Current Events

160,000 U.S. Road Bridges In Danger of Collapse

The Minneapolis disaster could have been avoided. And future disasters, which appear inevitable, might also be prevented if billions of dollars, which are being wasted, for instance in Iraq (see our reports in this issue), would be used to repair damaged bridges, tunnels, dams and dikes. Unfortunately, as press reports point out, such a drastic and immediate change in thinking is not to be expected from any political party or leader.

On August 3, 2007, Der Spiegel Online wrote:

“The Minneapolis bridge disaster is no isolated incident but a warning signal: More than 160,000 road bridges in the USA are considered to be in danger of collapse. Highways, tunnels, dams and dykes are in such miserable condition that engineers have long been ringing the alarm — so far in vain.

“On April 5, 1987 the Schoharie Creek Bridge in New York state collapsed. The 35-meter-wide highway bridge had only recently been examined. Nevertheless it suddenly gave way, caved in and fell crashing into the river. Five vehicles fell into the river 25 meters below, and ten people died.

“The tragic sequence of events bears grisly similarities to the collapse of the Interstate 35W bridge in Minneapolis Wednesday, more than 20 years later. The causes of the accident also seem identical after the preliminary investigation: Wear and tear, obsolescence, carelessness, sloppiness.

“It doesn’t surprise experts. ‘The crumbling state of our infrastructure poses a real threat to public safety and the nation’s economy,’ Bill Marcuson, the president of the American Society Of Civil Engineers (ASCE), wrote on his ASCE blog just a few days before the most recent disaster. ‘Financing the urgently needed repairs must become a priority for our nation’s leaders.’ In total, ASCE calculates, at least $1.6 trillion must be invested in order to avoid further disasters like the one that happened this week in Minneapolis.

“Take America’s bridges, for example… Repairing all of America’s bridges would take at least 20 years and would eat up some $10 billion — money which NO ONE WANTS TO SPEND.

“America’s road tunnels are not in any better condition — even the brand new ones… The situation is much worse with the approximately 83,000 dams and dykes in the US. The catastrophe of Hurricane Katrina, which two years ago brought down the inadequate dyke system around New Orleans and caused over 1,800 deaths, revealed problems which are not limited to storm-prone Louisiana. According to the ASCE, the number of ‘unsafe’ dams and dykes has increased by a third to over 3,500 country-wide since 1998. Worryingly, ‘the number of dams identified as unsafe is increasing at a faster rate than those being repaired,’ according to the ASCE.”

The Superstitious Belief in Reincarnation

The following reads like a fairy tale. But sadly, many millions of people believe in the unbiblical concept of reincarnation–so much so that even atheist leaders try to capitalize on it.

Times on Line wrote on August 4:

“Tibet’s living Buddhas have been banned from reincarnation without permission from China’s atheist leaders… ‘The so-called reincarnated living Buddha without government approval is illegal and invalid,’ according to the order, which comes into effect on September 1. The 14-part regulation… is aimed at limiting the influence of Tibet’s exiled god-king, the Dalai Lama, and at preventing the re-incarnation of the 72-year-old monk without approval from Beijing…

“China already insists that only the Government can approve the appointments of Tibet’s two most important monks, the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama. The Dalai Lama’s announcement in May 1995 that a search inside Tibet… had identified the 11th reincarnation of the Panchen Lama, who died in 1989, enraged Beijing… Several sets of rules on seeking out ‘soul boys’ were promulgated in 1995… All Tibetans believe in reincarnation, but only the holiest or most outstanding individuals are believed to be recognisable — a tulku, or apparent body… The search for a reincarnation is a mystical process involving clues left by the deceased and visions among leading monks on where to look.”

Foot and Mouth Disease in Britain

The Associated Press reported on August 4:

“Britain imposed a voluntary ban on exports of livestock and livestock products [because of an outbreak of the foot-and-mouth disease]… The ministry said the ban applied to animals with cloven hooves such as cows, sheep and pigs. It covers live animals, carcasses, meat and milk and is effective immediately… ‘Our first priority has been to act quickly and decisively,’ said [Prime Minister Gordon] Brown, who cut short a summer holiday to deal with the crisis, which prompted a European Union ban [on] livestock imports from Britain… Japan said earlier that it had banned British pork imports. Beef imports from Britain have been banned in Japan since the outbreak of mad cow disease in the 1990s.”

These outbreaks of diseases, affecting livestock, must have a devastating effect on the British economy.

Iraq’s Ongoing Collapse

The following report reveals the utter failure of the United States to try to create a better, safer and more prosperous Iraq for the Iraqi people.

AFP wrote on August 7:

“As Iraqis queue miserably for food and water, or swelter in homes and hospitals without electricity, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s coalition government is collapsing around him. The latest boycott — by four ministers from a non-sectarian party — brought to 17 the number of members of the Shiite-led coalition to have walked out, tendered their resignations or withdrawn from cabinet meetings… But Maliki further alienated himself from his Sunni political opponents — whose inclusion in government the Americans see as crucial to ending Iraq’s civil conflicts — by accusing them of being insincere and irresponsible… Since the US-led invasion of March 2003, Iraq has plunged into an abyss of overlapping civil conflicts that have divided its rival religious and ethnic communities, and left tens of thousands of civilians dead…

“But in the unbearable heat of Iraq, where temperatures frequently reach 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit) in summer, many ordinary people are more frustrated with the lack of basic services than political squabbling. Last week, a report by Stuart Bowen, the US chief inspector of Iraqi reconstruction, painted a DAMNING PICTURE OF GOVERNMENT FAILURE, and described the effects of corruption as being akin to a ‘second insurgency’. Baghdad residents say they are sleeping on hard floors or roofs, suffering interminably without fans or air-conditioning, being forced to buy bottled water or drink contaminated water from purification plants without power.

“One of the lucky ones with a job in a country where unemployment stands at well over 50 percent, Yasser Ghazi said he still can’t afford to operate a generator to fill the gaps between the paltry few hours of electricity a day. ‘My sister is pregnant. I sent her with my mother, an old woman, to Syria to give birth because there’s no electricity or clean water. There’s not even a good hospital,’ said Ghazi…”

Weapons Given to Iraq Are Missing

The following report sounds incredible, but it appears to be grim reality in a world which lives and dies by the sword.

The Washington Post wrote on August 6:

“The Pentagon has lost track of about 190,000 AK-47 assault rifles and pistols given to Iraqi security forces in 2004 and 2005, according to a new government report, raising fears that some of those weapons have fallen into the hands of insurgents fighting U.S. forces in Iraq.

“The author of the report from the Government Accountability Office says U.S. military officials do not know what happened to 30 percent of the weapons the United States distributed to Iraqi forces from 2004 through early this year as part of an effort to train and equip the troops.

“The United States has spent $19.2 billion trying to develop Iraqi security forces since 2003, the GAO said, including at least $2.8 billion to buy and deliver equipment. But the GAO said weapons distribution was haphazard and rushed and failed to follow established procedures, particularly from 2004 to 2005

“… the inability of the United States to track weapons with tools such as serial numbers makes it nearly impossible for the U.S. military to know whether it is battling an enemy equipped by American taxpayers.”

Democratic-Led Congress Approves New U.S. Wiretapping Law

This next story sounds equally unbelievable. It, too, is grim reality, showing the extreme influence and power of political pressure on all politicians, irrespective of party affiliation.

The New York Times wrote on August 6:

“President Bush signed into law on Sunday legislation that broadly expanded the government’s authority to eavesdrop on the international telephone calls and e-mail messages of American citizens without warrants… For example, if a person in Indianapolis calls someone in London, the National Security Agency can eavesdrop on that conversation without a warrant, as long as the N.S.A.’s target is the person in London…

“The legislation to change the surveillance act was rushed through both the House and Senate in the last days before the August recess began… In fact, pressure from the telecommunications companies on the Bush administration has apparently played a major hidden role in the political battle over the surveillance issue over the past few months… Those companies were facing major lawsuits for having secretly cooperated with the warrantless wiretapping program, and now wanted greater legal protections before cooperating further.”

Joint Military Exercise of China and Russia

The Times wrote on August 6:

“Russian and Chinese troops are joining forces this week in the first military exercises by an international organisation that is regarded in some quarters as a potential rival to Nato… Scores of Russian and Chinese aircraft begin joint exercises tomorrow before a week of military manoeuvres from Thursday that will include Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. At least 6,500 troops are involved in what is described as an antiterror exercise…

“MPs on the Foreign Affairs Select Committee expressed fears last year that the West could be on a collision course in the struggle for energy resources with ‘an authoritarian bloc opposed to democracy’ that was based on an alliance between China and Russia. A newly assertive Russia, flush with oil and gas revenues, is moving rapidly to increase its military capability amid tensions with the West over missile defence and Nato expansion. Almost £100 billion has been set aside for rearmament over the next eight years.”

As the Bible foretells, Russia and China, as well as other Far Eastern countries, WILL become a military threat to the West, especially continental Europe.

The New European Superstate

The Daily Mail wrote on August 6:

“… the idea that we [Great Britain] should give up the power to make our own foreign policy in favour of an EU foreign ministry, with its own diplomatic service, is not even half of what this new [European] treaty proposes. Ploughing through its 145 dense pages, what we see emerging is nothing less than the grand design whereby Europe is to be given a new form of supranational government, with far more powers over the lives of the EU’s 480 million citizens than will remain with any national government.

“Nothing reveals this more vividly than the extraordinary new status to be given at the centre of this new government to a body known as the European Council. It is this body that has already agreed [on] the exact wording of the new treaty, and which has, in effect, ordered that it should be rammed through in less than three months without a word being changed. This in itself is wholly without precedent. All the previous treaties which built up the powers of the EU resulted from months of negotiation between national governments. But on this treaty, governments are given no choice. They are obliged simply to accept what they were told to accept by the European Council in June.

“… What is this mysterious body, the European Council? It has, in fact, been taking shape and waxing in importance for more than 30 years. Its meetings are normally described by the media as ‘summits’… Under the new treaty… the Council’s role is to act as the Cabinet of the new ‘government of Europe’. For a start, presiding over its meetings will be a new permanent President of Europe, serving for up to five years (who may also be president of the European Commission). Alongside him, acting as the Union’s foreign minister, will be… the official who will in effect be foreign secretary for all the EU’s 27 members, including Britain.

“But there is another highly significant change in the role of the European Council, which can only be grasped by looking at the treaty’s small print. Until now, when prime ministers attended a meeting of the Council, they spoke on behalf of their own country. However, when the Council becomes a ‘Union institution’, its members will no longer be allowed to do this. Like the members of all other Union institutions, their first loyalty must now be to the Union… And as the new treaty makes clear, the Union will now have the power to decide policy on almost every conceivable issue, from foreign and defence policy to how national economies should be run… The EU will be allowed [to]take new powers over anything it wants, in accordance with those new all-embracing ‘objectives of the Union’… What all this amounts to is that the EU finally wishes to set itself up as the supreme government of Britain and 26 other countries, with virtually UNLIMITED POWERS over every aspect of our lives. This is nothing less than an astonishing coup d’etat.”

A European Superstate is in the making… and no human being will be able to stop it!  For more information, read our free booklet, “Europe in Prophecy.”

Travelers from US Face EU Crackdown

More controversies are developing between the USA and the EU.

The Financial Times wrote on August 7:

“US business travellers and tourists flying to the European Union are facing the threat of the same laborious registration requirements that Washington has demanded of Europeans in the latest US security crackdown. In its first reaction to the new US visa law, the European Commission said it was ‘considering’ a so-called electronic traveller authorisation scheme – similar to the American plan – that would require foreigners heading to the EU to give notice of their travel plans before departure. The threat has been conveyed to senior US officials and lawmakers, with one letter sent last month stressing that a European system would ‘of course operate on a reciprocal basis’… the idea had received ‘new impetus’ by the adoption of a US counter-terrorism bill last week that requires travellers to give US authorities at least 48 hours’ notice of their plans to visit the country.

“George W. Bush, US president, signed the law last Friday in spite of [sharp criticism from and] repeated appeals by the Commission and European business groups to reconsider the measures. The law will tighten scrutiny of travellers from the 26 developed countries whose citizens do not at present require visas to enter the US, including Britain, France, German and most other western European countries… “

Floods Across South Asia Affect Millions

AFP wrote on August 6:

“Many of the millions of people forced from their homes by floods across South Asia were desperate for food and drinking water on Monday as aid workers and army battled to reach them. The flooding, described as the heaviest to hit the region in decades, has affected 31 million people and killed more than 1,600 others in India, Bangladesh and Nepal since monsoon rains began pouring down in June.

“India’s northern Bihar state has been hit hardest by the disaster, and some of the growing number of people marooned by the swirling waters have resorted to fighting for emergency food supplies. The state’s disaster management chief, Manoj Srivastava, put the total number of flood-affected at 11.5 million… ‘This has been an unprecedented flood,’ Srivastava said. ‘The data shows in Bihar in several districts the rainfall has been 250 to 300 percent higher than the average for the last 30 years.'”

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