Current Events

“Bush’s European Disaster”

Der Spiegel Online wrote on June 14 about “Bush’s European Disaster.” The article stated:

“The president’s trip was a pageant of disdain, delusion and provocation masquerading as a respite from his troubles at home… High officials of European governments describe U.S. influence as squandered and swiftly eroding… the country’s moral authority nil. Lethal power vacuums are emerging from Lebanon to Pakistan, and Europeans are incapable on their own of quelling the fires that burn far closer to them than to the United States through their growing Muslim populations and proximity to the Middle East… Even worse than Bush, from their perspective, would be another Republican president who continued Bush policies and also appointed neoconservatives. That would toll, if not the end of days, then the decline and fall of the Western alliance except in name only, and an even more rapid acceleration of chaos in the world order.

“… No president has had a more disastrous European trip since President Reagan placed a wreath on the graves of SS officers in the Bitburg cemetery. Yet Reagan’s mistake was unintentional and symbolic, a temporary and superficial setback, doing no real damage to U.S. foreign relations, while Bush’s blunders not only reinforced counterproductive policies but also created a new one with Russia that has the potential of profoundly undermining U.S. national security interests for years to come…

“Bush quite deliberately upset German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s proposal for climate change at the G8… He also deprived Blair of a last achievement [who] has sacrificed his career to Bush’s fiasco…

“In Iraq, Bush’s policy is now to arm all sides in the sectarian civil war between Shiites and Sunnis. He claims to be devoted to nation building, which he previously dismissed, while he presides over a mass exodus of 2 million Iraqis, upholds law and order while holding tens of thousands of prisoners without due process…”

U.S. Missile Defense System in Poland?

Der Spiegel Online wrote on June 15:

“Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates made clear Thursday that the United States would not alter plans to deploy parts of a missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic, despite an unexpected proposal by President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia to use a radar base in Azerbaijan instead. During a session of defense ministers here, Mr. Gates also effectively secured NATO’s endorsement for an American plan to build the missile defense bases in Central Europe…”

Can Evolution and Creation Coexist?

USA Today wrote on June 12:

“During a televised debate among GOP presidential candidates last month in California, Sen. John McCain of Arizona was asked whether he believes in evolution. McCain first answered with one word: ‘Yes.’ Then he quickly added: ‘I believe in evolution. But I also believe, when I hike the Grand Canyon and see it at sunset, that the hand of God is there also.’… [A] recent USA TODAY/Gallup Poll suggests McCain’s attempt to have it both ways is not an uncommon view. One-quarter of Americans think evolution… and creationism… are both likely explanations…

“Whatever the reason, three of the GOP presidential wannabes standing with McCain that day gave a much different answer. Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas and Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado answered with a show of hands when a reporter asked, ‘Is there anybody on the stage that does not agree, believe in evolution?’… Many Americans think the theories of divine creation and evolution can coexist.”

In spite of majority opinions, the simple truth is that Evolution and Biblical Teaching CANNOT co-exist. For the reasons, please read our free booklet, “The Theory of Evolution–a Fairy Tale for Adults?” Please also watch our new StandingWatch program, titled, “Why Do You Live?”

Kurt Waldheim Died

The Washington Post wrote on June 15:

“Kurt Waldheim, 88, a seemingly low-key diplomat who became secretary general of the United Nations and president of his native Austria only to be barred from the United States on suspicion of involvement in Nazi war crimes, died June 14 at a Vienna hospital… When Mr. Waldheim was put on the Justice Department’s ‘watch list’ of prohibited people in 1987, it was the first time in U.S. history that the head of a friendly country had been branded an undesirable alien suspected of war crimes with the German army in World War II. He remained on the list for the rest of his life…

“The facts about what he did during the war years were never clearly established, and there was no clear-cut proof that he participated in killings or other war crimes. But there was strong evidence that he concealed his role as a lieutenant between 1942 and 1945 with Nazi Army units involved in atrocities against Yugoslav partisans and lied about his whereabouts during that period. Although Mr. Waldheim was never tried, public disclosures in the mid-1980s included a secret 1948 finding by the U.N. War Crimes Commission that there was sufficient evidence to prosecute him on charges of ‘murder’ and ‘putting hostages to death.’

“In a corollary development, the validity of which was never established, a former Yugoslav intelligence officer said that the Soviet Union might have used the information to enlist Mr. Waldheim as a Soviet agent after the war when he was serving in Austria’s diplomatic service. There also was speculation that he… had worked secretly for the United States in exchange for the CIA concealing his background.”

The European Summit–Success or Flop?

On June 21, 2007, Der Spiegel Online published an article, titled, “Europe Divided on How to Unite.”

It was pointed out:

“EU diplomats are now faced with reaching agreement on 15 outstanding objections to the so-called ‘draft mandate,’ an 11-page blueprint presented by Germany to the 27 member states on Tuesday. The European leaders are meeting in Brussels on Thursday and Friday to try to hammer out a final deal on how to make the bloc work more effectively… The amount of unresolved issues, means that diplomats are expecting the meeting to go on well into the early hours of Saturday and one thing people can agree on is that a deal is far from guaranteed….

“The Poles have been using particularly emotional rhetoric in advance of the summit. Polish Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski told Polish radio on Tuesday that his objection to the proposed new voting formula went back to the country’s suffering in World War II. According to Thursday’s Financial Times, he said: ‘If Poland had not had to live through the years of 1939-45, Poland would be today looking at the demographics of a country of 66 million.’ Poland’s current population is 38 million… Later Kaczynski told Reuters: ‘We realize we cannot stop the process (of reform) … that would be too risky for the future.’ He said there was a 50-50 chance of the summit reaching an agreement.

“Now the UK seems to be stepping into its old role as the main Euro spoilsport. Britain fears that a legally binding Charter could take precedence over its Common Law — unlike the other EU member states, Great Britain does not have a written constitution.”

The article continued:

“… the British and Polish attempts to water down the treaty have enraged other countries. Spain is insisting on the establishment of the role of European foreign minister, and the Spanish press reports that the Madrid government is threatening to use its veto on this point. And Luxembourg is also fuming at the Euro-skeptic saber-rattling in advance of the summit. Speaking on Germany’s ZDF channel on Wednesday, Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker warned that if the summit failed then the EU could split into a two-speed bloc, with some European states further integrating ‘without the others.'”

And THAT is, according to Biblical prophecy, what might ultimately happen.

The Media Campaign Against or For the EU Summit

On June 15, the British tabloid, “The Sun,” started a media campaign against Tony Blair and Angela Merkel, in preparation for the EU Summit on Thursday. By way of background, “The Sun” used to be a conservative newspaper in the 1990’s, but it subsequently became a Tony Blair supporter for years. However, things changed again. “The Sun” is not known for in-depth analysis like the Daily Telegraph or the Times.  But they do have the finger on the pulse and seem to carry quite a bit of clout. The campaign shows the concern many have in Britain that Germany will control the Summit and that British sovereignty will be surrendered. Whether or not the statements in the article are completely correct, the campaign initiated by “The Sun” is remarkable. The tabloid wrote:

“The treaty will mean a giant giveaway of UK power. Our voting power will be slashed by 30 per cent — making it impossible to block barmy EU rules… Germany is pushing hard for a new treaty which includes many of the measures in the hated EU constitution. Its leader Angela Merkel has admitted the treaty will be virtually a carbon copy of the constitution… Chancellor Merkel wrote to EU leaders saying she wanted ‘to use different terminology without changing the legal substance’ of the rejected constitution.”

On June 16, Der Spiegel Online reported about a perceived British “anti German/anti-European media campaign,” directed primarily at Angela Merkel and Tony Blair. The magazine reacted in kind–with an anti-British piece, alleging that Britain has been “stubbornly” refusing to participate in any European integration for more than 20 years, and that Britain will continue with its “negative approach” toward European unification.

The British media campaign might not have been without consequences for Mr. Blair. Der Spiegel Online reported on June 19:

“Two days before the crucial summit on the EU treaty to replace the stalled constitution, British Prime Minister Tony Blair is digging in his heels. Britain, he says, will not give up any sovereignty. But he may be making life difficult for his successor… Britain continues to say that it is willing to block any treaty that smacks too much of a constitution and that transfers too much power to Brussels… Britain has a whole list of key areas that it will not compromise on… Blair… has his eye on the Eurosceptic press and the opposition Conservatives… The influential mass-circulation Sun newspaper last week launched a ‘seven days to save Britain’ campaign and urged Blair to stop a ‘surrender of British power to Brussels.’…

“With Blair leaving office next Wednesday, his successor Gordon Brown will have the frustrating experience of not being part of the extremely important negotiations in Europe, ones that will affect his future government. If Britain agrees to a deal this week, it will give Brown an influential position in Europe but give the Conservatives a gift in election campaigns and probably alienate the largely Eurosceptic press. But if the UK blocks the agreement, he will take over with Britain having annoyed leaders across Europe.”

Britain and Perhaps Poland Oppose EU Treaty

Der Spiegel Online wrote on June 20:

“Most EU summits are dull affairs, but the week leading up to Thursday’s meeting on a new EU treaty has been a rollercoaster ride. After no small amount of saber-rattling, Poland finally looks like coming round — but now Britain has come up with a whole list of objections…

“With just one day to go until the leaders of the European Union gather in Brussels, it seems no one has any idea if the summit is going to be a resounding success or a huge flop. Germany, as current EU president, is attempting to revive parts of the aborted European constitution to create a new treaty, but has run up against Polish and British objections to the new agreement.

“Germany presented its draft mandate of the treaty on Tuesday to the 27 member countries, and now EU diplomats are trying to iron out the final sticking points before the leaders meet in Brussels Thursday and Friday. All 27 member states have to agree to a new treaty, and if Poland or Britain block the deal, it could plunge the EU into a prolonged crisis…

“On Tuesday a furious Jose Manuel Barroso lashed out at the two countries for their stance in the run up to the talks. The EU Commission president warned the countries that if they killed the deal, they would face isolation and could expect less generosity from Brussels in the future.”

Will Merkel Pull It Off?

The Times wrote on June 16:

“When Angela Merkel won her G8 breakthrough by knocking male heads together, the fawning Bild Zeitung dubbed her ‘Miss World’. With record 70 per cent approval ratings it seemed as if the German Chancellor could do no wrong.

“Now Ms Merkel faces an even tougher challenge to earn her tabloid laurels: in the next few days she has to come up with the outlines of a deal on the European constitution. If she fails, the continent could be heading for a two or multiple-speed Europe, an end of the old idea of political integration. The Miss World title would be forfeit.

“So, it is High Noon for Europe… The Chancellor should not be underestimated: she may pull it off… Time and again this canny 53-year-old politician… has outwitted some of the shrewdest strategic heads in Europe. It has been a remarkable transformation that has baffled her male colleagues in the Christian Democratic party… the real change has come from the engine room: a hard-nosed chief of staff, Beate Baumann, and a group of shrewd women advisers drawn from a network that secretly pulls many of the strings in Berlin… Out goes Thatcherite handbagging, in comes a more Machiavellian approach, using inside intelligence to play off one obstructive male against another…

“Slowly, she worked out how to spin a silky web of deadlines committing leaders to a ‘process’ rather than a hard and fast deal. That was her approach to the G8 summit in Heiligendamm and it worked; the same rules are being applied for the EU summit… It is often gay men who get the better of her — including Guido Westerwelle, the talented leader of the Free Democrats… Now, [he is] preparing himself for a future centre-right government…”

European Arms Sales Contracts

The Associated Press reported on June 19:

“Spain has agreed to end its opt-out from the European Union’s year-old code of conduct on arms sales… The director of the European Defense Agency said the decision… showed the success of the new system which has led to more than 200 defense contracts worth about 10 billion euros ($13.4 billion)… The entry of Spain and Hungary [last month] means 24 of the 27 EU nations are taking part. Romania and Bulgaria, which joined the EU at the beginning of this year are considering joining up, but Denmark decided in the early 1990s not to participate in the EU’s defense and security policy.”

Strong Support of European Citizens for EU Constitution

The International Herald Tribune wrote on June 20:

“Two out of three European Union citizens support the idea of a constitution, an EU survey showed Wednesday on the eve of crucial summit talks on forging a new treaty for the expanded bloc. Two years after French and Dutch voters rejected the draft constitution, 68 percent of French citizens and 55 percent in the Netherlands support some sort of constitution.

“In Poland, the country seen as a major stumbling bloc to consensus during the two-day EU summit, backing for a constitution rose 5 points from last fall, to 69 percent. [In] Britain, which also balks at some of the proposals for a new EU treaty to replace the constitution, support has historically been lukewarm, and it stood at 43 percent, lowest among the 27 EU member states.

“The overall rate of support for a constitution — 66 percent — was a 3-point increase compared to the rate from fall of last year. Support for EU membership is at its highest since 1994, with 57 percent backing in the EU, a 4-point hike since last fall. It was highest in the Netherlands at 77 percent and lowest in Austria at 36 percent.”

G4 Talks Collapse

Reuters reported on June 21:

“Talks between trade powers to salvage global trade talks collapsed on Thursday, throwing the future of the World Trade Organisation’s struggling round deeper into doubt. Ministers from the United States and the European Union (EU), representing rich nation interests, and Brazil and India, for the developing world, were quick to blame the other side for the failure. Without an agreement between the four powers at their meeting in Potsdam [Germany], diplomats and trade officials had warned that it would be difficult for the full 150-member state WTO to strike a deal as hoped by the end of July.”

Egypt Invites Leaders to Monday’s Peace Summit

The Associated Press reported on June 21:

“Closing ranks against Hamas, Egypt’s president invited Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian leaders to a peace summit, officials said Thursday, the biggest show of support yet by moderate Arab states for beleaguered Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The meeting will take place Monday in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh…

“Despite the talk about peace, however, the Hamas takeover has dealt a setback to statehood efforts, with the Islamic militants in charge of Gaza and Abbas in charge of the West Bank. Gaza militants fired nine rockets at the Israeli town of Sderot on Wednesday, slightly injuring one person. Hours earlier, Israeli troops backed by tanks and armored vehicles fatally shot four militants.”

Horrible Conditions in Ethiopia

On June 17, The International Herald Tribune published the following article about Ethiopia’s inhuman treatment of its own people. How long will the West stand idly by before responding to this “push” towards and “attack” on democratic freedoms, which are strongly advocated by Western societies? The article stated:

“This is the Ogaden, a corner of Ethiopia that the urbane officials in Addis Ababa, the capital, would rather outsiders never see. It is the epicenter of a separatist war in which impoverished nomads are fighting one of the biggest armies in Africa. What goes on here seems to be starkly different from the carefully-constructed image that Ethiopia – a country that America increasingly relies on to fight militant Islam in the Horn of Africa – tries to project.

“In village after village, people said they had been brutalized by government troops. They described a widespread and longstanding reign of terror, with Ethiopian soldiers gang-raping women, burning down huts and killing civilians at will. It is the same military that the American government helps train and equip – and provides with prized intelligence. The two nations have been allies for years, but recently they have grown especially close, teaming up last winter to oust an Islamic movement that controlled much of Somalia and rid the region of a potential terrorist threat.

“The Bush administration, particularly the military, considers Ethiopia its best bet in the Horn of Africa – which, with Sudan, Somalia and Eritrea, is fast becoming intensely violent, virulently anti-American and an incubator for terrorism. But an emerging concern for American officials is the way the Ethiopian military operates inside its own borders, especially in war zones like the Ogaden.

“… the State Department, the European Parliament, and many human rights groups, mostly outside of Ethiopia, have cited thousands of cases of torture, arbitrary detention and extrajudicial killings – enough to raise questions in Congress about American support of the Ethiopian government. ‘This is a country that is abusing its own people and has no respect for democracy,’ said Representative Donald Payne, chairman of the House subcommittee on Africa and global health. ‘We’ve not only looked the other way but we’ve pushed them to intrude in other sovereign nations,’ he added, referring to the satellite images and other strategic help the American military gave Ethiopia in December, when thousands of Ethiopian troops poured into Somalia and overthrew the Islamist regime.

“According to Georgette Gagnon, deputy director for the Africa division of Human Rights Watch, Ethiopia is one of the most repressive countries in Africa. ‘What the Ethiopian security forces are doing,’ she said, ‘may amount to crimes against humanity.’ Human Rights Watch issued a report in 2005 that described a rampage by government troops against members of the Anuak minority tribe in western Ethiopia, in which soldiers ransacked homes, beat villagers to death with iron bars and in one case, according to a witness, tied up a prisoner and ran over him with a military truck.

“After the report came out, the researcher who wrote it was banned by the Ethiopian government from returning to the country. Similarly, three New York Times journalists who visited the Ogaden to cover this story were imprisoned for five days and had all their equipment confiscated before being released without charges… with the opposition poised to win a record-number of seats in Parliament, the government cracked down brutally, opening fire on demonstrators, rounding up tens of thousands of opposition supporters and students and leveling charges of treason and even attempted genocide against top opposition leaders, including the man elected mayor of Addis Ababa. Many opposition members are now in jail or in exile. The rest seem demoralized…”

Some Never Seem To Learn

AFP reported on June 18:

“Tony Blair on Monday strongly defended intervening in Iraq for the final time as prime minister before parliament’s top scrutiny body. In a robust farewell performance, Blair insisted ordinary Muslims craved democracy, saying that Islamist terrorists rather than the West were their worst enemy. He warned that the West would be making a ‘fundamental mistake’ if it gave up defending democracy when threatened with terrorism and slapped down those blaming coalition failures for the sectarian unrest since the March 2003 US-led invasion to topple dictator Saddam Hussein. And Blair, who steps down next week, admitted that he felt a heavy responsibility for the death toll in Iraq… Blair steps down on June 27 after a decade in power, leaving a legacy clouded by his decision to support US President George W. Bush in the 2003 invasion of Iraq.”

Britain Under Attack

AFP reported on June 19:

“Muslim radicals burned an effigy of Queen Elizabeth Tuesday as Pakistan summoned the British ambassador over Salman Rushdie’s knighthood and Iranian hardliners turned their fury on the monarch. Anger has mounted in the neighbouring Islamic republics since the British monarch gave the 59-year-old author of ‘The Satanic Verses’ the title of Sir Salman for services to literature at the weekend.

“The row has thrown Rushdie back in the eye of the storm, 18 years after he was sentenced to death by Iran’s revolutionary founder Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini for blasphemy in a fatwa that has never been revoked… Religious Affairs Minister Ijaz-ul-Haq on Monday said the award for Rushdie justified suicide attacks, prompting outrage in Britain, although he later withdrew the remark.

“Pakistan’s senate on Tuesday condemned the ‘blatant disregard for the sentiments of the Muslims by the British government.’… Legislators in North West Frontier Province bordering Afghanistan, which is ruled by an alliance of hardline Islamists, called for Pakistan to sever diplomatic ties with London.”

Full Unity Among All “Christians”

On June 16, VIS published the following article:

“… the Pope and… Chrysostomos II, signed a Joint declaration… In the declaration, Benedict XVI and the archbishop of New Justiniana and All Cyprus declare their ‘sincere and firm desire, in obedience to the will of Our Lord Jesus Christ, to intensify the search for full unity among all Christians. … We wish the Catholic and Orthodox faithful of Cyprus to live fraternally and in full solidarity…

“… during their meeting they… considered ‘the situation in the Middle East, where war and contrasts between peoples risk spreading, with disastrous consequences… Our Churches intend to play a role of pacification in justice and in solidarity and, in order for this to come about, it is our desire to promote fraternal relations between all Christians and faithful dialogue between the various religions that are present and operate in the region.’

“After making a call for all those who raise their hands ‘against their brothers’ to lay down their arms, the joint declaration calls for ‘every effort to be made to ensure that human rights are always defended, in all countries.’ Of these, ‘the primary right is that of freedom of religion. Not to respect it constitutes a grave offence to the dignity of man. … And hence, to profane, destroy or plunder the places of worship of any religion is an act against humanity and the civilization of peoples.’

“‘At a time of growing secularization and relativism, Catholics and Orthodox in Europe are called to offer renewed witness on ethical values,’ write the Pope and Chrysostomos II. Referring to the European Union, they highlight how ‘it cannot be limited to merely economic cooperation, it needs solid cultural foundations, shared ethical positions and openness to the religious dimension. It is necessary to revive the Christian roots of Europe, which have made its civilization great over the centuries, and to recognize that the Western and Eastern Christian tradition have, in this sense, a joint task to accomplish.’

“The Pope and the archbishop of New Justiniana and All Cyprus indicate that ‘the rich heritage of faith and the solid Christian tradition of our lands must encourage Catholic and Orthodox to a renewed determination to announce the Gospel in our time, in order to be faithful to our Christian vocation and to respond to the needs of today’s world.'”

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