This Week in the News

Japan’s Emperor to Retire?

The Daily Beast wrote on August 8:

“When the Emperor speaks, Japan listens and so does the world. Monday at 3:00 p.m. local time a speech by Emperor Akihito was televised on a date that commemorated no anniversary or major tragedy, as most of his addresses do. Instead it pertained to the very Imperial System itself.

“The Emperor, who is 82, discussed his health, his position as a symbol of the state under Japan’s modern constitution, the hardship of his duties, his love for the people of Japan—and made clear his desire to abdicate the throne in his lifetime in a way that would cause the least amount of turmoil…

“Monday’s speech left little doubt his desire and intent is to step down, if such a thing can be arranged, but more importantly it marks the prelude to what may be an epic battle between the emperor’s successor, Crown Prince Naruhito, and the man some critics call the Clown Prince—Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, leader of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

“Media reports in Japan already are calling the consideration of abdication the current emperor’s final act of resistance against the prime minister, a bid to halt the return to Japan’s aggressive pre-war attitudes and policies…

“Japan’s remilitarization is steadily underway. The weapons industry has been revived; the country is shipping arms.

“The State Security Laws will enable Japan to wage war overseas for the first time since the war ended. And if the ruling coalition somehow fails to alter the pacifist constitution, it will push to pass an emergency powers act, which will give the Prime Minister power to rewrite the laws during a time of crisis—something straight out of the Nazi playbook. (Some members of Abe’s cabinet have a well-known admiration for Hitler’s political stratagems.)…

“Prime Minister Abe and his political allies have long derided Japan’s constitution as a humiliation imposed upon the Japanese people by the United States occupation government, impinging on ‘basic human rights.’”

China Pushes Japan

Reuters wrote on August 9:

“Japan warned China on Tuesday that ties were deteriorating over disputed East China Sea islets, and China’s envoy in Tokyo reiterated Beijing’s stance that the specks of land were its territory and called for talks to resolve the dispute.

“The diplomatic tussle comes amid simmering tension as China builds on outposts in the contested South China Sea, including what appear to be reinforced aircraft hangars, according to new satellite images.

“Ties between Asia’s two largest economies have been strained in recent days since Japan saw a growing number of Chinese coastguard and other government ships sailing near the East China Sea islets, called the Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.

“The flurry of Chinese incursions into the waters follows a period of sustained pressure on China over its activities in the South China Sea, and China’s criticism of what it sees as Japanese interference in that dispute.”

North Korea Threatens Japan

AFP reported on August 8:

“Japan’s newly appointed defence minister on Monday ordered the nation’s military to be ready to destroy any missiles fired by North Korea that threaten the country, local media reported.

“Tomomi Inada issued the order, public broadcaster NHK said, without mentioning any indication that Pyongyang is preparing to launch such a missile.

“Last week Prime Minister Shinzo Abe picked Inada, a close confidante with staunchly nationalist views, as the new defence minister.

“NHK said Inada is expected to renew the readiness order every three months so that Tokyo can seamlessly maintain a state of alert.”

China Militarizes Contested “Islands”

NBC wrote on August 9:

“WASHINGTON — Recent satellite photographs show China appears to have built reinforced aircraft hangars on its holdings in the disputed South China Sea, according to a Washington-based think tank.

“Pictures taken in late July show the hangars constructed on Fiery Cross, Subi and Mischief Reefs in the Spratly islands have room for any fighter jet in the Chinese air force, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

“‘Except for a brief visit by a military transport plane to Fiery Cross Reef earlier this year, there is no evidence that Beijing has deployed military aircraft to these outposts. But the rapid construction of reinforced hangars at all three features indicates that this is likely to change,’ CSIS said in a report.

“China claims most of the South China Sea, through which $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year. The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei have overlapping claims.

“The images have emerged about a month after an international court in The Hague ruled against China’s sweeping claims in the resource-rich region, a ruling emphatically rejected by Beijing.”

South Korea’s Relation With China Sours!

Bloomberg wrote on August 9:

“South Korean President Park Geun Hye has discovered first hand the feeling of getting the cold shoulder from China.

“Under the fluent Mandarin speaker’s watch, South Korea had seen improved ties with China, drawn together in part by concern about Japan’s wartime past and the military ambitions of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Park was the only leader of a U.S. ally to attend a military parade in China last year for the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.

“Now, relations that were hailed by both countries as the best in history have soured, and Park may get a frosty reception in China next month for the Group of 20 summit. The reason: Her agreement to deploy a U.S. missile shield on Korean soil.

“While South Korea says the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system would be aimed at prickly neighbor North Korea, which has been busy of late test-firing missiles, China has reacted angrily, saying the shield could be applied to it. Russia has also opposed it being stationed in Asia…

“One consequence of the tensions over Thaad could be an arms race in North Asia, with both China and Russia moving to develop more sophisticated weaponry. The deployment may also play into the hands of North Korea, allowing leader Kim Jong-Un to shore up ties with China, its only major ally.”

Vietnam Arms Itself Against China

Reuters wrote on August 10:

“Vietnam has discreetly fortified several of its islands in the disputed South China Sea with new mobile rocket launchers capable of striking China’s runways and military installations across the vital trade route, according to Western officials.

“Diplomats and military officers told Reuters that intelligence shows Hanoi has shipped the launchers from the Vietnamese mainland into position on five bases in the Spratly islands in recent months, a move likely to raise tensions with Beijing…

“The move is designed to counter China’s build-up on its seven reclaimed islands in the Spratlys archipelago. Vietnam’s military strategists fear the building runways, radars and other military installations on those holdings have left Vietnam’s southern and island defenses increasingly vulnerable.

“Military analysts say it is the most significant defensive move Vietnam has made on its holdings in the South China Sea in decades.”

We know from biblical prophecies that a powerful collaboration of many Far Eastern nations will form, which will be hostile towards continental Europe. It appears certain that nations such as Russia and China will be part of this confederacy, but it is not clear as to what role some of the other countries will play, which are mentioned in the above-quoted articles. It is therefore important that we watch events in the Far East.  

“US Press Aghast at Trump Gun Remarks”

BBC News reported on August 10:

“Trump’s latest remarks on the possibility of the ‘Second Amendment people’ doing away with his opponent drew immediate outcry… The mainstream US press has largely reacted to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s gun rights remarks with dismay and some anger.

“Most forthright is New York’s Daily News, which declares ‘Trump must go’. ‘Hinting at assassination is too much, even for him,’ it explains. The Wall Street Journal reports a ‘new flap for Trump over gun comments’, saying Mr Trump has ‘confounded the hopes of Republicans who want him to run a more measured presidential campaign.’ The New York Times says ‘Trump suggests gun owners act against Clinton’ and reports ‘alarm’ at his remarks… Veteran commentator Thomas Friedman writes… that this is… ‘how Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin got assassinated’…

“The Washington Post describes a tactic of ‘outrage, headlines and then denial’ in Mr Trump’s campaign speeches, which it says may not serve to attract undecided voters to his cause… It gives space to Joe Scarborough, a former Republican congressman and MSNBC TV host, who calls for his party to ditch Mr Trump… ‘A bloody line has been crossed that cannot be ignored. At long last, Donald Trump has left the Republican Party few options but to act decisively and get this political train wreck off the tracks before something terrible happens,’ he writes…”

German Government Breaks Neutrality on US Elections

The Local wrote on August 10:

“German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier believes Donald Trump becoming US president would be a ‘frightening’ prospect for the world, his spokeswoman said Wednesday. Steinmeier ‘is not neutral’ on whether the Republican candidate is fit to occupy the Oval Office, the spokeswoman, Sawsan Chebli, told reporters. ‘He is of the opinion that it is frightening, if you follow Trump’s remarks, what could become of this world if Trump actually became president,’ she said. ‘The foreign minister is calling attention to that and that is his right.’

“Die Welt reports that it is the first time that a member of the German government has stated an official position on how they hope the US elections will pan out. However Steinmeier, a Social Democrat, had made his feelings pretty clear already when he compared Trump last week to a ‘hate preacher’, saying he had much in common with ‘fear-mongers’ in Germany’s right-wing populist AfD party as well as advocates of Britain’s exit from the EU.

“Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokeswoman told the same news conference that she would stand by her policy of not commenting on the US election campaign. French President Francois Hollande said Trump makes ‘you want to retch’ following the Republican’s ‘hurtful and humiliating comments’ against the Muslim parents of a slain US soldier who criticised the candidate.

“Trump’s bid to take the White House is reeling from a series of self-inflicted scandals after he disparaged Muslims, babies, firefighters and the military, prompting his Republican stablemates to issue awkward denunciations. He stirred new controversy Tuesday over comments interpreted by some as a threat of violence against rival Hillary Clinton.”

Subsequently, Mr. Trump caused further outrage when he stated repeatedly that President Obama and Hillary Clinton “founded” ISIS.

New Emails May Prove Disastrous for Hillary Clinton

The New York Times wrote on August 9:

“A new batch of State Department emails released Tuesday showed the close and sometimes overlapping interests between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department when Hillary Clinton served as secretary of state.

“The documents raised new questions about whether the charitable foundation worked to reward its donors with access and influence at the State Department, a charge that Mrs. Clinton has faced in the past and has always denied.

“In one email exchange, for instance, an executive at the Clinton Foundation in 2009 sought to put a billionaire donor in touch with the United States ambassador to Lebanon because of the donor’s interests there.

“In another email, the foundation appeared to push aides to Mrs. Clinton to help find a job for a foundation associate. Her aides indicated that the department was working on the request…

“The State Department turned the new emails over to a conservative advocacy group, Judicial Watch, as part of a lawsuit that the group brought under the Freedom of Information Act.

“The documents included 44 emails that were not among some 55,000 pages of emails that Mrs. Clinton had previously given to the State Department, which she said represented all her ‘work-related’ emails…

“Tom Fitton, the president of Judicial Watch, charged that Mrs. Clinton ‘hid’ the documents from the public because they appeared to contradict her official pledge in 2009 to remove herself from Clinton Foundation business while leading the State Department…

“The F.B.I. spent more than a year examining Mrs. Clinton’s use of a private email account, but it is not clear how the work of the Clinton Foundation figured into that investigation. James B. Comey Jr., the F.B.I. director, was noticeably circumspect in an appearance last month before the House oversight committee when Republicans questioned whether the investigation had looked at the Clinton Foundation. Twice, he declined to say.”

Breitbart added on August 11:

“While the federal investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was Secretary of State was underway, ‘several FBI field offices’ asked the Justice Department to investigate the murky connections between the State Department and the Clinton Foundation, but were shutdown, according to a report by CNN.”

The Storm in Europe Has Just Begun…

The Week wrote on August 5:

“In a world filled with political bunglers, German Chancellor Angela Merkel deserves special mention for outstanding achievement in recklessness. Her refugee policy puts all of Europe at risk, though continental elites may be too zealous in their devotion to humanitarian ideals to recognize it…

“The reason we should look beyond the anecdotes is that focusing on them allows Merkel and her defenders to deflect — to suggest that all of these events are outliers, that they don’t represent a portentous glimpse of the European future, and that those who oppose Merkel’s refugee policy are guilty of racism, xenophobia, and other archaic forms of prejudice that all enlightened Europeans are duty-bound to reject out of hand as a precondition for participation in civilized conversation and debate…

“Recall those overwhelming majorities who say they are unhappy with how the EU has handled the refugee issue. Those are voters who helped pass the Brexit referendum in the U.K. And who nearly elected a far-right anti-EU and anti-immigrant party in Austria just four months ago. And who are now giving that same party the lead in the run-up to the re-run of the election scheduled for October. And who are contributing to a surge in the polls for the far-right National Front in France. And so on and so forth.

“All of these developments are a product of growing unease among European voters, who believe (and not without reason) that their leaders are prone to pursue policies, without popular consultation, that will drastically and negatively affect the quality of life in — and the linguistic, ethnic, economic, and religious character of — their nations. This populist discontent began building long before Merkel instituted her well-meant but profoundly foolish refugee policy, but that policy more than any other in recent memory has galvanized it.

“Having set out, with the best of moral intentions, to act like an extra-political citizen of a world without walls, Angela Merkel has ended up reaping a nationalist whirlwind. And the storm has only just begun to gather.”

Germany Is Granting Islam “Too Much Respect”

Breitbart wrote on August 11:

“Bundestag member Erika Steinbach and Iranian-born pastor Mahin Mousapour called for much stronger sanctions for Muslims who abuse Christians in Germany at a press conference on Monday. Highlighting the fact Christians suffer violence, harassment, and death threats in migrant lodgings, Ms. Mousapour criticised Germany for granting Islam ‘too much respect’.  Declaring anti-Christian hate attacks an affront to German values, politician Erika Steinbach advocated the government deport migrants who insult or attack Christians…

“At the press conference Ms. Mousapour, who converted to Christianity more than 25 years ago, reported that Christians face various forms of persecution in migrant housing.

“Ms Mousapour warned that Christians living in migrant housing are told they are ‘impure as a dog’ and deserved death for rejecting Islam. ‘Toys of Christian children are being destroyed, Christian asylum seekers are told not only to wash their dishes after eating but also that they must clean the entire kitchen as it would otherwise be “unclean”. Many Muslim asylum seekers call all Christians unclean. Church services are held in secret, bibles and crucifixes have to be hidden,’ she explained.

“Ms Mousapour… disclosed that even converts who no longer live in migrant housing attract Muslims’ ire…

“Ms. Steinbach advocated deportation for Muslims who attack or insult Christian migrants on the basis of their religion. A vocal critic of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s policy to open Germany’s borders, Ms. Steinbach called for the European Union to set up refugee camps outside the bloc’s external borders. Here, the popular MP said, migrants would ‘stay until the war is over, then go back home’…

“During the Islamic month of fasting, migrant shelters in Germany catered to Muslim eating schedules, with Christians receiving only leftovers…

“Ms. Mousapour commented: ‘We are here in Germany, in a Christian country! We must not allow others to change that.’”

Strict Measures in Germany to Increase Security

The Telegraph wrote on August 10:

“Senior ministers in Germany have called for a ban on burqas and an end to dual citizenship in response to the threat from terrorism. Angela Merkel’s government is preparing to unveil increased security measures in the wake of recent terror attacks.

“Thomas de Maiziere, the country’s interior minister, is to detail a series of new proposals on Thursday, including the deportation of preachers who incite terrorism. But senior elected officials from Mrs Merkel’s Christian Democrat party (CDU) believe the new measures do not go far enough, and have published a series of more far-reaching proposals… The document, already known as the Berlin Declaration, has already been signed by state interior ministers across Germany.

“It includes 27 measures to increase security, including thousands of new police officers and video camera surveillance in city centres. But the most controversial proposals are the calls for a ban on the full-face veil in public and an end to dual citizenship. Unlike some European countries, Germany has no restrictions on the wearing of burqas or headscarves in public… The declaration calls for an end to dual citizenship… ‘We reject this divided loyalty,’ the declaration reads. ‘We suggest whoever wants to get involved with the politics of foreign governments leaves Germany.’”

The Local added on August 11:

“German citizens with dual nationality who fight for a terror group should be stripped of their German citizenship, the interior minister said Thursday, unveiling tough new measures after two attacks by Islamic State militants. ‘Germans who participate in fighting abroad for a terror militia and who have another citizenship should lose their German nationality,’ Thomas de Maiziere said…

“But the proposal is controversial. Green lawmaker Volker Beck swiftly condemned it as ‘desperate activism’. De Maiziere himself also acknowledged that junior coalition partner the Social Democrats is likely to raise objections.”

Turkey Does Not Belong in the EU

Deutsche Welle wrote on August 4:

“Autocracies have no place in the European Union… By suggesting Wednesday that talks on Turkey joining the European Union should be reconsidered, Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern is just saying what all responsible politicians at EU headquarters in Brussels have known for quite some time: Accession talks with Turkey should be ended. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has also admitted that Turkey will not be ready for membership for years to come.

“Eleven years ago, EU member states still hoped that then EU-friendly Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan could steer a Muslim Turkey into the EU as a modern democracy and a developing economic power within a decade. At the time, EU members politely ignored his claims that Turkey would one day dominate the bloc… Today, the vision has vanished. President Erdogan has gone from being a reformer to being an autocratic president, who undermines the rule of law, curtails freedoms of the press and expression and has most recently begun using emergency laws to prepare for the transformation of the Turkish state into a presidial, autocratic regime…

“Erdogan and the state that he has created are truly unfit for membership. He is no longer even willing to join. In 2014, long before last month’s attempted coup, Erdogan said that he ‘didn’t care’ if the EU accepted Turkey or not. At the time he was incarcerating undesirable journalists with the help of a compliant judicial system.

“Nevertheless, the European Union still clings to the decision it made long ago to continue membership negotiations no matter what the outcome. Why? Especially when everyone knows that they will never lead to Turkish membership?… the willingness of many of the EU’s member states to welcome 80 million people from another cultural sphere is also severely limited. Erdogan himself has complained that Europeans don’t want the Turks just because they are Muslims. There is some truth to that. Above all, skeptical EU citizens would not want Turks that – like Erdogan – see Islam as a superior ideology and contemptuously refer to the EU as a ‘Club of Christians.’…

“In actuality, accession talks have been at a standstill for years. Indeed, they never really started. That’s because Turkey, since 2005, has steadfastly refused to recognize the EU membership of Cyprus, of which, contrary to international law, Turkey currently occupies the northern half. All attempts to find a solution to the issue have failed due to Turkish resistance. For that reason alone, membership negotiations make no sense at all.

“The formal burial of accession talks demands a presumably difficult-to-achieve decision from EU heads of state and government. Turkey’s membership chances died long ago. The beautiful dream of a European Turkey has burst like a soap bubble.”

Turkey and Russia Vow “Friendship”

The New York Times reported on August 9:

“Against a backdrop of rising tensions between Turkey and the West, Presidents Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey pledged on Tuesday to repair relations after nine months of open antagonism.

“Although their meeting in St. Petersburg on Tuesday produced little beyond vows of friendship and cooperation, the symbolism of the two former antagonists coming together for a friendly talk was enough to raise alarms in Western capitals. Besides being a member of the NATO alliance, Turkey is vital to Europe’s efforts to stanch the flow of migrants from Syria and Afghanistan.

“Washington and Ankara, long at odds over American support of the Kurds in Syria and Iraq, have had a series of problems lately. Anti-Americanism has been on the rise in Turkey, amid accusations that the United States played a role in the failed coup in Turkey and widespread resentment of the White House’s criticism of the resulting crackdown.”

Ukraine on Highest Alert

Newsmax wrote on August 11:

“Vladimir Putin summoned his security council and the Russian Navy announced war games in the Black Sea a day after the Russian president accused Ukraine of trying to provoke a conflict over Crimea, which Moscow seized and annexed in 2014…

“Using some of his most aggressive rhetoric against Kiev since the height of the war two years ago, Putin has pledged to take counter-measures against Ukraine, which he accused of sending saboteurs into Crimea to carry out terrorist acts.

“Ukraine has called the accusations false and says they look like a pretext for Russia to escalate hostilities…

“Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said he had ordered all Ukrainian units near Crimea and in eastern Ukraine onto the highest state of combat readiness. He was seeking to urgently speak to Putin, the leaders of France and Germany, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and European Council President Donald Tusk.

“In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau said the United States was extremely concerned and called on both sides to reduce tension and rhetoric. In New York, the U.N. Security Council held a closed-door meeting at Ukraine’s request to discuss the growing tensions.

“Ukrainian U.N. Ambassador Volodymyr Yelchenko warned that Russia had amassed more than 40,000 troops in the region and said the build-up could reflect ‘very bad intentions.’”

UK’s Prisons Aren’t Big Enough to Jail All Paedophiles!

The Independent wrote on August 8:

“One of the most senior police officers in the UK has called for greater debate about treating paedophiles rather than sending them to prison, amid concerns there is not enough space in prisons to jail them all.

“Chief Superintendent Gavin Thomas, president of the Police Superintendents’ Association of England and Wales issued the warning and called for a ‘rethink’ on current approaches to sex offenders, The Times reports.

“Currently, there are close to 45,000 names on the sex offenders’ register. The list contains details of people convicted of sexual offences and is used to monitor offenders following their release from prison. It has been steadily increasing since it was established in 1997.

“Mr Thomas said: ‘One of the major concerns from our members is managing the register already, and it’s growing. For offenders at the highest level there are visits to be made [and] monitoring access to the internet.’

“He added that there is not enough room in prisons to jail all child sex offenders and called for discussion of alternatives: ‘Should we be going down the criminal justice route or, based on a proper assessment, should we be going down the health route? At the moment I am not seeing alternative thinking on how we deal with this issue as it grows and grows and grows’…

“Of 86,200 people who are currently in jail, around 11,500 have been convicted of a sexual offence.”

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