This Week in the News

It could not have come at a more inappropriate time: Exactly 70 years after Russia’s invasion of Poland (on September 17, 1939), President Obama announced that he had scrapped plans for a U.S. missile defense shield in Poland and the Czech Republic. The reaction to this highly controversial decision was mixed.

While some economists are postulating the end of our economic and financial crisis, other voices warn that the “global economic crisis continues,” and that “unemployment is set to rise.” This week was the anniversary of the Lehman Brothers collapse “which helped create a market panic that turned the recession that began in late 2007 into the worse economic downturn since the Great Depression.” In his speech, President Obama warned that some in the financial industry are choosing to ignore the lessons of the crisis. At the same time, it appears that one California judge is willing to explore the legal issues challenging Barack Obama’s eligibility to be U.S. President. A trial was tentatively set for January 26, 2010.

This is happening while Mr. Obama’s accomplishments, so far, were described by Politico as utter failures, and while America’s international powers are fading and the USA is no longer the richest region in the world. The health care debacle is bound to continue, and former President Jimmy Carter’s offensive and insulting comments were in no way helpful to President Obama. According to CNN, September 16, Mr. Carter said “that an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man, that he’s African-American,” and that there is “a belief among many white people — not just in the South but around the country — that African-Americans are not qualified to lead this great country.” The White House quickly rejected Mr. Carter’s accusations, stating that “US President Barack Obama does not believe current criticism of his policies is based on the color of his skin.”

In Germany, a nationally televised election debate between Chancellor Angela Merkel and Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister Franz-Walter Steinmeier turned out to be a “snore” and a “big yawn.” Smaller parties were upset for not being allowed participation in the “debate.” While Steinmeier was perceived as having scored more points, Merkel is still viewed as the “most popular chancellor in German history.” But the outcome of the election by the end of September is far from certain, as about 45% of Germans are undecided as for whom to vote. In fact, according to the New York Times, “Voter enthusiasm [in Germany] has been so low throughout the campaign season that Bild last week offered the chance to win 1 million euros, or roughly $1.5 million, to someone who correctly guesses the outcome of the election and can prove that they actually voted.”

Mideast Peace is as distant as ever, as no agreement has been reached regarding Israel’s settlements, and an Israeli attack on Iran is becoming more and more possible or even probable. However, as BBC News reported, a frightening development can also be seen in Israel’s military which is being infiltrated by fanatical Jewish rabbis advocating a “Holy War” –or, as some in Israel put it — “Jihad.”

At the same time, the West’s fascination with Islam is reaching unprecedented levels. London’s mayor proposed that non-Muslims should participate in the Ramadan fast to understand Muslims better. However, the mayor did not suggest that “Muslims and Christians fast on Yom Kippur (the biblical Day of Atonement) in order to better understand their Jewish neighbors.”

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