Current Events

2007 — A Big Year for Germany

Der Spiegel Online reported on December 27:

“2007 will be a big year for Germany: As president of the European Union, Chancellor Angela Merkel will have to reenergize a flagging European project. And as chair of the G8, she will have to resolve some of the most burning issues facing the world’s industrialized nations… [It will be the] largest political event post-war Germany has ever staged… On Jan. 1, Germany will assume the presidency of the G8 organization of the largest industrial powers. In addition, Berlin will also chair the European Union Council, presiding over the EU’s 27 member states for six months.”The 2007 ‘Germany Show’ will be played out in rather mundane venues like Heiligendamm, but also at historic locations, like Cecilienhof palace, where the Potsdam Conference was held in 1945, and the baroque Zeughaus, the former Prussian armory, in the center of Berlin. Many German politicians will have a chance to step into the limelight, not least among them Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. But it is German Chancellor Angela Merkel who will play the starring role. For months the country’s first female chancellor will be shaking hands, holding meetings, appearing on TV screens and showing Europe, and the world, the modern Germany…

“Merkel already commands the respect of her male colleagues. Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, has referred to her as ‘the visionary of Europe.’ The new United Nations general secretary, Ban Ki Moon, hopes that Merkel’s ‘double role’ will be a great source of help for both of them. And the president of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, a close ally of the German chancellor among Europe’s conservatives, talks about his ‘faith in Germany’s ability to lead Europe.’

“Diplomats circling the globe today come across a frightening number of conflict zones that Berlin must now deal with: from the Balkans, Afghanistan and Russia, to Iran, Iraq and Lebanon, even as far afield as Sudan and Congo. Two hotspots of particular worry are the Middle East and the Serbian province of Kosovo. The chancellor’s advisor Christoph Heusgen has also identified events in Israel as ‘a focal point for European foreign policy.’ Heusgen says that, at the very latest, this focus became intensified by the ‘increased physical engagement on the ground’ that has come with the deployment of international peacekeeping troops to southern Lebanon, where German Navy ships patrol the coast to prevent weapons deliveries to Hezbollah. In an internal analysis the German Foreign Ministry has identified five “risks” for the coming six months, including new elections in Lebanon and the Palestinian areas and the threat of new terrorist and rocket attacks on Israel. Add to that what seasoned diplomats call the ‘biggest problem’ the German presidency will face: the challenge posed by the Balkans…

“But what will really decide the success of Merkel’s presidency, will be how well she deals with the question of the EU constitution. The Union’s heads of state and government have so been unable to solve the central questions of the distribution of power in a satisfactory manner. How many votes does each member state have? When is a veto possible? Should Europe speak with the voice of one president… The other powerful EU states France and Britain are now weaker because their long-term leaders, Jacques Chirac and Tony Blair, are at the twilight of their political careers. There is no point in Merkel undertaking any concrete initiative before the French presidential elections in May — and there will only be a few weeks after it, during which the chancellor will be able to come up with anything. Faith in the European idea is rapidly fading anyway, as a survey published last week by the European Commission revealed. Whereas over 70 percent of all Europeans supported the EU project at the end of the 1990s, today that figure is only 53 percent. And only 33 percent of Europeans believe that the EU is on the right track.

“So will Merkel turn things round? Even members of her own Christian Democrat Union (CDU) party view this as almost inconceivable. ‘That would be like achieving the impossible,’ says Interior Minister Wolfgang Schäuble.

“Nevertheless, the chancellor and her foreign minister are hanging on to a glimmer of hope. In early December, Merkel gathered her Berlin staff and the German EU ambassadors together to come up with a plan of attack. The most important result of the confidential meeting was that as much of the original substance of the existing contract as possible should be kept — after all, the agreement has already been ratified by 18 states… during the first three months of 2007 Merkel will conduct face-to-face meetings with her 26 fellow European leaders to find common ground in order to get the constitution back on track. Meetings will also be set up with potential French presidential candidates — discreetly, of course, as no one wants to insult Chirac. In this way, says one advisor, Merkel is trying to work out where the ‘absolute red line’ on the constitution is. To all intents and purposes this group of people would take the scissors to the draft constitution until it is acceptable to all.

“The first fruits of Merkel’s efforts will be on show on March 25, which the chancellor is describing as ‘the dramatic high-point of the German presidency.’ At a special summit in the Zeughaus building of the German Historical Museum in the center of Berlin, Europe will be celebrating the 50th birthday of the Treaty of Rome, the document that founded the European Economic Community that would later grow to become the European Community and, ultimately, today’s European Union. Merkel believes the event will provide a good opportunity to put new life into the European project, which has languished in the new millennium.”

The Bible clearly reveals that continental Europe WILL unite. For more information, please read our free booklet, “Europe in Prophecy.”

German Fighter Jets Requested for Afghanistan

Der Spiegel Online reported on December 21, 2006:

“It happened faster than expected: NATO has requested in a confidential letter that the German military deploy German Tornado surveillance and fighter jets to Afghanistan. Berlin has agreed to comply — and the German parliament will not be given a chance to debate the matter…

“The situation in Kabul is more dangerous than it has been for a long time. Taliban fighters have gotten a foothold into the city’s suburbs and are gradually infiltrating the Afghan capital from there. The city’s southern districts have become a ‘gateway’ for suicide attackers and armed fighters…

“Until now, the German government has expanded its military commitments in Afghanistan in a series of small steps. But the pace is speeding up. First came occasional transport flights in the hard-fought south of the country. Then a few signals specialists were dispatched to Kandahar. Now it’s Tornado surveillance jets, equipped with cameras — and cannons. The Germans are allowing themselves to get deeper and deeper involved in the Afghanistan conflict, and there is no end in sight. Between Christmas and New Year, US C-17 transport planes will unload heavy German Marder tanks at the German military’s central headquarters in Mazar-e-Sharif.

“And the Germans will also have to agree to the request for the Tornados. There is no doubt about that in the German Chancellery, at the Defense Ministry or at the Foreign Ministry. The complaints from Germany’s NATO allies during the past weeks about the German armed forces, who are seen as having installed themselves in the relatively quiet north of Afghanistan, leaving the fighting to their allies, had grown too loud…

“Step by step, the government began venturing into dangerous territory. Shortly before the NATO summit in Riga, Berlin sent 23 signals specialists to Kandahar, a Taliban stronghold in southern Afghanistan, to assist the British troops stationed there — and curb the ire of Germany’s NATO allies. ‘Without the Germans, the British would have been in a fix,’ one NATO general admitted…

“German Tornado jets were already deployed in combat situations about eight years ago — in order to ‘avert a humanitarian catastrophe in the Kosovo conflict,’ as the Bundestag resolution, passed by a large majority, stated then. It was the first time that German troops were deployed in combat since World War II. This time the Tornados are meant to fly as reconnaissance planes — but that can of course be changed at any time. The German military journal Soldat und Technik notes, not without a certain pride, that the planes can be converted into bombers again in no time. A few hours are all it takes to replace camera-equipped containers with bombs. The jets fly at an altitude of between 60 and 2,600 meters (197 and 8,530 feet). Their infrared sensors are capable of detecting even freshly dug graves at the edge of a forest — a technological capability sometimes utilized in police investigations within Germany.”

Germany is destined to play a major role in world affairs. Even though many Germans are opposed to their country’s military involvement in other parts of the world, the pressure from Germany’s allies to engage in such a way, will steadily grow in time. Our booklet, “Europe in Prophecy,” explains in much detail what is certain to happen soon in Germany, Europe and the rest of the World.

The War Has Begun

The Associated Press reported on December 24:

“Ethiopia sent fighter jets into Somalia and bombed several towns Sunday in a dramatic attack on Somalia’s powerful Islamic movement, and Ethiopia’s prime minister said his country had been ‘forced to enter a war.’ It was the first time Ethiopia acknowledged its troops were fighting in support of Somalia’s U.N.-backed interim government even though witnesses had been reporting their presence for weeks in an escalating battle that threatens to engulf the Horn of Africa region. Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi went on television to announce that his country was at war with the Islamic movement that wants to rule neighboring Somalia by the Quran.

“‘Our defense force has been forced to enter a war to defend (against) the attacks from extremists and anti-Ethiopian forces and to protect the sovereignty of the land,’ Meles said a few hours after his military attacked the Islamic militia with fighter jets and artillery… Eritrea, a bitter rival of Ethiopia, is backing the Islamic militia, and experts fear the conflict could draw in the volatile Horn of Africa region, which lies close to the Saudi Arabian peninsula and has seen a rise in Islamic extremism. A recent U.N. report said 10 nations have been illegally supplying arms and equipment to both sides in Somalia.”

Der Spiegel Online reported on December 24 that the EU reacted “alarmed.” They are demanding of Ethiopia an immediate cease fire and the cessation of any further attacks on Somalia. AFP reported on December 26 that “the United States defended Ethiopia’s assault… which has reportedly killed more than 1,000 people.”

Der Spiegel Online added on December 27:

“Ethiopa’s military offensive against the Union of Islamic Courts, which holds the Somali capital Mogadishu and much of central and southern Somalia, is a dangerous act of aggression that could lead to a protracted war and even strengthen the Islamists, according to German media commentators who see the conflict as opening up a new battlefield in the American-led global war against Islamic extremists.”

AFP reported on December 28:

“Islamist forces have abandoned Somalia’s capital Mogadishu as Ethiopian-backed government troops surrounded the coastal city, where residents reported looting, gunfire and preparations for guerrilla warfare. The government said the Islamists, who set up their stronghold in Mogadishu after routing warlords in June, had distributed weapons to civilians… Late Wednesday, the UN Security Council failed for a second day to reach consensus on a call for the immediate withdrawal of all foreign forces from Somalia and an end to military operations, then gave up. The African Union and the Arab League have urged Ethiopia to pull out… The office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has meanwhile warned that as many as 50,000 refugees could pour into neighbouring countries.”

We read in Daniel 11:40 that in the end time, the king of the south will “push at” the king of the north. The translation in the King James Bible, “attack him,” is incorrect. In the past, Ethiopia was the king of the south, which was pushing at the revived Roman Empire in Europe. It is unclear whether the prophecy in Daniel 11:40, which has been fulfilled, is of dual application. If so, that is, IF a “king of the south” were still to arise again on the world scene, it would have to be Ethiopia. [The concept that a future king of the south would be some kind of a league of Arab nations has absolutely no support in Scripture or history.] It is therefore important to watch the events taking place in and near to Ethiopia, as well as European reactions to the dealings of Ethiopia.

America’s Decline

The New York Times wrote on December 24 about incredible events in Somalia:

“The rally was supposed to be against Ethiopia, Somalia’s neighbor and historic archenemy… But the cheers that shook the stadium… were about another country, far, far away. ‘Down, down U.S.A.!’ thousands of Somalis yelled… ‘Slit the throats of the Americans!’ Not exactly soothing words, especially when the passport in your pocket has one of those golden eagles on it.

“Somalia may be the place that best illustrates a trend sweeping across the African continent: After Sept. 11, 2001, the United States concluded that anarchy and misery aid terrorism, and so it tried to re-engage Africa. But anti-American sentiment on the continent has only grown, and become increasingly nasty. And the United States seems unable to do much about it.

“A number of experts on Africa trace those developments to a sense not of American power, but of its decline — a perception that the United States is no longer the only power that counts, that it is too bogged down in the Middle East to be a real threat here, and so it can be ignored or defied with impunity. American officials, for example, acknowledge that they are at a loss about what to do about the on-again, off-again Somali crisis…

“But the broader issue playing out here — the sense that the United States is not the kingmaker it once was — goes beyond Mogadishu. It is Africa-wide. And it is based on a changed reality: the emergence of other customers for Africa’s resources and the tying down of American military forces in Iraq have combined to reduce American clout in sub-Saharan Africa, even as the United States pumps in more financial aid than ever — about $4 billion per year — and can still claim to be the one superpower left standing.”

The steady decline of America’s influence in the world has clearly been prophesied. For more information, please read our free booklet: “The Fall and Rise of Britain and America.”

Former U.S. President Gerald Ford Dies

AFP reported on December 28:

“US flags have flown at half mast across the country in honor of the late former US president Gerald Ford… Ford, who in 1974 became the 38th US president when he replaced the disgraced Richard Nixon, died quietly late Tuesday at his home in Rancho Mirage, in southern California, his family said. He was 93. No cause of death was given. Ford’s 896-day presidency is best-remembered for pardoning Nixon for his role in the Watergate scandal within weeks of taking office. The pardon provoked howls of condemnation and likely cost him the 1976 presidential election to Democrat Jimmy Carter.

“The unassuming Republican politician was a decorated World War II veteran who saw action aboard a navy aircraft carrier in the Pacific. He was president in April 1975 when the last US troops, diplomats and Vietnamese supporters were flown out in helicopters from the roof of the US embassy in Saigon, marking the end of the US intervention in Vietnam. This experience may have shaped his disagreement with the US-led war in Iraq: in a Washington Post interview published Thursday, Ford made it clear he ‘very strongly’ disagreed with President George W. Bush’s justifications for invasion… Ford was also critical of two of the Iraq war’s strongest advocates: Vice President Dick Cheney — his former White House chief of staff — and former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who performed the same job during his presidency.”

Euro Overtakes US Dollar

The Financial Times reported on December 27:

“The US dollar bill’s standing as the world’s favourite form of cash is being usurped by the five-year-old euro. The value of euro notes in circulation is this month likely to exceed the value of circulating dollar notes, according to calculations by the Financial Times. Converted at Wednesday’s exchange rates, the euro took the lead in October.

“The figures highlight the remarkable growth in euro notes since their launch on January 1 2002, three years after the start of Europe’s monetary union, which in January welcomes its 13th member – Slovenia, the former Yugoslav republic.”

Is Japan Going to Develop Nuclear Weapons? reported on December 25:

“The Japanese government recently looked into the possibility of developing nuclear warhead[s]… experts affiliated with the government estimated that it will take at least three to five years for Japan to make a prototype nuclear warhead… As the only country ever attacked by atomic weapons, Japan has for decades espoused a strict policy of not possessing, developing or allowing the introduction of nuclear bombs on its territory.

“The non-nuclear stance, however, has come under increasing scrutiny since North Korea conducted its first nuclear test on October 9, which raised severe security concerns in Japan, and broader fears that a regional arms race could be triggered. Just months prior to the North’s nuclear test, it test-fired several ballistic missiles capable of hitting Japan…

“The government, under newly elected Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, has said the country’s pacifist Constitution does not ban it from possessing nuclear weapons for self-defense, but stressed that Japan would stick to its policy of forbidding nuclear weapons on Japanese soil. Japan’s huge plutonium stockpile from nuclear power stations is a major international concern, partly because it could be a target of terror attacks or could be turned into nuclear weapons.”

It cannot be ruled out that Japan will begin to develop nuclear weapons, or that it will align itself with Asian nuclear powers. Daniel 11:44 speaks in prophetic terms about the future military leader of a European super power, who will be troubled by “news from the east and the north”–i.e., the Far East. The Bible continues to predict in the same verse that the European power bloc will engage the Far East in a destructive war. The development of nuclear weapons, or the threat to use existing ones, might very well be one of the reasons for this future war.

The Cycle of Violence

Zenit wrote on December 19:

“Violence only leads to more violence, Benedict XVI warned as he expressed his hopes for peace and stability in the Middle East… [The Pope said:] ‘With a heavy heart, I note that a wide range of territorial and other disputes have led to armed conflicts in recent times that threaten the peace and stability of the entire Middle East… Repeatedly I have pleaded for a cessation of violence in Lebanon, in the Holy Land and in Iraq… The world looks on with great sadness at the cycle of death and destruction, as innocent people continue to suffer and targeted individuals are kidnapped and assassinated.’ The Pope said that the Church ’emphatically rejects war as a means of resolving international disputes, and has often pointed out that it only leads to new and still more complicated conflicts… Sadly, from the current situation in the Middle East, it is only too evident that this is the case…'”

Earthquakes Damage Telephone Lines and Internet Services

The Associated Press reported on December 27:

“Telephone lines and Internet service went dead across much of Asia on Wednesday after two powerful earthquakes damaged undersea cables used by several countries to route calls and online traffic. Repairing the cables could take weeks because crews have to pull them up and transfer them to a ship for repair…

“The quakes jolted Taiwan late Tuesday, setting off a tsunami alert on the second anniversary of the Dec. 26, 2004, waves and quake that killed 230,000 in nine countries from the Indonesian islands to east Africa. No large waves materialized this time… The company reported a 50 percent loss of overall telephone capacity, with connections to China, Japan and Southeast Asia most affected… almost all of Taiwan’s communications capacity with Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Hong Kong was disrupted. Also hard hit was telephone service to the U.S., where 60 percent of capacity was lost, the company said…

“The quake, which hit offshore from the southern town of Hengchun, was felt throughout Taiwan… The U.S. Geological Survey estimated its magnitude at 7.1, while Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau measured it at 6.7. It was followed eight minutes later by 7.0 magnitude aftershock, the USGS said. A 5.9-magnitude aftershock struck early Wednesday, the Central Weather Bureau said… a 7.6-magnitude earthquake in central Taiwan in September 1999 killed more than 2,300 people.”

AFP reported on December 28:

“The chaos in Asia’s Internet service sparked by an undersea earthquake shows the region’s cable network is too fragile and overly reliant on connections to the United States, industry observers have said… ‘Instead of being so dependent on connections to North America, Asia might want to spend some money on connecting to Europe,’ said Ross Veitch, who set up Yahoo Southeast Asia…”

Malaysia’s Worst Floods

Reuters reported on December 23 that “Malaysia’s worst floods in 37 years have displaced nearly 100,000 people amid food shortages, looting and criticism on Saturday of the government’s handling of the crisis… In Indonesia, authorities said at least five people were killed and 70,000 others driven from their homes by surging flash floods triggered by two days of incessant rain in Aceh’s eastern coastal areas.”

Saddam To Die

The Daily Mail reported on December 27:

“Saddam Hussein said today he would go to the gallows as a ‘sacrifice’ and called on Iraqis to unite against US and British troops. Just hours after a court confirmed his death sentence, the former dictator released an open letter from his cell spelling out his wish to become a ‘martyr’… His statement came as his Ba’ath Party threatened to target US interests across the globe if the execution went ahead as expected in the next 30 days… Iraq’s highest court yesterday rejected Saddam’s appeal against a conviction and death sentence for the killing of 148 people who were detained after a 1982 attempt to assassinate him in Dujail, northern Iraq…

“[Saddam’s] British-based [defense] lawyer Dr Abdel Haq Alani told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: ‘It’s got nothing to do with crimes against humanity or war crimes. It’s about a political era that has to be tried and executed, and the head of it must pay for it, otherwise the invasion would have been completely baseless, meaningless and morally bankrupt. And it is – but they have to sell it to the people.’ Dr Haq Alani added: ‘What’s happened in the last three and a half years is a calamity, even in the bloody Middle East. Saddam Hussein is another incident in this mess created by George Bush and Tony Blair.’

“The lawyer said the legal process had been flawed, and added: ‘This case has finished without ever having a judgment. It’s unheard of in any legal process to have a sentence without a judgment.’ Saddam’s defence lawyers, based in Amman, called on Arab governments and the UN to intervene to stop the execution.”

According to Der Spiegel Online, dated December 27, “A White House spokesman in Washington called the ruling a milestone in Iraq’s efforts ‘to replace the rule of a tyrant with the rule of law.’… [However,] Italian Foreign Minister Massimo D’Alema told an Italian news agency on Tuesday, ‘As Italians and as Europeans we are against the death penalty,’ and said the execution could have a negative effect on the ‘difficult process of reconciliation’ in Iraq.”

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