President Obama Sides with Palestinians, Infuriates Israel
The Associated Press reported on May 19:
“President Barack Obama is endorsing the Palestinians’ demand for their future state to be based on the borders that existed before the 1967 Middle East war, in a move that will likely infuriate Israel. Israel says the borders of a Palestinian state have to be determined through negotiations.
“In a speech outlining U.S. policy in the Middle East and North Africa, Obama on Thursday sided with the Palestinians’ opening position a day ahead of a visit to Washington by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu is vehemently opposed to referring to the 1967 borders.
“Until Thursday, the U.S. position had been that the Palestinian goal of a state based on the 1967 borders, with agreed land swaps, should be reconciled with Israel’s desire for a secure Jewish state through negotiations.”
Palestinian Bid for Statehood?
On May 14, The Local wrote the following:
“‘Prime Minister Netanyahu and Chancellor Merkel … discussed the practical relations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority,’ a statement from Netanyahu’s office said of the telephone conversation. Last week, Netanyahu visited London and Paris in an effort to convince the British and French leaders not to support an expected Palestinian bid for United Nations endorsement of a unilateral declaration of statehood.
“Merkel has already stated her opposition to such a move and has said she will not support a motion to that effect if it goes before the UN General Assembly in September… Next Friday Netanyahu is to meet US President Barack Obama at the White House and will address both houses of Congress on May 24.”
In spite of lip services to the contrary by Israel’s allies, ultimately, Israel will find itself in total isolation, as the next articles might suggest.
Europe Condemns Israel
The EUObserver wrote on May 17:
“The EU has described as ‘deplorable’ Israel’s killing of 14 unarmed Palestinians at the weekend… The US side put greater emphasis on Israel’s ‘rights’ and indicated that Syria is partly to blame for the incident, however… Israeli soldiers killed 14 unarmed civilians and injured more than 100 when Palestinian protesters tried to cross fences on the Syria-Israel and Lebanon-Israel borders on Sunday…
“Israel and Lebanon are filing rival complaints to the UN Security Council over Sunday’s events, with Israel saying Lebanon and Syria broke the law in letting protesters through.”
Ongoing Violence in Egypt
The following set of articles shows that violence in Egypt is by no means a thing of the past, and that the ouster of Hosni Mubarak might have done more harm than good—especially for Egypt’s relationship with the West and Israel, and for Christians living in that country. The Bible shows that Egypt will turn against the state of Israel.
On May 12, whitehousedossier.com wrote the following:
“President Obama should seek to stem the growing tide of violence against Coptic Christians in Egypt by condemning last weekend’s attacks that left a dozen people dead and scores injured. The attacks… also resulted in the burning of Coptic Orthodox churches and the destruction of Christian homes and businesses…
“Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper Monday ‘strongly’ condemned the violence, saying, ‘We stand behind the Coptic Christian community and their right to practice their faith in safety and security, free of persecution’…
“Obama, though a Christian, seems to view his background, which includes a Muslim grandfather and several years living as a child in Muslim Indonesia, as giving him a special conduit into the Muslim world. But… it shouldn’t interfere with other aspects of U.S. policy.
“Obama commendably condemned a New Year’s Eve church bombing in Alexandria, Egypt that killed 21. But he has said little – actually nothing that I could find – about the religious killings and tensions since then, which included the deaths of 12 people Jan. 30 during a raid of Christian homes in Upper Egypt.
“Obama also should speak about… the growing violence against Christians in Iraq… Four were killed and 171 injured in attacks over the weekend, prompting a reaction from Pope Benedict XVI.”
The Associated Press reported on May 16:
“An angry mob attacked a group of mainly Christian protesters demanding drastic measures to heal religious tension amid a spike in violence, leaving 65 people injured, officials said Sunday. The Christian protesters have been holding their sit-in outside the state television building in Cairo for nearly a week following deadly Christian-Muslim clashes that left a church burned and 15 people dead. More than 100 people rushed into the sit-in area, lobbing rocks and fire bombs from an overpass and charging toward the few hundred protesters sleeping in the area. Vehicles were set on fire and fires burned in the middle of the street…
“Religious clashes and a rising wave of crime have proved to be a major challenge for Egypt’s military rulers in the days following the 18-day uprising that led to the Feb. 11 ouster of ex-president Hosni Mubarak… Just hours before the Cairo violence, several suspected Islamic extremists bombed the tomb of a Muslim saint in the northern Sinai town of Sheik Zweid… Muslim radicals have blown up at least five other Muslim shrines, because they believe the veneration of saints as a violation of Islam.”
Reuters reported on May 16:
“More than 350 people were injured in a protest outside Israel’s embassy in Cairo to mark the displacement of Palestinians at the 1948 creation of the Jewish state… several hundred demonstrators gathered in front of the embassy late on Sunday on the anniversary of what many Arabs call the ‘Nakba,’ or catastrophe… Egypt’s interim military rulers have come under popular pressure to take a more pro-Palestinian stance…”
In addition, as Mail On Line reported on May 16, violence against Israel also broke out in other parts of the Middle East: “Israeli troops clashed with Arab protesters along… hostile borders, including the frontier with Syria… in an unprecedented wave of demonstrations marking a Palestinian day of mourning for their defeat at Israel’s hands in 1948… In the deadliest incident, ten people were killed when they marched from inside Lebanon toward the border with Israel.”
Revenge of Pakistan’s Taliban
Deutsche Welle reported on May 13:
“Pakistan’s Taliban claimed their first major strike in revenge for Osama bin Laden’s death on Friday, killing at least 80 people in a double suicide bombing at a paramilitary academy in the northwest of the country. Around 140 others were injured in the blasts, 40 of whom were now said to be fighting for their lives.
“‘This was the first revenge for Osama’s martyrdom. Wait for bigger attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan,’ [a] Pakistan Taliban spokesman… told the AFP news agency shortly after the attack… The attack comes as Pakistan struggles to combat a virulent Islamic insurgency that has spread from the federally administered tribal regions on its border with Afghanistan to major urban areas such as the capital, Islamabad.
“The Pakistani government, which immediately condemned the attack, has faced growing criticism from the United States for not doing enough to combat Islamic extremism… Britain declared its solidarity with Pakistan in the aftermath of the lethal attacks.”
This development was predictable. The mostly unaccepted lesson of history is that violence always breeds more violence.
Killing of Osama Was Unlawful
Der Spiegel wrote on May 13:
“If it is true that Osama bin Laden was unarmed when he was shot, self defense in response to an unlawful attack on the part of entering US Special Forces can be ruled out. Clearly, such an operation takes place under extreme pressure and it is conceivable that the Special Forces acted on the mistaken belief that they were under attack by bin Laden or his people… but this would not make the killing lawful. It would only cast light on the mental state of the troops in question, and thus their culpability.
“Yet, these soldiers are especially trained for such an operation, they are the elite of the elite. If we cannot demand restraint in the use of force from them, then we can’t demand it from anybody — not from the ordinary policeman in the street nor from the citizen defending his life or home. From this perspective, it seems unlikely that they shot bin Laden out of fear or by mistake. Rather they knew perfectly well what they were doing and killed him wantonly and willingly.
“Here is the problem. A targeted killing of a terrorist does not, contrary to what US President Barack Obama has suggested, do a service to justice; rather, it runs contrary to it. A state governed by the rule of law, treats even its enemies humanely. It arrests terrorists and brings them before a court. This is exactly what Germany did with the Red Army Faction (RAF) and what it does today with al-Qaida members. This is what the US did in Nuremberg with the Nazis and what it promotes all over the world with other criminals against mankind. Why are the criminals of al-Qaida treated differently?…
“A killing in the absence of a fair trial constitutes an extra-judicial or extra-legal execution, which is unworthy of a state ruled by law (Rechtsstaat). Indeed, it is an act for which countries not ruled by law (Unrechtsstaaten) are charged before human rights bodies…
“None of the United Nations Security Council resolutions on the fight against international terrorism, and in particular al-Qaida… authorize the carrying out of operations on foreign territory, nor the arrest, and even less the killing, of (suspected) terrorists… In the case at hand, the targeted killing was not permitted since the US — contrary to the misleading rhetoric of ‘the war on terror’ — is not involved in an armed conflict with al-Qaida… It lacks… a centralized and hierarchical military command structure and the control of a defined territory.
“Were we nevertheless to proclaim an international armed conflict against al-Qaida, the whole world would become a battlefield and the classic understanding of an armed conflict as being on a defined state territory and thus involving limited military confrontation, would be extended so as to know no bounds…”
This being the case, what consequences will this have for the US? Perhaps not too many at this point in time, but the world will not easily forget and take action when the “times of the Gentiles” have arrived.
Was US Ready to Bomb Pakistan?
USA Today and the Associated Press reported on May 14:
“Members of Pakistan’s Parliament slammed the United States on Saturday for the raid that killed al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden on their soil, but also demanded that an independent commission probe the debacle instead of one led by the country’s powerful armed forces… According to [federal Information Minister Firdous] Awan, the military officials said they learned ‘American planes were loaded with bombs’ and in the air in Afghanistan, ready to retaliate if Pakistani planes went after the U.S. helicopters sent after bin Laden…
“The parliamentary resolution that emerged from the gathering termed the U.S. raid as an attack on Pakistan’s sovereignty. It also criticized the American missile strikes in Pakistan’s militant-riddled tribal areas, and said the government should consider preventing U.S. and NATO supply trucks from using land routes in Pakistan if the strikes continue… Pakistan became an ally of the U.S. in the fight against Islamist militants after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, but the relationship has long been an uneasy one, with mutual distrust that has only deepened since the bin Laden killing.”
Syria a Complex Diplomatic Challenge
The Wall Street Journal wrote on May 14:
“The U.S. and its European allies, seeking to pressure Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to end his violent crackdown on protesters, are lobbying the United Nations nuclear watchdog to formally accuse Damascus of covertly building a nuclear reactor… The U.S. and European Union have been seeking ways to further isolate Damascus in the wake of a brutal offensive by Mr. Assad’s security forces. Both Washington and Brussels have announced unilateral economic sanctions on senior Syrian officials in recent weeks…
“But the Obama administration and its allies have so far been stymied in their attempts to pressure Mr. Assad through the Security Council, according to diplomats involved in the discussions. Russia, in particular, has resisted U.N. action to punish Syria, a decades-long ally of Moscow. The IAEA is viewed as a separate channel through which to put pressure on Damascus, said these officials…
“Syria is proving an increasingly complex diplomatic challenge for the Obama administration and its allies as Damascus continues its crackdown on protesters.
“Upon taking office in 2009, President Barack Obama sought to engage Mr. Assad in a bid to stabilize the Middle East and promote a broader Arab-Israeli peace process. The U.S. has taken a more cautious response to the Syrian political rebellion than it has to similar uprisings in Egypt and Libya, refusing so far to call for Mr. Assad to step down or to formally question his legitimacy.
“Human-rights groups and U.S. lawmakers have pressed the administration to call on Mr. Assad to step down. U.S. officials, in private, fear Mr. Assad’s overthrow could lead to widescale sectarian violence similar to the bloodletting that consumed Iraq after Saddam Hussein’s fall. Still, the scale of the violence inside Syria is forcing Washington to take an increasingly hard line… One growing fear in Washington and Brussels is that Mr. Assad might survive, but so weakened that he could even further strengthen his military alliance with Iran.”
The EUObserver reported on May 18:
“EU countries have agreed to impose a visa ban and asset freeze on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, accused by dissidents of killing more than 1,000 people in recent weeks. All 27 EU ambassadors in the Political and Security Committee (PSC) – a high-level EU forum for dealing with international crises – on Tuesday (17 May) evening endorsed a list of 10 more names, including the president himself, to be added to a previous sanctions register of 13 regime members…
“Syria has the capacity to cause instability in neigbouring Lebanon and to draw Iran and Israel into a wider conflict, taking the region back into the bloody days of the Lebanese civil war in the 1980s. US and French diplomats have in off-the-record briefings in Brussels explained that Libya-type intervention in Syria is not an option due to strategic considerations.”
Please make sure that you read our Q&A on the future of Syria.
Iran, Venezuela and Germany
The Jerusalem Post reported on May 16:
“The Iranian government is moving forward with the construction of rocket launch bases in Venezuela, the German daily Die Welt wrote in its Friday edition. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is Teheran’s most important South American ally… The Iranian military involvement in the project extends to bunker, barracks and watch tower construction. Twenty-meter deep rocket silos are planned. The cost of the Venezuelan military project is being paid for with Iranian oil revenue. The Iranians paid in cash for the preliminary phase of the project and, the total cost is expected to amount to ‘dozens of millions’ of dollars, Die Welt wrote… According to Die Welt, the clandestine agreement between Venezuela and Iran would mean the Chavez government would fire rockets at Iran’s enemies should the Islamic Republic face military strikes.
“Meanwhile the German press agency (DPA) reported on Friday that Germany will not contest the placement of the Hamburg- based European- Iranian Trade Bank (EIH) on the EU sanctions list at the end of the month… The EIH plays a crucial role in facilitating financial transactions for midsize German firms that are active in Iran. German- Iranian total trade amounted to over 4 billion euros in 2010, making Germany Iran’s No. 1 EU trade partner.”
Der Spiegel Online wrote on May 13:
“In the wake of the Fukushima disaster the EU agrees that stress tests are important, but no one can agree on criteria. France and Great Britain, above all, have stonewalled detailed EU examinations… The financial crisis has split the continent, and ‘me first’ has become the new credo in Brussels. Denmark just this week shut its borders unexpectedly — stepping back from the Schengen Agreement on visa-free travel throughout the EU…
“‘Me first’ Europeans have also gained ground in Germany… After three bailout plans since the euro first wobbled — and hundreds of billions of euros in loans and support for Greece, Ireland and Portugal — Merkel’s opponents fear that Berlin will become the paymaster for an increasingly hopeless euro zone… ‘Germany is the most important anchor for Europe,’ says Friedrich Heinemann at the Centre for European Economic Research. ‘The whole crisis mechanism (for the euro) stands or falls on German support for EU bailout policies.’ …
“The so-called Arab Spring in North Africa and the Middle East is causing trouble for Europe in more ways than one. It’s given the EU a chance to exercise foreign policy, and on Monday the bloc imposed sanctions against Syria and froze the assets of 13 members of the Syrian government. The German representatives questioned, though, why Syria’s dictator, Bashar Assad, was not among the 13. Catherine Ashton, the EU’s foreign policy chief, told the Germans to quiet down — only to face mounting criticism in the European Parliament… These compromise solutions in Brussels endear the EU leadership to no one…”
This development reflects the accuracy of the biblical prophecy that, although Europe will unite as a strong economic and military power bloc, its ten core nations and Europe as a whole will still face internal division because of national interests (compare Daniel 2:41-43). In this context, read the next article.
Fear of European Nationalism
Die Tageszeitung wrote on May 13, 2011:
“For years, Danish parties have allowed themselves to be led by the right-wing populists, and immigration laws have been strengthened several times. Now the Danish People’s Party has targeted the EU — and not just the conservatives and the liberals have fallen to their knees, but also the social democrats and the socialist party. Denmark was once thought of as an open, liberal country. But that was in the past.”
The Handelsblatt stated on May 13:
“Nationalistic, egotistical politics is on the march in EU member states…”
Die Welt wrote on May 13:
“Simply put, neither open borders nor a common currency have led the countries to grow closer with one another. It’s just the opposite. They insist on clinging to their national characteristics.”
The Frankfurter Rundschau wrote on May 13:
“Two things are symbolic of Europe and facilitate the everyday life of citizens immensely: the euro and the right to travel freely. The euro is threatening to implode as the single currency. The Schengen Agreement still has a long way to go. Nevertheless, it is infuriating how recklessly European governments play with these achievements for domestic policy. Worse, the community lets its agenda on sensitive questions be dictated by right-wing populists.”
“Eurozone’s Economic Growth Escalates”
The next two articles prove the correctness of the biblical prophecy that Europe, under German leadership, will become a great economic power bloc.
BBC News reported on May 13:
“The economy of the 17 countries that use the euro grew by 0.8% in the first three months of 2011, up from 0.3% in the previous quarter. Germany was largely responsible for the better-than-expected figure, reporting growth of 1.5% in the period. There was a surprisingly strong 0.8% growth rate from debt-laden Greece. France grew 1%, Italy and Spain grew 0.1% and 0.3% respectively and Portugal slid into recession after contracting for the second quarter in a row. Growth there declined by 0.7%, following a 0.6% contraction in the final quarter of 2010.
“‘This is almost certainly as good as it gets for the eurozone and growth seems likely to moderate over the coming months in face of significant headwinds,’ said Howard Archer at IHS Global Insight. Greece’s positive showing in the quarterly figures was a surprise… Platon Monokroussos at EFG Eurobanka said the figures were, ‘a huge positive surprise, a reading that is significantly above market expectations’. He attributed the growth in the quarter to a recovery in exports.
“Ken Wattret at BNP Paribas said: ‘Big picture-wise, once again the theme is divergence between the core and periphery and the core countries account for the vast majority of euro area output… The core countries like Germany are doing really well and that’s keeping the euro strong…’ Figures earlier in the week showed that German exports and imports had both risen to their highest monthly level since records began in 1950. The country’s growth figures were ‘fantastic’, according to Christian Schulz at Berenberg Bank… ‘France also expanded robustly. The eurozone core remains the anchor for the entire currency union.’ France’s growth rate was its fastest since the second quarter of 2006.”
Helmut Kohl—Best European President Since World War II
Der Spiegel wrote on May 17:
“‘Follow Helmut Kohl’s lead!’ That motto, ex-US President Bill Clinton insisted at an award ceremony for the former German chancellor on Monday night, served him well when he was in the White House…
“The European common currency is under massive pressure from the ongoing debt crisis. Europe’s principle of borderless travel is under fire due to the strain of economic refugees from North Africa. And right-wing populism is on the rise across the continent. Time to panic? Not according to Helmut Kohl. The 81-year-old former German chancellor… exuded confidence in Europe’s future. ‘I don’t see any reason for any kind of pessimism,’ Kohl said…
“Kohl, ever the German statesman, even had a bit of concrete advice to Germany’s current Chancellor Angela Merkel, who was also in attendance. ‘We have to follow our path with the Greeks too, even if it costs us something. Those who want to do away with everything and start over again are mistaken.’
“Former US President Bill Clinton was on hand to give the laudation, as were World Bank President Robert B. Zoellick, Henry Kissinger himself, former German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher and several other luminaries… Speaker after speaker honored Kohl’s service to the reunification of Germany just over two decades ago. And the praise was effusive. ‘Kohl had vision,’ said Zoellick. Kohl was the ‘best European statesman since World War II,’ added Clinton.
“But Kohl himself, wheelchair-bound and in unmistakably frail health, preferred to focus on the present… his message was clear: ‘We have reached the future’ for which we spent years fighting…
“Forgotten on Monday evening was the foreboding many in the world felt at the prospect of a reunified Germany — and the consternation at the speed with which Kohl pushed forward in the 12 months following the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989. And Germany’s military involvement in the Balkans at the time raised unpleasant memories of the 20th century past…
“Indeed, by the end of the evening, it began to seem that, rather than addressing the crowd of journalists and dignitaries, Clinton and Kohl were speaking to Merkel and her new vice-chancellor, Philipp Rösler. ‘Let us,’ Helmut Kohl implored, ‘continue down the path on which we find ourselves.’”
The Germans Are Still Coming…
The Wall Street reported on May 16:
“Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. and IntercontinentalExchange Inc. abandoned their $11 billion counterbid for NYSE Euronext after U.S. antitrust authorities threatened to block the effort. The move, just days after Nasdaq OMX Chief Executive Robert Greifeld voiced confidence on regulatory approval, eliminates a major hurdle in the Big Board’s plans to merge with German exchange operator Deutsche Börse AG.”
“Germany Must Pull Its Weight Abroad Militarily”
The Local reported on May 19:
“German Defence Minister Thomas de Maizière Thursday said his country should be prepared to pull its weight militarily abroad, taking part in international operations even when Berlin’s interests are not directly at stake… Jürgen Trittin, a leader of the opposition Green party which once advocated German neutrality, said de Maiziere was only saying openly what everyone knew… A member of the NATO western alliance, Germany long resisted foreign military involvement because of dark memories linked to World War II when German troops… conquered much of Europe.
“Over the past decade or so, however, Germany has increasingly sent troops abroad to act as peacekeepers, for example in the former Yugoslavia. It has also taken part in UN-mandated operations, such as in Lebanon, and in NATO military operations, as in Afghanistan where it provides the third-largest foreign troop contingent.
“But in recent months, many of Germany’s closest allies have questioned the dependability of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s centre-right coalition after it abstained from a UN resolution paving the way for military action against the regime of Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi. Facing a barrage of criticism both at home and abroad, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said the undertaking was simply too risky for Berlin to get involved.”
US Debt Ceiling Reached…
The following article shows the incredibly dangerous situation in which the USA finds itself. On Monday, the debt ceiling was reached. The article describes the debt ceiling as “a cap set by Congress on the amount of debt the federal government can legally borrow. The cap applies to debt owed to the public (i.e., anyone who buys U.S. bonds) plus debt owed to federal government trust funds such as those for Social Security and Medicare.” Unless Congress raises the debt ceiling by August 2, the consequences for the USA could be disastrous.
CNN wrote on May 16:
“It’s official: The U.S. government hit the debt ceiling on Monday, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told Congress. Geithner said he would have to suspend investments in federal retirement funds until Aug. 2 in order to create room for the government to continue borrowing in the debt markets… He went on to urge Congress once again to raise the country’s legal borrowing limit soon ‘to protect the full faith and credit of the United States and avoid catastrophic economic consequences for citizens.’…
“Congress, meanwhile, is not showing any signs of budging. Many Republicans and some Democrats say they won’t raise it unless Congress and President Obama agree to significant spending cuts and other ways to curb debt. Geithner told Congress that he estimates he has enough legal hoop-jumping tricks to cover them for another 11 weeks or so. But then he said that’s it. If lawmakers don’t get it together by Aug. 2, the United States will no longer be able to pay its bills in full…
“The first limit was set in 1917 and set at $11.5 billion… The ceiling is currently set at $14.294 trillion. Based on Treasury’s announcement, it hit that mark on Monday morning… Since March 1962, the debt ceiling has been raised 74 times, according to the Congressional Research Service. Ten of those times have occurred since 2001…
“What happens if Congress doesn’t raise the debt ceiling before Aug. 2? … Treasury would not have authority to borrow any more money. And that can be a problem since the government borrows to make up the difference between what it spends and what it takes in. It uses that borrowed money to help fund operations and pay creditors… since average spending — minus interest — outpaces revenue by about $118 billion a month, Geithner won’t be able to pay all the country’s bills.
“That means he will have to pick and choose who to pay and who to put off every day. And there’s no guarantee that paying interest while shirking other legal obligations will protect the country from the perception of default. Geithner said it would be akin to a homeowner who pays his mortgage but puts off his car loan, credit cards, insurance premiums and utilities. The mortgage is taken care of, but the homeowner’s credit could still be damaged.
“Ultimately, if lawmakers fail to raise the ceiling this year, they will have two choices, both awful. They could either cut spending or raise taxes by several hundred billion dollars just to get through Sept. 30, which is the end of the fiscal year. Or they could acknowledge that the country would be unable to pay what it owes in full and the United States could effectively default on some of its obligations.
“The first option would be impossible to execute without serious economic repercussions. And the second option could cripple the economy and send world markets into a tailspin… [If] Geithner is coming up short by $118 billion every month, and lawmakers just decide to cut spending by that amount, that could effectively mean a partial government shutdown.”
Newsmax added on May 18:
“Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner threw a bomb at America’s financial future last night, saying he is ‘certain’ another financial catastrophe is on the way and that there is no way of reaching agreement on the debt ceiling without increasing taxes on the wealthy. And he blamed a combination of timid politicians and credit card-debt-ridden Americans, rather than Wall Street and the big banks, for the financial woes that have beset the country over the past three years.”
Brussels Downgrades Prospects for UK Economy
The Telegraph wrote on May 14:
“Brussels has slashed its forecasts for Britain’s growth prospects, leaving its predictions ‘more pessimistic’ than those of the government’s independent fiscal watchdog, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR). The European Commission cut its forecast for the UK’s economic growth this year to 1.7pc from the 2pc it envisage[d] in February… The belief in Brussels is that Britons will save more than the OBR projects next year, when ‘real’ wages – incomes taking account of inflation – should start to rise again. This means a weaker outlook for consumption than hoped, which will hit the economy’s headline growth figures.
“The warning came as data from Eurostat, the EU’s statistics agency, showed Europe’s powerhouse economies grew faster than expected at the start of this year… The euro climbed almost half a pence against the pound to 87.64p, as markets bet that the stronger-than-expected growth – and upgraded expectations for prices – meant the European Central Bank will soon raise interest rates again to rein in inflation…
“There was debate as to whether the UK is on the right course… Labour argued that the UK’s ‘zero growth’ – in the words of the Commission – over the six months from September to March meant that the UK was stuck in Europe’s economic ‘slow lane’. ‘Countries like France, Belgium, the Netherlands and even Spain have overtaken us while Germany is powering ahead,’ said Ed Balls, the Shadow Chancellor. A Treasury spokesman countered that [the UK] was much further in the ‘danger zone’ a year ago. ‘The Government is having to deal with a deficit four times bigger than Germany’s. Our banking bust was matched only by Ireland. Our housing bust [was] second only to Spain’s,’ he said.”
While the economic growth of many countries in continental Europe is dumbfounding “experts,” it appears that Great Britain will not participate in such economic success. And Britain is facing more troubles, as the next articles show.
Historic Visit of Queen in Ireland
Deutsche Welle reported on May 16:
“While it is being broadly welcomed as a symbol of strength of and commitment to the peace process, there exists a vocal minority in Ireland who oppose the… visit by British monarch Queen Elizabeth II, set to begin Tuesday…The queen’s trip will be the first of its kind in 100 years of fractious relations between the countries over matters such as Irish independence and the British control of six counties in Northern Ireland…
“The queen arrives in the neighboring country on May 17 – the anniversary of the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan attacks in which 34 people died in car bombings. No individual or group has ever admitted responsibility for the killings, but British agents have been accused of being involved in the plot… While the threat by dissident republicans remains a concern, the Irish government has insisted that all measures were in place to ensure this visit would be the first of many for the British royal family.”
Scotland’s Protestant-Catholic Rift
Deutsche Welle reported on May 16:
“A sizable number of Irish Catholics live in predominately Protestant Scotland today. The country’s deeply-rooted sectarianism becomes obvious when Glasgow’s Celtic FC and Rangers football teams face off… For decades the clubs have found themselves entangled in sectarian behavior which society at large would like to see the end of…
“The rivalry between the teams reinforces a century-old rift between Protestants and Catholics. Over the years and especially during the Irish famine of the 1800s, many Irish families came to live and work in the thriving industrial heartland of Glasgow. Both clubs were formed at the end of the 19th century; Rangers were founded as a Protestant club, while Celtic were Catholic. Although friction between Catholics and Protestants in Glasgow has never quite reached the war footing of the conflict in neighboring Northern Ireland, the social fabric still suffers from deep divisions…
“Catholics in Scotland are educated in separate schools… and the divisions in society continue beyond into the workplace. Religious prejudice is deemed acceptable, even normal, in many Scottish communities, and the media would rather avoid the sensitive subject. The entire problem has been called ‘Scotland’s Shame. ’ Until now, there has been no public appetite to deal with it… ”
China vs. Europe
This article shows the beginning of a biblical prophecy pointing out that a Far Eastern alliance will become hostile towards a united Europe.
The EUObserver wrote on May 16:
“China has said it will retaliate against a landmark EU decision to slap tariffs on fine-coated paper imports, heralding the start of a new ‘trade war’ between the two sides, say experts. On Saturday (15 May) Chinese commerce spokesman Yao Jian said an EU decision to impose anti-subsidy and anti-dumping duties on the same product is against World Trade Organisation rules… ‘The Chinese side is strongly discontent with the EU’s wrong decision and will firmly oppose it,’ Yao said in a statement posted on the ministry’s website. Hours earlier the EU announced its intention to raise tariffs on Chinese exports of high-end glossy paper used for magazines and catalogues…
“Experts said the move was likely to start… a series of tit-for-tat retaliations and worsening trade relations between the two sides. ‘As the EU subsidises local production in various sectors, China is not short of sectors to retaliate against,’ Hosuk Lee-Makiyama of the Brussels-based European Centre for International Political Economy (ECIPE) think-tank said in a policy brief. ‘It has already imposed a tariff on potato starch from the EU and more cases are forthcoming,’ he added. ‘A trade war with China on subsidies seems now unavoidable.’”
Further disharmony between China and Germany, as well as the Far East and Europe, might arise over the debate as to who should replace Strauss-Kahn, as the following articles discuss.
Strauss-Kahn Arrest Shocks Financial World
The accusations of “sex crime charges” against Strauss-Kahn and the subsequent set of events show the unpredictability of political careers. While many felt that Strauss-Kahn might have a good chance to become the next French President, it now appears that Sarkozy might survive and be reelected—but then, even this “prediction” might not become reality. That is why it is incumbent upon us to watch world events.
Deutsche Welle wrote on May 16:
“Rome’s Corriere della Sera called the accusations ‘a deadly blow’ for Strauss-Kahn personally and for his political ambitions… Paris’ Le Figaro [added] that one thing was already a certainty: ‘Dominique Strauss-Kahn will not be France’s next president.’ The paper said that, even if Strauss-Kahn were proven innocent, the damage had been done.
“Austria’s Der Standard came to the same conclusion and pointed out that incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy will likely benefit from the scandal… All of a sudden, the paper concluded, the current president is again the favorite to be his own successor.
“The Basler Zeitung noted that while many reports underline the presumption of innocence, US legal procedures will result in Strauss-Kahn having to put the brakes on his ambitions for the French presidency, effectively taking him out of the race. ‘Again, everything is possible during the Socialist Party’s primaries in October and certainly for the presidential polls in May 2012,’ the Swiss paper wrote.
“El Pais came to the same conclusion, writing that it is more than likely that Strauss-Kahn’s political career is over in the wake of his arrest in New York. The Spanish paper pointed out that the grave accusations of sexual assault have not only rocked the foundations of French domestic policies ahead of presidential elections next year, but also affected the stability of the IMF as the most important guardian of the global economic system.
“Also with an eye on possible implications for the IMF, Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine commented that the organization would survive a change in office, but… President Sarkozy… can hardly be unhappy to be rid of a rival who opinion polls predicted would have won the presidency next year, the paper noted.”
France Outraged by U.S. Treatment of Srauss-Kahn
Reuters reported on May 17:
“French Socialist politicians voiced outrage on Tuesday at the parading of IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn handcuffed and unshaven in the United States before he has a chance to defend himself on charges of attempted rape. Arrested on Saturday and charged with sexually assaulting a chambermaid at a luxury New York hotel, Strauss-Kahn was made by police to walk manacled in front of cameras on his way to a courthouse, and his appearance before a judge was televised.
“Former Culture Minister Jack Lang described the treatment of the Socialist presidential frontrunner — whose political career is now in tatters — as a ‘lynching’ that had ‘provoked horror and aroused disgust.’ The U.S. justice system, he said, was ‘politicized’ and the judge appeared to have been determined to ‘make a Frenchman pay’ by denying the head of the International Monetary Fund bail even though his lawyer had offered to post a $1 million bond…
“Socialist Party leader Martine Aubry denounced ‘degrading images’ and said France was lucky to have a law on the presumption of innocence that bars media from showing defendants in handcuffs before they are convicted. Former Justice Minister Elisabeth Guigou, who drafted that law, called the pre-trial publicity ‘absolutely sickening.’ ‘The power of these images of a Dominique Strauss-Kahn who hasn’t been allowed to shave, tired, and not dressed properly, all that offends human dignity,’ she told Europe 1 radio.
“Another respected former justice minister, Robert Badinter, who pushed through the abolition of the death penalty in France, said the IMF chief had been subjected to ‘death by media.’ ‘Never forget it’s not just judges that are elected (in New York), but prosecutors. And the chief of police is elected. And clearly, in public opinion, to exhibit a powerful rich man in the presence of a victim from a very poor background, electorally, it pays off.’
“Conservative politicians mostly refrained from commenting on the images of their political rival, heeding President Nicolas Sarkozy’s call to show ‘restraint and dignity,’ according to a lawmaker who attended a private meeting with him on Tuesday. Some media commentators and lawyers said that making Strauss-Kahn take a so-called ‘perp walk’ — a U.S. tradition of obliging a suspected ‘perpetrator’ to run a gauntlet of media cameras — appeared designed to humiliate him and perhaps soften him up for a plea bargain.
“Previous suspects forced to take a “perp walk” included boxer Mike Tyson, pop star Michael Jackson and Kenneth Lay, the former boss of bankrupt energy trader Enron. ‘I suppose there is an element of theater in it,’ U.S. attorney Graham Wisner of Patton Boggs in New York, told Reuters Television. ‘For the most part in the United States it’s a practice utilized by authorities to humiliate suspects… There is at least a perception in this case that a “perp” or suspect is guilty when he walks shamefaced in front of all of the cameras,’ Wisner said…”
So, admittedly, the U.S. legal system is designed or at least permits to humiliate alleged perpetrators to intimidate them into entering a plea bargain. What an incredible miscarriage of true justice.
A European Should Lead…
BBC News reported on May 19:
“Leading voices in Europe say another European should head the International Monetary Fund (IMF) following the resignation of Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Germany’s Angela Merkel and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso’s comments come amid debate over whether the next IMF chief should come from the developing world. Ms Merkel said a European was needed in light of the eurozone’s problems…
“Mr Strauss-Kahn had been coming under mounting international pressure to leave his post amid the furore over his arrest. In a statement posted on the IMF website late on Wednesday, he said he resigned with ‘infinite sadness’, but wanted to ‘devote all my strength, all my time, and all my energy to proving my innocence’…
“Mrs Merkel – who leads Europe’s biggest economy – said she was in favour of another European candidate…”
Deutsche Welle added on May 19:
“French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde… echoed Merkel’s view, saying that ‘any candidacy, whoever’s it may be, should come from the Europeans, who unite all together.’”
However, the EUObserver wrote on May 19:
“Brazil, China, Russia and Turkey have indicated they want their people to run for the top job at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) despite EU claims to exclusive ownership.”
Republican Party Running Out of Candidates…
Not only do we face uncertainty in Europe and France, but also in the political arena of the USA. It appears that the Republican Party will have a hard time producing a willing and competent candidate who may have a good chance to win the Presidency in 2012.
ABC News reported on May 16:
“After a roller-coaster flirtation with a presidential bid, Donald Trump bowed out of the 2012 contest in true Trump fashion, saying that while he would not be a candidate this year, if he had run, he would have been able to win the primary and the general election… In the end, however, his decision almost certainly had more to do with his lucrative NBC television contract for his ‘Apprentice’ franchise than anything else.”
Earlier last week, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee stated he would skip the 2012 race. The popular Republican talk show host on Fox Network declined to endorse any of the remaining candidates.
Newt Gingrich’s prior sexual misconduct, while pressing for President Bill Clinton’s impeachment, and his conversion to Catholicism, when marrying his third wife, do not even secure his Republican nomination. This conclusion is also justified in light of Gingrich’s recent controversial remarks regarding healthcare. According to the Wall Street Journal, dated May 16, “Gingrich backed a requirement that all Americans buy health insurance, complicating a Republican line of attack on President Barack Obama’s health law.” In addition, as the next article shows, Gingrich made some “hypocritical” remarks regarding Medicare, which angered many Republicans.
The Washington Examiner wrote on May 16:
“Gingrich denounced House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan’s plan to restructure Medicare, saying, ‘I don’t think right-wing social engineering is any more desirable than left-wing social engineering….’ Former Education Secretary Bill Bennett, who knows Gingrich well but is also close to Ryan, reacted angrily to Gingrich’s remarks. Referring to Ryan’s Medicare plan as ‘right-wing social engineering’ is, Bennett said, ‘an unforgivable mistake, in my judgment.’ Bennett went on to say that Gingrich ‘has taken himself out of serious consideration for the  race.’… Bennett played a clip of an interview he conducted with Gingrich on April 5, barely more than a month ago. At that time, Gingrich was full of praise for the Ryan budget.”
Subsequently, Gingrich apologized to Ryan for his choice of words, saying he made a mistake, but engaged in double-talk in the process. Newsmax reported on May 16:
“Gingrich’s Big Flip-Flop: Was For Insurance Mandate Before He Was Against It… In the campaign video released today, Gingrich insists: ‘I am completely opposed to the Obamacare mandate on individuals… I’m against any effort to impose a federal mandate on anyone, because it is fundamentally wrong, and I believe, unconstitutional.’
“But some analysts say Gingrich appears to be parsing words. In his new statement, Gingrich says he opposes a ‘federal mandate’ requiring individuals to buy health insurance, but leaves the door wide open for states to impose such mandates. In previous comments about mandates, Gingrich did not stress any distinction between a federal and state mandated program.”
Similar doubts arise regarding former Massachusetts Gov. and Mormon Mitt Romney, who also advocates a health-care mandate, according to the Wall Street Journal. Nevertheless, as Newsmax reported on May 17:
“Mitt Romney emerged as the big winner in the GOP presidential field in the immediate wake of the withdrawals of rivals Mike Huckabee and Donald Trump. The former Massachusetts governor made a big move to the front of the pack by raising more than $10 million from a phone bank fundraiser — 20 percent of the amount he believes he needs to win the nomination… Romney has yet to announce an official run. His strategy seems to be to raise far more than any of his rivals by the end of the reporting quarter on June 30. He knows his positions, especially on health care, make him vulnerable among sections of the party faithful…”
Law Against Adultery Uncivilized?
This last article shows the incredible world—especially our Western societies–in which we are living—especially in light of the most recent revelations about former Gov. Schwarzenegger’s long record of infidelity and adultery. God’s law against adultery is discredited by constitutional lawmakers and law professors, while political activists are accepted who support hate crimes to punish those who dare to speak the truth.
The Denver Post wrote on May 14:
“So now Colorado is like Iran? In case you missed it, the comparison occurred in an article about Colorado lawmakers refusing to repeal an archaic statute against adultery. Jonathan Turley, a constitutional law professor at George Washington University, told The Denver Post’s Tim Hoover that it was ‘quite disappointing, if not embarrassing, for Colorado to affirmatively retain these types of laws. These laws harken back to an earlier period, where a majority of citizens claimed the right to impose their values and morals on their neighbors,’ Turley added. ‘The notion of a government policing immorality runs against the grain of our constitutional system that is more often associated with countries like Iran, where morality police roam the streets.’…
“It isn’t just in benighted nations such as Iran where a majority of citizens impose their values and morals on their neighbors. They do so in enlightened Western countries such as the United States, and everywhere else, for that matter… Isn’t the criminal code itself a moral document?… Polygamy and bigamy are of course illegal, too… The claim that civilized people do not impose their morals on their neighbors is heard repeatedly in debates over social legislation — often by the sorts of activists who like to criminalize ‘hate speech’ or impose their environmental values on the lifestyles of everyone else…”