Current Events

“The Truth about Israel’s Secret Nuclear Arsenal”

The Guardian wrote on January 15:

“Israel has been stealing nuclear secrets and covertly making bombs since the 1950s. And western governments, including Britain and the US, turn a blind eye. But how can we expect Iran to curb its nuclear ambitions if the Israelis won’t come clean?… Israel managed to assemble an entire underground nuclear arsenal – now estimated at 80 warheads, on a par with India and Pakistan – and even tested a bomb nearly half a century ago, with a minimum of international outcry or even much public awareness of what it was doing.

“Despite the fact that the Israel’s nuclear programme has been an open secret since a disgruntled technician, Mordechai Vanunu, blew the whistle on it in 1986, the official Israeli position is still never to confirm or deny its existence. When the former speaker of the Knesset, Avraham Burg, broke the taboo last month, declaring Israeli possession of both nuclear and chemical weapons and describing the official non-disclosure policy as ‘outdated and childish’ a rightwing group formally called for a police investigation for treason.

“Meanwhile, western governments have played along with the policy of ‘opacity’ by avoiding all mention of the issue. In 2009, when a veteran Washington reporter, Helen Thomas, asked Barack Obama in the first month of his presidency if he knew of any country in the Middle East with nuclear weapons, he dodged the trapdoor by saying only that he did not wish to ‘speculate’.

“UK governments have generally followed suit. Asked in the House of Lords in November about Israeli nuclear weapons, Baroness Warsi answered tangentially. ‘Israel has not declared a nuclear weapons programme. We have regular discussions with the government of Israel on a range of nuclear-related issues,’ the minister said. ‘The government of Israel is in no doubt as to our views. We encourage Israel to become a state party to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty [NPT].’…

“The list of nations that secretly sold Israel the material and expertise to make nuclear warheads, or who turned a blind eye to its theft, include today’s staunchest campaigners against proliferation: the US, France, Germany, Britain and even Norway… Meanwhile, Israeli agents charged with buying fissile material and state-of-the-art technology found their way into some of the most sensitive industrial establishments in the world. This daring and remarkably successful spy ring, known as Lakam, the Hebrew acronym for the innocuous-sounding Science Liaison Bureau, included such colourful figures as Arnon Milchan, a billionaire Hollywood producer behind such hits as Pretty Woman, LA Confidential and 12 Years a Slave, who finally admitted his role last month…

“As more and more evidence of Israel’s weapons programme emerged, the US role progressed from unwitting dupe to reluctant accomplice. In 1968 the CIA director Richard Helms told President Johnson that Israel had indeed managed to build nuclear weapons and that its air force had conducted sorties to practise dropping them… The Johnson White House decided to say nothing, and the decision was formalised at a 1969 meeting between Richard Nixon and Golda Meir, at which the US president agreed to not to pressure Israel into signing the NPT, while the Israeli prime minister agreed her country would not be the first to ‘introduce’ nuclear weapons into the Middle East and not do anything to make their existence public.

“In fact, US involvement went deeper than mere silence. At a meeting in 1976 that has only recently become public knowledge, the CIA deputy director Carl Duckett informed a dozen officials from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission that the agency suspected some of the fissile fuel in Israel’s bombs was weapons-grade uranium stolen under America’s nose from a processing plant in Pennsylvania… The investigation was shelved and no charges were made…

“In the Arab world and beyond, there is growing impatience with the skewed nuclear status quo. Egypt in particular has threatened to walk out of the NPT unless there is progress towards creating a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East. The western powers promised to stage a conference on the proposal in 2012 but it was called off, largely at America’s behest, to reduce the pressure on Israel to attend and declare its nuclear arsenal…”

More and more countries will align themselves against the state of Israel, until it will be completely isolated. See the next article as well.

Diplomatic War Against Israel in Every Conceivable Forum

The Times of Israel wrote on January 17:

“The Palestinian leadership has reportedly decided to reject Secretary of State John Kerry’s proposals for an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal and instead launch a global diplomatic and legal assault on Israel. The Palestinian Authority is currently setting up teams to wage diplomatic war against Israel in ‘every conceivable’ forum, including pushing for boycotts of Israel and seeking legal rulings against Israel via international courts in The Hague, Israel’s Channel 2 news reported Friday night.

“Unless Kerry significantly changes the current formulation of his proposals, the report said, the Palestinians will reject his overtures, confident that much of the international community will consider them to be the injured party and hold Israel responsible for the failure of peace efforts. The Palestinians are furious that Kerry is offering them a state ‘with no borders, no capital, no [control over] border crossings… and without Jerusalem,’ the TV report said, quoting Palestinian sources.

“On Jerusalem, rather than the complete control that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is demanding over all areas of the city captured by Israel in the 1967 war, including the Old City, Kerry is merely offering the Palestinians a capital based in one of the city’s outlying neighborhoods such as Isawiya, Abu Dis (where construction of a Palestinian parliamentary building was begun in 2000), Beit Hanina or Shuafat…

“Palestinian sources told AFP in early January that Abbas rebuffed pressure from Kerry to recognize Israel as a Jewish state… Neither Kerry’s security proposals, nor his evolving framework deal for ongoing talks, have been made public, but leaked details indicate Israel and the Palestinians are at odds over almost all key issues — notably including the status of Jerusalem, Palestinian refugee demands, border demarcations, land-swap arrangements, and security proposals. Current talks are set to end in April…”

Israel in Fear of Major Earthquake

The Times of Israel wrote on January 21:

“With Israel situated in one of the world’s earthquake-prone areas, officials are taking action to protect the Holy Land’s most important ancient treasures so they don’t come tumbling down. After a series of five moderate earthquakes shook the country in October, experts installed a seismic monitoring system at the Tower of David, one of Jerusalem’s most important — and most visible — historical sites…  ‘We have to remember that this is the Holy Land,’ said Avid Shapira, head of a national steering committee for earthquake preparedness… Most of Israel’s historical sites ‘have not been checked,’ said Shapira…

“Israel sits along the friction point of the African and Arabian tectonic plates, and is prone to small tremors… About once a century throughout history, a large earthquake has rattled the region, often damaging key historical sites. The last major quake occurred in 1927.

“The Al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam’s third holiest site, was destroyed in an earthquake shortly after it was built in the 8th century and was damaged and repaired multiple times since due to quakes. The 1927 quake, which was over 6 in magnitude, caused hundreds of deaths and damaged Al-Aqsa and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, built on the site where Jesus is believed to have been crucified and buried.

“Israel has been bracing for another major earthquake for years. But those efforts have focused on retrofitting existing schools and hospitals and apartment buildings, and improving standards in new construction. The country is just getting around to surveying its historical sites, and the assessment process has turned out to be sensitive… Political sensitivities have prevented Israeli officials from conducting earthquake-impact assessments on the region’s most revered, most ancient, and likely most vulnerable sites, including the gold-capped Dome of the Rock… In the past, Israeli involvement in the Old City’s ancient buildings has sparked protest from Palestinians who seek sovereignty there in their quest for an independent state…”

According to the Bible, a major earthquake will strike Israel and destroy parts of the city of Jerusalem, killing 7,000 people (Revelation 11:13).

Iran: We Did Not Agree to Dismantle Anything

CNN reported on January 21:

“Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif insisted Wednesday that the Obama administration mischaracterizes concessions by his side in the six-month nuclear deal with Iran, telling CNN in an exclusive interview that ‘we did not agree to dismantle anything’… He repeated that ‘we are not dismantling any centrifuges, we’re not dismantling any equipment, we’re simply not producing, not enriching over 5%.’”

Iran sends Warships to Atlantic Ocean

Breitbart wrote on January 21:

“Iran is sending its first flotilla of warships to the Atlantic Ocean, consisting of a helicopter carrier and a destroyer, and passing through the Mediterranean, the Times of Israel Reports. Rear Admiral Seyyed Mahmoud Moussavi declared that the mission will be peaceful, though Iran also wishes to show its capabilities–and to stake a claim as a Mediterranean power, which it has achieved through its virtual control of Syria and Lebanon. Iran is also planning a naval mission to the Pacific in the weeks ahead…”

Will NSA Spying Continue after Obama’s Speech? Chances Are, It Will…

In this and subsequent articles, we discuss President Obama’s speech regarding the NSA’s spying activities around the world, and the less-than-enthusiastic reactions from allies and foes alike.

“Five Big Takeaways from Obama’s NSA Speech”

The Washington Post wrote on January 17:

“Here are the major changes in U.S. policy on conducting surveillance both at home and abroad…

“1) Obama has declared that U.S. spy agencies will no longer hold Americans’ phone records. As a result, the surveillance program that became the biggest Edward Snowden-related controversy will come to an end, at least as it is constructed now. This major shift will take months if not more to accomplish. In the meantime, President Obama is imposing new limits on the government’s ability to access such data.

“2) Even so, Obama wants to ensure that the government can still access call records when it needs to. How is not yet clear…

“3) Obama has ordered significant new restrictions on spying on close U.S. allies. Heads of states that are friendly with the United States will now be off-limits for electronic surveillance. White House officials said they already stopped collection on ‘dozens’ of such targets. Still, there are loopholes. Obama isn’t making clear who qualifies as a close ally, and the restrictions don’t apply to foreign leaders’ aides.

“4) Obama is calling for the creation of a new panel to serve as public advocates in cases handled by a special surveillance court. Members of the panel would be cleared to appear before a court that has approved massive surveillance programs entirely in secret, with no input from the public or those who would be surveillance targets. Creating the new panel would require action by Congress.

“5) Obama is also promising new privacy protections for foreigners, aiming to assure citizens of countries in Europe and elsewhere that they won’t be swept up in U.S. surveillance unless there is a compelling national security purpose for the United States. The new rules are to be developed in the coming months.”

These “promises” are vague and ambiguous at best…

Obama’s Definition of “Spying”

In an accompanying article, The Washington Post wrote on January 17:

“Obama placed restrictions on access to domestic phone records collected by the National Security Agency, but the changes he announced will allow it to continue — or expand — the collection of personal data from billions of people around the world, Americans and foreign citizens alike… Obama squares that circle with an unusually narrow definition of ‘spying.’ It does not include the ingestion of tens of trillions of records about the telephone calls, e-mails, locations and relationships of people for whom there is no suspicion of relevance to any threat… Obama described principles for ‘restricting the use of this information’ — but not for gathering less of it…

“Obama avoided almost entirely any discussion of overseas intelligence collection that he authorized on his own, under Executive Order 12333, without legislative or judicial supervision… Those operations are sweeping in a large but unknown number of Americans, beginning with the tens of millions who travel and communicate overseas each year… Under the classified rules set forth by the president, the NSA is allowed to presume that any data collected overseas belongs to a foreigner. The ‘minimization rules’ that govern that collection, intended to protect the identities of U.S. citizens and residents, remain classified. The White House and NSA have declined requests to release them…”

Obama Vindicates Snowden

The Huffington Post wrote on January 17:

“In a major speech Friday on the future of the National Security Agency, President Barack Obama announced a series of modest reforms to the way the agency does business. While he was doing so, he also grudgingly acknowledged the secret surveillance programs that former NSA contractor Edward Snowden exposed needed changing… Obama’s remarks were grudging toward Snowden, who fled to Russia after his leaks were made public and has been charged with violating the Espionage Act…

“Snowden’s leaks didn’t just inform the public debate: in a piece on Thursday, The New York Times reported that Obama himself was unaware until Snowden’s disclosures that the NSA was tapping the phones of foreign leaders like German Chancellor Angela Merkel… For Snowden, whose supporters have always maintained that he is a whistleblower motivated by the Constitution’s higher ideals, the speech and the changes it telegraphs will likely come as a major vindication.”

Obama Vindicates NSA

The Guardian wrote on January 17:

“US president Barack Obama forcefully defended the embattled National Security Agency on Friday in a speech that outlined a series of surveillance reforms but stopped well short of demanding an end to the bulk collection of American phone data… Obama made it clear that the databases would continue to exist, effectively rejecting a call from civil libertarians to require the NSA to collect subscriber information from phone companies only when they possess specific suspicion of connection to a terrorist group or other wrongdoing.

“Mounting a forceful defence of the NSA, Obama said: ‘They’re not abusing authorities in order to listen to your private phone calls, or read your emails.’ He did not mention that judges on the secret surveillance court have found NSA has repeatedly and ‘systematically’ overstepped its bounds. ‘We cannot unilaterally disarm our intelligence agencies,’ Obama said.

“Obama’s remarks were bound to give the beleaguered NSA a boost of confidence, while disappointing civil libertarians who wanted to hear Obama more defend the privacy of American citizens more emphatically…

“Obama said that ahead of transitioning the database out of government hands, the NSA will now have to receive approval from the secret surveillance court before searching through the data trove for connections to terrorist groups. Those searches would be restricted to two ‘hops’, meaning that a number ‘reasonably’ suspected can have all the numbers it called and from which it received calls reviewed, and all of those numbers can also have their connections examined… That call fell short of expectations from privacy advocates in and outside of Congress, who want the government collection of Americans’ metadata without specific connections to terrorism, approved by a judge, to stop…

“Obama did not issue new protections for non-Americans abroad, saying instead that he wanted additional privacy protections for foreigners… Obama defended a program, now conducted under Section 702 of the Fisa Amendments Act, that allows the NSA to hold the internet communications of foreigners abroad…

“Much of the substance of Obama’s proposals remain undefined… The lack of clarity places increasing pressure on Congress to ultimately resolve many of the complexities of surveillance – creating effectively a new round of jockeying on Capitol Hill between privacy advocates and the NSA’s allies, who fear losing what Obama described as a valuable tool for determining domestic connections to terrorism…”

All Show and No Substance

Fox News published the following article on January 17:

“Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer said Friday… that President Obama’s speech on the administration’s review of government surveillance practices was all show and no substance. ‘It was a terrific speech,’ Krauthammer said. ‘It was 90 percent smoke and mirrors, and very little substantive change, which is what we need.’

“Krauthammer went on to say the speech at the Department of Justice was the ‘best use of Obama’s rhetorical powers of dazzling with very little content’ since his first election campaign. ‘He made enough rhetoric…to make it look as if he did something,’ Krauthammer said, adding, ‘But if you look at all the points he mentioned, they are really unimportant in the overall scheme.’”

Obama’s Missed Moment—“He Did Not Even Try!”

Deutsche Welle wrote on January 17:

“The NSA’s massive intelligence gathering apparatus remains largely untouched and in place. That was the gist of US President Barack Obama’s remarks at the Department of Justice on Friday (17.01.2014). To be sure, Obama announced a few helpful measures to increase judicial oversight and restrict access to certain data sets… But the president’s remarks did not address the heart of the matter. Obama does not intend to curb or cut any of the NSA’s myriad of mass surveillance collection programs that sweep up much of the world’s Internet and phone traffic. That means every Internet or phone user is still presumed guilty by default…

“While the minor changes announced by Obama were meant to at least try to assuage Americans worried about government snooping, he did at best make a half-hearted effort to address international concerns about US mass surveillance. Obama’s message to everyone outside the US was essentially what his intelligence services have been saying all along – just trust us that we will use your data responsibly. The only concrete assurance Obama gave was that foreign allied leaders will not be placed under surveillance any longer unless there are compelling national security reasons. Given all that has been revealed by the Snowden disclosures and the damage done specifically to the transatlantic relationship, that is not a good sign for Washington’s international allies.

“Obama, a former constitutional law professor and NSA critic, apparently has made his choice. By leaving the agency’s mass surveillance gathering systems that sweep up as much of our collective digital lives as they can essentially unchanged, he has clearly sided with the intelligence apparatus over citizens’ privacy concerns. The sad thing is that he hasn’t even tried to balance the two.”

Deutsche Welle added on January 18:

“Obama’s speech was mainly addressed to his fellow US citizens, who have proved to be much less upset with the scope of spying conducted by the NSA than people in Europe and Brazil… Obama, who was quick to bring up the ills of the all-encompassing surveillance state in the former East Germany, remained vague in his 40-minute speech while making promises of transparency and judicial oversight. But he did not provide details on how such measures would be implemented. Only the leaders of friendly nations received a promise that their privacy would be respected, which makes Chancellor Angela Merkel the only German who can feel safe from the NSA’s spy programs. But mere promises of transparency and new controls were not enough to restore the German government’s trust in Obama’s administration completely… “

The Local wrote on January 19:

“Norbert Röttgen, head of the Bundestag’s foreign affairs committee and a member of Merkel’s CDU party, said Obama’s comments were ‘technical’ and didn’t respond to ‘the real problem’ of ‘transatlantic divergence’ on matters of security and freedoms. Germany’s confidence in Washington will not be restored unless ‘we sign an accord to protect, in a way that is judicially binding, the data of all citizens,’ German Justice Minister Heiko Maas said in comments run by the Bild am Sonntag newspaper on Sunday.”

Criminal Investigation in Germany Against NSA?

The Local wrote on January 20:

“Parliamentary chairman of the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) Thomas Oppermann said on Monday: ‘A “no spy” treaty must come. Obama’s speech on Friday can only be the beginning. The USA knows that spying for us is a crime. The German justice system will not stand idly by if the efforts of the NSA blithely continue here,’ he told Bild newspaper on Monday.

“Magazine Der Spiegel reported on Monday that the Federal Attorney General, Harald Range, told the country’s Minister of Justice, Heiko Maas, that there were grounds for a criminal investigation into the alleged tapping of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone by the US National Security Agency (NSA). And it appears the Minister of Justice, who is authorized to give orders to the Federal Attorney General, would not block an investigation…

“The Berliner Morgenpost wrote: ‘Finally the American President seems to have grasped the extent of the breach of trust caused by the mass spying of his intelligence services… The speech on Friday was, so far, little more than a glimmer of hope.’

“Berlin’s Tagesspiegel [said:]  ‘… Obama has disappointed the expectations of many Germans. That should not surprise us. He is the President of Americans and they think differently and carry on using the, from their perspective, traditional methods, indifferent to outrage abroad.’”

The Guardian wrote on January 17:

“Europeans were largely underwhelmed by Barack Obama’s speech on limited reform of US espionage practices, saying the measures did not go far enough to address concerns over American snooping on its European allies.”

To summarize, the trust in America, its political leadership and its institutions has pretty much gone around the world, and President Obama’s reputation continues to falter. Overall, his speech is being rejected as too little, too late—or, as the Bible might put it, “great swelling words of emptiness.”

Execution of Inmate in Ohio Raises Doubts

The Associated Press reported on January 18:

“Ohio’s latest experience with putting an inmate to death raises new question about the ability of states to carry out executions in constitutional fashion. A gasping, snorting Dennis McGuire took 26 minutes to die after the chemicals began flowing Thursday — the longest execution of the 53 carried out in Ohio since capital punishment resumed 15 years ago, according to an Associated Press analysis… Whether McGuire felt any pain was unclear. His death — unconsciousness, followed by apparent obstructed breathing — followed the prediction of one state expert…

“States are in a bind for two main reasons: European companies have cut off supplies of certain execution drugs because of death-penalty opposition overseas. And states can’t simply switch to other chemicals without triggering legal challenges from defense attorneys…

“Missouri at one point proposed using propofol, the powerful operating room anesthetic infamous for its role in Michael Jackson’s overdose death. But Missouri’s governor backed off for fear the European Union, which opposes the death penalty, would cut off exports to the U.S. and cause a nationwide shortage of propofol. Companies in India and Israel put similar prohibitions on their drugs…”

According to biblical injunctions in the Old Testament, no person could be convicted unless at least two witnesses testified unanimously against the perpetrator. Circumstantial evidence was never sufficient all by itself, and God, as the supreme Judge over ancient Israel, saw to it that there was no miscarriage of justice. Those who strongly support the death penalty today need to realize that it was part and parcel of a system of safeguards and quick execution, while prolonged appeal processes with the declared goal of just delaying the execution were prohibited—as was the kind of execution described in the article above.

Ukraine Is Becoming a Totalitarian State

Deutsche Welle reported on January 17:

“The extensive legislative package the Ukrainian Parliament passed on Thursday (16.01.2014) came as a complete surprise. The laws were waved through without any consultation with advisory boards and after just a single parliamentary reading. The government majority carried out the vote by a show of hands in the parliament and all protest from the opposition was in vain.

“The new law is supposed to make it punishable to spread ‘defamations’ – especially online: The legislation could silence journalists and bloggers if they criticize state officials or politicians. The right to peaceful protests will also be curbed. There might also soon be a Ukrainian equivalent to the recent controversial Russian law which labels non-governmental organizations as ‘foreign agents’ if they receive funding for their projects from outside the country. The legislative package will come into law as soon as the president has signed it.”

The EUObserver added on January 17:

“The German government on Friday (16 January) said controversial Ukrainian laws banning pro-EU protests would have ‘consequences’ for its EU relations… according to Ukrainian media, [the President] already signed [the new law] in secret on Friday. The law is aimed at deterring people from joining the anti-Yanukovych and pro-EU protests which erupted in Kiev last November when he declined an EU pact in favour of a Russian bailout… Germany’s message on Friday was echoed by Sweden’s foreign minister Carl Bildt, who said ‘there can be no business as usual with Kiev.’”

Ukraine will end up aligning closely with Russia against Europe.

Warmer Ties Between Russia and Japan

Deutsche Welle wrote on January 20:

“Japan’s PM Abe has announced he would meet Russian leader Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the Sochi Winter Olympics, an indication of the thawing ties between Moscow and Tokyo after decades of disguised distrust. Japan and Russia have yet to sign a peace treaty to conclude World War II, a result of troops from the Soviet Union occupying Sakhalin and a scattered archipelago of islands off northern Japan in the final days of the conflict. But after years of respective governments giving each other the cold shoulder, the relationship has started to grow warmer

“The latest indication of improvement in bilateral ties includes Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe… announcing that he will attend the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympic Games on February 7 in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi. The prime minister has also made it clear that he would like to take the opportunity to hold talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“The Japanese media are strongly behind the meeting, although there have been expressions of concern about the security situation in the region. If the meeting goes ahead, then it would be the fifth time the two leaders have met since Abe took office in December 2012 – a remarkable number given the preceding years of apparent indifference between Russian and Japanese leaders.

“President Putin returned the positive message in a slightly different manner by declining to criticize Abe for visiting Tokyo’s Yasukuni Shrine in December. Visits to the shrine by Japanese leaders draw criticism from countries that were occupied by Japan in the early decades of the last century as it is considered a place to honor the souls of Japanese who died in war, including a number of Class-A war criminals…

“‘The warmth has been coming back into Russia-Japan ties for the last couple of years, but it is getting even stronger now,’ Go Ito, a professor of international relations at Tokyo’s Meiji University, told DW. He added that Putin has been positive towards improving ties with Japan, as he doesn’t want the Russian economy to become overly reliant on China for oil and natural gas exports,’ he said…

“Moving beyond cooperation in trade and energy, the Japanese government has hinted that it is considering revising a memorandum on defense exchanges with Moscow to expand areas of possible cooperation, including reciprocal visits by defense ministers and joint military exercises. The new agreement could be in place this autumn…

“Yet another advantage of warmer ties between Russia and Japan – and one that Tokyo is particularly keen on, given recent tensions in the Asia-Pacific region – would be closer commitments in the areas of security and defense.”

The Bible indicates that countries such as Russia, China and Japan will build strong military ties against Europe. See also the next article.

Japan Moves in Far-Right Direction

Asia One wrote on January 20:

“A longtime no-war pledge has disappeared from Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party’s annual working policy revealed on Sunday, while the ruling party vowed to continue visits to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine and push ahead constitutional revision, in another move leading the country in a far-right direction, observers said.

“At its 81st LDP annual convention in Tokyo, the party removed the pledge that Japan would “never wage a war”, China Central Television reported on Sunday. In another change from last year’s policy, the party added a phrase saying it will ‘bolster veneration for the war dead’ – referring to continued shrine visits – and also made clear it will amend the country’s constitution. The changes show that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is also the party chief, will intensify efforts step by step to push Japan further into animosity with neighbouring countries, analysts said.”

Eurozone Political Heart of Europe

The EUObserver wrote on January 22:

“Poland wants to join the eurozone because it is the political heart of the European Union, its foreign minister, Radek Sikorski, has said, with the country looking to enter the single currency by 2020… ‘Our judgement is that in the next decade the real European union will be inside the eurozone. And we want to be part of that.’”

Serbia Wants to Join the EU

The EUObserver wrote on January 21:

“It was on the UN sanctions list and bombed by Nato in the 1990s Balkan wars, but Serbia on Tuesday (21 January) officially started EU membership talks at a ceremony in Brussels. It will take several years of talks before it can join. But the Serbian Prime Minister, Ivica Dacic, who flew in to the EU capital, described the event as the ‘most important moment for Serbia since the end of World War II.’ He said his country is now seen for what it wants to be – an EU member state – instead of people focusing on its role in past conflicts.”

Come-Back of Berlusconi?

BBC News reported on January 19:

“Italy’s controversial ex-PM Silvio Berlusconi has returned to the centre of the political stage, striking a reform deal with a centre-left rival. Berlusconi was thrown out of parliament in 2013 after a tax fraud conviction. But he still heads the opposition Forza Italia party and held lengthy talks with Democratic Party (PD) leader Matteo Renzi late on Saturday.

“Under their agreement, he will back electoral and constitutional proposals aimed at making Italy more governable. The current electoral system has left Italy with a series of shaky coalitions… After the talks Berlusconi said the deal would ‘consolidate the biggest parties and simplify the political system’…

“Silvio Berlusconi is keen to make a political comeback despite his fraud conviction and a separate conviction for paying an underage prostitute for sex. He is appealing against a seven-year jail term. Much wrangling is expected in parliament over the reform proposals, with smaller parties hostile to changes likely to diminish their role in future governments.”

Italy will play a major role within the final resurrection of the ancient Roman Empire. For more information, please read our free booklet, “The Ten European Revivals of the Ancient Roman Empire.”

Benedict Defrocked 400 Priests for Molesting Children

The Associated Press reported on January 17:

“A document obtained by The Associated Press shows Pope Benedict XVI defrocked nearly 400 priests over just two years for molesting children… The document was prepared from data the Vatican had been collecting to help the Holy See defend itself before a U.N. committee this week in Geneva.”

Pope Pleads for Unity of all Christian Churches

Zenit wrote on January 22:

“Pope Francis… said that while certainly Christ was not divided, sadly Christian communities continue to live divided. ‘The divisions among us Christians are a scandal. There is no other word: a scandal,’ he said… Christ’s name creates communion and unity, not division! He has come to make communion among us, not to divide us. Baptism and the Cross are central elements of Christian discipleship which we have in common. Divisions, instead, weaken credibility and the effectiveness of our commitment to evangelization… Let us go forward on this path, praying for the unity of Christians, so that this scandal may cease and be no longer with us…’”

The Bible predicts that most “Christian” denominations and organizations will return to the Roman Catholic Church as  their “mother church.”

Unprecedented Droughts in Western USA

The New York Times wrote on January 5:

“The sinuous Colorado River and its slew of man-made reservoirs from the Rockies to southern Arizona are being sapped by 14 years of drought nearly unrivaled in 1,250 years… many experts believe the current drought is only the harbinger of a new, drier era in which the Colorado’s flow will be substantially and permanently diminished. Faced with the shortage, federal authorities this year will for the first time decrease the amount of water that flows into Lake Mead, the nation’s largest reservoir, from Lake Powell 180 miles upstream.

“That will reduce even more the level of Lake Mead, a crucial source of water for cities from Las Vegas to Los Angeles and for millions of acres of farmland. Reclamation officials say there is a 50-50 chance that by 2015, Lake Mead’s water will be rationed to states downstream. That, too, has never happened before… Should Mead continue to fall, Arizona would lose more than half of its Colorado River… The Southern California region using Colorado water is expected to add six million people to the existing 19 million in the next 45 years, and its other water source — the Sierra Nevada to the north — is suffering the same drought and climate problems as the Colorado basin…”

NBC wrote on January 17:

“Gov. Jerry Brown declared a drought emergency Friday for California after weeks of intensifying pressure from lawmakers to take action as the state’s water reservoir levels remain strained with no rain in the forecast. The declaration comes during one of the driest winters on record in California, following two dry years that already have left many reservoirs depleted. The state is facing ‘perhaps the worst drought that California has ever seen’ since records began, Brown said during the Friday morning announcement…

“The U.S. Drought Monitor has reported extreme drought conditions in central and northern California, and there has been little snowfall so far this winter. Precipitation in most of the state is less than 20 percent of normal, and reservoirs are dwindling. Forecasts suggest the dry spell could continue, exacerbating the already heightened fire danger.

“California is on pace for the driest January on record. The all-time low rainfall record in January occurred in 1984, when just 0.3 inches of rain fell across California.”

The website of wrote on January 22:

“In California, 2013 was a record-setting year because of the lack of rainfall. A professor at UC Berkeley warns this time could go into the record books as the driest in centuries… Dried up creek beds along with golden hills that look like its August instead of January could become our typical landscape, if history repeats itself… A study about tree rings led her to predict that we could be in for the driest winter in 500 years. Narrow tree rings indicate little or no water for growth, just like people saw in the 1500s…

“Some droughts, like one in the Middle Ages, lasted more than a century…”

The Bible predicted that in these end times, the modern descendants of the ancient house of Israel—especially the USA—will be plagued with prolonged droughts. We read in Deuteronomy 28:23-24: “And your heavens which are over your head shall be bronze, and the earth which is under you shall be iron. The LORD will change the rain of your land to powder and dust; from the heaven it shall come down on you until you are destroyed.”

The Curse of Abortion

Life News wrote on January 21:

“I thought of the more than 55,000,000 lives that have been [aborted] in the U.S. since 1973, and I became overwhelmed at the tragedy. Tragedy for the babies, their mothers, their fathers, families, and us… 40 years ago today, seven men on the Supreme Court decided in favor of a case presented to them from a 27 year-old, unknown, post-abortive lawyer, Sarah Weddington. That case was Roe v. Wade and, along with its companion Doe v. Bolton, it legalized abortion in all 9 months of pregnancy, for any reason, in the United States.

“Today, this 27 year-old is writing to you as a survivor of that decision. The undeniable fact is that nearly a third of my generation is missing. We are missing brothers, sisters, cousins, friends, husbands and wives. You see, Miss Weddington’s generation got it wrong. In attempting to correct gender inequality in the workplace and in our society, they set into motion the ultimate act of discrimination – abortion. Instead of glorifying motherhood, they pitted the mother against her child, creating an endless cycle of selfishness, pain, and deceit.”

In ancient times, idol worshippers killed and sacrificed their children to their terrible “gods,” by throwing them into the fire. Today, we are killing and sacrificing our unborn children to our self-made modern idols, by butchering them in the mother’s womb. You might want to listen to our shocking StandingWatch program, “Why Abortion Is Murder in God’s Eyes.” 

Francis vs. Obama on Abortion

Breitbart wrote on January 22:

“On Wednesday, Pope Francis sent out a tweet supporting the pro-life marchers and offering his prayers: ‘I join the March for Life in Washington with my prayers. May God help us respect all life, especially the most vulnerable,’ he tweeted.

“On a day set aside to mourn the sadness, hardship, and pain associated with abortion, President Obama praised Roe v Wade as a great moment in history for women…”

Superstition Among Sports Fans

The Washington Post wrote on January 21:

“50 percent of sports fans see some aspect of the supernatural at play in sports, meaning they either pray to God to help their team, have thought their team was cursed at some point in time, or believe that God plays a role in determining the outcome of sporting events… A fervent 26 percent of the respondents say they have prayed that ‘for God to help their team’, while an equal number have entertained the notion that their team was ‘cursed.’…

“Football fans are also more likely than other fans to say they pray for their team (33 percent ), perform pre-game or game-time rituals (25 percent), or to believe that their team has been cursed (31 percent). White evangelical Protestants (38 percent), white mainline Protestant (33 percent) and minority Protestant (29 percent) sports fans are considerably more likely than Catholic (21 percent) or religiously unaffiliated (15 percent) fans to say they have prayed for their team, the survey found. Twenty one percent have either a special ritual or a lucky item of clothing they associated with a big game…”

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