This Week in the News

Covid Passports by this Summer?

Breitbart wrote on February 26:

“German Chancellor Angela Merkel claimed that there is a unanimous agreement within the European Union on implementing a coronavirus vaccine passport, during a virtual meeting of EU member states on Thursday. The German leader said that ‘everyone agreed that we need a digital vaccination certificate,’ following the meeting of European leaders. Merkel said that such a system could be implemented as soon as the summer, but claimed that the introduction of a vaccine passport ‘does not mean that only those who have a vaccination passport are allowed to travel,’ according to the German broadcaster DW.

“European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen praised Israel’s implementation of ‘Green Passes’, a system in which the government tracks and documents an individual’s vaccination history in order to facilitate travel or to attend synagogues, theatres, concerts, or to go to the gym… The embattled EU president did note that member states will ‘have to act fast’ in order to implement a vaccine passport before the summer. To date, the European Union has only inoculated eight per cent of its population…

“The failure to vaccinate a significant portion of the population has led to concerns that vaccine passports would be discriminatory. Angela Merkel admitted as much this week…  Southern EU member states, such as Spain, Italy, and Greece have been pushing for the adoption of a COVID pass, in order to facilitate travel…  Other countries, such as France, have expressed concerns about discrimination as well as the lack of evidence over whether vaccinated people can still transmit the Wuhan virus

“There is a growing push within Britain’s notionally conservative government for the adoption of a vaccine passport, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson suggesting earlier this week that Brits might be required to carry health passes to even make simple domestic visits like going to the pub or the theatre… Cabinet Minister Michael Gove will be heading up the government’s research into adopting a vaccine passport system, despite definitively stating in December that Brits would not be required to provide proof of vaccination to go to the pub.”

The conservative German paper, Die Welt, wrote on February 26 that at first it went rather slowly, and now there is a rush, especially through Jens Spahn, to create a vaccination passport. The paper had this headline: “Then the limitations of freedom rights can hardly be justified.” (“Dann lässt sich die Begrenzung der Freiheitsrechte kaum noch begründen.“)

Merkel Meltdown

Express reported on February 27:

“Germany has been under a strict coronavirus clampdown since December, which has seen non-essential shops and schools along with pubs and restaurants forced to shut up shop. [Merkel] had been in favour of extending the lockdown as a result of the emergence of more contagious Covid strains. She has warned the country that it could face a ‘third wave’ if restrictions are lifted too quickly. However, regional leaders have decided to defy the Chancellor and take matters into their own hands.

“Even her staunchest lockdown supporter, Bavarian leader Markus Söder, is said to be at odds with her position. Several of the country’s regions will now allow limited opening of businesses from Monday, such as garden centres, florists and nail parlours. Ms Merkel appears to be losing public support for her hard stance on lockdown.

“According to a poll conducted by the German TV channel ZDF, 56 percent supported plans to partially ease restrictions, whereas 41 percent were opposed…”

Bild Online charged Merkel with ruling from a high-rise building, without any personal contact with people, thereby forgetting their needs and suffering.

More Lockdowns in Germany… Will this Madness Never End?

Deutsche Welle wrote on March 2:

“Germany’s national government and states are set to extend the COVID-19 lockdown by three weeks, to March 28, according to a draft document seen by DW… According to the draft text, up to five adults from two households would be allowed to gather from March 8, with up to 10 adults allowed in areas with low infection rates. Under current rules, each household can only socialize with one other person. The German government is also expected to appeal to citizens to avoid domestic and foreign travel over the Easter period…

“Most shops have stayed closed since tighter restrictions were introduced on December 16. Restaurants, bars, sports and leisure venues have all been closed since November 2. Hotels…  are currently closed to all but business travelers.”

Germany’s AfD Under Surveillance

Deutsche Welle wrote on March 3:

“Germany’s Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) have placed the Alternative for Germany (AfD) under surveillance, according to local media.

“That designation gives state agents more powers for surveillance in certain circumstances, including potentially tapping the party’s communications.

“The BfV refused to comment on media reports from Der Spiegel magazine, the DPA news agency and public broadcaster ARD. The Interior Ministry, which oversees the BfV, said it would neither confirm nor deny them. The BfV is apparently unable to announce the decision officially because of an ongoing legal dispute.”

This move is highly problematic, as the AfD constitutes the largest opposition party in parliament.

Catholic Bishops Warn of Johnson & Johnson Vaccine

Forbes wrote on March 2:

“The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops—the official group representing the church in the U.S.—urged Catholics Tuesday to avoid taking the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine if other options are available, saying the J&J vaccine ‘raises questions about the moral permissibility’—even though Johnson & Johnson has stated it did not use fetal tissues in its vaccine.

“The directive says the Johnson & Johnson vaccine should be avoided since it was ‘developed, tested and is produced with abortion-derived cell lines.’ In a statement to Forbes, Johnson & Johnson said ‘there is no fetal tissue’ in its vaccine, adding the company used an ‘engineered cell-line system that enables the rapid production of new viral vaccines to combat many of the most dangerous infectious diseases,’ though it did not offer further specifics on its process.

“Pfizer and Moderna, on the other hand, did not use abortion-derived cell lines in production, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas—chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities—said in a statement. The J&J vaccine was approved for U.S. use on Saturday, and has been touted as a major step in vaccinating the population since the vaccine only requires one shot, while the other two approved so far both require two doses.

“The statement from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is the most significant opposition the J&J vaccine has coming from an official body of the Catholic church…

“The Vatican released a statement in December after questions were raised over vaccine ethics, in which it asserted ‘it is morally acceptable to receive Covid-19 vaccines that have used cell lines from aborted fetuses’ in cases where ‘ethically irreproachable Covid-19 vaccines are not available.’”

U.S. Airstrike Against Syria

Breitbart wrote on February 26:

“President Joe Biden authorized his first military action on Thursday: airstrikes on facilities in Syria used by militias linked to Iran. The airstrikes came in response to attacks on American personnel in Iraq… some [were] questioning whether the airstrikes were authorized under the existing Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF). Others noted that the airstrikes mark a 180-degree turn for Biden and members of his administration.

“Last year, Biden was among those who criticized President Donald Trump’s airstrike on Iranian terrorist General Qasem Soleimani. He called it ‘a hugely escalatory move in an already dangerous region,’ and claimed — falsely, as it turned out — that the attack would provoke, rather than deter, the Iranian regime. ‘We could be on the brink of a major conflict across the Middle East,’ Biden said — wrongly, again, as peace deals soon emerged. Vice President Kamala Harris, then a Senator from California, was also critical of airstrikes by President Trump on the Syrian regime after the U.S. found evidence that dictator Bashar al-Assad was still using chemical weapons: ‘I strongly support our men and women in uniform and believe we must hold Assad accountable for his unconscionable use of chemical weapons. But I am deeply concerned about the legal rationale of last night’s strikes.’

“White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, who had served in the Obama administration, objected to Trump’s initial airstrike in Syria in 2017… ‘Also what is the legal authority for strikes? Assad is a brutal dictator. But Syria is a sovereign country.’”

The Week added on February 26:

“Some Democrats are criticizing U.S. airstrikes in Syria, while many Republicans are praising President Biden’s move… While Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the limited scope of the airstrikes ‘aims to de-escalate the overall situation in both eastern Syria and Iraq,’ many Democrats expressed concerns on Friday that the move has done just the opposite, and argued it was unconstitutional without congressional authorization. Many Republicans, meanwhile, called the U.S. response a necessary deterrent that was proportional. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki defended the action, saying ‘there was a thorough, legal response’ and the Defense Department briefed congressional leadership in advance.”

npr wrote on February 26:

“… Democratic lawmakers on Friday sought justification from the Biden administration for Thursday’s airstrikes in Syria…

“‘The American people deserve to hear the Administration’s rationale for these strikes and its legal justification for acting without coming to Congress,’ Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine said… ‘Offensive military action without congressional approval is not constitutional absent extraordinary circumstances. Congress must be fully briefed on this matter expeditiously.’…

“Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont warned against the president overreaching in his powers to declare military actions. ‘While the President has a responsibility to defend the people of the United States, our Constitution is clear that it is the Congress, not the President, who has the authority to declare war,’ he said…

“Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna of California made a similar argument: ‘We cannot stand up for Congressional authorization before military strikes only when there is a Republican President,’ he said. ‘The Administration should have sought Congressional authorization here. We need to work to extricate from the Middle East, not escalate.’…

“In 2017, just a few months into then-President Trump’s administration…  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi [asked] for immediate debate over congressional authority for any future military action.”

Even Adam Schiff said that Biden’s notification of congressional leaders prior to the strike was inadequate. At least 22 people were killed in Thursday’s airstrikes.

Airstrike on Syria… an impeachable Offense?

The Ron Paul Institute wrote on March 1:

“As with Presidents Obama and Trump before him, however, Biden’s justification for the US strike and its targets is not credible. And his claim that the US attack would result in a ‘de-escalation’ in the region is laughable. You cannot bomb your way toward de-escalation. Biden thus joins a shameful club of US leaders whose interventions in the Middle East, and Syria specifically, have achieved nothing in the US interest but have contributed to the deaths of many thousands of civilians.

“President Trump attacked Syria in 2018 in what he claimed was retaliation for the Assad government’s use of chemical weapons against its own citizens. The Trump Administration never proved its claim. Logic itself suggests how ridiculous it would have been for the Syrian president to have used chemical weapons in that situation, where they achieved no military purpose and would almost certainly guarantee further outside attacks against his government.

“Trump’s 2018 attack only added to the misery of the Syrian people, who suffered under US sanctions and then suffered President Obama’s ‘Assad must go’ intervention that trained and armed al-Qaeda affiliated groups to overthrow the government. Trump’s airstrike on Syria did nothing to further real American interests in the region. But sending in 100 Tomahawk missiles to blow up a few empty buildings did a great deal to further the bottom line of missile-maker Raytheon. Interestingly, Biden’s Secretary of Defense came to the Administration straight from his previous position on the board of… Raytheon…

“The Democrats wasted four years trying to remove Trump from office under the bogus ‘Russiagate’ lie and then the equally ridiculous and discredited claim that Trump led an insurrection against the government on January 6th. Yet when Trump started raining bombs down on Syria with no Congressional declaration of war or even authorization, most Democrats stood up and cheered…

“In fact, initiating a war against a country that did not attack and does not threaten the United States without Congressional authority is an impeachable offense. But both parties – with a few exceptions – are war parties.

“President Biden should be impeached for his attack on Syria, as should have Trump and Obama before him. But no one in Washington is going to pursue impeachment charges against a president who recklessly takes the United States to war… Isn’t it strange how we’ve heard nothing about ISIS for the past couple of years, but suddenly the mainstream media tells us the ISIS is back and on the march? When President Biden says ‘America is back,’ what he really means is ‘the war party is back.’ As if they ever left.”

 These are words only very few are willing to hear. But war is wrong, no matter under what President, and it is condemned by God.

Biden backpedals on Sanctioning Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince over Khashoggi’s Murder

The Week wrote on February 26:

“The U.S. on Friday released a report publicly pinning the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi on Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Khashoggi, a Saudi columnist who criticized the crown while writing for The Washington Post, was killed and dismembered in 2018 after entering Turkey’s Saudi consulate. The crown prince had been suspected of ordering the killing, and U.S. intelligence affirmed that in a declassified report.

“The report is not new, and is largely based on CIA intelligence gathered in 2018. President Biden’s administration also announced new sanctions against Saudi operatives who were allegedly involved in the killing, but not against the crown prince, as The New York Times reports the president has ‘decided that the price of directly penalizing’ him is ‘too high.’”

CNN added on February 26:

Despite promising to punish senior Saudi leaders while on the campaign trail,  President Joe Biden declined to apply sanctions to the one the US intelligence community determined is responsible for the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi: Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

“The choice not to punish Prince Mohammed directly puts into sharp relief the type of decision-making that becomes more complicated for a president versus a candidate, and demonstrates the difficulty in breaking with a troublesome ally in a volatile region… It was a far cry from a comment in November 2019, in which Biden promised to punish senior Saudi leaders in a way former President Donald Trump wouldn’t.”

More broken promises. Even left-liberal news sources can see that. Also note the next article.

Left-Liberal Washington Post Criticizes Biden

Newsmax wrote on February 26:

“A Washington Post editorial Friday criticized President Joe Biden for failing to sanction Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for approving the murder of the newspaper’s former columnist, Jamal Khashoggi. Friday’s Post op-ed was entitled ‘Mohammed bin Salman is guilty of murder. Biden should not give him a pass.’…  The Post then called out the new president for not putting in place any kind of official government punishment against MBS. The newspaper’s op-ed board suggested a travel ban and asset freeze on the prince.

“‘That President Biden has chosen not to pursue that course suggests that the “fundamental” change he promised in U.S.-Saudi relations will not include holding to account its reckless ruler, who consequently is unlikely to be deterred from further criminal behavior,’ the op-ed board said. According to the op-ed, without imposed penalties, MBS will feel strengthened to kill more dissidents at home and abroad…”

Hyperinflation Coming?

Newsmax published on February 26 an article with the following headline: “Biden Stimulus Could Push US Into Devastating Hyperinflation.”

The article continued:

“Economic experts are waving red flags to Congress and the Biden administration, warning that if the United States continues on its present course of profligate spending coupled with extreme business lockdowns, we could be heading to a period of hyperinflation.

“How hyper? Some are thinking of the German Weimar Republic, when people reportedly used wheelbarrows of cash to buy groceries.”

China Warns of “Side Effects” of US Economic Stimulus wrote on March 2:

“The ‘side effects’ of aggressive economic stimulus policies in the United States and other developed countries have started to surface in the US stock market, China’s top financial regulator warned on Tuesday, saying officials in Beijing were ‘very worried’ that foreign asset bubbles could burst soon. Guo Shuqing, Communist Party secretary of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), identified the US market – the world’s largest – as the greatest bubble risk in the global economy when asked on Tuesday.

“His comments are the latest in a string of warnings made by policymakers in Beijing about mounting external financial threats and their potential impact on the Chinese economy. They also come as the US Congress moves closer to passing President Joe Biden’s US$1.9 trillion pandemic aid package, which would add to nearly US$4 trillion in US economic stimulus unleashed last year and liberal liquidity provided to American financial markets to support growth by the Federal Reserve…

“Former Chinese finance minister Lou Jiwei said in February that Washington was transferring its debt burden to the rest of the world through its economic aid programme… Some analysts have expressed concerns that the American package will plough money into a global economy already awash in liquidity, with the extra funds ending up in China, resulting in imported inflation.”

Trump Remains Dominant Force in GOP

On February 27, The Associated Press published an article with the following headline: “Trump the Dominant Force at Conservative Conference.”

The article continued:

“A conference dedicated to the future of the conservative movement turned into an ode to Donald Trump as speakers declared their fealty to the former president and attendees posed for selfies with a golden statue of his likeness. As the Republican Party grapples with deep divisions over the extent to which it should embrace Trump after losing the White House and both chambers of Congress, those gathered at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday made clear they are not ready to move on from the former president — or from his baseless charges that the November election was rigged against him.

“‘Donald J. Trump ain’t going anywhere,’ said Texas Sen. Ted Cruz…  Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo… drew among the loudest applause and a standing ovation when he bragged about challenging the election certification on Jan. 6… ‘We cannot — we will not — go back to the days of the failed Republican establishment of yesteryear,’ said Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis…  ‘We will not win the future by trying to go back to where the Republican Party used to be,’ echoed Florida Sen. Rick Scott… ‘If we do, we will lose the working base that President Trump so animated…’ Donald Trump Jr. lit into Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, the No. 3 House Republican, who has faced tremendous backlash for her vote to impeach Trump for inciting the Capitol riot…

“[Trump] was present in spirit in the form of a large golden statue erected in a merchandise show booth, where attendees could pose for pictures with it.”

A golden statue of Trump’s likeness? Terrible memories of Nebuchadnezzar’s golden statue in Daniel 3 come to mind. Some have also drawn a parallel to the golden calf in Exodus 32. Compare also 1 Kings 12:28.

Trump Returns

Newsmax wrote on February 28:

“Putting to rest talk of a third party to break off from the GOP, former President Donald Trump said there will be only the Republican Party united, all the way… The speech to CPAC was Trump’s first public appearance since he left office 39 days ago…

“In a straw poll, 97% of attendees approved of his leadership of the party, 70% want him to run again and 55% said he was their preferred candidate in 2024. Trump’s rousing reception at the most important conservative gathering on the calendar highlights just how much Trump has transformed the movement in just five years…”

Fox News added on 2-28:

“Trump did not declare a 2024 run, although he did say he might consider beating Democrats ‘for a third time”’– in reference to his claim that he won the 2020 election… He predicted that a ‘Republican president will make a triumphant return to the White House [in 2024].’ ‘And I wonder who that will be, I wonder who that will be?’ he said to cheers from the crowd. ‘Who, who, who will that be I wonder?’”

In a subsequent interview with Newsmax, Trump said he had not decided yet as to whether or not he will run in 2024, but he said that if he did, then he could not imagine someone else who could win.

Former Vice President Mike Pence breaks his silence

The Week wrote on March 3:

“Former Vice President Mike Pence broke his silence Wednesday with an op-ed in The Daily Signal, criticizing congressional Democrats for their voter reform push and giving new life to former President Donald Trump’s baseless claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen. Despite being a central target of the mob that breached the Capitol on Jan. 6 because of his refusal to answer Trump’s call to somehow block the Electoral College certification, Pence claimed the election was ‘marked by significant irregularities and numerous instances of officials setting aside election law.’

“Without outright calling the 2020 vote fraudulent, Pence framed its outcome as uncertain to argue that Congress should not pass HR 1, the For the People Act, which includes measures such as required early voting and same-day voter registration in every state. Pence called the bill ‘an unconstitutional power grab.’”

California’s Churches Must Be Allowed to open for Indoor Services

East Bay Times wrote on February 26:

“The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday rejected Santa Clara County’s ban on indoor worship services, ordering California’s only holdout to fall in line with the rest of the state… By a 6-3 vote, the court ruled that the county must allow indoor worship services to resume at 20% capacity in Santa Clara County, calling an earlier decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to allow the county to keep its ban in place ‘erroneous.’…

“Following the high court’s lifting of California’s statewide ban on indoor religious services, Santa Clara County argued that it was not subject to the ruling because it prohibited all indoor gatherings — regardless of whether they’re related to religion — rather than instituting a specific ban on indoor religious services.”

Denmark Tries to restrict Religious Liberties

UG Christian News wrote on February 4:

“Christian Churches in Denmark are pushing back against a new draft law that requires all sermons in foreign languages to be translated into the country’s native language (Danish) and submitted to the government for approval… The bill has the backing of Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen… It is unclear whether the law would require sermon translations to be sent to the government before or after being given…

“Anglican Bishop Robert Innes of the European diocese said… [that the] proposal also has practical problems… arguing it is not feasible to translate a weekly sermon delivered extemporaneously. ‘Preachers don’t always write full text of their sermons, they might write notes,’ Innes said. ‘They might preach extempore as the archbishop of Canterbury sometimes does and there are questions of idiom and nuance which requires a high level of skill in translation of course. It is a high bar. It is a skilled art and it is an expensive skill as well.’ ‘We do not only hold services on Sundays, but also baptisms, weddings and funerals, throughout the week,” Rajah Scheepers, who serves as pastor of St. Petri church in Copenhagen told media. ‘It is not realistic to expect that we simultaneously translate all these gatherings or that we translate them in advance.’…

“Catholic churches, too, oppose the idea. Anna Mirijam Kaschner, general secretary and spokeswoman of the Nordic bishops’ conference, reportedly said the proposed law would harm religious liberty. The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) General Secretary Rev. Dr Martin Junge reiterated his concerns on 26 January [saying] that: ‘This proposed legislation is contrary to specific provisions of the freedom of religion or belief, enshrined in international human rights law.’ Sources say the cost of translating sermons for the nation’s non-Danish-speaking congregations will be a staggering 37.4 million Danish krone ($6,069,589) per year, the Danish National Church’s Interchurch Council [estimated].”

Europe… with or without NATO?

On February 26, RTL Today republished an article by AFP, as follows:

“EU leaders agreed Friday that the bloc should take more responsibility for its own security, insisting Brussels needs to be a strong partner for NATO and the United States… ‘We want to act more strategically, to defend our interests and to promote our values,’ European Council President Charles Michel tweeted after a video summit. ‘We need to increase our ability to act autonomously and strengthen our cooperation with our partners.’

“NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg joined the summit to talk up cooperation in the face of worries the EU’s drive could undermine the US-backed alliance at a time new President Joe Biden is looking to strengthen it… ‘It makes it absolutely obvious that we need to work together,’ (Stoltenberg said).

“France is championing a push for ‘strategic autonomy’ — arguing the coronavirus pandemic, a resurgent Russia and former US leader Donald Trump’s threats to cut off allies show Europe has to be able to stand alone. ‘In the face of increased global instability, the EU needs to take more responsibility for its security,’ the leaders said in their official conclusions…

“EU ambitions on common defence have gathered steam in recent years, and all but two nations signed up to the landmark PESCO (Permanent Structured Cooperation) pact in 2017 to increase cooperation. The departure of Britain from the European Union saw the bloc lose some military and diplomatic heft, but also removed a fierce opponent of anything that might lead to a European army from the Brussels conversation.

“The EU is seeking to implement a multibillion-euro fund to co-finance industrial defence projects and the five-billion-euro European Peace Facility (EPF), allowing it to provide military equipment and assistance to partner countries.

“But key questions remain on how these projects will be implemented and the future of EU efforts. The bloc’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell is trying to define a ‘strategic compass’ so all nations can have a more united vision. ‘We need to find a common understanding of the challenges and threats to European Union … in order to propose ways to tackle them all together,’ he said.”

While France questions the NATO alliance, Germany gives lip service for their strong support. But that may change soon.

EU and Iran Deal vs. Israel

The Times of Israel wrote on February 26:

“The top European Union diplomat supervising the international agreement aimed at curbing Iran’s nuclear ambitions called Friday for a concerted effort to reinvigorate the pact even as Tehran appears to be reneging on some of its commitments… Iran this week effectively set a deadline to lift the US sanctions within three months, after which it said it would erase surveillance footage of its nuclear facilities. It has also limited some monitoring of its activities, which the EU says are meant to help ensure that Tehran’s nuclear work is peaceful. The UN’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, has also reported that Iran has added 17.6 kilograms (38.8 pounds) of uranium enriched up to 20% to its stockpile as of Feb. 16 — far past the 3.67% purity allowed under the JCPOA….

Netanyahu on Thursday said he has told Biden that he will do whatever it takes to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran, regardless of whether Washington reenters the nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic. ‘I told him, with or without an agreement, my obligation as the prime minister of Israel, as the prime minister of the Jewish state, is to prevent a recurrence of the terrible things that have been done to our people,’ he said in an interview with Channel 13. ‘There is a regime whose flagship goal is to destroy us. I will do everything I can, everything in my power, to prevent it from attaining nuclear weapons,’ he said.”

Israel may find itself all alone in this challenge.

No Access of Jews to Al Aqsa Mosque

Israel Today wrote on February 26:

“Israel this week sought to install a vaccine station on the Temple Mount inside the clinic of the Al Aqsa Mosque. The idea was to provide vaccines for Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem and especially those coming from the West Bank on Fridays in order to pray at the third holiest site in Islam.

“The request [was] decisively rejected by both the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf, an Islamic religious trust that controls and manages Islamic edifices on the Temple Mount compound. It was reported that the request even reached the hands of PA President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah. The reaction was furious, stating that they refuse to allow Israel any kind of access to the Al Aqsa Mosque.

“Israel’s request made clear that all of the paramedics administering the vaccine would be Arab and that none of Israel’s national symbols would be in sight. In addition, the request promised that the Muslim worshippers would not know that the station was provided by Israel. But the Israeli assurances were of no avail.“

This fanatical resistance will backfire.

Russia’s Persecutions

Bloomberg wrote on February 28:

“Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny, who survived a chemical poisoning last year that he called a Kremlin attempt to kill him, has begun serving his two-and-a-half-year sentence at a notorious penal camp… The jail, where inmates are housed in barracks and typically do manual labor, is classified as a ‘red zone’ where the administration controls every aspect of life…

“Konstantin Kotov, an opposition activist who was freed in December after 1 1/2 years at the same prison, said he was subjected to constant intimidation. This included repeated punishment for so-called infringements such as not saluting a prison guard or borrowing someone’s gloves — with those that his relatives sent him not being delivered — as well as isolating him from other inmates…

“Navalny received the sentence for failing to check in with the authorities while recovering in Germany from the near-fatal nerve agent attack in August. Western governments have also blamed the Kremlin for the poisoning, while Russian authorities deny any role…

“Navalny’s arrest in mid-January when he returned to Russia provoked the biggest anti-Kremlin protests in years and was condemned by the European Union and the U.S…. Authorities cracked down on the demonstrations last month, detaining more than 11,000 people and prosecuting key Navalny allies.”

Deutsche Welle added on March 2:

“The US on Tuesday slapped sanctions on Russian individuals and entities…

“The EU imposed bans on travel and froze the assets in Europe of Alexander Bastrykin, head of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation, Igor Krasnov, the prosecutor general, Viktor Zolotov, head of the National Guard, and Alexander Kalashnikov, head of the Federal Prison Service… US Treasury Department said the US was also imposing sanctions on Krasnov and Kalashnikov… The US Treasury also announces sanctions on Alexander Bortnikov, director of Russia’s federal security service, Andrei Yarin, head of presidential policy directorate, and deputy defense ministers Alexei Krivoruchko and Pavel Popov…

“Brussels said Bastrykin, Krasnov, Zolotov and Kalashnikov were listed ‘over their roles in the arbitrary arrest, prosecution and sentencing of Alexei Navalny, as well as the repression of peaceful protests in connection with his unlawful treatment.’ A senior US official has stated: ‘The intelligence community assesses with high confidence that officers of Russia’s Federal Security Service FSB used a nerve agent known as Novichok to poison Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny on August 20, 2020.’

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in an interview released Tuesday Washington intends to “take the appropriate actions as we see fit to make very clear that this kind of conduct is unacceptable for us, and we’ll do it with our allies and partners.”…

“The EU, which already had imposed sanctions against a small number of Russian officials, is expected to announce more sanctions. The US has also said it plans to respond soon to the Russian hack of federal government agencies and US corporations which exposed potentially sensitive information to the Kremlin.”

Russia announced that they will reciprocate regarding the “largely symbolic” sanctions (US News, March 2).

Pope Warns of a Worldwide Flood

Daily Mail wrote on March 2:

“Pope Francis has warned that mankind is facing a second great flood caused by climate change unless leaders act to fix corruption and injustice. The 84-year-old said that, in the story of the great flood in the Bible, God used his wrath to punish injustice and ‘clean up’ the world. He then added that humanity is facing another ‘great deluge, perhaps due to a rise in temperature and the melting of glaciers. [That is] what will happen now if we continue on the same path,’ he said…

“While discussing justice, Francis brings up the example of the biblical flood which destroyed the world except for Noah – who was deemed virtuous enough to survive. The flood itself may have been a myth, Francis says, but it is used as an example to show how God uses wrath to punish injustice and right wrongs in the world.”

God said very clearly that no worldwide flood will ever come upon the earth again (Genesis 9:11, 15), but since Pope Francis believes that the flood might have been a myth (even though Jesus believed in it, Matthew 24:37-39, and so did Peter, 2 Peter 3:5-6), Pope Francis would not believe God’s clear words in the Bible either.

Pope Emeritus Benedict on Biden

Newsmax wrote on March 3:

“Pope emeritus Benedict XVI is expressing concerns about President Joe Biden’s position on abortion and tendency to fall in line with the Democratic Party platform. ‘It’s true, he’s Catholic and observant,’ Benedict told Italian publication Corriere della Sera on Monday. ‘And personally, he is against abortion. But as president, he tends to present himself in continuity with the line of the Democratic Party … and on gender policy, we still don’t really understand what his position is.’

“Biden, only the second Catholic president, after John F. Kennedy, is at odds with traditional Catholic teaching when it comes to his pro-choice stance on abortion and policies regarding sexual orientation and gender identity…

“The president revoked the Mexico City policy, which banned U.S. foreign aid for organizations promoting abortion abroad, and picked California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who the Times called a ‘pro-choice crusader,’ as his nominee for Health and Human Services secretary. Biden also supports the Equality Act— which would make sexual orientation and gender identity protected characteristics in civil rights law — that some Republicans say would curtail religious liberties.

“Benedict, who became the first pope to resign in almost 600 years, also commented on his decision to step down in 2013, The Tablet reports. ‘It was a difficult decision, but I made it in full awareness, and I believe I did the right thing,’ the retired pope said. ‘Some of my slightly “fanatical” friends are still angry, they didn’t want to accept my choice. I think of the conspiracy theories that followed it … They don’t want to believe in a conscious choice. But my conscience is clear.’”

Our Late or Lost Mail

The Washington Post wrote on February 26:

“Mark Currie of Virginia had three checks snagged in postal delays in three months. In New Jersey, Lois Fitton says she was forced to pay interest on a credit card balance because the bill never arrived. Jim Rice says two insurance companies canceled policies for his property management business in Oklahoma after the payments got lost in the mail.

“As the service crisis at the U.S. Postal Service drags into its eighth month, complaints are reaching a fever pitch. Consumers are inundating members of Congress with stories of late bills — and the late fees they’ve absorbed as a result. Small-business owners are waiting weeks, even months, for checks to arrive, creating cash-flow crunches and debates on whether to switch to costlier private shippers. Large-scale mailers, such as banks and utilities, are urging clients to switch to paperless communication, a shift that would further undercut the agency’s biggest revenue stream.

“The growing outcry adds another dimension to the agency’s myriad crises: a clogged processing and transportation network, severe staffing shortages and $188.4 billion in liabilities. The prolonged performance declines have eroded the reputation of one of the few government agencies that boast generations of broad public support…

“The agency’s delivery times have sunk to historic lows… In most states, it took at least five days for a piece of first-class mail — such as a bill or paycheck — to arrive last month… the mail slowdowns — especially for credit card bills and payments — threaten to further burden American consumers already weighed down by debt…”

If you had ever wondered why your mail was so late or did not arrive at all…

Toys to be Neutral-Gender under Penalty of Hefty Fines

Fox Business wrote on February 25:

“California lawmakers are considering a bill that would penalize department stores for separating children’s toys, clothing and other items by gender… department stores with 500 or more employees would be subject to a $1,000 fine if they do not ‘correct a violation of these provisions within 30 days of receiving written notice of the violation.’ Stores would not have to change their products, but the products could not be displayed based on how they have ‘traditionally been marketed for either girls or for boys.’…

“The bill comes amid growing pushback by consumer advocacy groups to make toys more gender neutral…

“Hasbro, the company that’s made the potato-shaped plastic toy for nearly 70 years, announced this week it is giving the ‘Mr.’ Potato Head a gender-neutral new name: Potato Head. The change will appear on boxes this year… Barbie, for example, has tried to shed its blonde image and now comes in multiple skin tones and body shapes. The Thomas the Tank Engine toy line added more girl characters. And American Girl is now selling a boy doll.”

What complete and utter nonsense

“Europe’s largest-ever cocaine bust worth billions”

The New York Daily News wrote on February 24:

“Billions of dollars-worth of drugs have been seized in Europe’s largest-ever cocaine bust. More than 50,700 pounds of coke were seized by German and Belgian authorities in the operation, which spanned over a week… The bust is also being hailed as one of the largest single seizures in the world. German officials found more than 17 tons of cocaine in containers that arrived in Hamburg from Paraguay

“Dutch authorities then started investigating the recipient of the shipment, discovering 11 containers heading to Antwerp from Panama. These containers supposedly held mackerel, pineapple, squid, and wood. On Saturday, Belgian authorities discovered another 15,873 pounds of cocaine in the container transporting wood…”

What health damage that would have caused.

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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