Current Events


The international press announced on December 20 that Germany was appointed as Chairman of the U.N. Security Council’s Iraqi Sanction Panel ( — “Germany wins key U.N. role.”). The German press celebrated this appointment as a victory for Germany and as a defeat for the Bush administration. As Spiegel ONLINE reported on December 20, President Bush had opposed the German appointment in lieu of Germany’s opposition to a war with Iraq and the fact that Germany is one of the 20 most important trading partners with Iraq.
Focus ONLINE reported on December 18 that the Iraqi weapons report contained the list of numerous international companies that had supported Iraq’s nuclear weapons program since 1996. The report listed thirty German, eleven British and ten American companies, in addition to several companies from Switzerland, Japan, Italy, France, Sweden and Brazil.
Newspapers in the United States and abroad speculated this week whether the war with Iraq would begin by the end of January. President Bush called off a planned trip to Africa next month (that had been scheduled for January 10-17) to focus on his looming decision — expected to be made on January 27 or shortly thereafter — whether to go to war to disarm Saddam’s Hussein’s regime, according to USA Today.  On January 27, United Nations weapons inspectors are due to report their findings on Iraqi compliance with the recent U.N. Security Council resolution demanding that Saddam give up his weapons voluntarily.
BILD Online reported on December 22 that the United States asked Germany for special protection of American military institutions in Germany by the end of January. The paper also announced that America is threatening to retaliate with nuclear weapons if America or its allies should be attacked. An American strategy paper was especially directed at Iraq, Iran and North-Korea.
Some would consider Saddam Hussein’s speech on December 24, 2002, a futile attempt to redirect world opinion as he faces down the reality of war with the United States.  However, some of what he said is beginning to have a familiar ring. Going a step beyond the infamous “ugly American” tag pinned on the U.S. from post World War II times, there has now emerged a finger pointing campaign that portrays Americans as the world’s newest and biggest bully.
From, 12/25/02, here are some excerpts from the speech:  “In an address read by a television announcer marking Christmas Eve, Saddam said the world was entering a new year ‘under unique circumstances…which have been manufactured by the forces of evil and darkness in order to create a situation of instability, chaos and tension.’
“Saddam said the United States and Israel were bent on waging war against Iraq in a first step to spread their authority ‘across the world and control fortunes and futures’ of other countries.”
That some of this name calling is sticking is reflected by the half-hearted support from U.S. allies–and, in some cases, outright opposition.  The thankless role of being the world’s policeman–and that because of a truly impotent United Nations–is causing the United States growing consternation.  With Korea breaking out to challenge and threaten Asian stability, yet another possible war confronts the American military.  As MSNBC News reported, “U.S. may hit rough patch in Koreas,” continuing that “South’s new president [is] not a natural ally of [President] Bush.” The report continued that some fear that the “U.S.-South Korean military alliance is likely to face its greatest challenges ever in 2003, the year of its 50th anniversary…. Although still unlikely, a breakup of the alliance is not impossible.”
This comes at a terribly inopportune time, as the world observes an increasing threat from North Korea to build up nuclear weapons. According to Spiegel ONLINE, dated December 25, North Korea is willing to reactivate its nuclear reactor, “Yongbyon.” If successful, North Korea could produce annually about 55 nuclear weapons, according to U.S. statistics. No wonder that some newspapers, in looking at the North-South-Korean situation, are already talking about the fact that we are standing at the brink of nuclear war.
Additionally, Russia has overridden U.S. objections and has committed itself to help the Iranians build a nuclear facility for the “generation of electric power”–yet, with the latent potential for weapons production.
At the same time, Catholic and Protestant churches in Germany have been overcrowded this Christmas by adherents who are afraid of a war with Iraq, according to Der Spiegel ONLINE, dated December 25. In his traditional Christmas address, the pope made an appeal for peace. Several German Catholic priests and Protestant ministers preached from the pulpit against war, asking the believers to “stand up against war” and to engage themselves in active resistance against war. Meanwhile, Turkey, one of America’s necessary allies in a war against Iraq, has announced that they will try to prevent war through diplomatic means.
Being crowned the world’s only super power is coming at a cost.  World opinion is shifting away from the U.S.  Indeed “forces of evil and darkness” are inspiring events all over the earth.  As these things increase, we must understand that this is really only the beginning of “instability, chaos and tension.” 


In a recent interview with Der Stern Online, internationally-known actor David Hasselhoff made public his lengthy personal battle with alcoholism. He is now actively involved in bringing the problem of alcoholism to the attention of a wider audience. Some of his comments were quite interesting and are worth repeating:
Hasselhoff pointed out that most alcoholics begin to drink between the ages of 42 and 50. 98% of all drowning accidents are caused by alcohol. In 90% of alcoholics, family members of former generations had problems with alcohol.
Hasselhoff also mentioned that alcoholism is not limited to Hollywood (although it apparently runs rampant there), but that it is a universal problem, affecting people of all walks of life. He talked about an acquaintance who drove under the influence and killed another person. “His life is ruined,” Hasselhoff said.
One of the causes for drinking is the inability to deal with stress. Hasselhoff explained one of the ways that is helping him to overcome his problem:
“To write a diary is part of the therapy. We should write down daily our thoughts — the positive and negative experiences. Things like: What could I have done better today? Whom was I angry with? Was I too egoistic today? It’s a daily inventory of our emotions. It has helped me a lot, I am continuing to do it. When I am frustrated or angry, I go to my office, and write down my thoughts. That compensates aggressions, and I get more quiet.”


Der Stern Online published this week a series of 20 photographs by Tom Jacobi, under the headline, “Where God Lives.”  Amongst pictures showing Mount Sinai and the Valley of Elah, the place where David killed Goliath, one published photograph portrayed the famous area of Petra.


An especially moving article was published this week by Der Spiegel Online, titled, “It would be best if I would not exist.” Dealing with the subject of illegitimate children stemming from fornication committed by Catholic priests, the magazine brought comments from a 15-year old girl, Anna:
When in elementary school, “‘the others all had their dad at home, and I did not even know where mine lived. So, I began to invent stories, how he looked like and where he lived… One year later my mom told me that I could now get to know my dad… I was very astonished that he was the one who had been visiting my mom every six to eight weeks…
“‘I began, when I was five, to lie to the people. Finally, I could do it quite well. Nobody noticed anything. But one loses the ease of childhood. I had to pretend — that was very difficult. I rarely felt good…. My dad was and always remained to be a visitor… Sometimes we visited him. The people there appalled me — especially the women who put him on a pedestal… I still believe in God, but I don’t believe in the church. They preach that we are to love our neighbor, but they violate what they preach. The priests play the father for others, but in my case, he is not allowed to be a father for his own child. How can I accept such a church to tell me how I should live?… After my dad ended his 13-years-long secret relationship with my mom and left her for another woman, I wrote in my diary: ‘I want to be normal and have a dad who carries me on his arms, and who protects me. My mom and he should never have had an intimate relationship. Then I would not exist. It would have been better for all. I never want to see him again.'”

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