Current Events

Christmas Deadliest Day for Americans

According to a study, published by Reuters on December 14, 2004, “Christmas is the deadliest day of the year for Americans with 12.4 percent more deaths than normal.” The report continued: “More Americans die from heart attacks and other natural causes on Christmas, the day after and on New Year’s Day than on any other days of the year, the researchers reported… In all, Phillips and colleagues counted more than 42,000 ‘extra’ deaths during the holidays over a 26-year period. Only two years did not see this phenomenon — 1973, when oil prices peaked and people tended not to travel, and 1981, when a severe recession also kept Americans at home…The report fits in with a study published in March that found heart attack patients sent to hospitals during the winter holidays are more likely to die than those admitted during the rest of the year. Clinics, emergency rooms and other health facilities do not operate at top efficiency over the holiday period, said Dr. Trip Meine, a cardiologist at Duke University in North Carolina, who led the study released at an American college of Cardiology meeting.”

Russia and China Form Power Bloc

On December 13, 2004, AP reported that “China and Russia will hold their first joint military exercise next year, the Chinese government said Monday, as President Hu Jintao called for an expansion of the rapidly growing alliance between the former Cold War rivals.The announcement came during a visit to Beijing by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov, who was expected to discuss expanding the Kremlin’s multibillion-dollar annual arms sales to China… The announcement of military exercises comes two months after Beijing and Moscow settled the last of their decades-old border disputes that led to violent clashes in the 1960s and ’70s.

“The agreement was signed during an October trip to Beijing by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who said relations had reached ‘unparalleled heights.’ That visit also produced a pact to jointly develop Russian energy resources… China has become the Russian arms industry’s No. 1 customer, and is expected to buy $2 billion in weapons this year. Russia is a key supplier for the Chinese military’s effort to modernize its arsenal and back up frequent threats to invade Taiwan, the self-ruled island that Beijing claims as its territory… The United States and the European Union have banned weapons sales to China since its bloody 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy protesters. But Moscow has supplied Beijing with high-performance Su-27 fighters and other top-of-the-line arms.”

The Financial Times reported on December 5, 2004, that “President Jacques Chirac has championed lifting the ban imposed after the Tiananmen Square massacre which the EU believes implies a near-pariah status China no longer deserves.” At the same time, according to the article, the United States is “fiercely opposed to lifting the ban.” Regardless, Biblical Prophecy shows that Russia and China will become a mighty military and economic power bloc, which will ultimately be at odds with the European Union. We are seeing now the beginnings of these developments.

The Wisdom of the World…

Associated Press reported on December 9, 2004, that “A British philosophy professor who has been a leading champion of atheism for more than a half-century has changed his mind. He now believes in God – more or less – based on scientific evidence, and says so on a video released Thursday.At age 81, after decades of insisting belief is a mistake, Antony Flew has concluded that some sort of intelligence or first cause must have created the universe. A super-intelligence is the only good explanation for the origin of life and the complexity of nature, Flew said in a telephone interview from England.

“Flew said he’s best labeled a deist like Thomas Jefferson, whose God was not actively involved in people’s lives… biologists’ investigation of DNA ‘has shown, by the almost unbelievable complexity of the arrangements which are needed to produce (life), that intelligence must have been involved,’ Flew says in the new video, ‘Has Science Discovered God?’… Flew told The Associated Press his current ideas have some similarity with American ‘intelligent design’ theorists, who see evidence for a guiding force in the construction of the universe. He accepts Darwinian evolution but doubts it can explain the ultimate origins of life.”

What a mixed-up world, where scientists — supposedly leaders in factual thinking — produce such nonsensical ideas. First atheists, some now believe in a god which is not actively involved in people’s lives. Although they may admit in a “first cause” for the existence of the universe, they also accept Darwinism, but may doubt that it can explain the ultimate origins of life! What incredible confusion and lack of true understanding. How relevant are the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 1:20-21: “Where is the wise?… Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?… the world through [its] wisdom did not know God.”

Intruders in Your Home

On December 2, 2004, a frightening article was published by, stating that “Unprotected PCs can be hijacked in minutes.” The article continued: “Simply connecting to the Internet– and doing nothing else–exposes your PC to non-stop, automated break-in attempts by intruders looking to take control of your machine surreptitiously. While most break-in tries fail, an unprotected PC can get hijacked within minutes of accessing the Internet. Once hijacked, it is likely to get grouped with other compromised PCs to dispense spam, conduct denial-of-service attacks or carry out identity-theft scams…

” [The] results vividly illustrate how automated cyberattacks have come to saturate the Internet with malicious programs designed to take the quickest route to break into your PC: through security weaknesses in the PC operating system… Test results underscored the value of keeping up to date with security patches and using a firewall. Computer security experts say firewalls, which restrict online access to the guts of the PC operating system, represent a crucial first line of defense against cyberintruders. Yet, an estimated 67% of consumers do not use a firewall, according to the National Cyber Security Alliance… Each PC was connected to the Internet via a broadband DSL connection and monitored for two weeks in September. Break-in attempts began immediately and continued at a constant and high level: an average of 341 per hour against the Windows XP machine with no firewall or recent security patches, 339 per hour against the Apple Macintosh and 61 per hour against the Windows Small Business Server. Each was sold without an activated firewall.”

These abominable crimes committed by Internet intruders only show the depths of depravity this world has reached. Nothing is sacred anymore. And it will get much worse!

Is the U.S. Draft Coming?

On December 12, 2004, resurrected the discussion about a possible draft in 2005. The article pointed out that although some experts dismiss the idea, others are not so sure.

“‘It boils down to one thing, and that is Iraq and how long can we sustain the military deployment there,’ says Charles V. Pena, director of defense policy studies at the Cato Institute…With the troop levels in Iraq about to be increased to 150,000 and another 30,000 in Kuwait, that might not be too long, Pena argues. The volunteer military operates under what it calls a 3-1 rotation schedule, which requires two stateside units for every one deployed overseas so that troops can be rotated in and out of harm’s way. That means the armed services need three times as many troops as are actually deployed — 540,000 in the case of Iraq and Kuwait. More than 1.4 million men and women are on active duty, but just 499,543 of them are in the Army, which is handling the bulk of the fighting in Iraq. ‘And that does not take into account the other deployments we have around the globe,’ Pena says. ‘The active Army is not large enough to maintain a 3-1 deployment ratio, which is why you see the National Guard and reserves being used. ‘We’re stretched, and so the question will not go away: Does that mean we might have to resort to a draft?'”

Pena is not convinced that this has to be the case. As the article continued:

“If the situation worsens in Iraq, he thinks politicians might move toward mandatory national service, in which all young people are required to either perform some sort of community work or enlist in the military. The military component could be made more attractive by making it a shorter term than, for instance, emptying bedpans at a nursing home. The military option would also carry the added benefit of providing job training.”

This proposal would only implement what has been in force and effect in Germany for many years. Germany has had a mandatory draft, but conscientious objectors are permitted to perform some sort of community work (for example, working in hospitals or nursing homes), which term is longer than the required military duty.

Doctors: Yushchenko Poisoned with Dioxin

The Associated Press reported on December 11, 2004: “Dioxin poisoning caused the mysterious illness of Ukrainian presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko, a doctor said Saturday, adding that the poison could have been put in his soup. ‘There is no doubt about the fact that Mr. Yushchenko’s disease has been caused by a case of poisoning by dioxin,’ said Dr. Michael Zimpfer, director of Vienna’s private Rudolfinerhaus clinic. Zimpfer said Yushchenko’s blood and tissue registered concentrations of dioxin–one of the most toxic chemicals–that were 1,000 times above normal levels. ‘It would be quite easy to administer this amount in a soup,’ Zimpfer said, adding that tests showed the dioxin was taken orally. ‘There is suspicion of third party involvement.'”

According to the Associated Pres of December 16, 2004, “Opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko said Thursday that he was sure he was poisoned by the Ukrainian government and believes it most likely happened at a dinner he had with the country’s top security service officials.” If proof for the source of this attempted murder can be established, the consequences in the Ukraine could be catastrophic.

“At the same time, he [Yushchenko] said Ukraine would move to integrate more closely into European structures and possibly aim at an associate membership in the European Union in three to five years,” according to AP.

Four Deadly Storms in the Philippines

AFP reported on December 11, 2004: “Four storms that struck the Philippines in one month left almost 1,800 dead and missing with 4.588 billion pesos (81.49 million dollars) in damage, the civil defense office said.The toll is expected to rise further as the search continues for victims of the last two weather disturbances, a tropical storm locally codenamed Winnie which hit on November 29 and typhoon Nanmadol which struck the country on December 2.”

45 Million Children to Die in Next Decade

OneWorld US pointed out on December 6, 2004 that, “Unless the world’s wealthiest countries comply with their past pledges, some 45 million children in the world’s poor countries will die needlessly over the next decade, according [to] a new report released Monday by British-based development group, Oxfam. Despite the fact that Group of Seven (G7) countries Germany, France, Italy, Japan, Britain, the United States, and Canada are richer than they have ever been, they are spending only half as much in real terms in development assistance as they did in 1960, according to the report, ‘Paying the Price.'”

The article continued: “And of the paltry assistance they do provide about US$50 billion a year only about 40 percent of the money is actually spent in poor countries; the rest of it is spent in the wealthy countries themselves. Even, then, much of the aid is late in arriving. … ‘The world has never been wealthier, yet rich nations are giving less and less,’ according to Jeremy Hobbs, Oxfams executive director. ‘Across the globe, millions of people are being denied the most basic human needs: clean water, food, health care and education. People are dying while leaders delay debt relief and aid.’… ‘Unless world leaders act now to deliver [an] historic breakthrough on poverty,’ said Hobbs, ‘next year will end in shameful failure.'”

Anglican Church Could ‘Self-destruct’ over Gay Clergy Issue

AFP reported on December 11, 2004: “The Anglican church is deeply divided and could ‘implode and self-destruct’ over gay clerics and other sensitive issues, a senior advisor to the Archbishop of Canterbury warned. Jayne Ozanne, in a private document to Archbishop Rowan Williams leaked to Saturday’s edition of The Times, predicted that the Anglican church would ‘fragment into various divisions over a range of internal issues’ and could wind up as an ‘underground movement’ comparable to World War II resistance groups.

“Williams late last month criticized conservatives within his worldwide church, with some 70 million followers, for their vocal hostility to homosexuals. … ‘I see a time of great persecution coming, which will drive Christianity all but underground in the West. I believe that this will primarily take the form of a social and economic persecution, where Christians will be ridiculed for their faith and pressurised into making it a purely private matter,’ she [Ozanne] wrote.”

Mixed Signals for Further EU Enlargement

EUOBSERVER stated on December 11, 2004: “As the EU looks set to open membership negotiations with Turkey at the end of next week, over a third of its citizens are opposed to further enlargement of the 25-nation bloc… Those against enlargement rises to 43% when citizens only from the 15 ‘old’ member states are considered, according to a eurobarometer poll published on Friday (10 December). Austrians and Germans have the highest percentages of citizens against enlargement (62% and 57% respectively) – both countries have common borders with new member states.

“In France, where President Jacques Chirac has been fighting rising sentiment against Turkish EU membership – fifty-one percent said they are against further enlargement…. The EU is expected to take on Romania and Bulgaria in 2007 while Turkey is not expected to join until at least 2015 – a decision on whether to open negotiations with Ankara will be taken at the EU summit on 16-17 December.”

Europe’s Far Right Consider Coalition

EUOBSERVER reported on December 10, 2004: “Europe’s far right parties are considering forming a pan-European movement together.Filip Dewinter, the leader of an extremist separatist party in Belgium, told the Vienna-based News on Thursday that they were considering creating an extreme right grouping in the European Parliament. This would encompass Austria’s Freedom Party, Italy’s Lega Nord, France’s National Front, the Dutch New Right Party and de Winter’s own Vlaams Belang – all strongly anti-immigrant. Mr Dewinter said he is considering Jörg Haider, leader of Austria’s Freedom Party, to be the head of the movement. ‘I’ve had several talks with Jörg Haider and have the feeling that he’s interested in this cooperation’, said Mr Dewinter. ‘I’m proposing to Jö;rg Haider that he be the top candidate of our movement’. Mr Haider became well known in Europe when, after doing so well in the 1999 elections in Austria, his party joined the centre-right government – resulting in sanctions by other member states against the country. If the talks come to fruition, the coalition would run on a single platform in the European elections in 2009.”

Romania Finishes EU Talks

EUOBSERVER reported on December 9, 2004: “Following a last minute diplomatic push, Romania managed on Wednesday evening (8 December) to close EU pre-accession talks. This is a technical achievement with the political closure of talks expected on 14 December, during a meeting of EU foreign ministers. Finishing negotiation on all parts of EU legislation was crucial ahead of the EU Summit next week, when Romania’s accession in 2007 is expected to be confirmed by leaders of the 25-nation bloc… Until 2007, Romania and Bulgaria will be under close observation following the introduction of a so-called safeguard clause that gives the EU the possibility of delaying entry for a year if commitments made by the countries during negotiations are not met… Romania has been lagging behind its neighbour Bulgaria, which already closed EU talks in June. Both countries are due to sign the Accession Treaty in spring 2005 paving the way to join the EU two years after that.”

Chirac and Schröder Push for Constitution “Yes” in Spain

EUOBERSERVER reported on December 9, 2004: “French President Jacques Chirac confirmed on Wednesday (8 December) that he and German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder will travel to Barcelona in the weeks before the Spanish referendum on the Constitution, to lend their support. The two leaders will attend a ‘teaching’ meeting to explain the Constitution on 11 February, according to Le Monde.

“The Spanish will be the first to put the Constitution to a popular vote — on 20 February. Mr Chirac said that the Spanish would be in the ‘first row’ of European integration and called on Spaniards to ‘show the way’ to other countries with a ‘massive yes’. Opinion polls consistently show that a majority of Spanish people are in favour of the Constitution. Confirming that he would ‘engage without holding back’ in the campaign, the French President also said the campaign should not be ‘ruined by internal politics’. Mr Chirac himself is set to have a difficult time persuading the French people to vote ‘yes’ to the Constitution as he tries to avoid the issue becoming entangled in the question of whether Turkey should become an EU member – a large section of the French population are against this.”

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