Current Events

Putin Defies Obama in Syria

Bloomberg wrote on April 3:

“President Vladimir Putin, condemned by NATO for annexing Crimea, is now defying the U.S. in Syria by sending more and deadlier arms to help Bashar al-Assad score a string of advances against insurgents, military experts say. Assad’s army, seeking to end a three-year civil war that’s killed 150,000 people and displaced 9 million, started using longer-range Russian Smerch and Uragan rockets for the first time in February… ‘Russia is now doing everything to ensure that Assad wins convincingly,’ Alexei Malashenko, a Middle East analyst at the Moscow Carnegie Center, said by phone. ‘If Russia can show it’s capable of carrying out its own foreign policy, regardless of America’s wishes, it will be a major achievement for Putin.’” 

Russia Meddles in Ukraine

The Washington Post wrote on April 5:

“First, Russia took over a chunk of their country. Now, to the astonishment of many Ukrainians, Moscow is telling them how to run the rest of their nation. The lectures do not sit well here. Russia has been insisting that Ukraine adopt a federal form of government that would give regions nearly boundless authority. It’s a means to make the regions vulnerable to Russian interference, Ukrainians say, and eventually tear the country apart. And, they point out, Russia would never tolerate such a system itself… ‘The issue of federalization is absolutely artificial,’ said Yuriy Yakymenko, a political expert at the Razumkov think tank in Kiev. ‘It’s part of Russia’s plan to impose control over Ukraine and prevent it from integrating with Europe.’…

“Russian President Vladimir Putin has steadily built a top-down system he calls the ‘vertical of power.’ And Russia, which snapped up Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula after arranging a March 16 referendum in favor of annexation that violated Ukraine’s constitution, has shown no tolerance for separatism at home.

“A declaration of independence by Russia’s southern region of Chechnya in 1991 led to two wars with Moscow that were fought with exceptional brutality and bloodshed. Although a Kremlin-installed strongman has extinguished most of the violence, Chechnya remains unpredictable. Last week, four Russian soldiers were killed and seven were wounded when their armored vehicle drove over an explosive device in Chechnya during what the Interior Ministry described as a reconnaissance mission. And Islamist separatists have taken the struggle to neighboring Dagestan, where shootouts kill hundreds of police and militants every year.

“Ukraine is tranquil by comparison. Although some pro-Russian crowds in eastern Ukrainian cities have clashed with pro-Ukrainian crowds since the fall of Yanukovych, Ukraine authorities say Russian agents provoked the disorder. But Russia has described what it calls ‘atrocities’ against Russian-speakers, issuing warnings that suggest it is building a case to send troops into eastern Ukraine as it did in Crimea…”

Unrest in Eastern Ukraine

Deutsche Welle wrote on April 7:

“Arseniy Yatsenyuk has said that unrest in eastern Ukraine is part of a plan to destabilize the country and bring in Russian troops. Pro-Russian demonstrators have seized government buildings in several cities. The interim prime minister described the protest organizers as a ‘group of radicals who coordinate themselves with intelligence services from foreign countries.’

“Pro-Russian protesters on Sunday night seized official buildings in the cities of Kharkiv, Luhansk and Donetsk, calling for referendums on the regions joining the Russian Federation. In Donetsk on Monday, protesters were quoted by Interfax Ukraine as proclaiming the creation of a sovereign ‘people’s republic’ independent of Kyiv’s rule. Interfax reported that the men pledged a referendum on joining Russia no later than May 11.

“Yatsenyuk also said on Monday that Russian troops remained within a 30-kilometer (19-mile) zone near the border with Ukraine – contradicting earlier reports of a Russian withdrawal from the border. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said on Monday in Berlin that the German government was ‘alarmed’ by the most recent tensions in eastern Ukraine…”

USA Backs Militarization of Japan

Reuters wrote on April 5:

“U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said he welcomed the possibility of Japan giving its military a greater role by allowing it to come to the aid of allies under attack… [This] represents the clearest U.S. support yet for Tokyo’s effort to bolster its military as it faces off against a more assertive China… Hagel visits China, suspicious of Japan’s military intentions and where memories of Japan’s past militarism run deep, after Tokyo.

“Japan has been locked into a security pact for more than half a century that commits the United States to defend Japan should it come under attack. Japan’s Self-Defense Forces, however, are not allowed to aid U.S. ships or other military units that are fired upon… In its postwar pacifist constitution, written by the United States, Japan renounced the right to wage war… Japan eased its weapons export restrictions on Tuesday in the first major overhaul of arms transfer policy in nearly half a century in a move that alarmed China.”

All of this will backfire on the West, when Japan, Russia and China combine their forces. Note the next article.

Japan Loses Confidence in America

The New York Times wrote on April 5:

“When President Bill Clinton signed a 1994 agreement promising to ‘respect’ the territorial integrity of Ukraine if it gave up its nuclear weapons, there was little thought then of how that obscure diplomatic pact — called the Budapest Memorandum — might affect the long-running defense partnership between the United States and Japan. But now, as American officials have distanced themselves from the Budapest Memorandum in light of Russia’s takeover of Crimea, calling promises made in Budapest ‘nonbinding,’ the United States is being forced at the same time to make reassurances in Asia. Japanese officials, a senior American military official said, ‘keep asking, “Are you going to do the same thing to us when something happens?”’

“For Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who arrived in Tokyo on Saturday for two days of talks with Japan’s leaders, including Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, America’s longstanding promise to protect Japan against hostile nations — read China and North Korea — has suddenly come under the microscope. The American response to the Russian takeover of Crimea, which President Obama has condemned while at the same time ruling out American military action, has caused deep concern among already skittish Japanese officials… ‘If Japan is attacked, and the Americans decline to respond, then it is time from the Americans to pull out” of their bases here, [one analyst] said. “Without those bases, America is not going to be a Pacific power anymore…’”

USA to Send Warships to Japan

Deutsche Welle reported on April 6:

“After discussions with his opposite number in Tokyo, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said on Sunday that the US would deploy two extra ballistic missile defense destroyers to Japan. Hagel said the two ships would be sent in response to North Korea’s ‘pattern of provocative and destabilizing actions,’ which he said were a violation of UN resolutions.”

European Communication Network?

Reuters reported on April 4:

“The United States on Friday criticized proposals to build a European communication network to avoid emails and other data passing through the United States, warning that such rules could breach international trade laws… Germany and France have been discussing ways to build a European network to keep data secure after the U.S. spying scandal… Deutsche Telekom has suggested laws to stop data traveling within continental Europe being routed via Asia or the United States and scrapping the Safe Harbor agreement that allows U.S. companies with European-level privacy standards access to European data.”

In light of America’s illegal spying activities in Germany and France, these countries would be most likely not that concerned about America’s interpretation that they might violate international law… Note the next article.

German Public Anger with USA over Spying Scandal

The Washington Post wrote on April 3:

“A chapter in trans­atlantic relations that Washington would sooner forget got a new lease on life Thursday as German lawmakers opened their first parliamentary hearings into the Edward Snowden scandal. Revelations of large-scale U.S. spying on Germans, up to and including Chancellor Angela Merkel, prompted an initial wave of outrage here last year. But now, the lengthy committee investigations could keep the spotlight on leaks by the former National Security Agency contractor for a year or two to come…

“The hearings also have the potential to provoke further anti­pathy. Indeed, a number of lawmakers here are demanding safe passage to Berlin for Snowden — who is living in self-imposed exile in Moscow — to testify before the eight-member committee. Any such move would likely outrage the United States, which is seeking to take Snowden into custody… the push to give Snowden his day here serves as another reminder that, even as the scandal appears to be dissipating in other parts of Europe, it remains at the top of the agenda in Germany…

“The committee is set to call dozens of witnesses and review piles of documents. But even its members appear to concede the limits of their effort, which is likely to be hampered by an anticipated lack of full cooperation by U.S. officials. It suggests that the hearings are being called at least in part for national catharsis and as an outlet for German rage.

“Parliament’s airing of the evidence began Thursday, even as fresh revelations continue to stoke public anger. In recent days, Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine published further details from the Snowden leaks, including evidence of an NSA dossier on Merkel that allegedly included more than 300 intelligence reports. Although U.S. snooping on Merkel is not new, the reports served as a continuing reminder for an already bitter German public…

“A top German prosecutor is still weighing whether to open a criminal investigation into the affair, which could further damage ties between Washington and Berlin. And there is no mistaking the lingering anger of German lawmakers, particularly those clamoring to bring Snowden to Berlin to testify. Such a move… would create fresh tensions at a time when Europe and the United States are trying to maintain a common front on the Russian-Ukraine crisis. But some here seem to think that bringing Snowden to Berlin is exactly the kind of thumb-nosing the Americans deserve.”

Germany Strongly Criticizes USA

Deutsche Welle wrote on April 6:

“German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere has strongly criticized the US over revelations about electronic surveillance by intelligence services. The minister complained that German questions have not been answered… the minister complained that Berlin’s fears about the extent of the agency’s operations – as revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden- had not been allayed. Chancellor Angela Merkel is due to visit US President Barack Obama in Washington in May. However, de Maiziere said he held out little hope of concrete results… ‘My expectations about the success of further talks are low,’ said the minister.”

Superpower–But No Clout!

Bloomberg’s report on April 9, 2014, stated:

“Secretary of State John Kerry and members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee agreed on one thing today: Being a superpower isn’t what it used to be.

“At a hearing on the U.S. State Department budget, Republicans and Democrats alike raised concerns about America’s limited ability to cope with global challenges, from Russian aggression in Ukraine to Iran’s nuclear program, China’s assertiveness in the Pacific and Syria’s civil war.

“While some Republicans blamed the administration for decisions that they say have eroded U.S. influence, Kerry pointed to a ‘changed world.’

“’The United States has power, enormous power,’ he said, ‘but we can’t necessarily always dictate every outcome the way we want, particularly in this world where we have rising economic powers — China, India, Mexico, Korea, Brazil, many other people who are players.’

“The two-hour Senate hearing was only one place where lawmakers and others challenged President Barack Obama’s foreign policy today. The jousting underscored the U.S. struggle to defend its global interests and allies as technology and the diffusion of economic and military power erode its post-Cold War position as the lone superpower.”

If the descendants of ancient Israel stopped obeying God, His clear warning was that His protection would be withdrawn. In so many ways, the United Kingdom and the United States are coming under these curses. One poignant example is found in Leviticus 26:19: “I will break the pride of your power…” You just might want to read the whole chapter of this Book of Leviticus, which is found in the Old Testament, to see how many other problems our nations will suffer!

United European Military Scheme

Carnegie Europe wrote on April 1:

“Just as the EU seemed powerless to prevent the rise of an aggressive Russia, a series of new EU security plans began leaking to the Brussels foreign policy crowd. The ideas, collected in a 73-page paper co-authored by the European External Action Service and the European Commission’s enterprise directorate, are dynamite… it reveals a shocking shift by European mandarins in their increasingly desperate attempts to boost the union’s lackluster military capabilities… The paper states: ‘The EU member states, the European External Action Service, and the European Commission welcome the pledges by leading European corporate entities to boost EU defense capabilities through targeted, high-volume financial contributions. . . . These contributions will enable the EU, within the period of its forthcoming budget, to build, train, integrate, and deploy its own supranational military task force.’

“In other words: since governments won’t buy the EU its own army, big business will. What nations seem incapable of offering will now be provided by a consortium of Europe’s capitalists… The core of the new initiative will be a Friendship Projection Force (FPF), comprising up to 31 naval vessels. Each will carry the name ‘EU Security Ship’ or EUSS. The first batch of ships will come from the French Mistral-class amphibious assault ships, originally earmarked for sale to Russia but now available as a corporate donation to the EU. They will be named EUSS Strasbourg and EUSS Helgoland.

“Plans for additional ships, including a helicopter carrier and four German-built submarines, are at an ‘advanced stage,’ according to EU officials. After a long, heated debate about where to put the EU flotilla’s naval base, the Ukraine crisis tilted the decision toward the historic former Lenin shipyard in Gdańsk, Poland, home of the anti-Communist Solidarność movement. A second, smaller naval headquarters will be built in Malta to cover the union’s southern flank…

“The document does not reveal all the companies involved in the new scheme, but Germany’s Siemens, Spain’s Telefónica, Italy’s ENI, and Gaz de France seem to form the core of the consortium. They will function as ‘shareholders’ of the new force, with no say over operational matters but some input into strategic discussions on individual countries and thematic priorities…

“Sources close to the deal stress that the switch to a commercial approach was necessary to finally get Germany behind the idea of a beefed-up European defense. They also claim that the idea was not so unusual within the broader European context…”

Global Banana Production Threatened

The Independent wrote on April 4:

“Scientists have warned that the world’s banana crop, worth £26 billion and a crucial part of the diet of more than 400 million people, is facing ‘disaster’ from virulent diseases immune to pesticides or other forms of control… Alarm at the most potent threat – a fungus known as Panama disease tropical race 4 (TR4) – has risen dramatically after it was announced in recent weeks that it has jumped from South-east Asia, where it has already devastated export crops, to Mozambique and Jordan.

“A United Nations agency told The Independent that the spread of TR4 represents an ‘expanded threat to global banana production’. Experts said there is a risk that the fungus… has also already made the leap to the world’s most important banana growing areas in Latin America, where the disease threatens to destroy vast plantations of the Cavendish variety. The variety accounts for 95 per cent of the bananas shipped to export markets including the United Kingdom, in a trade worth £5.4bn…

“According to one estimate, TR4 could destroy up to 85 per cent of the world’s banana crop by volume…  the crop – and many other banana varieties – have no defence against TR4, which can live for 30 years or more in the soil and reduces the core of the banana plant to a blackened mush. It can wipe out plantations within two or three years… Such is the virulence of soil-based fungus, it can be spread in water droplets or tiny amounts of earth on machinery or shoes…”

Clinton: Space Aliens Possible

NBC News wrote on April 3:

“Former President Bill Clinton said he ‘wouldn’t be surprised’ if Earth was eventually visited by aliens… However, Clinton also explained that he had reviewed the subject during his time in the White House and found no evidence of alien life. ‘We know from our fancy telescopes that just in the last two years more than 20 planets have been identified outside our solar system that seem to be far enough from their suns and dense enough that they might be able to support some form of life, so it makes it increasingly less like that we’re alone,’ Clinton added.”

However, according to the Bible, there is no alien life form anywhere in the universe; the earth is the only place where God created life. Mr. Clinton argues from human wisdom, leaving God out of the picture.

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