Current Events

Earthquakes in Southern California

USA Today reported on August 27:

“The earthquake swarm that has been rocking Southern California since Sunday has been the area’s strongest such swarm in 30 years… [The region is known for quake swarms, even ones in the 5.5 magnitude range recorded on Sunday]. Similar swarms in the magnitude-5.0 range occurred in the area in the 1970s and in 1981, seismologist Lucy Jones of the U.S. Geological Survey told the [Los Angeles] Times. The area, in the region of Imperial County, is known as the Brawley Seismic Zone and sits between the San Andreas and Imperial faults, Jones told the Times.”

USA Today wrote on August 26:

“A series of earthquakes rocked the San Diego area stretching from last night to earlier this afternoon, but none was strong enough to cause any reports of damage or injury so far… The strongest one — a magnitude-5.4 — took place Sunday afternoon…”

Christ warned of the increase of powerful earthquakes in diverse places. California, as the entire USA, is most certainly in a danger zone.

Coming—A Political EU Union in Germany’s Image?

The Guardian wrote on August 26:

“Germany is pushing ahead with plans for a new treaty that will transform the European Union… Angela Merkel wants European leaders to agree by the end of the year to hold a constitutional convention in order to fashion a new legal basis for the EU… The plan could dramatically reshape the EU in Germany’s image… the debate in Germany is now moving beyond Greece towards the question of political union. During the two and a half years since the euro crisis began, Germany’s approach has been to seek to impose its own economic preferences on the eurozone…

“Many… have seen in Germany’s approach a kind of economic imperialism. But Germany seems to be coming to the conclusion that it is no longer enough to try to remake the eurozone in Germany’s image in economic terms; it must do so in political terms as well… Just as Germany has sought to impose its economic preferences on the rest of the eurozone, it is now also likely to seek to impose its political preferences…”

The Bible shows that within the current Eurozone—not separate and apart from it–a powerful economic and political union of ten nations or groups of nations under German leadership will arise. Please note the next article as well.

Germany and France Want Political Union

The EUObserver wrote on August 30:

“Last year Germany went out on a limb by calling for political union in Europe. The idea was met with little enthusiasm elsewhere in the eurozone, but particularly in France. After the election of French President Francois Hollande in May, it seemed thatviews of the EU’s foremost political duo could not be further apart. But the mood has since changed and serious plans are underway to create – if not a full political union – then something close to it.

“Watching the evolution from the inside is Thomas Wieser, an Austrian economist who prepares the regular meetings of the eurozone finance ministers. ‘There will be consultations with the member states in the second half of September in Brussels and I think you will be surprised in the autumn by the degree of movement that will have taken place in some member states,’ he tells this website. ‘What I have observed is a degree of co-operation between the two (France and Germany) which has increased, even within last week.’

“One example is recent announcement by Berlin and Paris that they will establish a bilateral working group between their finance ministries. ‘It is a group of colleagues from the two member states and if they prepare for our meetings, our meetings go even smoother,’ said Wieser.

“Meanwhile, EU council president Herman Van Rompuy and others are drawing up a paper to upgrade the eurozone, which will be discussed by EU leaders at a summit on 18-19 October. It will include elements for a political union, but also for a fiscal union – surrendering more budgetary powers to Brussels – considered key for the survival of the single currency. One of the key steps along the way is the creation of a eurozone-wide banking supervisor under the authority of the European Central Bank.”

Rabbi Prays for Destruction of Iran

The Jerusalem Post wrote on August 26:

“Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef implored God to ‘wipe out and destroy’ Iran and Hezbollah during his weekly sermon on Saturday night. This is the second time in a row in which Yosef has spoken about the threat of Iran’s nuclear program during his post-Shabbat Torah lesson… ‘When we make the blessing on the dates that “our enemies and haters should be ended” we should have in mind the Iranian regime, those evil people who threaten Israel,’ the rabbi said. ‘Do good, God, wipe them out, kill them,’ he entreated, to which the assembled crowd answered ‘amen.’…

“‘Destroy them God, obliterate them from the face of the earth,’ he said… in reference to a Persian enemy of the Jewish people recorded in the Book of Esther, Yosef said that ‘a second Haman, also from Persia, intends to do evil to us. We are in danger, all of us are in danger. We have no one to rely on apart from our Father in heaven,’ said Yosef.”

This article is important also in light of the next one—showing that a war between Israel and Iran will have devastating consequences for both sides.

Will Israel Assassinate Enemy Leaders?

The following was reported in the DEBKAfile, on August 25, 2012:

“President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu have bandied thousands of words in their dispute over an Israeli  strike on Iran’s nuclear sites. For a time, their argument muffled the abiding ambition of the Islamic Republic to destroy Israel–come what may. However, the message roared by Iranian leaders over last weekend – before and after Al Quds Day – was quite simply this: Israel must be destroyed, irrespective of whether or not it attacks the Islamic Republic…

“Certain Western intelligence sources were reminded of a speech by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in 2006 when he quoted a Holocaust survivor as saying:  ‘My main lesson from the Holocaust is that if someone tells you he is going to exterminate you, believe him. And I add to that. Believe him and stop him!’

“Six years later, those sources now suggest, after America’s top soldier Gen. Martin Dempsey offered the opinion that Israel can no longer destroy Iran’s nuclear weapon capacity – only delay it , that Netanyahu may be willing to go further: Not only to stop them, but kill them. They are quietly using the term ‘decapitation.’ They point to the Israeli Mossad’s long record of targeted covert operations for dealing with past and would-be annihilators: In the fifties, the Mossad captured the Nazi criminal Adolf Eichmann in Operational Finale. In the seventies, Golda Meir ordered Operation Wrath of God to hunt down and pick off one by one the Palestinian Black September murderers of 11 Israeli sportsmen at the 1972 Munich Olympics.

“In February 2008, Iran’s senior terrorist operations commander, Hizballah’s Imad Mughniyeh, was liquidated in Damascus, so ending a bloody career of assassinations, terrorism and abductions against US and other Western targets as well as Israel. Hizballah’s chief Hassan Nasrallah knows the score: He has spent six years hunkered down in a fortified bunker, taking care never to  broadcast his inflammatory speeches calling for Israel’s destruction live, only by video.

“It cannot be ruled out that (at) this point, Israel may decide to disable Iran’s nuclear program by going for its leaders.”

We live in a world in which vulgarities, lies, threats and almost any thought conjured up is being spewed openly and without regard for its consequences. So called “idle threats” may not be lightly dismissed by those who are receiving them!

Tensions Inflamed in East Asian Seas

NBCNEWS.COM wrote on August 24, 2012:

“Vast oil reserves, trillion-dollar trade routes, fervent nationalist sentiments, competing territorial claims and bitter histories – the waters off the east coast of China are a sea of money and a sea of trouble. Tensions have been rising for several years and recently hit new heights with activists landing on disputed islands, angry diplomatic exchanges and even a threat to deploy troops, prompting fears of an armed conflict that could potentially involve the United States, China, Japan and other nations.

“The South China Sea has a myriad of competing claims of ownership: China staked out most of it in 1947 but its neighbors have never accepted it. The Spratly Islands alone are claimed by a total of five countries: China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Philippines and Vietnam.

“All are eyeing oil and gas reserves thought to be so rich that the area has become dubbed ‘The Second Persian Gulf.’ Also, an estimated $5 trillion worth of trade is shipped through its waters… But perhaps the most dangerous potential flashpoint is farther north in the East China Sea. China and Japan both claim ownership of the uninhabited Senkaku Islands – known as Diaoyu in Chinese – with strong nationalist feelings on both sides.”

This article also quotes Senator James Webb, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations East Asian and Pacific Affairs Subcommittee, as follows:

“‘The U.S., China and all of East Asia have now reached an unavoidable moment of truth. Sovereignty disputes in which parties seek peaceful resolution are one thing; flagrant, belligerent acts are quite another…'”

This and other recent articles point to the undeniable fact that new powers are emerging, and the United States is, for all practical purposes, left a place at the negotiating table but no longer able to effectively enforce its will–especially, from the standpoint of military intimidation or outright war.

Osama Bin Laden’s Killing Under Scrutiny

BBC News reported on August 29:

“A first-hand account of the May 2011 raid by US forces that killed Osama Bin Laden contradicts the official story, the Associated Press claims. It has purchased an advance copy of an unauthorised account of the raid, No Easy Day, by a former Seal. The book says Bin Laden was shot dead as soon as he looked out of his bedroom as Seals rushed up the stairs, AP says.

“But US officials have stated he was shot only once he had ducked back into the bedroom. They have said his actions suggested he might be reaching for a weapon.

“The alleged contradiction will add to existing controversy over the book. It was written under a pseudonym, Mark Owen, but only hours after the book’s existence came to light the author’s real name was revealed by Fox News. Military officials also say the publishers failed to submit the book to the Pentagon to ensure it discloses no secret information – part of normal protocol – and are scrutinising its contents… According to AP, the author says he was directly behind a ‘point man’ going up the stairs… The author writes that Bin Laden ducked back into his bedroom and the Seals followed, only to find him crumpled on the floor in a pool of blood with a hole visible on the right side of his head and two women wailing over his body, AP relates. The women were pulled out of the way and Seals fired several shots into Bin Laden’s still-twitching body until he was motionless. The Seals later found two unused weapons by the doorway…

“The author says early official accounts of the operation, including reports of a protracted firefight, were misleading… in the days after the raid, the White House seemed to contradict itself more than once… According to AP, the book also asserts that one Seal sat on Bin Laden’s chest in a cramped helicopter as his body was flown out to sea. This again apparently contradicts official US claims that his body was treated with dignity ahead of his burial.”

The way in which Osama Bin Laden’s death was originally described was questionable from the outset. This book might shed some light on the true occurrences, but this won’t be helping President Obama and his administration. Understandably, the Pentagon is quite nervous. Note the report from AFP, dated August 30:

“The Pentagon on Thursday threatened legal action against the Navy SEAL who has written a book recounting his role in the raid that killed Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden. ‘In the judgment of the Department of Defense, you are in material breach and violation of the non-disclosure agreements you signed’ and the Pentagon is considering ‘all remedies legally available to us,’ Defense Department general counsel Jeh Johnson wrote in a letter to the author…”

What Does the World Think about Obama and Romney?

CNN reported on August 30:

“Europeans have had a four-year love affair with Barack Obama: 87 percent of Germans, 86 percent of French and 80 percent of the British have confidence in Obama… in each case this is higher than public confidence in their own national leader. And 92 percent of the French, 89 percent of the Germans and 73 percent of the British want Obama reelected… in Britain, France, Germany, Spain and the Netherlands, strong majorities said the 2004 re-election of George W. Bush led them to have a less favorable opinion of the United States. A newly-elected Romney administration may have to contend with a similar European reaction if the popular Obama is defeated in what will come to a surprise to many of them…

“But an Obama defeat may not play as poorly in the Middle East – in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Tunisia – where a median of only 29 percent approve of Obama and a median of just 25 percent want him reelected. Elsewhere, foreign reaction to an Obama defeat could be mixed.

“In Asia, 74 percent of Japanese have a favorable view of the current U.S. president and 66 percent want him reelected. But Obama’s popularity is only 38 percent in China and only 31 percent there want him to get another term. Similarly, in Latin America, while 68 percent of Brazilians like Obama and 72 percent want him reelected, only 42 percent of Mexicans are well disposed toward the current U.S. president and just 35 percent hope he has a second term…”

Ukraine Follows Russia’s Footsteps

The EUObserver wrote on August 29:

“Ukraine’s high court decision to toss out an appeal by former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko may place an additional strain on EU relations with the country, EU foreign affairs spokesperson Michael Mann told reporters in Brussels… The court had earlier in the day rejected Tymoshenko’s appeal against her conviction of abuse of power over gas contracts with Russia for which she is currently serving a 7-year prison sentence. Her sentence, issued on 11 October 2011, also bans her from serving public office for three years.

“Her defence lawyer, Serhiy Vlasenko, told reporters following the court’s decision that ‘the findings have no relation to justice’, reported Reuters. Vlasenko claims the court’s ruling is politically motivated and driven by Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovich’s desire to prevent her from running for office. Judge Oleksandr Elfimov, one of three judges who presided the case, said Tymoshenko’s appeal was without basis and that her prison sentence was proportionate ‘to the gravity of the crime.’

“Mann said the EU regrets the high court’s decision and is ‘deeply disappointed with the consequences of the current situation’ which prevents leaders of the opposition from standing in the parliamentary elections. He noted the trials have failed to respect international standards and have not demonstrated ‘fair, transparent and independent legal processes’…

“Tymokshenko’s detention is a possible stumbling block on on-going free trade negotiations between Ukraine and the European Commission.”

Ukraine’s politically motivated decisions and conduct mirrors Russia’s autocratic behavior of recent months under dictator Vladimir Putin. The Bible shows that finally, Russia and Ukraine will align against Europe. See also the next article.

Gauck Avoids Putin

The Local wrote on August 29:

“German diplomats are struggling to gloss over the fact that President Joachim Gauck – a democracy activist in East Germany – is reluctant to have anything to do with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, a former KGB officer. Since his appointment in March, Gauck has managed to keep his contact with Putin to a minimum.

“He received the Russian leader at his official residence in Berlin at the end of May when Putin was visiting Germany after becoming president again, Der Spiegel magazine reported on Wednesday. But the visit was not hugely friendly, the magazine said, and Gauck addressed Russian deficiencies in the rule of law when speaking with Putin, something the Russian leader was less than enthusiastic about. Since then the pair have not met…

“Gauck is hugely popular amongst Germans due to his perceived high political and social principles, his work in the pro-democracy movement in the GDR, and his integrity and determination in opening the Stasi files to the public in the 1990s. He and Putin, an authoritarian former KGB agent who was stationed in Dresden during much of the 1980s, and has arguably overseen anti-democratic developments as Russian leader, certainly clash politically.”

Circumcision in Germany—and the Witch Hunt Continues…

Times of Israel reported on August 31:

“One of Germany’s most prominent rabbis has been charged after publicly vowing to continue to perform circumcisions… The office of Rabbi Yitshak Ehrenberg, who has been serving the Berlin Jewish community since 1997, on Wednesday confirmed in an email that criminal charges had been filed against him. Ehrenberg has received a letter from the prosecutor’s office because of comments he made on a nationwide broadcast television show, an aide confirmed…

“Ehrenberg is the second Jerusalem-born Orthodox rabbi living in Germany who is being investigated amid the current controversy surrounding circumcision. In June, a Cologne court declared the ritual illegal. As a direct consequence of that ruling, a German citizen [a doctor] earlier this month filed a police complaint against Rabbi David Goldberg, from the Bavarian town of Hof, who said he had performed hundreds of circumcisions in recent years.

“On July 11, Ehrenberg — a well-known figure among German Jews and a member of the executive committee of the European Rabbinical Conference — participated in a debate on ‘Anne Will,’ a popular talk show dedicated to the Cologne ruling and its implications… ‘We’re talking about religion,’ said Ehrenberg. ‘This ruling will kill Judaism in Germany.’

“After more than an hour of lively discussion, host Anne Will allowed Ehrenberg the last word. The rabbi first appealed to his congregants not to have their children circumcised in a hospital but in a synagogue or at home. Then he concluded: ‘Circumcision is a basic law for us Jews. There is no Judaism without circumcision, and therefore — we will continue.’”

And Now—The Netherlands?

Reuters wrote on August 29:

“Israel’s leading rabbi has warned Dutch populist politician Geert Wilders that his party’s support for a ban of ritual slaughter of animals in the Netherlands is ‘anti-Semitic’ and could drive away the country’s Jewish community.

“Wilders rose to prominence in the Netherlands denouncing the growing influence of Islam in the West, calling for a ban against Muslim immigrants, a halt to the construction of mosques and a ban on Muslim face-veils. Some of his most outspoken supporters are in the conservative, pro-Israeli movement in the United States. Wilders calls himself Israel’s ‘greatest friend’ and has also proposed creating a national Dutch holiday to commemorate the victims of the Auschwitz concentration camp…

“Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger called on Wilders’ Freedom Party to stop backing a ban on ritual slaughter. It is the strongest public condemnation yet of Wilders’ position on the policy and comes two weeks before the Netherlands holds a general election September 12 in which he is expected to take a sizeable portion of the vote. ‘It is obvious that one cannot be at the same time a friend of Israel and the Jewish people and on the other hand support an anti-Jewish law,’ Metzger wrote. ‘By denying Jews to live according to the Torah you will eventually force them to leave the Netherlands where they enjoyed religious freedom for centuries.’

“Metzger wrote that he was ‘shocked and upset to learn that your party once again has adopted a total ban on ritual slaughter in its platform. This is the classical anti-Semitic way our rites have been targeted and demonized throughout history,’ he wrote…

“Both Muslim halal and Jewish kosher laws require animals to be conscious when they are put to death. Some 3,500 cows are slaughtered annually according to the Jewish kosher ritual in the Netherlands. The loss of backing from prominent Jewish leaders could be damaging to Wilders, who has enjoyed support from pro-Israeli and anti-Islam organizations in the United States…

“Manfred Gerstenfeld, a prominent Israeli author, said in a telephone interview from Jerusalem that the banning of ritual slaughter has been used in Europe to deter Jews. ‘Are you going to support a guy who is at forefront of the anti-Semitism movement in Europe?,’ he said. The Netherlands, where Anne Frank hid as a teenager in an Amsterdam canal house until being murdered by the Nazis, had one of the highest rates of Jewish deportation during World War Two.”

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