Witches on the Rise
As AFP reported on July 21, 2005, “Sorcerers, fortune-tellers and other pagans will be able to cast their spells without fear in the Australian state of Victoria after local authorities moved to repeal a 200 year-old anti-witchcraft law… ‘The times have long since passed when witchcraft and fortune-telling represented a danger to law and order, or a focus for criminal activity,’ [said Victorian Attorney General Rob Hulls]… A pro-witchcraft group called the Pagan Awareness Network hailed the death of the Act, which it said was the last law on the books in Australia to outlaw sorcery. ‘There’ll be several thousand pagans in Melbourne celebrating this news under the full moon tonight,’ said network spokesman Gavin Andrew.”
According to the Bible, the alleged foundation of professing Christianity, including Australia, sorcery and witchcraft are an abomination to God, and works of darkness. The Bible attributes sorcery and witchcraft to Satan the devil and his demons. But, in our “sophisticated” modern societies of falsely-understood tolerance, we have become accustomed to accepting as “good” what God condemns as “evil.”
New German Elections in September?
As Reuters reported on July 21, 2005, “President Horst Koehler agreed on Thursday to dissolve parliament and allow early elections, putting Germany on track for a September vote that polls suggest will usher in a new reform-minded conservative government. His decision removes the key hurdle to Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder’s early election plan, which he sprung on a stunned nation on May 22 after a humiliating loss for his Social Democrats (SPD) in a regional vote.
“The federal election could still be thwarted if Germany’s top court finds that Schroeder’s unconventional plan, which involved the deliberate loss of a parliamentary vote of confidence earlier this month, is unconstitutional…. All the major parties support early polls and a survey this week showed 73 percent of Germans want them… Germany’s constitutional court is now the last remaining hurdle to a Sept. 18 election.
“Werner Schulz, a member of the Greens party in parliament, plans to file a legal suit in the coming days to prevent an early vote, meaning the court will have to decide on the plan.” [In addition, Jelena Hoffman, member of Schroeder’s party, SPD, as well as several small parties, also announced that they will file legal actions.]
Reuters continued that the Constitutional Court “would most likely rule within three weeks, so definitive confirmation of the early vote could be delayed until mid-August, just one month before the presumed election.”
Bild Online questioned, however, whether new elections could be held on September 18. The tabloid stated that it was uncertain how quickly Germany’s constitutional court would render a decision.
Some observers feel that Koehler gave in to the will of the German people and all the major parties, while violating the law. Der Spiegel Online quoted Schulz as saying on German public TV station, ARD, that he was not surprised by Koehler’s decision, and that Koehler was unable to stand up to political pressure.
Canada’s “Gay Marriages”
As The Associated Press reported on July 21, 2005, “The Vatican newspaper on Thursday attacked Canada’s legalization of gay marriage, calling it a distortion of God’s plan for the family. Canada became the fourth nation to grant full legal rights to same-sex couples when the Supreme Court’s chief justice signed legislation Wednesday. ‘The distortion of God’s plan for the family continues,’ said L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican daily. ‘In Canada, homosexual unions have become equal to marriage.'”
The Pope and the Terrorists
The Associated Press reported on July 21, 2005: “Pope Benedict XVI said terrorism is not the result of a clash of civilization between the West and Islam but the action of ‘fanatics’… Benedict respond[ed] to a question about the July 7 London bombings. He added that ‘dialogue between the three monotheistic religions is very important.’ The pope will visit a synagogue in Cologne, address Muslims and meet with representatives of other Christian denominations during an Aug. 18-21 trip to his native Germany… Days after the London bombings, Benedict expressed ‘profound sadness’ for the ‘atrocious terrorist attacks’ and told bombers and other terrorists to ‘stop in the name of God.'”
New Terrorist Attacks in London
However, the terrorists did not listen to the pope’s pleas.
As Reuters reported on July 21, 2005, “Four small explosions hit London’s bus and underground train network on Thursday, without causing major casualties, exactly 2 weeks after bombers killed more than 50 people in the capital. A large part of the underground train network was suspended… The emergency coincided with a memorial service for the attacks of July 7. Then, four young British Muslims detonated bombs in three underground trains and a bus at morning rush hour, killing more than 50 people… Those bombings confronted Britain’s people and politicians with the prospect the country could be nurturing its own generation of the type of Islamist militants loyal to Osama bin Laden who had already inflicted carnage in the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, in Bali and on Madrid trains last year. All four bombers died in the July 7 attacks, leading most people to assume they had been suicide bombers.”
Wild Fires Plague the USA
The Associated Press reported on July 21, 2005:
“A fast-moving wildfire forced the evacuation of about 50 homes near Denver on Wednesday as flames blackened a landscape of rolling grasslands and ponderosa pines…Two air tankers were dropping fire-retardant on the 800-acre blaze… Firefighters were hampered by relentless heat. Denver reached 105 on Wednesday, tying the all-time record for hottest day, set on Aug. 8, 1878, according to the National Weather Service. It was the second straight day of triple-digit temperatures, far above the normal highs in the upper 80s… Elsewhere Wednesday, fire crews battled two blazes near Mesa Verde National Park in southwestern Colorado… “
The article continued:
“A nearly 200-acre lightning-caused fire on the Ute Mountain Ute Indian reservation was 70 percent contained, and a second blaze on the reservation covering 2,318 acres was 85 percent contained… In southern Arizona, a 22,500-acre fire was about 75 percent contained, thanks to burnouts and heavy rain, lessening the threat to about 30 homes and cabins and wildlife habitat in Madera Canyon… In northern California, firefighters contained a wind-blown wildfire that grew to more than 10,000 acres early Wednesday but burned past a nuclear weapons laboratory and some 500 homes without causing major damage… In Oregon, firefighters battled a 5,000-acre blaze on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation. The fire was not threatening any homes, but ‘it’s got an awful lot of potential,’ said Gary Cooke, fire administrator for the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs… The National Interagency Fire Center said 36 large fires were active Wednesday in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming. Nearly 3.9 million acres of land has been burned so far this year, compared with 4.4 million at this time last year.”
China Threatens USA
London’s Financial Times reported on July 14, 2005:
“China is prepared to use nuclear weapons against the US if it is attacked by Washington during a confrontation over Taiwan, a Chinese general said on Thursday. ‘If the Americans draw their missiles and position-guided ammunition on to the target zone on China’s territory, I think we will have to respond with nuclear weapons,’ said General Zhu Chenghu…He added that China’s definition of its territory included warships and aircraft… Gen Zhu is a self-acknowledged ‘hawk’ who has warned that China could strike the US with long-range missiles. But his threat to use nuclear weapons in a conflict over Taiwan is the most specific by a senior Chinese official in nearly a decade.”
The New York Times added on July 16, 2005:
“‘War logic’ dictates that a weaker power needs to use maximum efforts to defeat a stronger rival, he [Gen Zhu]said, speaking in fluent English. ‘We have no capability to fight a conventional war against the United States,’ Zhu said. ‘We can’t win this kind of war.’… China has had atomic bombs since 1964 and has a small arsenal of land- and sea-based nuclear-tipped missiles that can reach the United States, according to most Western intelligence estimates…. Beijing has said repeatedly that it would use military force if Taiwan declares its independence. President George W. Bush has made clear that the United States would defend Taiwan… the comments by Zhu suggest that at least some elements of the military are prepared to widen the conflict… ‘If the Americans are determined to interfere, then we will be determined to respond,’ he said. ‘We Chinese will prepare ourselves for the destruction of all the cities east of Xian. Of course the Americans will have to be prepared that hundreds of cities will be destroyed by the Chinese.'”
Europe’s Far Right
In a recent article by the Economist, dated January 20, 2005, which was republished on July 21, 2005, the following was stated:
“Xenophobia and racism in Europe are resurgent, according to hate-watchers. In Britain, which saw race riots in 2001 and 2003, the British National Party has gained a foothold. Skinheads have also gained popularity in ex-communist Central Europe, where hate crimes often go unreported and are rarely prosecuted.
“Meanwhile, far-right politicians are rising in prominence. The inclusion of Jörg Haider’s Freedom Party as a junior partner in Austria’s coalition government in 1999 led EU countries temporarily to impose diplomatic sanctions. (Mr Haider, though no longer the Freedom Party’s leader, bounced back in March 2004). In France, Jean-Marie Le Pen of the National Front scored a shock victory in the first round of the 2002 presidential election and is still attracting a lot of support. And, despite its leader’s murder, the anti-immigration Pim Fortuyn List did surprisingly well in the Dutch general election in May 2002. A ban on the country’s far-right Vlaams Blok, approved in November 2004, is likely to backfire–as would an EU-wide ban on Nazi symbols.”
Europe Must Go On
The EUobserver reported on July 15, 2005:
“The presidents of Germany, Austria, Italy, Finland, Poland, Portugal and Latvia have written a common article, discussing the future of Europe and stressing the need not to give up on the European project. ‘Now, the most important task is to increase trust in European policy… There is no reason to doubt the European project’, reads the article… The article was signed by Austria’s Heinz Fischer, Finland’s Tarja Halonen, Germany’s Horst Köhler, Italy’s Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, Latvia’s Vaira Vike-Freiberga, Poland’s Aleksander Kwaoniewski and Portugal’s Jorge Fernando Branco de Sampaio. It was published on Friday (15 July 2005) in major newspapers of the seven presidents’ countries.”
Europe and the Middle East
On July 11, 2005, Der Spiegel published an interview with European Union foreign policy chief, Javier Solana. In the interview, Solana talked about Brussels’ role as an intermediary between Israelis and Palestinians as well as how the EU will assist in the Gaza Strip. He insisted that ‘what happens in the Middle East affects us all’ and that Europe will play a major role in seeking peace.
“Europe plays an important role in the Middle East peace process, perhaps the most important role next to that of the United States… European law enforcement experts are helping train the Palestinian security forces… There haven’t been any international initiatives relating to the Middle East without significant input from Europe. Besides, the Israelis now understand that the Palestinian conflict isn’t just a regional problem. It’s a conflict that is unfolding on our doorstep and has global implications… We will not have any contact with Hamas as long as it’s on the EU’s list of terrorist organizations… Hamas, like any other organization, must accept the fact that in an officially-accepted state, which Palestine wants to become, there can be no place for warring militant organizations. There will only be room for political parties that quarrel with words, not weapons.”
German vs. European Law
On July 19, 2005, The Denver Post reported about an interesting conflict between German and European Law. The article stated that an “Al-Qaeda suspect” was “freed by [a] German court ruling,” as the “EU arrest warrant violates national law.”
The article explained:
“An al-Qaeda suspect was freed Monday after the country’s high court blocked his extradition to Spain, ruling that a European Union-wide arrest warrant–heralded as a key step in fighting terrorism–does not yet comply with German law… The ruling… deals a blow to the EU’s post-Sept. 11 counterterrorism plans and highlights the difficulties Europe faces in rushing through anti-terrorism laws frowned upon by the courts and at times angrily contested by civil liberties… Specifically, the German court said the legislature failed to provide a mechanism for appeal when making the EU legislation national law, and also had not gone far enough in considering suspects’ fundamental rights.”