Current Events

Pagan Earth Day Celebrations

Canada Free Press wrote on April 22:

“Today is being celebrated by modern pagans as ‘Earth Day.’ It is a date set aside to worship the earth (paganism). Today is also the birthday of Vladimir Lenin, (April 22nd 1870)… We agree with the folks at ‘TheBlogProf’ who say: ‘It is no coincidence that Earth Day, April 22, was chosen to coincide with the birthday of Vladimir Lenin. A day that celebrates communism as the gold standard of human civilization. Never mind that it has never worked as advertised, creating disorder rather than order. Environmentalism, the religion du jour of the 21st century, has very similar ends of government control under the guise of being good stewards of the planet.’…

“Environmentalism has become a full-fledged religion… If one believes in the divine creator, as I do, then one believes [that humans were] created by that divine creator referred to simply as God… Christians [believe] that Christ, God’s Son, came to this earth… 2,000 years ago. He was perceived by the corrupt government of his day as a threat and, as a result, he was executed. Christians believe that three days later he rose from the dead and returned home but not before promising to return to earth and clean up the mess we have made. As we said, that was around 2,000 years ago. Things have changed for the worst. In this century, and the last, so many have turned from the worship of the supreme being, we call God, to what we used to call ‘paganism’… the worship of nature, or the environment, or… more specifically… environmentalism. Yes, environmentalism HAS become a religion. Well, actually, it always was… nature is not God… GOD created nature…  Earth Day is a pagan celebration, and I want no part in it.”

The Bible condemns those who worship the creation, rather than the Creator (compare Romans 1).

Murdoch Takes Up Transcendental Meditation

The Huffington Post reported on April 22:

“Even at 82, Rupert Murdoch never fails to surprise us. The media mogul is taking up a surprising new hobby: meditation. He tweeted the news on Sunday, writing: ‘Trying to learn transcendental meditation. Everyone recommends, not that easy to get started, but said to improve everything!’ Maybe the stress of News Corp.’s scandals finally got to him.

“News Corp. has been roiled by revelations that some of its newspapers hacked the phones of public figures, and bribed public officials for information. Murdoch has survived relatively unscathed, though there have been over 100 other arrests related to the charges. Or maybe it’s all the heat The New York Post got over its coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings that’s putting him on edge. In any case, we’ll consider his latest tweet about meditation another one of his gems, made possible only after he joined Twitter in 2011.”

It may be another of his gems, but getting involved in transcendental meditation or other Far Eastern philosophies is extremely dangerous. We wrote the following in our article on “Biblical Meditation—a Forgotten Art”:

“Biblical meditation, as focused on God, and prayer to God go hand in hand. Human meditation of and by itself, separate from God, is useless, and can even be counterproductive. In fact, if meditation is focused on the self or on anything else but God and His Word, whether in a positive or a negative way, then meditation becomes an idol, and it is carnal and even demonic. Some today repeat foreign or mystical words, called mantras, for long periods of time during their meditation exercises. They don’t understand the meaning of these mantras, but they do it because they have been told that these words have some kind of magical effects to clear their consciousness from stress.

“Scientific research has, in fact, revealed that something physical does occur within the body during the course of this kind of meditation. But what is not commonly understood is the origin of these words or mantras. They are derived from Indian mythology and religion, designating the names of Indian gods. Most Indian gods, according to Indian mythology and doctrine, are both good and evil. So, without realizing it, people are calling for the appearance of one of those ‘Indian gods,’ by repeating his name over and over again. Why are we surprised, then, that their calls may be answered?

“People engaging in this kind of meditation may find themselves in strange situations. Some have literally killed themselves, thinking that they were witches of the Middle Ages, or that they felt that invisible evil forces were pursuing them. Further, the [former] leader of one of these meditation methods, an Indian guru, claim[ed] that he [could] fly, walk on water, go through closed doors, etc., and he [was] reportedly in the process of teaching the inner circle of his disciples to do the same through this kind of meditation. But this is not the kind of meditation we should engage in, nor should it serve as an example as to how to conduct our meditation.”

Saturday Shooting at a Marijuana Celebration in Denver, CO

The Associated Press reported on April 21:

“Denver police on Sunday pointed to a YouTube video they say shows a possible suspect in the weekend shooting at a marijuana celebration that injured two people and scattered a crowd of thousands. The shooting on Saturday took place during the outdoor celebration of the first 4/20 counterculture holiday since Colorado legalized marijuana. Denver police spent much of Sunday scanning video taken at the event.

“Police spokesman Sonny Jackson told The Denver Post that the suspect is shown in the video walking in a crowd away from the scene of the shooting as sirens wailed in the background. The suspect, a black male who was wearing a brown and white checkered shirt, can be seen about six seconds into the video, he said. ‘We are seeking this individual as we believe he assisted the primary suspect after the shooting,’ Jackson said in an email to the newspaper…

“Witnesses on Saturday described a scene in which a jovial atmosphere quickly turned to one of panic at the downtown Civic Center Park just before 5 p.m. Several thought firecrackers were being set off, then a man fell bleeding, his dog also shot. Witnesses said as many as 10 shots could be heard…Police said they were also looking for a second black man–one who was dressed in a grey hoodie and light blue baseball cap.”

A Saturday shooting during a “jovial atmosphere” of a legalized “marijuana celebration” in Colorado… what more needs to be said? Truly, as the Bible prophesied, men call evil good. Even without the shooting, what business does anyone have to participate in such an ungodly gathering—and especially on God’s holy Sabbath day?

Google Fined in Germany for Violation of Personal Data Collection Law

On April 22, 2013, dpa reported:

“Internet search giant Google was fined 145,000 euros (189,230 dollars) by German authorities Monday for collecting large amounts of personal data from wireless networks through cameras installed on vehicles for its street view service. The data protection office in the northern German city of Hamburg imposed the fine for the violation of privacy during the years 2008 to 2010, when Google was preparing its cityscape service.

“‘In my estimation, this is one of the most serious cases of violation of data protection regulations that have come to light so far,’ said John Caspar, who heads up the protection office. ‘Among the information collected in the drive-bys were significant amounts of personal data of varying quality… For example emails, passwords, photos and logs of chats were collected,’ he said… He went on to say that, under German law, he was unable to impose a much larger fine, saying that the maximum penalty for violations of the negligent data rule was limited to 150,000 euros.”

We should realize that in this day and age, privacy is a thing of the past. George Orwell’s “1984” has become grim reality.

US Torture Methods Violate US Constitution, US Laws and International Treaties

The Oregonian wrote on April 20:

“… the U.S. government’s use of torture against suspected terrorists, and its failure to fully acknowledge and condemn it, has made the exercise of diplomacy far more daunting. By authorizing and permitting torture in response to a global terrorist threat, U.S. leaders committed a grave error that has undermined our values, principles and moral stature; eroded our global influence; and placed our soldiers, diplomats and intelligence officers in even greater jeopardy.

“It’s not just the Bush-Cheney administration that bears responsibility for diminished U.S. standing, although the worst abuses took place in the years immediately after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The Obama administration also has failed to be as open and accountable on such fundamental questions of law, morality and principle as a great power that widely supports human rights needs to be.

“What can be done to mitigate the damage and set this country on a better course? First and foremost, Americans need to confront the truth. Let’s stop resorting to euphemisms and call ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ — including but not limited to waterboarding — what they actually are: torture. Torturing detainees flies in the face of principles and practices established in the founding of our republic, and it violates U.S. law and international treaties to which we are a party. Subjecting detainees to torture, no matter how despicable their alleged crimes, runs counter to the values embodied in the U.S. Constitution.

“Too much information about the abuse of detainees remains hidden from the American people. Specifically, the Obama administration’s ongoing concealment of the details about our use of torture has made it impossible for the United States to comply with its legal obligations under the U.N. Convention Against Torture and has contributed to a disturbing level of public support for torturing suspected terrorists.

“President Barack Obama should direct relevant officials to declassify as many related documents as possible as quickly as possible — starting with the more than 6 million pages of classified documents that were the basis for the Senate intelligence committee’s recent report on the CIA’s interrogation program, and the still-secret report itself — so that the American people may finally learn what was done in our name. Admitting our mistakes is the only legitimate basis on which we can reassure the world that America remains committed to the rule of law and to upholding human rights and democratic values.

“…the United States must not transfer detainees to torture in other countries. Such transfers, known as ‘renditions,’ have occurred under Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Obama — despite the fact that they violate the Convention Against Torture…

“Democracy and torture cannot peacefully coexist in the same body politic. Successful human rights diplomacy and torture can’t either. Our country and its place in the world — as well as the Americans bravely serving in military, intelligence and diplomatic posts around the globe — deserve nothing less.”

There can be no doubt that America’s use of torture has further increased anti-American feelings around the world. However, releasing all the grim details might not increase US popularity either.

Boston Lock-Down and Cover-Up?

NBC News reported on April 20 about a massive transportation lock-down in Boston during the man-hunt of two suspects subsequent to the bombing:

“Authorities are prohibiting some street traffic and cars having to pass through police roadblocks when entering and leaving the airport. Official taxi service was suspended for several hours this morning… All forms of transportation in and around Boston have been affected by the city-wide lock down. Amtrak announced it had suspended Acela Express and Northeast Regional service indefinitely in the Boston area.

“Regional bus lines, such as Megabus, Greyhound, Bolt Bus, and Peter Pan bus lines have also suspended service, with customers receiving options for refunds or rebooking, according to an AP report… The Federal Aviation Administration shut down airspace over a Boston neighborhood Friday morning to give police a ‘safe environment for law-enforcement activities.’

“The agency issued a 3.5 nautical-mile (roughly 4 miles) radius temporary flight restriction over Watertown early Friday up to 3,000 feet.”

Some of the restrictions have been lifted. However, the following Scriptures come to mind: Leviticus 26:36; Deuteronomy 28:25; 32:30; Isaiah 30:17.

In addition, some very disturbing unanswered questions remain, suggesting that the Boston Police Department might have received a bomb threat before the marathon, but decided not to intervene. For instance, Natural News reported on April 17:

“If you’re looking for actual journalism surrounding the Boston marathon bombings, don’t bother reading the mainstream media. The real breaking news is found in the alternative media, where Anthony Gucciardi of just nailed an on-the-record interview with Alastair Stevenson, the University of Alabama cross country track coach who heard law enforcement telling the crowd, ‘It’s just a drill’ immediately after the explosions…

“Alastair Stevenson is a veteran marathon runner who has competed in dozens of marathons around the world, including the London Marathon. He’s very familiar with the security typically found at marathons, and he immediately noticed something odd about the Boston marathon security. ‘They kept making announcements on the loud speaker that it was just a drill and there was nothing to worry about. It seemed like there was some sort of threat, but they kept telling us it was just a drill,’ he was quoted as saying by

“In the interview, you’ll hear Stevenson say:  ‘At the start at the event, at the Athlete’s Village, there were people on the roof looking down onto the Village at the start. There were dogs with their handlers going around sniffing for explosives, and we were told on a loud announcement that we shouldn’t be concerned and that it was just a drill. And maybe it was just a drill, but I’ve never seen anything like that — not at any marathon that I’ve ever been to. You know, that just concerned me that that’s the only race that I’ve seen in my life where they had dogs sniffing for explosions, and that’s the only place where there had been explosions.’

“Why is all this such a huge story? Because the Boston police department is on the record saying there was no drill! People who are writing about the reality of the bomb drill are being called ‘conspiracy theorists’ across the ‘net. Yet the real conspiracy is found in the bomb drill cover-up. The far more important question now is: Why would the Boston police LIE about the existence of a bomb drill?”

Boston Mishandled?

Deutsche Welle wrote on April 22:

“US media are awash with questions concerning the suspect in the Boston bombing. Observers wonder about his legal status, the media’s role in his pursuit and if shutting down a major city made sense. Was the bombing of the Boston Marathon a crime or an act of terror? The question of what kind of justice Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev should face has set off a heated debate in the United States.

“If treated as a criminal, Tsarnaev would face charges in a civilian court. But as a US citizen, he could only be tried before a military court if he is declared an ‘enemy combatant,’ similar to the terror suspects held at Guantanamo Bay. Enemy combatants also do not enjoy the right to due process…

“American media have also asked if authorities acted appropriately in their pursuit of the two brothers and later of Dzhokhar alone. Online magazine ‘Politico’ asked whether locking down a major city – forcing businesses to close, shutting down public transportation and telling the public to ‘shelter in place’ – was the ‘new normal’ when it comes to terrorism investigations. The website quoted Representative Dutch Ruppersberger who said allowing a single person to influence the lives of millions was not in line with American values. ‘When you have lives at stake, it’s up to law enforcement,’ Ruppersberger told Politico. ‘But it’s an accomplishment when someone shuts down an entire community and people can’t go outside and are told to stay away. We can’t allow these people to shut us down.’

“Media coverage of the manhunt was also criticized. Authorities called the media irresponsible after CNN, Fox News, the AP news agency and the Boston Globe incorrectly reported on Thursday that a suspect had been arrested. Authorities also used the media to get their messages to the public.”

Again, America has become the center of criticism.

EU Will Take Over Supervision of All Eurozone Banks in 2014

Reuters reported on April 20:

“The euro zone’s top project to boost economic growth – banking union – will not be delayed for now by a row over whether it needs EU law changed because most of the work can be done before this is settled, a senior euro zone official said on Saturday… The EU has already made the first step – it agreed the European Central Bank would take over the supervision of all banks in the euro zone from July 2014 in what is called the Single Supervisory Mechanism.

“… [The] 17 countries using the euro can also move ahead with further harmonizing deposit guarantee programs, and creating rules on when the euro zone bailout fund, the European Stability Mechanism, or ESM, can buy a stake in a euro zone bank to boost its capital when no-one else can or wants to. The euro zone will also create a network of national authorities responsible for closing down failing banks that will operate under the same rules.

“It is the next step that becomes difficult. The euro zone wants to transform the network of national resolution authorities into a single European institution that would decide which euro zone banks will be closed… However, Germany, the euro zone’s biggest economy, faces elections in September. It believes that to create such an authority, which could order the closure of a German bank, or use German taxpayers’ money to pay for the closure of a bank elsewhere in the euro zone, EU laws have to be changed.

“The European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, says existing law provides sufficient basis… A change of European Union treaties would substantially delay the launch of the banking union because apart from the time needed to negotiate the amendments it would also require time for parliaments of the 27 EU countries to ratify it. There would also be a risk that the ratification fails in one or more countries and that some EU governments would use the opportunity to trade their support for concessions in other areas, opening the door to long and difficult negotiations…”

It is highly likely that even such a “single European [banking] institution” will be created in Europe—without time-consuming EU law alterations.

In this context, The Local reported on April 22 that “German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday rejected the idea that her country was seeking ‘hegemony’ in the European Union, but insisted members needed to cede some national sovereignty for the greater good.”

Even though Germany may not be seeking hegemony, it WILL become the leading nation of ten core nations or groups of nations in Europe.

The Washington Times added on April 22:

“The 17 nations that make up the eurozone need to accept that Europe is in charge, and they need to toe that line when it comes to forging spending and debt deals, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Monday. ‘We seem to find common solutions when we are staring over the abyss,’ she said at an event hosted by Deutsche Bank in Berlin, The Telegraph reported. ‘But as soon as the pressure eases, people say they want to go their own way.’

“Member states need to buck and respect Europe’s leadership, she said. ‘Europe has the last word in certain areas,’ she said, as The Telegraph reported. ‘Otherwise we won’t be able to continue to build Europe.’”

UK’s Military Standing in the World in Jeopardy

The Guardian wrote on April 22:

“Britain’s standing as a leading military power with the ability to influence events beyond its own borders will be jeopardised if the country leaves the European Union, the German minister of defence has warned… Thomas de Maizière insisted the defence implications for Britain, Europe and Nato would be profound… ‘If Great Britain leaves the EU, it would be a great disappointment to us. It would weaken Nato, it would weaken the British influence within Nato. I think from a military point of view the disadvantages for Great Britain would be bigger than the advantages.’

“De Maizière said he knew he was intervening in a domestic debate, but argued it was too important to stand to one side, particularly with the potential military consequences for the UK’s standing in the world…

“De Maizière said other European countries looked to Germany to take a lead in economic and military matters, but then balked at the way Berlin wanted to do things. ‘In the Euro [banking] crisis, when some countries call for German leadership, they mean Germany should pay more. They criticise us when we say leadership means we, Europe, shouldn’t spend so much raising debts. But when we say this, they say this perhaps is not good leadership. You can’t have the cake and eat it. When the leader only fulfils the wishes of the others, that is not leadership.’

“He made clear that Germany had been urging Nato to adopt a counter-insurgency strategy in Afghanistan long before it was finally adopted, but had been sneered at for suggesting the military approach could not work on its own. German soldiers, he said, had fought well in Afghanistan and proved they were not just ‘cake-eaters.’”

Germany will lead, but it won’t just try to please everyone.

Germans Would Like to See Monarchy Restored

The Local reported on April 25:

“One in five Germans would like to see the monarchy restored, according to a survey released on Thursday. Young Germans were even keener on replacing the president with a new Kaiser. With a British jubilee, a Dutch abdication and a Swedish royal birth, European royals have been regularly hitting headlines of late. More than half of the 1,012 Germans asked by polling company YouGov for news agency DPA said they were interested in other countries’ monarchies.

“In fact, 19 percent said that they would like to see one of their own be re-instated. Among people aged between 18 and 24 this figure jumped up to more than one in three, while just one in six over-55s were in favour of having a monarchy.”

Same-Sex Couples Can Marry in France—Violent Protests Are the Consequence

Reuters reported on April 23:

“French parliament approved a law allowing same-sex couples to marry and to adopt children on Tuesday, a flagship reform pledge by President Francois Hollande which sparked often violent street protests and a rise in homophobic attacks. Hollande’s ‘marriage for all’ law is the biggest social reform in France since his left-wing mentor and predecessor Francois Mitterrand abolished the death penalty in 1981, a move which also split the nation.

“Lawmakers in the lower house National Assembly, where Hollande’s Socialists have an absolute majority, passed the bill by 331 votes for and 225 against, making France the 14th country in the world to allow same-sex couples to wed… Yet the episode has carried a political price for an already unpopular president…

“France, a mainly Catholic country, follows 13 others including Canada, Denmark, Sweden and most recently Uruguay and New Zealand in letting gay and lesbian couples tie the knot. In the United States, Washington D.C. and nine states have legalized same-sex marriage… The gay community greeted the news with fanfare, with some rights groups dubbing April 23 the ‘Day of Love’. But opponents gathered outside parliament for a new demonstration.”

The Times added on April 24:

“Christiane Taubira, the Justice Minister, said the first gay weddings would be held in June. They would be beautiful, she said, and bring joy after weeks of virulent debate. ‘Those who are opposed to them today will surely be confounded when they are overcome with the happiness of the newlyweds and the families,’ she said. Mrs Taubira said the Bill, which also authorises gay couples to adopt children, meant that they would enjoy the full rights due to all French citizens. ‘They will be able to construct marital and parental projects,’ she said… Valérie Trierweiler, partner of President Hollande, joined the celebrations as she ignored advice to adopt a low profile and declared the parliamentary vote ‘historic’ in a Twitter message.

“Wedding planners were also delighted as they prepared to capture a new market, with France’s first gay marriage show planned for Paris this weekend. Divorce lawyers began putting out feelers as well after reports that when Argentina legalised same-sex marriages in 2010, the first break-up occurred a month later. But the mood outside Parliament was sombre as opponents forecast a breakdown in social order, with many taking a lead from the Roman Catholic Church. Cardinal André Vingt-Trois, the Bishop of Paris, has accused the Socialist Government of ‘refusing all differences between the sexes’. He said that the refusal would ‘frustrate personal expression . . . That is how you prepare a society of violence.’…

“Opponents are planning a giant demonstration in the French capital on May 26 in an attempt to dissuade Mr Hollande from signing the Bill, which he must do to make it law. However, he has shown no sign of backing down.”

This might prove to become Mr. Hollande’s downfall.

Israeli Strike on Iran Becomes Real

The Times of Israel wrote on April 22:

“The importance of the new arms deal between Israel and the United States cannot be overstated. The arrival of an as yet undisclosed number of KC-135 aerial refuelling aircraft will give the Israeli Air Force (IAF) the range to attack any target in Iran that it deems necessary in order to suppress the Iranian nuclear program. This is quite simply a game changer.

“Up until now just about every expert and pundit, not to mention former chief of staff of the IDF has known that Israel simply couldn’t launch an attack against Iran on its own and that all talk to the contrary was more bluster than threat. That is no longer the case or rather it will no longer be the case once the tankers arrive and our pilots have been trained in their use.

“Many of the challenges of attacking Iran remain, but distance is no longer one of them. The aerial refueling capability means that from now on when the Prime Minister of Israel talks about attacking Iran he needs to be taken seriously.

“In absolute terms the tankers on their own ensure that the IAF can reach every target in Iran that they need to, everything is in range. What they don’t do is increase the destructive power of the ordnance that their F-15s and F-16s can carry. Any strike that would be launched is likely to be launched at targets that were built with defense in mind. Essentially meaning that a large part of them is underground… no attack on Iran can take place without Israeli boots on the ground…”

Is Syria Using Chemical Weapons to Test the Waters?

The New York Times wrote on April 23:

“Israel declared Tuesday that it had found evidence that the Syrian government repeatedly used chemical weapons last month, arguing that President Bashar al-Assad was testing how the United States and others would react and that it was time for Washington to overcome its deep reluctance to intervene in the Syrian civil war.

“In making the declaration — which went somewhat beyond recent suspicions expressed by Britain and France — Israeli officials argued that President Assad had repeatedly crossed what President Obama said last summer would be a ‘red line.’ But Obama administration officials pushed back, saying they would not leap into the conflict on what they viewed as inconclusive evidence, even while working with allies on plans to secure the weapons if it appeared they were about to be used or handed to Hezbollah…

“Secretary of State John Kerry suggested there were mixed messages emerging from Israel, saying that he spoke to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday morning and that the Israeli leader ‘was not in a position to confirm’ the intelligence assessment. Israeli officials said they would not try to explain the apparent difference between Mr. Netanyahu’s statement and that of his top military intelligence officials…

“The Israeli intelligence analyst, Brig. Gen. Itai Brun, told participants at a security conference in Tel Aviv that the Syrian government ‘has increasingly used chemical weapons.’ That echoed accusations that Britain and France made in a letter last week to the secretary general of the United Nations, calling for a deeper investigation…

“If the United States has been more reluctant than its allies to come to firm conclusions about chemical weapons, it may be because such proof could force Mr. Obama’s hand. In August, the president told reporters that any evidence that Mr. Assad was moving the weapons or making use of them could prompt the United States to act… Mr. Obama’s aides have since amended his statement, saying that he was referring to major use of chemical weapons — akin to what Saddam Hussein employed against the Kurds two decades ago — or the transfer of weapons to terrorist groups…”

CNN reported on April 25 that “The United States has evidence that the chemical weapon sarin has been used in Syria on a small scale, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Thursday… When asked whether the intelligence community’s conclusion pushed the situation across President Barack Obama’s ‘red line’ that could trigger more U.S. involvement in the war, Hagel said it’s too soon to say.”

According to an article of April 25, by, “Despite a new U.S. intelligence community assessment that the Syrian regime likely used chemical weapons on its own people, the White House is still waiting for more evidence before deciding whether Bashar al-Assad has crossed President Barack Obama’s ‘red line.’”

So it appears that the USA is not too anxious to find evidence for the major use of chemical weapons in Syria, while the civil war goes on…

Syria’s Chemical Weapons in Hezbollah’s Reach

The Times of Israel wrote on April 24:

“Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Ron Prosor, on Monday warned the UN Security Council that Hezbollah was close to getting its hands on Syria’s massive stockpile of chemical weapons. ‘In Lebanon, Hezbollah is building an army equipped with 50,000 missiles — more than many NATO members. Now they might have access to one of the largest stockpiles of chemical weapons in the world,’ said Prosor, a day after the IDF’s top intelligence analyst said that President Bashar Assad was in possession of more than 1,000 metric tons of chemical weapons and had deployed sarin nerve gas against civilians. Prosor blamed the European Union for ignoring Hezbollah’s terrorist actions and stubbornly refusing to brand the group a terror organization…

“Prosor warned that Tehran was playing for time to keep the West at bay while it scrambles to reach atomic weapons capability. ‘The Iranian nuclear program continues to advance at the speed of an express train. The international community’s efforts to stop them are moving at the pace of the local train, pausing at every stop for some nations to get off and on.’”

Killer Robots on the Rise

The Telegraph reported on April 25:

“Autonomous robots with the power to make decisions about killing human beings are under development, and their use raises worrying questions about morality and accountability in war, human rights campaigners warn. A human rights agency has raised concerns about the advent of ‘killer robots’, capable of selecting and killing targets autonomously…

“Since the start of the ‘War on Terror’ following the September 11 attacks in 2001, the use of unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, has increased dramatically. According to Human Rights Watch ‘rapid advances in technology are permitting the United States and other nations with high-tech militaries, including China, Israel, Russia, and the United Kingdom, to move toward systems that would provide greater combat autonomy to machines. If one or more country chooses to deploy fully autonomous weapons, others may feel compelled to abandon policies of restraint, leading to a robotic arms race.’”

Mixed Messages from the Pope

Reuters wrote on April 14:

“Pope Francis on Sunday said clergy and Christians must not betray the word of God with their actions or they undermine the credibility of the Catholic Church. Francis, elected a month ago, inherited a Church struggling to restore credibility after a series of scandals, including the sexual abuse of children by priests… In his first major decision on Saturday, Francis set up an advisory board of cardinals to help him govern the Church and reform its troubled central administration, which was riddled by infighting and alleged corruption under Pope Benedict.

“Benedict left a secret report for Francis on the problems in the administration, known as the Curia, which came to light when sensitive documents were stolen from the pope’s desk and leaked by his butler in what became known as the ‘Vatileaks’ scandal.

“Since his election as the first non-European pope in nearly 1,300 years, Francis has been laying out a clear moral path for the 1.2-billion-member Church. He has favored humility and simplicity over pomp and grandeur. Francis has preferred to live in simple quarters in the Vatican instead of moving into the regal papal apartments, and he has said he wants ‘a poor Church, and for the poor.’”

The Los Angeles Times wrote on April 15:

“Pope Francis has backed the Vatican’s doctrinal crackdown on a major group of American nuns, reasserting the Roman Catholic Church’s conservative approach to various social issues in a move that could cool the warm reception he has received from some liberal Catholics since taking office last month.

“The Vatican said in a statement Monday that Francis had reaffirmed the doctrinal evaluation and criticism of U.S. nuns made last year by the Holy See under his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI. The assessment accused the Leadership Conference of women Religious, an organization that represents most U.S. female Catholic orders, of promoting ‘radical feminist themes’ and ignoring the Vatican’s hard line on same-sex marriage and abortion… The Leadership Conference of Women Religious represents about 57,000 sisters, or 80% of U.S. nuns.

“Since his election, Francis has won positive reviews for his informal style, his off-the-cuff homilies and his desire to reach out to the poor. But he has long been known for his conservative views on social issues.”

The concept of a “poor” Catholic Church will not be accepted by many Church leaders, and it will only happen at the time of Christ’s return, according to biblical prophecy. On the other hand, even though he might appear “progressive” in some of his views, Pope Francis still maintains the Church’s conservative doctrinal stance, and we should not expect any change in that regard.

Earthquake in China

BBC reported on April 20:

“A powerful earthquake has killed at least 160 people and injured at least 5,700 in China’s rural south-west, officials say. The 6.6-magnitude tremor sent people fleeing from buildings across Sichuan province, which was devastated by a massive quake five years ago… There have been at least 710 aftershocks, further damaging buildings and leaving them dangerous… The quake struck at 08:02 local time (00:02 GMT) on Saturday, with the China Earthquake Administration categorising it as a 7.0 magnitude, and the US Geological Survey (USGS) reporting it as 6.6… The quake was measured at 12km below the surface – a shallow depth that usually indicates extensive damage… Five years ago a massive quake hit Sichuan, killing tens of thousands. The 2008 disaster left some five million people homeless.”

As Christ foretold, we will be hearing more and more about powerful earthquakes “here and there”—that is, around the world in diverse places. Recently, a powerful earthquake struck Iran, and five earthquakes hit Oklahoma.

New Chinese Bird Flu Virus Found in Taiwan

The Washington Times wrote on April 25:

“Taiwan confirmed Wednesday the first case of the H7N9 bird flu outside of mainland China. The new strain of bird flu not otherwise known to humans has been found in more than 100 cases and has killed 22 people in China. Officials are looking into the possibility of human-to-human transmission of the H7N9 strain, but have [not] yet drawn any conclusions.” added on April 25:

“Only 4 of the 81 people with confirmed cases of bird flu in China have fully recovered… [A medical] report also confirms that human-to-human transmission of H7N9, which could cause a deadly global pandemic, can’t be ruled out.”


Solar Flares to Increase

The Science Recorder reported on April 13:

“Friday marked the biggest solar flare of the year when, at 3:16 a.m. EDT, a M6.5-class solar eruption took place on the surface of the sun, unleashing a wave of radioactive material into space. M-level flares are powerful enough to have effects on the Earth, but are also the weakest of the type that can do so (in comparison, the ominously labeled X-class flares are the most powerful and 10 times stronger than those in M-class)…
“The flare comes as the sun’s activity is currently expected to peak at some point this year… Alex Young, a NASA scientist… claimed that solar flares will likely increase both in frequency and magnitude near the end of 2013 and the beginning of 2014.”

Christ warned about signs from heaven in the last days.

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