Current Events

Now…Global Bailouts Needed!

A relentless stream of devastating financial news from all over the globe highlights the repercussions of what first began in the US. The Christian Science Monitor reported the following on October 7, 2008:
“Battered by successive shocks, the world economy may be slipping into multicontinent recession.

“First, the housing bubble burst in the US and some European nations. Then soaring commodity prices hit countries around the world, especially poor food-importers. Now the bank turmoil wrought by the real estate downturn is spreading beyond Wall Street to other financial capitals.

“Ireland, Denmark, and France have declared a recession. Germany and Britain are teetering. Even the hot economies of India and China may suffer slowing growth.

“‘At this point it is a very fragile situation,’ says Eswar Prasad, an international economics professor at Cornell University and a fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington. ‘There is a crisis of confidence more than anything else.'”

Pakistan Nears Bankruptcy

On October 6, 2008, the featured this somber financial report about the very politically unstable nation of Pakistan:
“Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves are so low that the country can only afford one month of imports and faces possible bankruptcy.”
The article also points out the dire impact this may have on its relationship with the US:
“The government is engulfed by crises left behind by Pervez Musharraf, the military ruler who resigned the presidency in August. High oil prices have combined with endemic corruption and mismanagement to inflict huge damage on the economy.

“Given the country’s standing as a frontline state in the US-led ‘war on terrorism’, the economic crisis has profound consequences. Pakistan already faces worsening security as the army clashes with militants in the lawless Tribal Areas on the north-west frontier with Afghanistan.”

Iceland’s Economy Collapses reported on October 9:

“Iceland’s government seized control of Kaupthing Bank hf, the nation’s biggest bank, completing the takeover of a banking industry that has collapsed under the weight of its foreign debt…

“The banks are saddled with about $61 billion of debt, 12 times the size of the economy, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The government is seeking a loan from Russia and may ask for aid from the International Monetary Fund to help guarantee deposits. The central bank ditched an attempt to fix the krona yesterday as the currency went into freefall.

“‘This looks like a total collapse,’ said Thomas Haugaard Jensen, an economist at Svenska Handelsbanken AB in Copenhagen. ‘It’ll take several years before the economy can start to return to growth.'”

The article continues with this shocking assessment:

“The debts of the Icelandic banking system are too big for the government to repay.

“‘There is no way that the Icelandic population can assume responsibility for the private debt’ that the banks have built up, [Prime Minister] Haarde said yesterday.”

European Nations Not United In Moment Of Crisis reported this week on the reaction of governments across Europe to the global financial meltdown:

“While Europe’s four largest economies pledged to coordinate national responses to help banks in distress, their failure to agree an EU-wide plan showcased the divisions in Europe on how to deal with the crisis.”

Reporting on Europe’s frenzied attempts at coordinating a response to the financial crisis, The New York Times (10/4/2008) stated:

“After days of squabbling, the leaders of Europe’s largest economies vowed Saturday to work together to stop a growing financial panic, but they failed to offer a systemwide answer to a credit crisis that has forced them to bail out several banks in just the past week.”

The Times article continued:

“Sharply criticizing what they said were the American roots of what has become a global credit crisis, Europe’s leaders insisted it was time for the European Union to act decisively.

“We are fully aware of the responsibility that weighs on our shoulders,” said President Nicolas Sarkozy of France, who hosted the gathering at the sumptuous Élysée Palace here.

“The crisis has become the biggest financial challenge for European policymakers since the introduction of the euro as a Continent-wide currency in 1999.”

The Timesonline (10/6/2008) recounted the the failed attempt on the part of France to face the growing financial crisis in a unified stance:

“President Sarkozy’s ambition of leading a united Europe through the global financial turmoil appeared to have sunk last night as Angela Merkel moved to guarantee German savings.

“The German Chancellor’s initiative may have torpedoed Mr Sarkozy’s aim of ensuring coordinated action on crisis-hit banks in the European Union. It came less than 24 hours after the French president had summoned Gordon Brown, Mrs Merkel and Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian Prime Minister, to a summit in Paris designed to devise a EU strategy in the face of the upheaval. The move irritated EU leaders who were not invited, such as José Luis Zapatero, the Spanish Prime Minister.

“Critics said that the snub would complicate the already difficult task of producing a single EU policy on the crisis. The obstacles were underlined in the final document from the Paris meeting, which contained vague commitments from Europe’s biggest economies to work together. There were few hard decisions other than the establishment of a £25 billion fund to support small business unable to secure loans from their banks in the credit crunch.

“A plan floated by France and the Netherlands for a €300 billion bank rescue fund had been blocked by Britain and Germany even before the meeting had started. Mrs Merkel was always reticent to adopt the French approach of solidarité, which she saw as a roundabout way of asking Germany to finance rescue packages in other countries.

“Her go-it-alone deposit guarantee measure – which came after she criticised the Irish Republic for doing almost the same thing – blew another hole in Mr Sarkozy’s dream. He had seen the crisis as a chance to impose France’s vision of a federal Europe and a regulated economy.”
Europe’s fragmented approach has not been reassuring. Shocking steps are being taken to secure the financial stability of banks and investment firms–with the outcome moving Europe’s powerful core nations to take steps toward the nationalization of their economies. What lies ahead for the European Union is graphically described in our free booklet, “Europe In Prophecy.”

Pope Challenges Godlessness and Bible Understanding

An AP article appeared in Yahoo! News on October 5, 2008, reporting on a meeting of bishops during which the Pope made critical remarks about the role of religion:
“Pope Benedict XVI warned Sunday that modern culture is pushing God out of people’s lives, causing nations once rich in religious faith to lose their identities”
Continuing… “‘Today, nations once rich in faith and vocations are losing their own identity, under the harmful and destructive influence of a certain modern culture,’ said Benedict, who has been pushing for religion to be given more room in society.”
The article also had the following significant statements:
“A document prepared for the meeting rejects a fundamentalist approach to the Bible and said a key challenge was to clarify for the faithful the relationship of scripture to science. A rabbi will address the conference on Monday in what is believed to be the first time a Jew has participated in such a meeting.”
Concerning the address by a rabbi, (10/04/2008) quoted Shear-Yashuv Cohen, Grand Rabbi of Haifa, Israel:

“Cohen told the Washington-based Catholic News Service in Jerusalem that his invitation was a ‘signal of hope (bringing) a message of love, coexistence, and peace for generations.'”

The article continued…

“He was due to speak on the Jewish interpretation of the Bible, whose first five books comprise the Torah, Judaism’s most holy sacred writings.

“Benedict has continued the conciliatory steps taken by his predecessor, Polish-born John Paul II, to improve inter-faith relations, but has sometimes stumbled.

“Most recently he allowed the reintroduction of a controversial Good Friday prayer calling for the conversion of Jews.

“However in April the German-born pontiff won some Jewish hearts and minds when he became the first leader of the Roman Catholic Church to visit a synagogue in the United States.”
An article appearing in the Houston Chronicle on October 3, 2008, adds some detail to the Catholic view of the Bible and its use:
“Of equal concern to the bishops is how Catholics understand Scripture when and if they read it. The synod’s official agenda notes the increasing popularity of ‘fundamentalism,’ which it says ‘takes refuge in literalism and refuses to take into consideration the historical dimension of biblical revelation.’

“Earlier this month, Benedict himself stated that a proper understanding of the Bible ‘excludes by its nature everything that today is known as fundamentalism” and insisted that the “word of God can never simply be equated with the letter of the text.’

“As they reaffirm the church’s teaching authority, or magisterium, the bishops will also discuss the compatibility of Catholic doctrine with modern methods of interpretation that Catholic scholars have increasingly adopted since Vatican II.”

The article also cited the following:

“Catholics over the age of 50 are old enough to remember when the church discouraged nonclergy from acquainting themselves with Scripture, apart from selections quoted in their catechisms or read aloud at Mass. But that traditional attitude has shifted amid the many dramatic changes in Catholicism that began in the 1960s.”

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