There’s More To It!

by Joe Bourque

I recently read that I am instructed to be a light to the world and an ambassador of God. I am to stand up for the Word of God, be happy, polite, humble, thankful and above all, have fervent love for each other and God, as He was so gracious to give us this life.

Recent events though have proven that there is more to it!  I had the chance to defend what I believe in my Christian life.  I found myself stumped as what to say when God was blamed for a serious medical condition.  I didn’t have much success comforting and convincing this person that God wasn’t at fault, let alone trying to convince him that God would take care of him one way or another, because we were all praying for him.

This and the recent death of a family member made me realize that I need to be more prepared to give an answer. I know there is not much we can say to people that are of the world and don’t know God, but what if God was to call these people?  There’s more to it than knowing for myself as I may be the one who will be the light of direction for them.

Current Events

We begin with the surprising announcement by German President Gauck that he will not run for re-election, causing further potential problems for Chancellor Angela Merkel and her government.

We report on the planned ISIS attack in Düsseldorf, Germany, which would have been much bigger than originally thought; and focus on strong comments by Germany’s anti-immigration party, the AfD. We also report on the true scale of Germany’s migrant crisis.

We continue with the ongoing troubles between Germany and Turkey; the legal challenge of Austria’s recent presidential election results; news regarding Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, with a strongly worded article, asking whether the Obama Administration is guilty of war crimes; and Europe’s relationship with Britain in view of a possible Brexit. In this context, please view our new StandingWatch program, titled, “What if Britain Leaves Europe?”.

We speak on China’s suppression of Ramadan celebrations; Poland’s paramilitary force to counter Russia; Russia’s “effective, advanced” submarines; rewards from the Philippine government for intentionally killing criminals, rather than arresting them; and legally permitted assisted suicide in Canada and other countries.

We conclude with Jewish acceptance of transgender and homosexual rights; and the Catholic Church’s fascination with the Virgin Mary.

What Is the Origin of the Sign of the Cross? Should Christians Make the Sign of the Cross? (Part 1)

We see it on television all the time—Catholic soccer players make the sign of the cross when they score or even when they enter the field. Other athletes may make the sign of the cross on various occasions as well. In many cases, it has become a matter of routine. For example, the sign of the cross is made before meals, in church services, and at other times by many people. But what do we know about its origin?The Roman Catholic Church and many other religious organizations claim that the sign of the cross has its origin in early Christianity. The website of states the following perspective of the Catholic Church:

“The sign of the cross is a beautiful gesture which reminds the faithful of both the cross of salvation while invoking the Holy Trinity… The early Church Fathers attested to the use of the sign of the cross.  Tertullian (d.c. 250) described the commonness of the sign of the cross:  ‘In all our travels and movements, in all our coming in and going out, in putting on our shoes, at the bath, at the table, in lighting our candles, in lying down, in sitting down, whatever employment occupies us, we mark our foreheads with the sign of the cross’ (De corona, 30). St. Cyril of Jerusalem (d. 386) in his Catechetical Lectures stated, ‘Let us then not be ashamed to confess the Crucified.  Be the cross our seal, made with boldness by our fingers on our brow and in everything; over the bread we eat and the cups we drink, in our comings and in our goings out; before our sleep, when we lie down and when we awake; when we are traveling, and when we are at rest’ (Catecheses, 13).

“Gradually, about the ninth century, the sign of the cross was incorporated in different acts of the Mass, such as the three-fold signing of the forehead, lips, and heart at the reading of the gospel or the blessing and signing of the bread and wine to be offered. The earliest formalized way of making the sign of the cross appeared about the 400s, during the Monophysite heresy which denied… the unity of the Holy Trinity.  The sign of the cross was made from forehead to chest, and then from right shoulder to left shoulder with the right hand.  The thumb, forefinger, and middle fingers were held together to symbolize the Holy Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”

We see, then, that the “sign of the cross” is inseparably connected with the belief in the “Holy Trinity.”

The problems with this entire concept are many.

First, the Bible does not teach at all that God is a Trinity. It does teach that the Father and the Son (Jesus Christ) are God and that they are two Beings or Persons within the God Family, but it does NOT teach that the Holy Spirit is God or a Person. For proof, please read our free booklets, “Is God a Trinity?” and “God Is a Family.”

Secondly, to have or use a cross in any way in the connection with worship; to wear it as an amulet; or to have a crucifix in our home; is not biblical. It totally misunderstands the saving work of Jesus Christ. From this it follows that the making of the cross is equally unbiblical.

In this Q&A, we will explore the true history of the “Christian” cross. In the next installment, we will discuss the origin of “making the sign of the cross.”

It is well-known that the Tau Cross (commonly pictured as the type of cross on which Jesus was crucified) has been used as an object of worship long before Christ was born. The website of explains in its article, “Legends of the Tau Cross”:

“The cross is a familiar symbol to both religious and secular groups. But few people are familiar with the many myths and legends behind one of the earliest forms of this Christian symbol. The Cross of Tau or Tau Cross, named for the Greek letter T, is thought to have been the first cross used in Christianity, but its origins are believed to date back to the Egyptians. The Egyptian cross called an Ankh is a simple T-Cross mounted with an oval called the Ru.

“In its long history, the Tau cross was also the symbol of the Roman God Mithras and the Greek God Attis. In Norse mythology, the hammer of Thor is seen as a Tau Cross. The Bull as the Astrological sign of Taurus gets its name from the Tau and Ru. Even the Druids used the Tau when venerating trees by scrawling the symbol into the bark of their sacred oaks…

“As Christianity gained followers, the pagan symbols were converted into Christian ones. The Tau was used as the first cross of the followers of Christ and many believe that the cross of the Crucifixion was actually T-shaped, and many early Christians adopted the Tau as the symbol of their religious belief. St. Anthony Abbott (251-356), an Egyptian monk and one of the first Christian monastics used a crutch in the shape of a Tau. When he visited another monk, he would place the crutch outside of the cave, making it a symbol of communion with God. In 1095 the Antonines were founded by a French nobleman after his son was cured of a disease following a vision of St. Anthony instructing him to plant a Tau as an instrument of healing. As a result, Tau Crosses were used in amulets as a protection against disease in the Middle Ages. The most common reference of the Tau in Christianity is with the Franciscan Order of Saint Francis of Assisi who adopted it as his personal symbol of faith and used it as his signature.”

An article by the Examiner, titled “The Cross Was a Pagan Symbol Before It became a Christian Symbol,” explains even further:

“Most Christians don’t give the following a second thought: A crucifix on the wall of the church reminds Christians of God’s act of love and atonement in Christ’s sacrifice at Calvary, ‘the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world’. The sacred crucifix also reminds Christians of Jesus’ victory over sin and death, since it is believed that through His death and resurrection He conquered death itself. Here’s more to consider: The cross was not a Christian symbol before Yeshua the Messiah was born! The cross was not a Christian symbol for hundreds of years after Yeshua. A crucifix is a cross with the Lord still nailed to it.

“Do you think He is honored if you have one of these hanging from your neck? With all the fancy talk about what the crucifix means on the walls of our churches; there is a total avoidance of the fact it is still a pagan idol!…

“If the cross is a Christian symbol, then why does the occult use it so much? If the cross is a Christian symbol, then why is it traceable way back to Babylon and Egypt, as far back as 2,000 B.C.? Many ancient cultures used crosses or the mystic Tau. Babylon seems to be the originator from ancient Chaldea, but you can find crosses in Egypt, India, China, Africa, Mexico, Greece, Italy, and South American histories. All before Yeshua was ever born! If pagans had never used crosses as idols, then developed them into instruments of torture and death; you never would have thought to wear a cross with diamonds on a necklace!

“The cross is a most sacred idol to the Roman Catholic Church. This point in itself should raise suspicion. The cross was incorporated into Roman worship after 430 A.D., but it was another 150 years until the cross made it all the way up to the steeples. In the 6th century, the Church of Rome sanctioned the cross. Believe it or not, at the council of Ephesus, it was decreed that a cross was a ‘requirement’ in every home!”

We discussed the history of the cross and the manner of Christ’s crucifixion in our Q&A in Update 347, titled, “Should we have and use crosses or pictures or statues, depicting Jesus Christ?” We are setting forth below some of the excerpts pertaining to the cross:

“When addressing the cross and its worship or use in religious services or at home, we should realize that the Bible does not even say that Christ was nailed to a cross, as it is pictured and portrayed today. In every case when the word ‘cross’ is used in the Authorized Version or the New King James Bible, the Greek word is ‘stauros.’

“According to Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible, the meaning of that word is simply, ‘stake’…  The Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words by Vine adds the following, when discussing the kind of death which Christ endured: ‘… stauros denotes, primarily, an upright pale or stake. On such malefactors were nailed for execution. Both the noun and the verb stauroo, to fasten to a stake or pale, are originally to be distinguished from the ecclesiastical form of a two beamed cross.’

“Since the Greek in the New Testament does not state that Christ died on a cross, as we know it today, how did this idea enter orthodox Christianity? Here is what happened:

“Alexander Hislop writes in his book, The Two Babylons, pp. 197, 199: ‘The same sign of the cross that Rome now worships was used in the Babylonian Mysteries, was applied by paganism to the same magic purposes, was honored with the same honors. That which is now called the Christian cross was originally no Christian emblem at all, but was the mystic Tau of the Chaldeans and Egyptians—the true original form of the letter T-the initial of the name of Tammuz. There is hardly a Pagan tribe where the cross has not been found. The cross was worshiped by the Pagan Celts long before the incarnation and death of Christ. It was worshiped in Mexico for ages before the Roman Catholic missionaries set foot there, large stone crosses being erected, probably to the “god of rain.” The cross was widely worshiped, or regarded as a sacred emblem, was the unequivocal symbol of Bacchus, the Babylonian Messiah.’

“We have found pictures, showing Assyrian, Egyptian, Hindu and Greek gods and goddesses associated with crosses. The ancient Greek goddess Diana is shown with a cross over her head-very similar to the portrayal of the ‘Virgin Mary’ by many medieval artists.

“Vine adds that the shape of a ‘two-beamed cross’ had ‘its origin in ancient Chaldea, and was used as the symbol of the god Tammuz (being in the shape of the mystic Tau, the initial of his name) in that country and in adjacent lands, including Egypt. By the middle of the 3rd century A.D. the churches had either departed from, or had travestied, certain doctrines of the Christian faith. In order to increase the prestige of the apostate ecclesiastical system pagans were received into the churches apart from regeneration by faith, and were permitted largely to retain their pagan signs and symbols. Hence the Tau or T, in its most frequent form, with the cross-piece lowered, was adopted to stand for the cross of Christ.’…

“As pagans already worshiped the cross as we know it today, before they entered the Catholic fold; as the Roman Church allowed them to continue to worship the cross—only now in association with Christ; and as the Romans used a two-beamed cross as one of their methods of crucifixion, it can be easily seen how the Roman Church was able to convince an unsuspecting world that THAT was the method of Christ’s crucifixion. However, as mentioned, it is highly unlikely that Christ was killed in that way…”

Since neither the Trinity nor the worship of the cross are biblical, what then is the real origin of making the sign of the cross? Did Catholics just adopt the cross from pagans and then invented the procedure of making the sign of the cross? Or is there more to that part of the story? We will give answers to this question in the next installment.

(To Be Continued)

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

What Do You Think?

Some people just think better than other people do!

However, this isn’t an evaluation based on the intellect associated with a high IQ. Rather, this kind of thinking has to do with thoughts that are good as opposed to those which are evil.

Primarily, society judges itself based on actions, but more and more there are attempts to influence and even govern what a person thinks. Proof of this is found in the staggering moral changes now taking place. Behavior once deemed as sinful is now thought of as acceptable.

Our thoughts are not private to us alone. While other people may not be able to know what we think, God does (compare 1 Chronicles 28:9)! Judgment against mankind before the flood went beyond their actions, it included how people thought:

“Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5).

The great challenge for Christians is to bring “…every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). That is possible because we have the gift of God’s Holy Spirit. Furthermore, “…we have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16).

These spiritual resources must be developed as we grow in our calling. We must learn to think as God thinks (compare Matthew 5:48). The apostle Paul addressed this goal by showing us how we should think:

“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things” (Philippians 4:8).

Given this standard, what do YOU think?

Authentic or Counterfeit?; I Am Stubborn!

On June 11, 2016, Robb Harris will present the sermonette, titled, “Authentic or Counterfeit?” and Dave Harris will present the sermon, titled, “I Am Stubborn!”

The live services are available, over video and audio, at (12:30 pm Pacific Time; 1:30 pm Mountain Time; 2:30 pm Central Time; 3:30 pm Eastern Time; 8:30 pm Greenwich Mean Time; 9:30 pm Central European Time). Just click on Connect to Live Stream.

June 12, 2016, is the Feast of Pentecost. We will present live services beginning at 10:00 am, Pacific Time. Joe Bourque will present the sermonette, titled, “Fervent Love,” and Rene Messier will present the sermon, titled, “Fruit.” In the afternoon, services will begin at 3:30 pm, Pacific Time. Michael Link will present the offertory, titled, “One of a Kind,” and Norbert Link will present the sermon, titled, “Pentecost 2016–God’s Feast of the Firstfruits.”

This Week in the News

Headache for Merkel as Gauck Will Step Down as German President

The Guardian wrote on June 6:

“Germany’s president, Joachim Gauck, has announced he will not stand for a second term in office, prompting an instant race to find his successor and effectively kick-starting the campaign for a general election in autumn of next year. The 76-year-old former East German pastor and civil rights activist said he was stepping down despite appeals across the spectrum for him to stay in office, citing his advancing years.

“His decision is likely to create difficulties for the already embattled chancellor, Angela Merkel, triggering a cross-party race for possible successors to be chosen less than six months before a 2017 general election… He said it had been a huge honour to serve Germany since 2012 as its 11th postwar president, a largely ceremonial, apolitical role. His successor will not be decided by direct vote, but by the political parties, along with a congress consisting of sportspeople, celebrities and other public figures.

“While they might agree on a single candidate, it is more likely the parties will put up rival ones, particularly at a time when there is a lack of unity over Merkel’s refugee policy, most notably within her own grand coalition government of the Christian Democrats (CDU), their Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), and the Social Democrats (SPD)…”

Deutsche Welle added on June 6:

“The timing for picking a replacement president could arguably be better… Gauck’s announcement effectively starts the general election campaign 15 months early, with a conflict Chancellor Angela Merkel would have preferred to avoid.”

The Local added on June 4:

“‘It’s his partner Daniela Schadt who has advised him not to stand for a second term, particularly due to his age and his state of health,’ Bild said… Gauck was named president in 2012 when his conservative predecessor Christian Wulff was forced to quit over corruption allegations.

“His recognition of the 1915 mass killings of Armenians during the Ottoman Empire as genocide in a speech last year, sparked outrage in Turkey. This week, the German parliament adopted a resolution to the same effect. Last year, Gauck also lashed out at xenophobic attacks in Germany on migrants and refugees, describing them as the country’s ‘dark’ side.”

Joachim Gauck, a former Protestant pastor, is still married to his wife, but he has been openly living together with his girlfriend (“partner”) who has been accompanying him on his official foreign trips. This does not seem to bother most Germans.

Planned ISIS Attack on Düsseldorf Much Bigger than Originally Thought

The Local wrote on June 3:

“The Isis plot to [attack] the capital of North Rhine-Westphalia was bigger than previously assumed, with ten terrorists supposed to murder people with bombs and guns, local media report… According to this account [by Der Spiegel], two of the [groups] were supposed to blow themselves up in the Altstadt district, the other men were then to attack more civilians with guns and explosives…

“Meanwhile Focus reports that in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) 37 arrest warrants against people in the Islamist scene are outstanding because the culprits have gone missing… ‘The 37 people who are being looked for are accused of committed crimes including establishing a criminal or terrorist organization, [serious] bodily harm, deception, resistance against state officials and theft,’ said state representative Gregor Golland from the Christian Democratic Union (CDU).

“Also on Friday, the Justice Ministry said that German prosecutors have launched legal proceedings against 180 suspects linked to jihadist groups in Syria. ‘The chief prosecutor is currently carrying out 120 proceedings targeting 180 suspects in connection with the civil war in Syria, for their membership in, or backing of, a terrorist organisation,’ said Justice Ministry spokesman Philip Scholz.

“Separately, the NRW interior ministry said there were ‘499 potentially dangerous individuals in the field of Islamist terrorism’ in their jurisdiction.”

Germany’s AfD Party Takes Strong Stand Against Merkel, Muslims, Foreigners and Blacks

The Local wrote on June 5:

“The leader of a German anti-immigrant party has hit out at football star Mesut Ozil for not singing the national anthem and accused him of peddling a political Islamic agenda. The attack comes a week ahead of the start of Euro 2016 in France, and hard on the heels of racially disparaging remarks about another German footballer, Jerome Boateng, from [Alexander Gauland,] a member of the same Alternative for Germany (AfD) party.

“In an interview published on Sunday in the newspaper Die Welt, AfD co-leader Frauke Petry accused Ozil, formerly of Bayern Munich and Real Madrid but now with Londoners Arsenal, of setting a poor example for children. ‘It’s a pity Mesut Ozil, someone so many children and adolescents identify with, does not sing the national anthem,’ she was quoted as saying. She also accused him of hypocrisy after a picture on social media last month showed Ozil, who hails from Germany’s Turkish community, posing at the Islamic holy site of Mecca. In a nod to Ozil’s lifestyle, Petry said: ‘He doesn’t live according to the rules of sharia.’… Petry also reiterated her party’s stance that Islam is unconstitutional and said it was difficult to draw a distinction between an Islamist and a Muslim.

“Last week AfD politician Alexander Gauland came under fire for saying most Germans would not want Boateng, whose father is Ghanaian, as their neighbor — a comment Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman condemned as ‘vile and sad.’ The AfD co-chief elaborated on his views in comments to news weekly Der Spiegel, claiming that professional football is ‘no longer a question of national identity’…”

AFP added on June 5:

“A German right-wing populist politician has attacked Chancellor Angela Merkel as a ‘dictator’ who is trying to ‘replace the German people’ with migrants, a Sunday newspaper reported. Alexander Gauland, of the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, told a rally outside Berlin that Merkel’s liberal asylum policy was radically transforming the face of the country, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung said. He… said Germany’s mainstream parties were pursuing a policy of ‘human flooding’, an ‘attempt to gradually replace the German people with a population coming from all parts of the earth’…

“The three-year-old AfD has assumed an increasingly anti-immigrant and Islamophobic stance as Europe’s biggest economy let in nearly 1.1 million asylum seekers last year. It is currently polling at about 15 percent nationwide after capturing seats in three state elections in March. Analysts say it has tapped into angst over the migrant influx…”

“Germany’s Migrant Crisis Turns into a NIGHTMARE”

Express wrote on June 8:

“The true scale of the migrant crisis in Germany has been uncovered as it emerges 80 per cent of asylum seekers have arrived there WITHOUT a passport – and hundreds of thousands are now planning to bring over their FAMILIES… Between January and April, out of 114,255 of asylum seekers waiting to cross the border, around 91,000 did not have the required documents. And from January to March this year German border officers seized 1,306 fake documents from asylum seekers, of which 145 were Syrian refugees, according to German newspaper Bild.

“Meanwhile, in 2015, federal police seized 4,973 fake identification documents when searching travelling migrants in Germany – 834 of those were fake IDs of Syrian refugees. It seems criminals have managed to slip through the net as since the first four months of 2016, more than 4,000 people who have entered the country are now on the Germany’s most wanted list…

“Chancellor Angela Merkel’s grip on power is growing ever weaker, with rebellion across the country against her controversial immigration policies…

“Germany will now have to brace itself for hundreds and thousands of migrants landing in Germany to join their relatives, according to the federal agency for migration and refugees… During the next years up to 500,000 Syrians could encourage their families to join them in Germany, the study predicts…”

Germany’s Trouble with Turkey Continues

Deutsche Welle wrote on June 6:

“Amid the ongoing row over Germany’s decision to refer to the Armenian massacre as ‘genocide,’ Berlin has hit back at the Turkish president… Steffen Seibert, spokesman to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, said on Monday that the Bundestag – Germany’s lower house of parliament – ‘had reached a sovereign decision.’ ‘That must be respected,’ he added…

“As the successor state to the Ottoman Empire, Turkey officially denies that the events that started in 1915 amounted to genocide. Ankara’s official line is that ethnic Armenians represented a fifth column backed by Russia during World War I, and that the mass deportation and accompanying Armenian deaths were not premeditated or intentional – a key requirement in the legal definition of genocide.

“Following the Bundestag’s ‘overwhelming’ vote in favor of the ‘genocide’ resolution, Ankara recalled its ambassador from Berlin, with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowing to ‘never accept the accusations of genocide.’ ‘First you need to answer for the Holocaust, then for the murder of 100,000 people in Namibia,’ Erdogan said.

“The Turkish president also accused 11 German MPs with Turkish roots who backed the resolution of supporting ‘terrorism’ by the banned Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK), and demanded ‘blood tests’ to see ‘what kind of Turks they are.’ Ankara’s mayor, Ibrahim Melih Gökcek, later tweeted a collage of the 11 politicians, claiming that they had ‘stabbed us (Turkey) in the back.’

“In response to the allegations, Seibert said on Monday that while Berlin also considers the PKK a terrorist group, ‘to associate individual members of parliament with terrorism is utterly incomprehensible to us.’

“Among the 11 MPs was Green party co-leader, Cem Özedemir, who also instigated the vote on the resolution. The politician has since been placed under police protection after receiving anonymous death threats. The 50-year-old from Bad Urach in western Germany is the son of Turkish immigrants. Speaking on Monday, Özdemir said that he wouldn’t let himself be intimidated by Erdogan’s verbal attacks…

“Despite broadly opposing the ‘genocide’ vote, Germany’s Turkish community has nonetheless criticized Ankara’s and Erdogan’s supporters for the pressure which has been placed on German lawmakers of Turkish origin. ‘We find death threats and demands for blood tests abhorrent,’ said chairman of Germany’s Association for the Turkish Community, Gokay Sofuoglu. ‘I think the era when people were defined by their blood ended in 1945. This is absolutely out of place,’ he added.

“The growing tensions between Germany and Turkey have come at a critical time for both countries as they seek to fully implement the recently-agreed EU refugee deal which seeks to control the flow of migrants into Europe…”

FPÖ Challenges Presidential Election Results in Austria

Deutsche Welle wrote on June 8:

“The far-right Austrian party FPÖ has filed a legal challenge against the results of last month’s presidential election, the Constitutional Court has said. The party’s leader [Heinz-Christian Strache] said there were ‘terrifying’ irregularities… In the election in May, postal ballots pushed former leader of the Green Party, Alexander Van der Bellen – who ran as an independent – over the line to defeat FPÖ candidate Norbert Hofer. The margin of victory was under 1 percentage point, or roughly 31,000 votes.

“‘Without these glitches, irregularities and breaking of laws, Hofer could have become president,’ Strache said after filing an official challenge at the Constitutional Court. ‘I think a re-election is very realistic,’ Strache said.

“Lawyers for the anti-immigration Freedom Party said they had found evidence that over 573,000 absentee and postal ballots had been handled without the presence of local election commissions, creating the risk of tampering… The Constitutional Court will rule on the matter by July 8, when Van der Bellen is set [to] succeed Social Democratic incumbent Heinz Fischer, a court spokesman said.”

No Anti-Semitism in the Austria’s FPÖ?

JTA wrote on June 8:

“Jewish leaders in Austria denied a report in Israel that the community had prepared a program for normalizing ties with the far-right Freedom Party, which it now shuns… Oskar Deutsch, the community’s president, said no such plan exists and that he merely spoke hypothetically…

“Heinz-Christian Strache… apologized in 2012 for posting on Facebook a caricature depicting an obese, hook-nosed banker wearing star-shaped cufflinks. Strache’s predecessor, Joerg Haider, praised Nazi employment policies and the Waffen-SS.

“Freedom Party lawmakers often have attended and spoken at events commemorating Nazis, including a gathering in memory of an Austria-born Nazi fighter pilot who shot down 258 planes, almost all Russian. And Strache himself had been accused of using a little-known Nazi salute in 2009, which he denied.

“Strache visited Israel this year and met with officials there. He said he supports Israel’s fight against radical Islam and has argued he has purged his party of anti-Semitism.”

Germany vs. Donald Trump

FP wrote on June 6:

“In an implicit rebuttal to Republican frontrunner Donald Trump, Germany’s ambassador to NATO offered a full-throated defense of his country’s contributions to European security and pushed back at accusations that Berlin was relying on Washington for protection rather than taking responsibility for defending itself.

“Noting Germany’s deployment of troops to Afghanistan and Kosovo, its lead diplomatic role on the Ukraine crisis, and its contribution of 5,000 troops to a new NATO force charged with protecting the alliance’s eastern and southern flanks, Ambassador Hans Dieter Lucas said criticisms about Germany’s purported lack of engagement don’t reflect reality. ‘Germany is heavily engaged in all NATO missions,’ he said during an interview at the German embassy in Washington. ‘Engaged like probably not many others.’

“Trump has specifically and repeatedly lashed out against Germany for, in his view, not doing more to challenge Russian aggression in Ukraine and allowing migrants from the Middle East and North Africa to resettle within its borders… In his campaign, the real estate tycoon has also taken direct shots at Angela Merkel… for her decision to welcome hundreds of thousands of migrants from the Middle East and North Africa into her country…

“German officials haven’t always taken the hit lying down. In March, Merkel’s deputy, Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, said Trump poses ‘a threat to peace and social cohesion’ and associated him with far-right politicians in Europe. ‘Whether Donald Trump, Marine le Pen or Geert Wilders – all these right-wing populists are not only a threat to peace and social cohesion, but also to economic development,’ Gabriel said.”

Holocaust Denial Illegal in Italy

JTA wrote on June 9:

“Italy’s Parliament approved a bill making spreading Holocaust denial illegal. The bill, which adds to an existing anti-racism bill, was approved Wednesday evening by the lower assembly of the Parliament, the Chamber of Deputies, by a vote of 237-5, with 102 abstentions. The new law would go after those who deny genocide or crimes against humanity, using the definition by the International Court of Justice… Those convicted could face prison terms of two to six years.”

Does this mean that those who deny that Turkey committed genocide against Armenians would face prison terms as well?

A Dangerous Precedence… Is USA Guilty of War Crimes?

Salon wrote on June 7:

“Clinton blasted Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump for saying ‘he would order our military to carry out torture and the murder of civilians who are related to suspected terrorists — even though those are war crimes.’

“Yet, while she served as secretary of state, Clinton’s own U.S. government administration may have overseen the very atrocity that she accidentally acknowledged is a war crime. Hundreds of civilians, many of whom were innocent family members of suspected militants, have been killed in U.S. drone strikes in Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia and more. If any of these killings were intentional, they were war crimes…

“This brings up the most prominent example of family members killed in U.S. drone strikes: that of the al-Awlakis. On Oct. 14, 2011, a U.S. drone strike killed 16-year-old U.S. citizen Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, along with his teenage cousin and at least five more civilians, blowing them up as they ate dinner at an outdoor restaurant in Yemen. Why did the U.S. kill a teenage U.S. citizen in a country where it is not officially at war? Years of investigation by an award-winning journalist suggests that it may have been an intentional killing — not because Abdulrahman was involved in terrorist activity, but rather because his father, Anwar al-Awlaki, was a propagandist for al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. That is to say, using Hillary Clinton’s own language, President Obama may have overseen ‘the murder of civilians who are related to suspected terrorists — even though that’s a war crime.’

“Anwar al-Awlaki was assassinated by another CIA airstrike on Sep. 30, 2011, just two weeks before his son was killed. He was never given a chance in court, despite the fact that he was a U.S. citizen. He was killed extrajudicially, without a sliver of due process. After Abdulrahman and his cousin were killed, U.S. officials leaked the story to the press, claiming he had been 21-years-old. Yet his family had his birth certificate, which proved he was 16 and had been born in Denver, Colorado.

“Then they claimed Abdulrahman was linked to Ibrahim al-Banna, an Egyptian member of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Award-winning journalist Jeremy Scahill, who spent years investigating the killing, interviewing U.S. officials, speaking to Abdulrahman’s family and friends and poring over government documents, concluded otherwise, noting, ‘There is not a shred of evidence to indicate that this boy had anything to do with terrorism whatsoever.’ The U.S. claimed that it did not intentionally target Abdulrahman, but a former senior official in the White House told Scahill that CIA Director John Brennan suspected that the teenager had been killed ‘intentionally.’…

“Clinton may fearmonger about a potential President Trump extrajudicially killing U.S. citizens, but the Obama administration, in which she proudly served as secretary of state, may have already established this precedent… the Obama administration set an incredibly dangerous standard with its expansion of secretive undeclared drone wars and extrajudicial assassinations. These policies will be continued in the future, and will be justified by pointing to the policies of the Obama administration. If a hypothetical President Trump insists the U.S. must extrajudicially assassinate dissidents, he has a drone program that can do so…”

With her huge wins on “Super Tuesday,” June 7, including in New Jersey, South Dakota, New Mexico and California, Hillary Clinton has now become the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party. As JTA wrote on June 8: “With President Barack Obama’s blessing, Hillary Clinton claimed the Democratic presidential nomination, casting it as a historic win for women and appealing to Bernie Sanders voters to support her.”

Major Step Towards US Police State?

Infowars wrote on June 8:

“The Obama administration is pushing Congress to amend existing surveillance laws to give the FBI unquestionable authority to access a person’s browser history without a warrant, a move Judge Andrew Napolitano slammed as ‘a major step towards a police state.’ Under existing law, the FBI and National Security Agency (NSA) are required to obtain a surveillance warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) before accessing an individual’s electronic records. However, the FBI is able to bypass the court system and access information relating to an individual’s phone records through the use of a ‘National Security Letter.’

“‘NSLs are shadowy administrative subpoenas for information issued by the FBI, whose authority to use them was bolstered by the Patriot Act in 2001,’ as reported by US News and World Report. ‘The requests often are accompanied by a gag order disallowing the company from which information is sought from discussing it.’…

“The new legislation, if passed, would allow the FBI to access an individual’s browser history by using a National Security Letter, rather than a warrant from the FISA Court. A National Security Letter only requires approval from the special agent in charge of a FBI Field Office…

“Appearing with Shepard Smith on Fox News, Judge Andrew Napolitano expressed anger over the amendment and warned the American people to wake up to the ongoing erosion of their civil liberties. ‘It gets worse, it never gets better no matter who is in the White House, no matter which party controls the Congress,’ he said. ‘The American people should wake up….This is a major step towards a police state.’ ‘It’s done in the name of, it’s always done in the name of keeping us safe. Who or what will keep our liberties safe?’”

Politics as Usual…Cameron Will Find a Way to Work with Trump

The Independent wrote on June 3:

“David Cameron has promised to work with Donald Trump if he becomes US president. The Prime Minister said he would ‘find a way’ to get on good terms with the presumptive Republican Party nominee because transatlantic ties are ‘bigger than the individuals involved’. Mr Trump is due to visit Britain the day after the European Union referendum to reopen a golf course he owns in Scotland.

“The PM claimed the billionaire had dropped a proposal to discriminate against Muslims at US border checkpoints – which Mr Cameron had previously described as ‘divisive, stupid and wrong’. Downing Street previously resisted calls to ban Mr Trump from the UK on account of allegations the policy was extremist in nature. Mr Cameron said he stood by his comments on Mr Trump’s proposal of banning Muslims from traveling to the US, and said he would be happy to meet whoever the president turned out to be.

“‘The good news is, my understanding is, he’s already dropped that proposal because there are millions of Muslims living in America and making a great contribution to that country as there are well over a million British Muslims here making a fantastic contribution to our country, so that proposal’s been dropped which I think is the right thing to do,’ Mr Cameron told ITV’s Good Morning Britain programme.

“‘But look, I will await the outcome of the US election, I won’t get involved in any way. Whoever wins that election, I’m sure the British Prime Minister will have a good relationship with them as we always have done…’”

That Trump dropped his proposal regarding the ban of visiting Muslims is news to us. The American press did not report this at all.

Bilderberg’s Fight Against Brexit

IBT wrote on June 6:

“As the EU referendum looms, a great counsel of war is gathering. Henri de Castries, the Chairman of the influential Bilderberg Group, has made his way to the highest hill above Dresden… Responding to his call, 140 or so of the most powerful pro-European business leaders and politicians will… discuss the future of [the] free trade zone.

“The annual three-day Bilderberg conference kicks off on Thursday, and you can be sure the mood in Dresden will be a grim one. The heads of Google, Shell, BP and Deutsche Bank will be there, and Brexit will be top of the agenda. The Bilderberg Group has been nurturing the EU to life since the 1950s…

“‘A disaster for everyone’ is how Henri de Castries, the boss of AXA and a director of HSBC, describes Brexit. But in particular, it is a disaster for his banking and big business colleagues at Bilderberg. Thomas Enders, the CEO of Airbus, who sits on Bilderberg’s steering committee – the group’s governing body – said, in a recent interview with CNBC, that his industry would be ‘lobbying’ against Brexit…”

Even though European leaders may be working behind the scenes, it has become obvious that officially, they are silencing themselves. Note the next article.

Europe Is Silencing Itself Over Brexit

Deutsche Welle wrote on June 5:

“EU leaders are trying to help the pro-European camp in the Brexit referendum by staying out of the debate. That could be a mistake. It also tells us a lot about the state of EU-UK relations…

“At the moment, trips to the dis-United Kingdom are being avoided like the plague. British EU Commissioner Jonathan Hill was the last EU dignitary that dared travel to London – 14 days ago. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has muzzled himself. He has said that he intends to be ‘as quiet as possible’ on the issue. The same goes for the rest of Brussels’ EU crew. The President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, urgently warned of the negative consequences of a Brexit, but he did so in a safe haven – an experts’ conference in Brussels.

“The EU, and especially the European Commission, are extremely unpopular in the finicky kingdom. Therefore, Juncker’s communications strategists have decided that the best course of action is to remain as invisible as possible. It must be said that it is shameful that EU leaders lack the confidence to fight for their own interests. How desperate has the current political culture become when public appearances are now considered provocations? Even those fighting for the truculent Brits to remain in the Union are begging for Europe to refrain from supporting them.

“British Prime Minister David Cameron prefers to fight it out in televised debates on his own. He is playing the role of the lone superhero that tamed the European monster and wrestled the best possible deal for oppressed Brits out of Brussels’ claws. Appearances by the bad boys from Brussels would only confuse this… narrative.

“Meanwhile… clear messages from the EU would likely be counterproductive… Nevertheless, it is still rather perplexing that the European Union has decided to duck the debate in a referendum that is specifically about the Union itself…

“When the dust settles after the explosion that will be the June 23 referendum, people in Brussels will have to ask themselves if remaining silent was really the right strategy… To stand up loud and clear for more Europe is out – tiptoeing is the order of the day… One who is ashamed of doing the right thing can excite no one.”

What If?

The Local wrote on June 6:

“Media reports in recent months have suggested that the financial capital on the Main could steal London’s banking thunder if Britain votes to leave the EU…

“At first glance, Frankfurt am Main looks like the perfect candidate to become the financial centre of the EU if Britain really cuts ties with Brussels after the vote on June 23rd. The city can point to almost 200 foreign banks with a presence there and 62,500 people – almost a tenth of the population – employed in the banking sector. ‘Large numbers of specialist workers, good infrastructure and not least the strongest national economy in the EU’ – as well as the European Central Bank (ECB) planted firmly in its new headquarters just outside the city centre – are sure to provide ‘a certain magnet effect,’ said Stefan Winter of UBS, head of the Association of Foreign Banks in Germany…

“There is no question that banks need a presence in an EU member state to do business with customers inside the Union… As home not just to the ECB but the European insurance regulator EIOPA, Frankfurt may well be the EU’s capital of financial regulation. And Frankfurt-based stock market operator Deutsche Börse is in the process of merging with the London Stock Exchange company (LSE)…

“Many German eyes have turned towards Deutsche Bank with its 9,000 workers in London. ‘If [we’re going to move] at all, it would be Frankfurt,’ CEO John Cryan told the Financial Times (FT) in April. The veteran British bank executive had told the Deutsche Bank annual meeting earlier this year that ‘with its strong presence in Frankfurt and London, Deutsche Bank is well-positioned to manage the short- and long-term effects of a Brexit.’…”

Ramadan in China

AFP wrote on June 6:

“China has marked the start of Ramadan with its customary ban on civil servants, students and children in a mainly-Muslim region from taking part in fasting, government websites said, as the holy month started on Monday. China’s ruling Communist party is officially atheist and for years has banned government employees and minors from fasting in Xinjiang, home to the more than 10 million Muslim Uighur minority. It has also ordered restaurants to stay open.

“The region sees regular clashes between Uighurs and state security forces, and Beijing has blamed deadly attacks there and elsewhere in China on militants seeking independence for the resource-rich region. Rights groups blame tensions on religious and cultural restrictions placed on Uighurs and other Muslim minorities… Several local government departments in Xinjiang posted notices on their websites in the last week ordering restrictions on fasting during Ramadan…”

Poland Plans Paramilitary Force of 35,000 to Counter Russia

BBC News reported on June 3:

“The force will have civilian volunteers trained in military skills. It is aimed at countering ‘hybrid’ warfare of the kind that led parts of Ukraine to break away and pledge loyalty to Russia.

“Nato also plans to reinforce Poland. One Nato battalion will be deployed to Poland and three more to the neighbouring Baltic states – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The total troop deployment is expected to be about 4,000, on a rotating basis… Several of Nato’s 28 member states will send troops to beef up the alliance’s presence in the east, near the Russian border…

“Russian Foreign Ministry department chief Andrei Kelin, quoted by Reuters news agency, said the deployment of four Nato battalions to the region ‘would be a very dangerous build-up of armed forces pretty close to our borders’. Russia has announced plans to send three new military divisions to areas close to its western and southern borders. Military sources quoted by Russian media say they are likely to be motorised rifle formations of about 10,000 soldiers each.”

“US Navy Alarmed by ‘Effective, Advanced’ Russian Subs”

RT is a Russian government-owned and -funded television network. It wrote on June 4:

“New, silent, and deadly Russian submarines are challenging NATO’s maritime dominance, says a senior US admiral who calls the current situation a ‘Battle of the Atlantic,’ comparing it to the Cold War and the two World Wars. ‘Once again, an effective, skilled, and technologically advanced Russian submarine force is challenging us,’ Vice Admiral James Foggo III, commander of the US 6th Fleet, wrote in the June issue of the US Naval Institute’s magazine, Proceedings.’… ‘Russia has the capability to hold nearly all NATO maritime forces at risk. No longer is the maritime space uncontested. For the first time in almost 30 years, Russia is a significant and aggressive maritime power.’…

“While Russian deployments of attack and ballistic missile submarines are at levels unseen since the Cold War, the US Navy has only 53 submarines in service, and that number will drop to 41 by the late 2020s due to budget constraints’…

“Money worries may be behind the US Navy’s sudden obsession with Russian naval power. At $3 billion apiece, the Seawolf was the most expensive US submarine ever built before the program was canceled in 2005. The proposed Pentagon budget for 2017 allocates $18.3 billion for shipbuilding.”

Governmental Rewards for Illegally Killing Criminals in the Philippines

AFP wrote on June 3:

“Mr Duterte [in the Philippines] won last month’s elections in a landslide after pledging to wipe out crime by killing tens of thousands of criminals, and this week said he would pay bounties to law enforcement officers for dead drug traffickers. Tomas Osmena, mayor-elect of Cebu, the nation’s second-biggest city, offered similar rewards and announced on his Facebook page on Thursday night he had paid out $4,480 to police who killed three men he said were drug traffickers…

“Mr Duterte this week urged security forces to begin the war on crime immediately, calling on them to kill criminals. Mr Duterte announced on Tuesday he would pay $28,509 to law enforcers for killing drug lords, with lesser amounts for lower-ranking people in drug syndicates…

“Mr Duterte’s law-and-order campaign pledges hypnotised millions of Filipinos hoping for quick solutions to the nation’s deep-rooted problems of crime and corruption. However, human rights groups and other critics voiced alarm that a Duterte presidency would lead to extrajudicial killings and a general breakdown in the rule of law…

“Earlier this week, Mr Duterte told reporters there was justification for killing journalists who took bribes or engaged in other corrupt activities.”

It seems that nations are moving toward a de facto state of Marshall Law. Especially ominous is the terrorist situation in Europe—how will nations like Germany react to hundreds and hundreds of extremists dedicated to creating mayhem in the country? Also, there is such a breakdown of civility in the US in the current presidential campaigns that outright rioting seems to be in store for America. To be fair, most of the “riots” at the Trump campaigns are instigated by left-wing radicals who are paid for their appearance and disturbing interruption. But we can easily see that their provocations will be met with retaliation in the longer run.

Assisted Suicide Now Legal in Canada, Some US States and Other Countries

The Associated Press reported on June 7:

“Doctor-assisted dying is about to become legal in Canada without clear legislation on how it would work.

“Canada’s Supreme Court last year struck down laws that bar doctors from helping someone critically ill die, but put the ruling on hold until midnight Monday to give the government time to come up with a new law. The House of Commons passed a law last week but it requires Senate approval and that could take days or weeks…

“Assisted suicide is legal in Switzerland, Germany, Albania, Colombia, Japan and the U.S. states of Washington, Oregon, Vermont, New Mexico and Montana. California lawmakers also passed legislation, expected to take effect in June, where proof of state residency will be required.

“Canada’s Supreme Court ruling means a doctor can’t be prosecuted for assisting death for those with a ‘grievous and irremediable’ illness. The government’s proposed law applies to ‘adults who are suffering intolerably and for whom death is reasonably foreseeable.’ It says the person must be mentally competent, 18 or older, have a serious and incurable disease, illness or disability and be in an advanced state of irreversible decline of capability.

“The proposed Canadian law applies only to citizens and residents, meaning Americans won’t be able to travel to Canada to die. To get a doctor’s help under Canada’s proposed law, written request is required either from the patient or a designated person if the patient is incapable. The request would need to be signed by two independent witnesses. Two independent physicians or authorized nurse practitioners would have to evaluate it, and there would be a mandatory 15-day waiting period unless death or loss of capacity to consent was imminent.

“Some groups have said the law doesn’t go far enough and have noted [the] law excludes people who have received a diagnosis of dementia or Parkinson’s from making a request in advance for assisted suicide.

“Before the Supreme Court decision last year, it had been illegal in Canada to counsel, aid or abet a suicide, an offense carrying a maximum prison sentence of 14 years. But the top court said doctors are capable of assessing the competence of patients to consent, and found there is no evidence that the elderly or people with disabilities are vulnerable to being talked into ending their lives.”

23rd Gay Pride Parade in Tel Aviv

JTA wrote on June 3:

“Approximately 200,000 people, including many tourists, gathered in central Tel Aviv for the city’s 23rd gay pride event… Among the first-time foreign participants this year in the parade is Buck Angel, a transgender male adult film producer, actor and motivational speaker from California… ‘ It’s exciting to see the gay community being accepted in the Middle East, and it’s generating change.’

“… violence against homosexuals is relatively rare in Israel, which is rated by many LGBT publications as one of the world’s best and safest travel destinations.”

Tel Aviv has become the “capital” of LGBT activities in the Middle East… a very sad “honor.”

Jewish Groups Support Transgender “Rights”

JTA wrote on June 2:

“Jewish groups in Massachusetts are hailing the passage of a bill by the state’s House of Representatives that will extend the anti-discrimination protections for transgender people in public accommodations.

“The controversial measure, approved Wednesday by a vote of 116-32, allows people to use facilities such as restrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identity. Public accommodations include places such as malls, restaurants and libraries. An amendment by opponents that would have specifically excluded religious institutions such as churches and synagogues was defeated.

“… the bill now heads to a joint legislative conference committee to iron out differences with the version approved earlier by the state Senate. The Senate is led by Stan Rosenberg, its first Jewish president and one who is openly gay. The final version will go to Gov. Charlie Baker, who on the eve of the House vote ended his months-long neutral stance, saying he would sign the bill being considered by the House.

“Seventeen other states and the District of Columbia have similar laws. ‘On the first day of Pride month, to kick off this month, it’s a moment that the Jewish community can be proud of to be on the right side of this issue,’ said Jeremy Burton, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston.

“… The state of North Carolina has come under fire for a law passed in March requiring that one use the bathroom according to the gender on a person’s birth certificate.”

Why are we surprised that God, in biblical prophecy, is saying harsh things about the modern state of Israel and the Jewish people in general, challenging them to repent of their abominations?

Two More Saints in the Catholic Church—Worship of “Virgin Mary” Strongly Propagated

The Associated Press wrote on June 5:

“Pope Francis has proclaimed two new saints: a Lutheran convert who hid Jews during World War II and the Polish founder of the first men’s religious order dedicated to the immaculate conception. Francis called Swedish-born Elizabeth Hesselblad and Stanislaus Papczynski ‘exemplary witnesses to this mystery of resurrection’ during the canonization Mass on Sunday in St. Peter’s Square.

“Hesselblad saved the lives of several Jewish families by hiding them in the Roman convent where she was superior. She is Sweden’s second saint in 625 years, following Saint Bridget, who was canonized in 1391.

“Stanislaus of Jesus and Mary, as he is known, supported hospitals and shelters for the poor in the 17th Century. His crowning achievement was founding the order of Marian Fathers, which preached the cult of Holy Mary.”

The unbiblical worship of the “Virgin Mary,” which can actually be traced to pre-Christian pagan rites and practices, will increase in the future. Even many Muslims and many Protestants don’t seem to be opposed to this wrong concept.

Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

A new Member Letter (June 2016) has been written and sent out. In this letter, Elder Kalon Mitchell addresses the fact that God has called us at the end of the age and that we must stay close to Him in completing the Work given to us. Mr. Mitchell’s full letter is available for reading on our website:

“What if Britain Leaves Europe?” is the title of a new StandingWatch program present by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:

On June 23, the British people will decide in a referendum whether or not Britain will leave the EU. We know from Holy Scriptures that ultimately, a Brexit will occur. EU leaders have muzzled themselves, fearing that their involvement would hurt and not help those in Britain who want to stay. These fears are shared by David Cameron. This shows how unpopular the EU is in Britain, and how precarious the relationship has become between the EU and GB. IF and WHEN Britain leaves, who is destined to become the EU’s “financial center” and “capital of financial regulation”?

“Ein heiliges Volk” is the title of this coming Sabbath’s German sermon. Title in English: “A Holy People.”

“Pfingsten 2016–Gottes Fest der Erstlinge,” is the title of the German sermon for the Feast of Pentecost. Title in English: “Pentecost 2016–God’s Feast of the Firstfruits.”

“Desire to Win,” the sermonette presented last Sabbath by Kalon Mitchell, is now posted. Here is a summary:

How do we accomplish our day to day tasks? Do we do so with joy and happiness, or do we become resentful and angry? The desire to win is put within all of us. It’s what drives us forward. As Christians, we have to take this opportunity and use the potential that God has given to us. Whatever pain and struggle that we have, it will be worth it in the end.

Is the Earth a Flat Disc?,” the sermon presented last Sabbath by Norbert Link, is now posted. Here is a summary:

Is the earth really a globe, or spherical, as science tells us, or is it perhaps a flat disc, which rests on pillars, as some teach who claim that they base their conclusions on the Bible? How are we to understand Scriptures which tell us that the sun stood still or that it runs its race? Doesn’t this show that the sun revolves or orbits around the earth, rather than the earth revolving around the sun? And doesn’t the Bible say that the earth does not move or rotate? But how can there be day and night at the same time, when from sunrise to sunset, the sun shines during the entire time on the “flat earth”? What happens to the waters of the oceans, if the earth is a disc?

We received the following encouraging comments from brethren in the Philippines regarding our latest booklet, “Punishment for Our Sins”:

“On behalf of Makati church and our group we would like to thank your church for your labor of love in giving us [the] booklet. By the way, we are using your news reports every Sabbath service to update the brethren on what is happening around the world.”

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