Current Events

France “Offers” Germany the Bomb…

Der Spiegel Online reported on September 17, 2007:

“Ever since Nicolas Sarkozy became French president, he has been bewildering the German government with one controversial idea after another. The latest shocker? The new man in Paris has offered German Chancellor Angela Merkel French nuclear weapons.

“French President Nicolas Sarkozy didn’t mention the bomb right away. Instead, he took a little detour by way of atomic energy: Whoever is serious about averting global warming should build more nuclear power plants, he told Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier during last week’s informal meeting in Meseberg palace, the German government’s guest residence north of Berlin. Then came the surprise offer.

“Seeing as they were discussing the benefits of all things atomic, the French president continued, he had another suggestion as well: Because the French nuclear umbrella protected France’s neighbors as well as La Grande Nation itself, perhaps the Germans would consider taking a political stake in the French atomic arsenal?

“Both the chancellor and her foreign minister were speechless. The idea of possessing nuclear weapons is taboo in Germany. Sarzoky’s predecessor Jacques Chirac cautiously brought up the issue 12 years ago, but he quickly realized it was pointless to pursue it. Steinmeier was the first to regain his composure, explaining that Germany did not seek to become a nuclear power, which is why the country had signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1975. Merkel offered a friendly smile and backed up her foreign minister…”

Sarkozy Annoys Merkel

Press TV wrote on September 16:

“Four months after Sarkozy became president, a cool wind is blowing between Paris and Berlin as tensions appear in his relationship with Merkel. From a bruising European Union summit in June, through weeks of simmering discord over the independence of the European Central Bank to a patronizing remark on nuclear power last Monday, Sarkozy has repeatedly offended Merkel, observers in both capitals say. The German daily Rheinische Post spoke of a ‘deep crisis’ between the leaders of the two countries who regard themselves as the driving force of the EU…

“During a joint news conference on Monday, an impatient Merkel stood tensely as Sarkozy lectured her on the virtues of nuclear power, an energy source she favors but cannot foster because of a phase-out deal forced upon her by her coalition partners.

“Sarkozy is reported to have lost his temper with German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck in Brussels in July when he criticized France’s budget policy and to have waited in vain for Merkel to rebuke her minister. A guest editorial by French Prime Minister Francois Fillon in Le Figaro on Friday said the chancellor should learn from former chancellor Konrad Adenauer who said that when dealing with the French, one must salute their flag three times before getting down to business.”

Germans, Be Watchful!!! — “Legal Considerations Would No Longer Apply”

Der Spiegel Online wrote on September 17:

“Germany’s Defence Minister Franz Josef Jung [of the Christian Democratic Union, CDU] has sparked fury by saying he would order a hijacked passenger jet to be shot down if necessary — even though the country’s highest court ruled last year that such a move would be illegal… The court in 2006 overturned the Air Security Act which empowered the defence minister to order a plane to be shot down even if innocent people were on board. The court ruled that weighing ‘life against life’ was in breach of Germany’s constitution. The debate has raged in Germany ever since the September 11 terror attacks and security has moved back to the top of the agenda ever since the arrest two weeks ago of three Islamists suspected of plotting bomb attacks.

“Jung’s comments outraged the opposition and met with strong criticism from members of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), which shares power with Merkel’s conservatives. SPD leader Kurt Beck said: ‘It’s simply inconceivable to take that course of action.’ Beck told reporters that if Jung ordered pilots to fire on an airliner, he would effectively be turning responsibility for the action over to them. ‘And after all we’ve taught people since the Nazi dictatorship … a German soldier would have to say No, this command isn’t compatible with the constitution.'”

“Germany’s organisation of army fighter pilots VBSK also rejected the idea. ‘I can only advise pilots not to obey the minister’s command in such a case,’ Thomas Wassmann, VBSK chairman, told the Leipziger Volkszeitung newspaper. He said Jung’s statement was akin to ‘calling on pilots to carry out an illegal order.’ Bernhard Gertz, chairman of the German Army Federation, a union representing the interests of military personnel, said pilots would make themselves liable to prosecution if they shot down a passenger jet that was being used as a missile.

“But a spokesman for the Defence Ministry defended Jung on Monday, saying it was conceivable that the GOVERNMENT COULD CALL OUT A STATE OF EMERGENCY IN WHICH LEGAL CONSIDERATIONS NO LONGER APPLIED — in that case, PILOTS WOULDN’T BE ALLOWED TO DISOBEY THE COMMAND.”

This is extremely dangerous language! Legal considerations would no longer apply? Pilots would not be ALLOWED to DISOBEY an ILLEGAL order?

These kinds of developments in Germany are of great interest, as Germany is DESTINED to play a leading role in Europe. For more information, please read our free booklet, “Europe in Prophecy.” Also, make sure to view our latest StandingWatch program, “The Mystery of Revelation–Solved.”

Euro at All-Time High

The Wall Street Journal wrote on September 20:

“The euro hit a new all-time high against the dollar, trading above $1.40 for the first time since the common European currency was introduced. The 13-nation euro bought $1.4023 in early European trading, up from its previous high of $1.3987, hit in New York late Wednesday.”

Getting Hot in the Middle East reported on September 16:

“The target of an Israel Air Force raid 10 days ago in Syria was a nuclear installation that was constructed in the northeastern corner of the country, with North Korean assistance, according to foreign media reports. Yesterday, The Washington Post published an article saying the strike was aimed at a shipment that had arrived in Syria aboard a North Korean vessel three days earlier, and may have included equipment and materials related to nuclear technology…

“Meanwhile, the German weekly Der Spiegel reported yesterday that a German naval vessel patrolling the coast of Lebanon as part of the UNIFIL mission identified two F-15 fighters penetrating Syria’s airspace on its radar 10 days ago. A Western military source, quoted in the report, claimed that the aircraft were on their way to attack a Syrian arms shipment to Hezbollah, but were surprised at the speed with which Syrian air defenses became aware of their presence.”

“Tensions Sky-High on the Golan Heights”

The reported on September 15:

“In recent months Syria has renewed its old alliance with the Kremlin, which lapsed when the Cold War ended. Over the past year President Vladimir Putin’s Government has sold Damascus large quantities of the portable anti-tank weapons which Hezbollah’s outnumbered fighters used to humiliate Israel’s invading army in south Lebanon last year.

“Syrian President Bashar Assad’s autocratic regime has also bought new Russian anti-aircraft systems which could erode the Israeli air force’s long-prized ability to overfly and bomb its neighbours without encountering defences, as it did in Lebanon…

“While Russia views the eastern Mediterranean as part of a global chessboard, for both Syria and Israel the conflict is purely, intensely local. At its heart is control of the Golan Heights, 1250 square kilometres of mountain, farmland and scrubby uplands seized and colonised by Israel 40 years ago last June. Since then the focus of Syrian foreign policy has been to regain the Golan Heights and to return to their homes the descendants of the 50,000 to 80,000 Syrian civilians driven out in the fighting and whom Israel has since replaced with 16,000 of its own settlers…

“Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert stated this year that Israel will never return the Golan to Syria. Opinion polls suggest a clear majority of Israelis would not give up the Golan even [at] the price of peace… Amid renewed rumours of war, this summer Israeli tank brigades staged large-scale manoeuvres on the Golan Heights… Economically, the Golan is the source of about half Israel’s water resources, produces most of its wine grapes and has the country’s only ski resort. Cattle ranchers and hikers can roam in the upland plateau…”

For more information on prophesied events in the Middle East, please read our free booklet, “The Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord.

America Preparing for War With Iran?

The Sunday Telegraph reported on September 16:

“Senior American intelligence and defence officials believe that President George W Bush and his inner circle are taking steps to place America on the path to war with Iran, The Sunday Telegraph has learnt. Pentagon planners have developed a list of up to 2,000 bombing targets in Iran, amid growing fears among serving officers that diplomatic efforts to slow Iran’s nuclear weapons programme are doomed to fail… Now it has emerged that Condoleezza Rice, the secretary of state, who has been pushing for a diplomatic solution, is prepared to settle her differences with Vice-President Dick Cheney and sanction military action.

“In a chilling scenario of how war might come, a senior intelligence officer warned that public denunciation of Iranian meddling in Iraq – arming and training militants – would lead to cross border raids on Iranian training camps and bomb factories… Under the theory… US action would provoke a major Iranian response, perhaps in the form of moves to cut off Gulf oil supplies, providing a trigger for air strikes against Iran’s nuclear facilities and even its armed forces. Senior officials believe Mr Bush’s inner circle has decided he does not want to leave office without first ensuring that Iran is not capable of developing a nuclear weapon.”

Iran Ready To Strike Back

The Jerusalem Post wrote on September 17:

“Six hundred Iranian Shihab-3 missiles are pointed at targets throughout Israel, and will be launched if either Iran or Syria are attacked, an Iranian website affiliated with the regime reported on Monday… According to the report, dozens of locations throughout Iraq, which are being used by the US Army, have also been targeted. The Shihab missile has a range of 1,300 km, and can reach anywhere in Israel.

“On Sunday, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said that the nuclear Iranian crisis forces the world ‘to prepare for the worst,’ and said that in this case it ‘is war.'”

“America’s Standing as a World Power Severely Damaged”

Der Spiegel Online wrote on September 12:

“Gen. David Petraeus and Ryan Crocker told the US Congress this week that the ‘surge’ could come home — but the rest of America’s troops in Iraq need to stay there indefinitely. German commentators reacted coolly to the news… [and] were typically skeptical of US policy and the future for Iraq…

“The center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung writes:

“‘… The various “reconciliation talks” between Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds are dominated by partisan jockeying for position and no progress has been made on the real issues. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who is criticized for his close ties to Tehran, has proven to be incompetent or even worse. … In parts of the country, especially in the south, there is fighting among various Shiite factions. Millions of Iraqis have fled abroad, while hundreds of thousands are caught up in ethic and religious cleansing, driven from their hometowns or the lands Saddam Hussein settled them on and seeking refuge somewhere. The economic results, especially those from oil production, have hardly improved. Billions of dollars in contracts that the American government has pumped into the country have run into the sand or — to be more precise — landed in the wrong pockets.

“‘Whether the representatives and senators in Washington are realistically evaluating these facts at all is another question altogether. In the discussion about Iraq in Washington … the only real question is when the withdrawal will begin and how quickly it will be carried out… On this issue there are only two things which are certain: Iraq’s future will not be rosy, and the standing of America as a world power is severely damaged after this deployment.’

“Austria’s Der Standard writes:

“‘One feels like one has gone back in time to before the invasion of Iraq in March 2003. After the US government’s recent PR campaign, the world is once again divided into believers and disbelievers when it comes to the US’s Iraq policy…'”

Chaos in Iraq Inevitable

The Los Angeles Times wrote on September 15:

“President Bush and his Iraq team spent the week trying to change the nature of the debate over the war. But they failed to offer any new military or political strategy for extricating the United States from Iraq. And so countless hours of testimony by Gen. David H. Petraeus, U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker and an Oval Office speech by the president changed no minds… Americans are more bitterly divided than ever, politically and morally stalemated over our responsibility for creating and for resolving what can now only be called a quagmire. For chief among the president’s ever-shifting justifications for staying in Iraq is that it is far too dangerous to leave.

“Petraeus and Crocker did succeed in boxing in some moderates who want to end the war but are afraid to cut off funding. They did succeed in making us hope against our better judgment that military progress can yet produce stability. And they distracted the public from the underlying problem, which is that the United States has no power to compel an Iraqi cease-fire, let alone the necessary political reconciliation.

“To their credit, Petraeus and Crocker avoided offering promises, or even benchmarks for progress, which have so often disappointed in the past. They were wise enough to recognize the emptiness of each event that the war’s supporters have heralded as a turning point — the capture of Saddam Hussein nearly four years ago, the two national elections, the drafting of a constitution, the killing of Al Qaeda leader Abu Musab Zarqawi last year, the formation of a government and parliament, and most recently, the ‘surge.’ By contrast, Bush’s new rhetoric about a ‘return on success’ and defending an ‘ally’ that has requested U.S. help was twisted and misleading in the extreme.

“And while all this was going on in Washington this week, what was happening in Iraq? The civil war went on, as it always has, on Iraqi time and Iraqi terms. Sheik Abdul Sattar Rishawi, the tribal leader who became the key U.S. ally against Al Qaeda in Anbar province, was blown up with his bodyguards just 10 days after meeting with Bush. Hope that the dysfunctional parliament would agree to share oil revenue crumbled as a tentative agreement struck in February broke down, and lawmakers said no legislation could be passed any time soon. Similar gridlock was reported on legislation to re-integrate alienated former Baathists into the government. And sectarian slaughter continued, with an average of 10 corpses found dumped in Baghdad alone every day last week…”

Oil–the Prime Motive for the War With Iraq?

The Sunday Times wrote on September 16:

“America’s elder statesman of finance, Alan Greenspan, has shaken the White House by declaring that the prime motive for the war in Iraq was oil. In his long-awaited memoir… Greenspan, a Republican whose 18-year tenure as head of the US Federal Reserve was widely admired, will also deliver a stinging critique of President George W Bush’s economic policies.

“… it is his view on the motive for the 2003 Iraq invasion that is likely to provoke the most controversy. ‘I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil,’ he says… Britain and America have always insisted the war had nothing to do with oil. Bush said the aim was to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction and end Saddam’s support for terrorism.”

Subsequently, CNN reported on September 17 that Greenspan “clarified” that he did not want to imply that oil was the “motive” for the Bush Administration’s decision to go to war against Iraq.

The “Apocalyptic War”

The Daily Mail wrote on September 14, under the headline, “How the world was plunged into an apocalyptic war”:

“The total number of American servicemen and women killed in action already amounts to 3,826, with 168 British forces having been killed. And between 500,000 and 600,000 Iraqi men, women and children have died. What’s more, since Saddam fell, four million Iraqis have become refugees, either inside Iraq or beyond.

“Meanwhile this week, another two British soldiers have been killed by the resurgent Taliban in Afghanistan, bringing the total British losses since 2001 to 78… The truth is that despite Bush’s ‘war on terror’ and the American-led occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq, Islamist terrorism has continued to seethe and bubble across the world – and sometimes explode, as in Madrid in 2004 and London in 2005.

“This summer, an attack on Glasgow Airport mercifully failed because of the terrorists’ own incompetence. And German counter-terrorism police foiled a plot (meant to mark the sixth anniversary of 9/11) which was aimed at truckbombing Frankfurt Airport and the US air base at Ramstein…

“Bush and his vicepresident Dick Cheney are fundamentalist Christians, while Bush’s own political base lies in his fellow fundamentalists of the American ‘Bible belt’. And tragically for Britain, Tony Blair passionately shared Bush’s belief that world policy must be inspired by religious faith. The grim truth is that when George W. Bush declared ‘a global war on terror’, he was really announcing a jihad of his own – a struggle to convert the whole world to American-style capitalist democracy…

“‘We’ are the righteous, while our chosen enemy is ‘the Axis of Evil’ or ‘the Great Satan’ (take your pick) with whom no compromise is possible, and against whom any violence is permissible. Al Qaeda and its associated jihadists massacre the innocent to the cry of ‘Allah Akbar’ (‘God is Great’). Meanwhile, President Bush launches ‘shock and awe’ aerial onslaughts on Iraqi and Afghan villages and cities in the sure belief that Jesus Christ wants him to spread democracy around the world.

“Yet belief in the righteousness of the cause is only the vehicle for something deeper and even more alarming. And that something is sheer emotion… Such emotion is terrifyingly dangerous. The great German philosopher on war, Carl von Clausewitz, pointed out that the intensity of a conflict is determined by the importance of the political object at stake…

“Today, Iran has become the prime target of Bush’s ideological mission. He recently trumpeted: ‘We will confront this danger before it is too late. Either the forces of extremism succeed or the forces of freedom succeed. Either our enemies advance their interests in Iraq, or we advance our interests.’ In this inflamed rhetoric, echoing his rants in 2002 and 2003 about Saddam Hussein and his alleged development of weapons of mass destruction, we can hear the louder and louder beat of war drums.

“… war, no matter how passionate the belief in the righteousness of the cause, is inherently uncontrollable, its outcome quite unpredictable…”

No matter what America is trying to do in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and in other countries, it will not succeed. For more information, please read our free booklet, “The Fall and Rise of Britain and America.” You might also want to view our recent StandingWatch programs, “God Warns America!” and “America–Wake Up!”

Pope Refused to Meet With Condoleezza Rice

Press TV reported on September 20:

“Pope Benedict XVI has refused a recent request by the US Secretary of State to discuss the Middle East and Iraq, Vatican sources say… Italian daily Corriere della Sera says the evident snub ‘illustrates the divergence of views’ between the Vatican and the White House over the ‘initiatives of the Bush administration in the Middle East.’

“Sources cite at least two reasons for the Pope’s refusal to have a private meeting with Rice:

“First, it was Rice who just before the outbreak of Iraq war in March 2003 made it clear that the Bush administration was not interested in the views of the late Pope on the immorality of launching its planned military offensive. Secondly, the US has responded in a manner considered unacceptable at the Vatican to the protection of the rights of Iraqi Christians.”

Will Putin Make a Comeback–Without Ever Really Leaving?

AFP wrote on September 14:

“President Vladimir Putin said Friday that Russia’s 2008 presidential race is wide open, with at least five candidates — including his surprise new prime minister, Viktor Zubkov. He also did not rule out making a comeback in the following presidential campaign in 2012… Putin’s decision to pluck Zubkov from obscurity just ahead of December parliamentary elections has fuelled intrigue over who will win the Kremlin in the March presidential vote, when Putin is required by the constitution to leave office. Most observers believe that the race will be minutely controlled by Putin’s entourage to ensure that a loyal candidate wins…

“Under the constitution the president cannot have more than two consecutive terms, but can in theory return after a break… Some analysts believe that Zubkov is a straw man promoted purely because of his loyalty to Putin. One theory is that Putin is weakening the already pliant government to concentrate further power in the Kremlin and lay the groundwork for him to retain power behind the scenes.”

Russia’s Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov — And The Russian Military stated on September 16:

“Russia’s Prime Minister has pledged to boost the country’s military might, amid growing signs that he could emerge as President Vladimir Putin’s successor next year…

“Keen to demonstrate his allegiance to his boss, Mr Zubkov told deputies that he would dedicate his attentions to advancing Mr Putin’s favourite projects — the restoration of Russia’s military might and the resurgence of Russia’s energy-fuelled economy. Since Mr Putin came to power in 2000, the Kremlin has poured large amounts of cash into Russia’s rusting military in what appears to be an attempt to regain the nation’s superpower status.

“On Thursday British and Norwegian jets intercepted Russian military aircraft after they breached NATO air space close to Britain and Finland. Finland’s Prime Minister, Matti Vanhanen, demanded an explanation from Moscow over the violation of Finnish air space, the latest in a spate of recent incursions…

“Last night, Mr Putin was scheduled to revel in a military display of a different sort, taking the salute in Red Square from troops participating in Moscow’s first military tattoo… The presidential regiment band and the central band of the Russian Army were to be bedecked in imperial uniforms not worn since the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917.”

Inspection of Islamic Courses and Teachers in Austria?

Press TV reported on September 15:

“Austria’s controversial politician, Joerg Haider, has called for intensive inspection of Islamic courses in the country’s education system. The former head of the far-right Freedom Party and the hawkish governor of Carinthia told the reporters in a press conference that the government’s policy to converge with foreigners has not been successful yet and now the foreigners are to adapt themselves to the conditions in Austria.

“Haider has recently announced his plans to prohibit the construction of mosques in Carinthia and has emphasized that the contents of schoolbooks should be changed and the Islamic education in Austria ought to be brought under intensive inspection. He also stressed that the move should be initiated by inspecting the teachers of the Islamic courses.”

Tattoo Remorse

CNN reported on September 17:

“Laura Hathaway initially had no regrets after getting a tattoo on her lower back when she was 21. But now, 10 years later, she wants it gone… it doesn’t fit in with her current lifestyle as the mother of a 2-year-old boy who just started to talk…

“Dr. Scott Karempelis of Atlanta Dermatology Associates is performing a multitreatment laser procedure that will gradually erase Hathaway’s tattoo with little or no scarring. The process is painful, expensive and time-consuming… The American Academy of Dermatology reports tattoo regret is common in the United States. Among a group of 18- to 50-year-olds surveyed in 2004, 24 percent reported having a tattoo and 17 percent of those considered getting their tattoo removed…

“Hathaway expects to go through 10 sessions several weeks apart, each lasting less than a minute. She admits it’s a lot more painful than getting the original tattoo. ‘It’s prickly,’ describes Hathaway. ‘It feels like a bee is sitting on your back stinging time and time again. Afterwards, the pain does go away and you’re a little sore for a few hours.’ Patients with bigger tattoos are sometimes given the option to use a topical anesthetic, but Karempelis points out that it adds to the cost.

“Like other dermatologists, he charges by the square inch for the laser treatment. By the time Hathaway’s done, she expects to pay more than $2,200. There’s no guarantee that she won’t have a scar… Certain tattoo colors, such as green, yellow and purple, are harder to remove, Karempelis says.”

For a Biblical Discussion on Tattoos, please see our Q&A in Update #113, titled, “Does the Bible teach anything about the use of tattoos?”

Meteorite Hits the Earth–Causes Mysterious Illness

AFP reported on September 17:

“Villagers in southern Peru were struck by a mysterious illness after a meteorite made a fiery crash to Earth in their area, regional authorities said Monday. Around midday Saturday, villagers were startled by an explosion and a fireball that many were convinced was an airplane crashing near their remote village, located in the high Andes department of Puno in the Desaguadero region, near the border with Bolivia.
“Residents complained of headaches and vomiting brought on by a ‘strange odor,’ local health department official Jorge Lopez told Peruvian radio RPP. Seven policemen who went to check on the reports also became ill and had to be given oxygen before being hospitalized, Lopez said.

“Rescue teams and experts were dispatched to the scene, where the meteorite left a 100-foot-wide (30-meter-wide) and 20-foot-deep (six-meter-deep) crater, said local official Marco Limache.  ‘Boiling water started coming out of the crater and particles of rock and cinders were found nearby. Residents are very concerned,’ he said.”

This episode might perhaps remind us of much greater catastrophes to come, as described in Revelation 8:8, 10-11: “The second angel sounded: And something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea… Then the third angel sounded: And a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch… A third of the waters became wormwood, and many men died from the water, because it was made bitter.”

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