lufthansa will cancel more than 7,000 flights in March. This includes at least 3,700 flights from and to the Frankfurt  Airport.]

“Lufthansa’s share price plummeted by close to 21 percent on the Frankfurt stock exchange this week as investors panicked over the effects of the virus. The International Civil Aviation Organization has said that the virus outbreak could mean a $4-5 billion drop in worldwide airline revenue…”

British Airways announced that they will cancel all return-flights during the month of March from England to Italy and some Asian countries. Deutsche Welle wrote on March 2 that “the airline industry is facing the worst downturn since the 2008 financial crisis.”

Italy announced that until mid-March, all schools and universities will be closed. German Health Minister Jens Spahn said on Wednesday that the coronavirus has become a “global pandemic,” warning that “worse was still to come” (The Local, March 4), and that there would be “restrictions on everyday life,” according to Deutsche Welle. The article added that “earlier on Wednesday, the German government had banned the export of medical gear and adjusted a national travel advisory to warn of an ‘elevated quarantine risk’ associated with cruise ship travel.”

Israel Severely Restricts Entry from Europe

 AFP wrote on March 4:

 “Israel on Wednesday imposed tough new travel restrictions on five European nations due to fears of coronavirus, barring entry to almost all non-residents of the Jewish state arriving from these affected countries.

“Israel had earlier in the day ordered all citizens and residents returning from the five countries — France, Germany, Spain, Austria and Switzerland — into 14-day home quarantine upon entering the country.

“The measures come on top of restrictions previously imposed on arrivals from mainland China, Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, Macau, South Korea, Japan and Italy.

“Guidelines issued by the health ministry on Wednesday afternoon declared that foreigners from the affected European countries ‘will not be able to enter Israeli territory unless they can prove they have a place to stay in quarantine’.

“The interior ministry issued a statement in the evening saying tourists from these countries ‘will not be able to enter Israel from Friday at 8:00 am (0600 GMT)’.”

Gloomy Prediction for Global Economy

The Week wrote on February 28:

“The end of a very rough week for U.S. markets brought a worrying prediction… Nouriel Roubini, a New York University business professor and market prognosticator who foretold the housing bubble burst, told Yahoo Finance on Friday to expect ‘severe’ consequences as the coronavirus continues to rattle markets… predicting ‘global equities to tank by 30 to 40 percent this year.’

“He said people… don’t realize the ‘simple math’ tells us that realistically, a squeezed Chinese economy will mean downturns around the globe. ‘This crisis will spill over and result in a disaster,’ said Roubini.

“Though the week just saw a 3,500-point drop for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, Roubini warned: ‘It is far from being over.’”

The Week reported on March 2:

“The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 1,293 points for a 5.1 percent gain on Monday, rebounding from a slump stemming from coronavirus fears. It’s the Dow’s biggest points gain of all time and its biggest percentage gain since 2009. The rise comes ‘on hopes that central banks will take action to shelter the global economy’ from the coronavirus’ effects, The Associated Press reports… Last week was the Dow’s worst since the 2008 financial crisis with a loss of more than 3,000 points.”

The Associated Press wrote on March 3:

“Fear and uncertainty continue to control Wall Street, and stocks fell sharply Tuesday after an emergency interest-rate cut by the Federal Reserve failed to reassure markets wracked by worries that a fast-spreading virus will cause a recession.

“The Dow Jones Industrial average sank 785 points, or 2.9%. It had surged 5% a day earlier on hopes for aid from the Fed and other central banks.”

The Dow Jones did very well on Wednesday, following the “Super Tuesday” results, but as fears of the coronavirus continued, notice what happened on Thursday:

CNBC wrote on March 5: “Dow tanks more than 950 points [on Thursday] as Wall Street’s roller-coaster week continues.”

Our shaky economy is built on hopes and dreams… which seem to change by the day. Roubini might be right with his prognostication regarding the disastrous financial consequences of the virus. He also said that because of it, Trump will not be reelected. On that he is dead wrong. Trump will be reelected for sure.

Sound Advice

Deutsche Welle reported on March 1:

“Four years ago, the Bonn-based Federal Office of Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance (BBK) published a checklist of long-lasting foods it recommends stockpiling for emergencies… It advises Germans to stockpile food and drink for about ten days.

Specifically, the checklist states that one person needs 14 liters of liquid a week, and recommends stocking mineral water and fruit juice in particular. Even so, the BBK warns against panic buying, advising Germans to stockpile only foods and drinks ‘that you and your family would consume anyway’…

Bulgarian daily 24 Tschassa… praised the advice provided by German authorities, saying that in most cases ‘consumers just hoard all kinds of products – without a proper idea how long they will come in useful or whether they might need them at all.’ The paper said… ‘it makes no sense to buy excessive amounts of supplies.’”

“Stop Buying Face Masks, but Follow Other Recommendations!”

CNN wrote on March 2:

“The United States’ top doctor has one simple request: Stop buying face masks. US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams’ message, posted to Twitter on Saturday, was a response to face mask shortages as people stocked up due to coronavirus concerns. ‘Seriously people,’ he began, and though it’s a tweet, you can almost hear the exasperation in his plea. ‘STOP BUYING MASKS!’ ‘They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!’ he continued…

“The tweet comes during what has become a mask boom… [But] if these masks run out, they won’t be available to the medical professionals who are at the highest risk for disease transmission… Meanwhile, stores across the country have run out of masks

“The CDC recommends the following to prevent the spread of any respiratory disease:

“Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Stay home from school or work when you are sick. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.”

This advice should be heeded.

Obscure Sect Partially Responsible for Coronavirus Outbreak in South Korea

Christianity Today wrote on March 2, 2020:

“An apocalyptic sect whose leader claims he is an angel of Jesus [or, according to other reports,  that he is Christ Himself or the Second Coming of Christ, and that he is immortal] has become the biggest cluster of coronavirus infections in South Korea, which now leads the world in cases of COVID-19 disease outside of China… More than 400 of those infected have been directly linked to a single house of worship, a Daegu branch of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, Temple of the Tabernacle of the Testimony—viewed as a cult by mainstream Korean Christian organizations—where a woman in her 60s attended two services before testing positive for the virus…

“A petition asking Korea’s president to dissolve Shincheonji gathered more than 750,000 signatures in four days… However, church leaders worry such a move could give the government an excuse to do the same to regular religious groups later…”

It was also reported that “Seoul’s city government has asked prosecutors to press charges, including murder, against the founder of a secretive religious sect for failing to cooperate in containing the spread of the deadly coronavirus” (ibtimes, dated March 2). This charge has been strongly denied by the group, claiming that they cooperated with governmental agencies from the time they found out about the sick member.

Worldwide Devastating Pandemics Coming!

The Week wrote on February 29:

“Picture a new viral disease like the Wuhan coronavirus, now called COVID-19, that passes easily from person to person and spreads rapidly around the globe. But unlike COVID-19, which kills perhaps 2 or 3 percent of its victims, this virus kills 20 percent of those infected. Or 40 percent. It might sound like a disaster movie premise… but viral disease experts are in wide agreement that such a pandemic is coming, and that it will inflict unimaginable devastation. The only question is when it will hit…

“The most likely scenario is a pathogen that jumps from animals to humans and can spread through the air. The outbreak of COVID-19 was traced to a live-animal market in Wuhan, China, where a bat virus appears to have added some genetic material from a soldierfish. Many viral diseases have been traced to animals, including HIV (which originated in chimpanzees), MERS (camels), SARS (probably bats and civet cats), and Ebola (unknown, but probably bats). Last year researchers at Johns Hopkins ran a simulation of a hypothetical coronavirus emerging from a Brazilian pig farm: The result was 65 million dead within 18 months. Another concern is a familiar very deadly virus that mutates, allowing it to spread more easily… The intentional or accidental release of a manmade pathogen is another threat; new genetic engineering tools have made them far easier to create…

“Human population growth. People are encroaching on previously wild areas where unknown viruses and bacteria lurk in animals; those who become infected carry the pathogens back to densely packed cities, where disease is easily spread. The 1998 emergence of the Nipah virus, for example, was linked to deforestation in Malaysia that displaced fruit bats and put them near pig farms. Pigs became infected, and the virus then spread to farmworkers. In the past 50 years, more than 300 pathogens have emerged or re-emerged, including Zika and yellow fever…  The surge in international travel allows viruses to spread around the globe quickly…

“Are we prepared for a major pandemic? Not at all. A report released last October by the Global Health Security Index found glaring gaps in readiness; out of 195 countries surveyed, not one was judged fully prepared to handle a major event… Experts say the U.S. and other countries need to spend vastly more money on pandemic preparedness…

“Epidemics have been a fact of life… The earliest on record dates to 430 B.C., when a pestilence that may have been typhoid fever took root in Athens, killing up to two-thirds of the city’s population. In A.D. 541, the Justinian plague spread through the Mediterranean world; recurrences over the next two centuries would kill more than 25 percent of the world’s population. In the 14th century, another outbreak of plague, called the Black Death — driven by fleas that live on rats but can bite humans — claimed over 75 million lives, including some 60 percent of the population of Europe, whose cities were piled with reeking corpses. In the 16th and 17th centuries Native Americans were ravaged by smallpox and other diseases brought by European conquerors and colonists; in some areas as much as 90 percent of native populations were wiped out. The pandemic with the greatest number of casualties in history was the Spanish flu of 1918. It infected some 500 million people worldwide — a third of the population — and killed as many as 100 million.”

Worldwide pandemics are prophesied to happen very soon.

A Nightmare Scenario

The Week wrote on March 2:

“Here is a scenario… President Trump… uses the threat of a pandemic to severely restrict international travel to the United States and institutes stringent new limits on U.S. citizens’ ability to travel abroad — perhaps mandatory medical testing, biometric data collection, or vaccination before you leave; extended interviews with Customs agents to vet the reasons for your trip; or even a near-complete embargo on visits to China and other countries where coronavirus outbreak coincides, in Trump’s mind, with an economic threat to America

“This would not be the first time a crisis has been used to fundamentally change global mobility: Just over a century ago, the passport system we now take for granted did not yet exist. In the decades before the first World War, international travel was generally unhindered… A train might cross multiple borders in Europe within a single day… travelers could typically travel whenever, wherever, and for whatever reason they wanted.

“During World War I, the Triple Alliance nations (Austria-Hungary, Germany, and Italy) began requiring passport use, and both Triple Entente states and neutral countries soon followed suit. After the war, the United Nations’ precursor, the League of Nations… held the first passport conference in Paris. Its aim… was to restore the pre-war regime of freedom of movement… That aim was not achieved… Further attempts to return to pre-war travel freedoms also failed…

“Permanent, serious strictures on our freedom to travel may seem unlikely at the moment… wouldn’t such repressive measures, particularly those affecting U.S. citizens, be widely unpopular? Yes, but what would people do about it?… And anyway, passports were once widely unpopular, too. The 1926 passport conference observed that the public desired ‘a resolution contemplating the abolition of passports at the earliest possible date.’ It was a desire unmet.

“… as the coronavirus crisis is used to curtail international travel — there’s already a ban on U.S. entry by foreign nationals who have been in China in the previous two weeks and a mandatory quarantine for U.S. citizens returning from Hubei province — we would do well to take care from the outset that measures are as minimal as possible and firmly bounded by expiration dates.

Draconian travel restrictions are not an inconceivable outcome here, and, if history is any guide, once done, they won’t be easy to undo.”

It is interesting that Germany, Austria/Hungary and Italy invented the passport system. And prophetically, the concerns raised in the article are not out of the realm of possibility.

Four More Years of Trump—Europe’s Security At Risk

Project Syndicate published on February 27 an article by Joschka Fischer, former German Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor from 1998-2005:

“The re-election of President Donald Trump could spell the end of the liberal world order and the system of alliances that America has fostered since the 1940s… Should Trump win in November, he will have a mandate to wreak havoc for another four years…

“Make no mistake: it makes a big difference whether Trump is in office for eight years rather than just four. In addition to Americans, Europeans would be the first to feel the consequences of a second Trump term…

“In 2020, no one will make the same mistake again. But nor can anyone claim not to know what they are getting with Trump. He… has stayed mostly true to his campaign promises.

“… If Trump is re-elected, he will most likely behave even more radically and without restraint. He will be fully convinced that he is the ‘chosen one.’

“… Europeans should be preparing for the worst… Europe’s very security and sovereignty are now at risk. The EU must ask itself if it is prepared to do what is necessary to remain an independent player, united in the common interest of all Europeans…”

And all of this is exactly what is prophesied.

The Democrats’ Super Tuesday

Drudge Report linked on March 3 to the following article by “Reason”:

“As Super Tuesday finally transfigures the Democratic presidential nomination process into a binary choice between two old, occasionally problematic white men whose enduring popularity is consistently underrated by a baffled mainstream press, it’s worth reflecting on just how poorly the media’s preferred candidates performed in the 2020 race.

“In the end, The New York Times‘ dual Democratic presidential endorsements—bestowed upon both Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D–Mass.) and Amy Klobuchar (D–Minn.)—… just didn’t matter.

“Nor did the media’s fawning over South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, early flirtation with Beto O’Rourke, and absolute worship of Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) resonate with the millions of Americans living outside the Acela corridor.

“Instead, Democratic voters indicated over and over again that they were most interested in the popular former vice president and the iconoclastic but well-respected runner-up from the 2016 Democratic race. Before the actual primaries, Biden consistently led in polls and Sanders performed well—and then the eventual voting followed this pattern, with early wins for Sanders and a comeback surge from Biden. The idea that any other candidate had a particularly likely shot at the nomination was always pundit-driven misdirection from a class of commentators demanding more interesting, intersectional characters, because the commentators themselves are more interested in identity-based diversity than the rest of the country.

“Indeed, the media stumped for Warren so hard that Vox‘s Matt Yglesias recently had to write a post explaining to people why she was losing… outside the Vox bubble, there was little interest in the kind of cultural progressivism represented by Warren.

“At present, Biden and Sanders are locked in a battle for delegates. Both men have a good shot at the nomination. But this was true a year ago as well. They were both better-known and better-liked than many in the media seemed to grasp, and an endless series of magazine covers, fluff pieces, and editorial board endorsements aimed at other candidates couldn’t make any difference whatsoever.”

NPR wrote on March 4:

“The Democratic presidential contest is now a two-man race. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders went into Super Tuesday the front-runner, but it was Joe Biden’s night. The former vice president rode a surge of momentum out of his big win in South Carolina on Saturday and established himself squarely as the principal alternative to Sanders.

“Biden won a majority of states, including Texas, Tuesday night. Sanders is projected to win California, but with votes still being counted there it’s unclear which candidate will emerge with a delegate lead. That sets up what looks to be a sharp fight over the next two months between candidates with very different ideologies — Sanders paints in bold colors and wants radical change; Biden believes in progress accomplished by working with Washington’s competing interests.”

Axios reported on March 4 that “Michael Bloomberg, who spent hundreds of millions of dollars to self-fund his 2020 presidential run, announced Wednesday that he is suspending his campaign after a poor performance on Super Tuesday  and will endorse Joe Biden.”

JTA wrote on March 5:

 “Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who drew strong support from Jewish progressives, has dropped her bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.”

At this point, she has not endorsed Biden or Sanders. But no matter who the Democratic nominee will be, he will not become the next President.  

“Peace Treaty” Between USA and Taliban?

The Associated Press wrote on February 29:

“The United States signed a peace agreement with Taliban militants on Saturday aimed at bringing an end to 18 years of bloodshed in Afghanistan and allowing U.S. troops to return home from America’s longest war.

“Under the agreement, the U.S. would draw its forces down to 8,600 from 13,000 in the next 3-4 months, with the remaining U.S. forces withdrawing in 14 months. The complete pullout, however, would depend on the Taliban meeting their commitments to prevent terrorism.

“President George W. Bush ordered the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in response to the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. Some U.S. troops currently serving there had not yet been born when the World Trade Center collapsed on that crisp, sunny morning that changed how Americans see the world.

“It only took a few months to topple the Taliban and send Osama bin Laden and top al-Qaida militants scrambling across the border into Pakistan, but the war dragged on for years as the United States tried [to] establish a stable, functioning state in one of the least developed countries in the world. The Taliban regrouped, and currently hold sway over half the country.

“The U.S. spent more than $750 billion, and on all sides the war cost tens of thousands of lives lost, permanently scarred and indelibly interrupted. But the conflict was also frequently ignored by U.S. politicians and the American public…

“The Taliban harbored bin Laden and his al-Qaida network as they plotted, and then celebrated, the hijackings of four airliners that were crashed into lower Manhattan, the Pentagon and a field in western Pennsylvania, killing almost 3,000 people…

“Trump has repeatedly promised to get the U.S. out of its ‘endless wars’ in the Middle East, and the withdrawal of troops could provide a boost as he seeks re-election in a nation weary of involvement in distant conflicts…

“The prospects for Afghanistan’s future are uncertain. The agreement sets the stage for peace talks involving Afghan factions, which are likely to be complicated. Under the agreement, 5,000 Taliban are to be released from Afghan-run jails, but it’s not known if the Afghan government will do that. There are also questions about whether Taliban fighters loyal to various warlords will be willing to disarm…”

To think for one moment that one can make a successful peace treaty with terrorists is absolutely illusionary and ludicrous. We don’t think that even the Trump administration seriously believes in its success either. The main reason for this treaty is a justification to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan, with a view to the elections in 2020, but as a consequence, Afghanistan will continue to experience further and even more violence and chaos.

“Bibi Is Back”—Netanyahu’s Strong Win

The Jerusalem Post wrote on March 2:

“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu succeeded in winning [58] seats for his bloc of right-wing and religious parties in Monday’s election…

“Netanyahu spoke to the heads of the parties in his camp immediately after the exit polls were announced and agreed to form a strong nationalist government as soon as possible.”

However, lacking the needed majority of 61 seats, Netanyahu is forced to enter into difficult coalition talks with other parties.

Times of Israel wrote on March 5:

“… the Central Elections Committee on Thursday confirmed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s party as the largest after Monday’s general election, with final results giving it 36 seats to rival Blue and White’s 33. The full results… confirmed, however, that the right-wing bloc of parties supporting Netanyahu had won 58 seats, three short of a majority needed to form a coalition.

Reuters added:

 “That could spell further deadlock and another snap election to follow Monday’s vote, which was Israel’s third in a year.”

Jordan-Israel Peace Treaty at Risk

JNS wrote on March 4:

“Relations between Jordan and Israel are at their lowest ebb since the signing of the 1994 peace treaty between the two countries, and the treaty itself is now ‘at risk,’ Jordanian Prime Minister Omar Razzaz said on Monday…

“According to Razzaz, Jordan is angry about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s pledge to extend Israeli sovereignty to the Jordan Valley and parts of Judea and Samaria as set forth in the US ‘Prosperity to Peace’ plan, and about Israeli ‘violations of the sanctity of Muslim and Christian endowments in Jerusalem.’

“In January, Jordan’s King Abdullah told France 24 News that Israel’s relationship with his country ‘has been on pause for the past two years’…”

Third Temple Could Have Been Built already in 1967

Breaking Israel News wrote on March 3:

“Rabbi David Katz, the author of ‘Laws of Ger Toshav,’ notes… ‘The Temple could have been built in 1967. The objective reality was that there were IDF soldiers on the Temple Mount.

“The Third Temple could have been built but the rabbis decided not to. In 1967 we had everything we need to move forward for everything, the Third Temple, the Kingdom of David, and we still do.’”

And this time, it will be built very soon.

Putin: Marriage between a Man and a Woman

Deutsche Welle wrote on March 3:

“Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday submitted a proposal to establish a ban on same-sex marriage in the country’s constitution. The draft amendment enshrines the mention of Russians’ ‘faith in God’ and states that marriage is between ‘a man and a woman’… The Russian president has long aligned himself with the Russian Orthodox Church and actively promoted distancing his country from liberal Western values. Last month, he said Russia would not legalize same-sex marriage as long as he remains president.

“Putin has said he is not prejudiced against gay people, but has asserted that homosexuality and gender fluidity are out of step with traditional Russian values. A federal law signed by Putin in 2013 already considers the ‘public promotion of homosexuality’ as a crime. Currently, only heterosexual couples can adopt children. Prior to that, homosexuality in Russia was officially criminalized until 1993 and considered a mental illness until 1999.”

Insofar as his definition of marriage is concerned, Putin is right. Note, by contrast, the following article.

Outlawing Conversion Therapies in the USA

ABC News wrote on March 4:

“Virginia became the 20th state in the country to outlaw conversion therapy for LGBTQ minors… ‘Conversion therapy sends the harmful message that there is something wrong with who you are,’ [Governor] Northam said…  The other states that have banned conversion therapy for minors are California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Maine, Nevada, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont and Washington.

“The Virginia bill outlaws any health care provider in any profession licensed by a regulatory board of the Department of Health from engaging in conversion therapy… Del. Patrick Hope, who sponsored the bill, called the practice dangerous and destructive. ‘We should be supporting and celebrating our LGTBQ youth, not putting them in harm’s way,’ he said.”

God in His Word condemns the practice of homosexuality. But in this evil world ruled by Satan, God’s Word means nothing to most people.

Germany’s Mandatory Measles Vaccinations

Deutsche Welle wrote on March 2:

“A law requiring mandatory measles vaccinations  came into force on Sunday in Germany. The law, which was passed last year, stipulates that kindergartens and schools can only accept new children if they have been vaccinated. Under the new law, kids must be ‘verifiably’ inoculated against measles. If the child’s immunization is not documented, schools will be required to notify the local public health office.

“For children already enrolled in schools, proof of vaccination will have to be presented by July 2021, while parents who refuse to vaccinate their children will face fines of up to €2,500 ($2,760).”

These kinds of governmental mandatory measures are just the beginning and do have a bearing on the biblical warning that an authoritarian power bloc will arise in Europe, led by Germany, dictating to the people how to live, how and when to buy and sell, and how and when to work and to cease from working.

The Popes and Fascism

The Guardian wrote on March 1:

New light will be shed on one of the most controversial periods of Vatican history on Monday when the archives on Pope Pius XII— accused by critics of being a Nazi sympathizer—are unsealed. A year after Pope Francis announced the move, saying ‘the church isn’t afraid of history’, the documents from Pius XII’s papacy, which began in 1939 on the brink of the second world war and ended in 1958, will be opened, initially to a small number of scholars.

“Critics of Pius XII have accused him of remaining silent during the Holocaust, never publicly condemning the persecution and genocide of Jews and others. His defenders say that he quietly encouraged convents and other Catholic institutions to hide thousands of Jews, and that public criticism of the Nazis would have risked the lives of priests and nuns…

“David Kertzer, an American expert on the relationship between the Catholic church and fascism… said there were ‘signs of nervousness’ at the Vatican about what would emerge from the archives… ‘On the big question, it’s clear: Pius XII never publicly criticised the Nazis for the mass murder they were committing of the Jews of Europe – and he knew from the very beginning that mass murder was taking place. Various clerics and others were pressing him to speak out, and he declined to do so. Although there is a lot of testimony showing that the church did protect Jews in Rome, when more than 1,000 were rounded up on 16 October 1943 and held for two days adjacent to the Vatican [before deportation to the death camps], Pius decided not to publicly protest or even privately send a plea to Hitler not to send them to their deaths in Auschwitz…’

“Pius – whose birth name was Eugenio Pacelli – was Vatican secretary of state under his predecessor, Pope Pius XI, and a former papal nuncio, or envoy, to Germany. In 1933, he negotiated a concordat between the Catholic church and Germany. After he was elected pope, six months before the outbreak of war, the Vatican maintained diplomatic relations with the Third Reich, and the new pontiff declined to condemn the Nazi invasion of Poland on 1 September 1939.

“In December 1942, Pius XII spoke out in general terms about the suffering of the Jews, although he had known for several months about the Nazi extermination plans. In 1943, he wrote to the bishop of Berlin, arguing that the church could not publicly condemn the Holocaust for fear of causing ‘greater evils’.”

An interesting work by the above-quoted author, David I. Kertzer, titled, “The Pope and Mussolini” (copyright 2014), shows the inner workings of the Vatican and the close cooperation and sometimes infighting between the Catholic Church under both popes (Pius XI and Pius XII) and Mussolini and Hitler. The Hitler-Mussolini era constituted, in collaboration with the Roman Catholic Church, the sixth revival of the “Holy Roman Empire”–the “woman riding the beast.”

Acknowledgement and Disclaimer

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