This Week in the News

The World in Crisis

Deutsche Welle wrote on February 11:

The world is in crisis — and the US is only making things worse. That’s the bold verdict of the Munich Security Report (MSR)…

“President Donald Trump’s administration… is showing little interest in holding to international agreements… Even worse: Under Trump, the US appears ready to relinquish its role as a leading power in what is often still called the ‘free world’…

“The rivalry between the US and Russia… remains mired in accusations and counteraccusations about arms… ‘The European Union is particularly ill-prepared for a new era of great power competition,’ the MSR declares… [2019] is going to be a fateful year for the European Union… it [is] important that [it is shown to the] non-European participants that the EU is ready to fight for its interests by asserting itself…

“Brexit proceedings will continue to inflict wounds on both sides of the Channel for years to come…

“Can Germany’s leaders save the liberal order?  Can the European Union play a role, or is it too weak?… a new survey… found that only 42 percent of French people, as opposed to 59 percent of Germans, believe their country should remain neutral in international questions. Similarly, far more German than French people reject military interventions (65 percent to 50 percent)… The current crisis of the trans-Atlantic partnership is a bigger challenge for Germany than for France…”

Even though polls differ widely as to how many Germans are in favor of military interventions of their country, the Bible shows that parts of continental Europe, under German and perhaps Austrian leadership, will emerge as a very powerful political, economic and military bloc, which WILL become engaged in military actions.

Sebastian Kurz… the New European Leader?

The American Interest wrote on February 8:

 “For years it has been an open question who will be the informal ‘leader of Europe.’ Over the last few years, it has been assumed that only Angela Merkel or Emanuel Macron could be serious contenders for the job—only natural given that Germany and France are the biggest countries within the European Union.

“But the European project is in crisis once again. Angela Merkel is out, and the clout of her younger successor Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (AKK) has yet to be proven. Meanwhile, Macron’s support has dried up and Paris is burning… The weakness of both Macron and Merkel, of both France and Germany, opens the door to another player on the European chessboard: the Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.

“At first glance it seems controversial to claim that the Prime Minister of a country with less than nine million inhabitants can become the key European leader. But Kurz has proved he has more vision than any of his peers, and that he understands better than anyone how politics on the European level is going to work going forward.

“On the key question of migration, Kurz was already positioning himself as a guy who can get things done while media mandarins from the West were celebrating Angela Merkel for her ‘bravery’ in doing nothing…

“Whereas the euro crisis was mainly a north-south affair, the migrant crisis revealed a new east-west rift in Europe. The rift manifested itself most vividly in the founding of the so-called Visegard Group of countries—the coming together of Hungary, Poland, Czechia, and Slovakia—who all favored a drastically different approach to migration… all of these states were part of the Warsaw Pact, dominated by Moscow…

“Austria is not a formal member of this grouping, but it is highly respected among them… All members of the Visegrad Group were either part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire or have kept historically close relations with Vienna. Before World War I, Austria was the dominant Western power in the Balkans… during the Cold War, Austria, due to its neutrality, maintained special relations with all these states…

“Fredrick the Great once said that the most important precondition for any good foreign policy is a good domestic policy, since ‘no one will be respected by others if he is weak at home.’ Kurz probably knows that dictum.”

Even though Kurz might very well play an important role in the future, as pertaining to the unification process of Europe, his present policies do not reflect the kind of concepts which would have to be expected from THE coming European leader.

Sweden Suspends Schengen Agreement

Express wrote on February 11:

“Sweden has passed plans to scrap the EU’s Schengen rules and extend border checks for another three months over fears of public safety… Sweden first brought in the checks in autumn 2015 after hundreds of thousands of migrants arrived in the country after travelling through Europe. Interior minister Mikael Damberg hit out at the EU and what he saw as failures of the Schengen agreement, which grants free movement between participating countries across Europe.

“When announcing the measures on Thursday, he said: ‘Sweden is one of a handful of countries that continue to have internal border controls due to lack of border controls at the Schengen’s external borders’… In a statement, the government said: ‘The decision is based on the government’s assessment that there is a threat to public order and internal security in Sweden.’”

Sweden might end up outside the emerging core European power bloc, to be consisting of ten nations or groups of nations. Britain will most certainly not be part of it. Note the next article.

Another Brexit Defeat for May

Deutsche Welle wrote on February 14:

“Lawmakers in Westminster have voted against the government’s motion to send the PM back to the EU for final negotiations… Now that the motion has failed,  May will have almost zero credibility left to continue talks with the EU… May lost support from both the hard-Leave and hard-Remain factions of her own party, leading to the motion failing…

“Across the English Channel, Germany’s Justice Minister, the half-German half-British Katarina Barley, told DW that it seemed to her like May ‘is only trying to gain time and put more pressure on the other member states. And that is a strategy that will not work out.’ Barley also criticized British MPs who are resisting the backstop measure to avoid at all costs a hard Irish border…”

The Controversy regarding the Nord Stream 2 Pipeline

The EUObserver wrote on February 8:

Germany alone will decide whether to enforce EU law on its new gas pipeline with Russia, after France caved in during last-minute talks on the issue…

“Leaving Germany the option whether to impose the EU laws on Nord Stream 2 might see Gazprom keep its monopoly…

“Opponents of Nord Stream 2 include most eastern EU countries, the Nordic states, and the UK… Nord Stream 2 is to concentrate 70 percent of Russian gas sales to the EU in Germany. Its opponents, including the US, say Russia has a track record of using gas-cut offs to ‘blackmail’ its neighbours. They also say it might embolden Russian aggression in east Ukraine, which Russia invaded in 2014…

“EU leaders recently agreed to aim for ‘strategic autonomy’ in foreign policy and military terms, amid Franco-German plans for joint EU armed forces.  The US has threatened to impose sanctions on Anglo-Dutch, Austrian, French, and German energy firms who co-financed Nord Stream 2. It has also posted troops as part of a Nato battalion to Poland to deter Russian aggression in wider Europe.”

The EUObserver added on February 13:

“Germany will need to make sure that EU rules are being followed by Russia’s controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline currently under construction, it was decided in negotiations between EU institutions on Tuesday evening… If Gazprom does not adhere to all EU rules and Germany decides to ignore it, the commission can start an infringement procedure. However, this legal route would mean that it can take a long time before the commission could make Germany reverse course.”

Once again and in the face of tremendous opposing pressure, Germany has still emerged as the leader of Europe.

Disconnecting the Internet in Russia?

ZDNet wrote on February 11:

“Russian authorities and major internet providers are planning to disconnect the country from the internet as part of a planned experiment… The reason for the experiment is to gather insight and provide feedback and modifications to a proposed law introduced in the Russian Parliament in December 2018. A first draft of the law mandated that Russian internet providers should ensure the independence of the Russian internet space (Runet) in the case of foreign aggression to disconnect the country from the rest of the internet. In addition, Russian telecom firms would also have to install ‘technical means’ to re-route all Russian internet traffic to exchange points approved or managed by Roskomnazor, Russia’s telecom watchdog. Roskomnazor will inspect the traffic to block prohibited content and make sure traffic between Russian users stays inside the country…

“A date for the test has not been revealed, but it’s supposed to take place before April 1, the deadline for submitting amendments to the law–known as the Digital Economy National Program… The proposed law, fully endorsed by President Putin, is expected to pass. Ongoing discussions are in regards to finding the proper technical methods to disconnect Russia from the internet with minimal downtime to consumers and government agencies… The end goal is for Russian authorities to implement a web traffic filtering system like China’s Great Firewall, but also have a fully working country-wide intranet in case the country needs to disconnect.”

BBC added on February 11:

“It’s important to understand a little about how the internet works. It is essentially a series of thousands of digital networks along which information travels. These networks are connected by router points – and they are notoriously the weakest link in the chain. What Russia wants to do is to bring those router points that handle data entering or exiting the country within its borders and under its control– so that it can then pull up the drawbridge, as it were, to external traffic…– or if it decides to censor what outside information people can access.

“China’s firewall is probably the world’s best known censorship tool and it has become a sophisticated operation. It also polices its router points, using filters and blocks on keywords and certain websites and redirecting web traffic so that computers cannot connect to sites the state does not wish Chinese citizens to see.”

The Guardian wrote on February 12:

“Ostensibly the goal of the legislation is to protect the Russian internet from the US… However, many observers think the creation of a Russian intranet is a further step towards a goal of duplicating the Great Firewall of China to restrict the access of the country’s internet users to content deemed harmful by the authorities.

“Russia has already moved to block webpages run by opposition figures… Russia has tried, so far with extremely limited success, to block Telegram, a popular encrypted messaging service, but its use continues to be widespread, including among some senior Russian government officials…”

In other words, Russia’s “big brother” approach wants to have total supervision and control over the communication of their citizens and it wants to be able, at the same time, to prevent any communication of Russian citizens with anyone outside Russia. This reveals an unrestricted totalitarian system, which should wake up everybody who still may be in doubt about the real motives of Vladimir Putin. The same goes for dictatorial China. Ultimately, Satan is behind this, as this would be a means of preventing the preaching of the gospel in those countries.

Deal Reached to Avoid Shutdown

The Washington Post wrote on February 11:

“Key lawmakers said late Monday they had reached a tentative agreement over immigration rules and funding for border barriers…

“The framework would provide $1.375 billion for barriers along the border, including 55 miles of new fencing, with certain restrictions on the location… Trump called for using $5.7 billion in taxpayer money to construct more than 200 miles of wall along the U.S.-Mexico border…”

NBC wrote on February 12:

“President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he is ‘extremely unhappy’ with the bipartisan deal… but he vowed to build a border wall anyway…”

Newsmax wrote on February 13:

“President Donald Trump [is] expected to grudgingly accept [the] agreement that would keep the government open but provide just a fraction of the money he’s been demanding for his Mexican border wall…

“Trump has a history of suddenly balking at deals after signaling he would sign them… Trump and his aides have also signaled that he is preparing to use executive action to try to secure additional funding for the wall by shifting federal dollars [including from disaster relief funds] without congressional sign-off.

“Accepting the deal… would be a disappointment for a president who has repeatedly insisted he needs $5.7 billion for a barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border and painted the project as paramount for national security. Trump turned down a similar deal in December, forcing the 35-day partial shutdown that left hundreds of thousands of federal workers without paychecks and Republicans reeling… Democrats are also pressing to try to make sure employees of federal contractors receive back pay for wages lost during the last shutdown…

“… the proposal was met with fury by some on the right, including Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity, a close friend of the president, who slammed it as a ‘garbage compromise.’”

In addition, extreme right-wing anti-immigration proponents like Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter and Lou Dobbs also voiced their sharp disagreement with the deal. In the past, President Trump listened to them and rejected a similar deal in 2018 (of $1.6 billion for 65 miles of fencing), even though he had said earlier that he would sign it. However, it is felt that if he were to refuse to sign THIS deal, his veto would be overruled by Congress. Subsequently, Trump announced that he would sign the deal… but for a price. Note the next articles.

Trump to Declare National Emergency

Deutsche Welle wrote on February 14:

“White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders and Senator Mitch McConnell have said President Trump will declare a national emergency at the border with Mexico. He will also support a funding bill to avert another shutdown… Such a declaration will likely lead to a court battle between the government and lawmakers over the president’s ability to redirect money Congress committed to other uses.

“Under the National Emergencies Act, the president can declare a national emergency [and] then be granted power by other laws to declare martial law, suspend civil liberties, expand the military, seize property and restrict trade, communications and financial transactions.

“Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he would support Trump’s emergency declaration. That is a turnabout for the Republican leader who, like Democrats and some of his fellow Republicans, had until now opposed such a declaration…

“Reaction to Trump’s intention to declare a national emergency has been swift… ‘Declaring a national emergency would be a lawless act, a gross abuse of the power of the presidency and a desperate attempt to distract from the fact that President Trump broke his core promise to have Mexico pay for his wall,’ [Speaker of the House Nancy] Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement.”

The Guardian added on February 14:

“Lawmakers of both parties have raised concerns about Trump declaring a state of emergency… Senator Susan Collins, a Republican from Maine, said Trump’s use of a state of emergency is of ‘dubious constitutionality’ and will face challenges in court. ‘We have a crisis at our southern border, but no crisis justifies violating the Constitution,’ said Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida. He warned that Trump was setting a precedent: ‘A future president may use this exact same tactic to impose the Green New Deal.’…

“Pelosi told reporters that she would consider a legal challenge to the declaration – something that most observers say is inevitable and would likely result in a victory. ‘You want to talk about a national emergency – let’s talk about today,’ Pelosi said, noting that it was the first anniversary of the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, which claimed 17 lives. ‘That’s a national emergency. Why don’t you declare that emergency, Mr President.'”

It appears certain that a declaration of a national emergency will be immediately challenged in court and, as a first step, it will be stayed. Most legal experts feel that President Trump does not have the constitutional authority to declare a national emergency and to redirect funds. One of those experts is Judge Andrew Napolitano who already stated in early January that President Trump does not have such authority. He reiterated his opinion again on February 14, as reported by Fox News.

Fox Business News wrote on January 7, 2019:

“President Trump is looking for ways to get his wall on the southern border built, but Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano said he does not have the authority to declare a national emergency and use the resources to build the wall. ‘The Supreme Court has made it very clear – even in times of emergency – the president of the United States of America cannot spend money unless it’s been authorized by the Congress,’ Napolitano told FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo on Monday…

“In 1950, President Harry Truman proclaimed a state of emergency during the Korean War to nationalize the steel industry, but the Supreme Court struck it down. ‘When there was a steel strike during the Korean War he asked the Congress to seize the steel mills and operate them against the striker’s wishes and produce steel for our troops who desperately needed [it] in the Korean War,’ said Napolitano. ‘The Supreme Court said no, you can’t do that. Congress can do it. Congress can pay for the steel mills and operate them but the president can’t do it on his own.’”

U.S. Government’s Public Debt Higher than Ever

npr wrote on February 13:

“The U.S. government’s public debt is now more than $22 trillion — the highest it has ever been. The Treasury Department data comes as tax revenue has fallen and federal spending continues to rise. The new debt level reflects a rise of more than $2 trillion from the day President Trump took office in 2017… the U.S. is projected to rack up annual deficits and incur national debt at rates not seen since the 1940s, according to the Congressional Budget Office…

“Annual deficits and the national debt rose to new heights under the Obama administration, and the trend has continued under President Trump… The national debt nearly doubled under Obama: It was $10.6 trillion when he took office and was nearly $20 trillion when he left…”

Trump’s Approval Rating Highest since 2017

The New York Post wrote on February 11:

“President Trump’s approval rating has reached 52 percent… his highest level since shortly after his inauguration in 2017… Trump’s approval rating was at 55 percent just days after he was sworn in as president on Jan. 20, 2017…

“His marks have been on the rise since his State of the Union address last Tuesday and in the wake of the 35-day partial government shutdown over border security and his demand for $5.7 billion in funding for a border wall.”

Trump’s Foreign Policy Has Arrived

The National Interest wrote on February 9:

“Donald Trump is moving to assert control over foreign affairs. The most prominent members of his original foreign policy team—Rex Tillerson, H.R. McMaster, James N. Mattis and Nikki Haley—are gone…

“During his first two years, Trump took several steps that appealed to his base—abandoning the Iran nuclear deal, withdrawing from the Paris climate accord, imposing trade tariffs and demanding that NATO allies contribute more financially—but he did not fundamentally reorient American foreign policy. In recent months, with his declarations that he wishes to withdraw American troops from Syria as well as Afghanistan, Trump has signaled that he is returning to the precepts that he enunciated in 2016…

“Does Trump… mark the end of an era?… In his hostility to the European Union—he referred to it in July as a ‘foe’—Trump has made it plain that he wants to deal with states on an individual basis when it comes to trade matters, which is why he has urged Britain, among other things, to fulfill Brexit and conclude a separate deal with America…

“In assessing Trump, for example, Antony J. Blinken and Robert Kagan in the Washington Post offered a predictable peroration: “‘If the United States abdicates its leading role in shaping international rules and institutions—and mobilizing others to defend them—then one of two things will happen: Some other power or powers will step in and move the world in ways that advance their interests and values, not ours. Or… the world will descend into chaos and conflict, and the jungle will overtake us, as it did in the 1930s…”

The Terrible State of Affairs in Venezuela

Express wrote on February 13:

“MILLIONS of Venezuelans are starving, while their streets are ridden with disease and rubbish piles line the streets…

“Since 2013 [Nicholas] Maduro has oppressed political dissidents, eroded the country’s constitution, and been accused of election fixing, to solidify his grip on power. Under his rule, life in the South American country has become a living nightmare with annual inflation at 1.7million percent…

“Nearly 90 percent of Venezuelans now live in poverty… The brutal tyranny of the left-wing regime has caused many to fear speaking out against Maduro’s rule since he came to power… A chronic shortage of medicines means measles and Diphtheria are spreading throughout the country. Meanwhile… 73 Venezuelans died a violent death every day in 2017.

Following the re-election of Maduro as president in a corrupt election last year, the leader of the country’s national assembly, Juan Guaido, claimed the constitution gave him the legal authority of president until new elections could be held. His claim to power has been supported by the UK, US and many other national leaders, giving hope the Maduro regime could soon collapse.”

The Independent wrote on February 13:

“Beleaguered Venezuelan president Nicholas Maduro has accused the Trump administration of warmongering and has claimed the White House is controlled by the Ku Klux Klan… Maduro insisted he would not give in to what he said was a foreign attempt to back a coup…

“Russia, China, Turkey and Mexico continue to recognise Mr Maduro as president, as does, crucially, the Venezuelan military. Mr Maduro has been criticised for moving to block humanitarian aid from the US that many in his country would welcome…”

Will Hawaii Ban Smoking Altogether?

BBC News wrote on February 5:

In a new bill, proposed by Democrat Richard Creagan, the smoking age [in Hawaii] would increase rapidly between 2020 and 2024. It will need to pass through the state legislature and weather a potentially strong backlash from tobacco companies in order to become state law…

“Dr Creagan, who was an emergency room physician before he was elected as state representative in 2014, calls the cigarette ‘the deadliest artefact in human history’ in the bill. In January 2017, Hawaii became the first US state to raise its smoking age to 21. In other US states the legal age is usually 18 or 19. The new bill, HB 1509, suggests that the smoking age should go up to 30 in 2020, 40 in 2021, 50 in 2022, and 60 in 2023 – until finally, in 2024, people would need to be 100 years old to buy cigarettes.

“He told the Hawaii Tribune-Herald that a ‘ridiculously bad industry’ had designed the cigarette to be ‘highly addictive, knowing that it is highly lethal’… E-cigarettes and cigars are left out of the bill because Dr Creagan believes they are significantly safer for smokers than regular cigarettes – although the National Cancer Institute warns that ‘all tobacco products are harmful and cause cancer’…

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US say that cigarette smoking is the top cause of preventable disease and death in the country. About half a million people in the US die every year from smoking-related conditions.”

Everybody knows or should know that smoking cigarettes is causing cancer and premature death. But due to the powerful and dishonest tobacco industry, it is still allowed and promoted, thereby causing the DEATH of many gullible, careless and deeply selfish people, but also of innocent victims, due to second-hand smoke.

Now… Revocation of Medical Exemptions in California?

Even though the following article is somewhat dated, its relevance and actuality is still, sadly and shockingly, far too real and exemplifies the ungodly and very dangerous proposals of left-wing politicians. US News and World Report wrote on October 29, 2018:

“In 2015, California passed a law eliminating personal belief exemptions for vaccinations that kids must receive before they can attend public school… The 2015 law made California the first state in nearly 35 years to eliminate personal belief exemptions for mandatory vaccinations…

“Democratic state Sen. Dr. Richard Pan, a pediatrician and author of the California law… [would] like to amend California law so public health officials would have the power to revoke doctors’ authority to issue medical exemptions… [and] invalidate all of the medical exemptions that have been inappropriately written, as a threat to public health…”

This whole ridiculous argument for vaccinations constitutes a damnable and ungodly development. The so-called success of vaccinations is highly disputed, and there are clearly many proven cases of terrible side effects, including autism, due to vaccinations. To use a totally unsubstantiated claim of “inappropriately written” medical exemptions as “justification” for the prohibition and revocation exemplifies once more the terrible development within the hype of vaccinations, which is being supported and endorsed by left-wing politicians, and if enacted, would be contributing to and causing the DEATH of innocent children! Note the next article.

More than Half of American Parents against Flu Shots

Study Finds wrote on February 9:

“Millions of parents in America have reservations about their child getting the flu shot… A recent survey shows that more than a half of parents believe their child can get the flu from the vaccine itself, while a third simply believes it doesn’t work.

“… doctors say there’s no risk of contracting the virus from the vaccine itself. The body takes up to two weeks to develop the correct responses to the flu after receiving the vaccine, so if one contracts the disease immediately after getting vaccinated, they could still get sick, experts warn.

“Of course, the belief that the vaccine causes autism has been a topic of debate for many years, with 28% of respondents in this latest survey believing that it does. Three in ten respondents believe the flu shot is actually a conspiracy. Still, doctors insist it’s simply not true… Medical experts recommend every healthy person over the age of six months get a flu shot every year…”

Of course, the article claims that medical experts, paid by the medical industry, assure us that flu shots work and are safe, and conveniently asserts that when someone gets sick after receiving the flu shot, it is not the flu shot’s “fault.” This IS in fact a conspiracy which we should not believe. However, the next article addresses a conspiracy theory which is ludicrous.

Flat Earth Nonsense

The Guardian wrote on February 9:

“Though not a new phenomenon, flat Earth theory has enjoyed a huge resurgence recently. A YouGov poll indicated that a third of Americans aged 18 to 24 were unsure of the shape of our planet, in spite of scientific proofs…”

The IGNORANCE of these people and their willingness to fall for such completely ridiculous nonsense is truly shocking.

Drift of North Magnetic Pole

CNN wrote on February 5:

“The north magnetic pole has been drifting so fast that it could be a problem for smartphone maps and navigation systems… unlike the geographic north pole, which is fixed, the north magnetic pole has been slowly migrating over time — moving across the Canadian Arctic toward Russia since 1831.

“But its swift pace toward Siberia in recent years at a rate of around 34 miles per year has forced scientists to update the World Magnetic Model… a year ahead of schedule… The model… is typically updated every five years, the most recent being in 2015… the model’s primary user is the military.

“… Scientists first noticed the change in 2018… which showed the pole had gone beyond the model’s predicted area… The drift is caused by processes deep inside the planet… Some scientists think a jet stream of molten liquid is pushing the north pole, while others have suggested that the south and north magnetic poles are reversing positions…”

It will remain to be seen whether catastrophic occurrences could be the result of this apparent shift.

Decline in Insect Populations

Fox News wrote on February 11:

A decline in insect populations happening across the planet has Earth’s ecosystems and humankind facing catastrophic consequences. The sobering message has emerged from a comprehensive review of 73 historical reports on insect population declines which found the rate of extinction is eight times faster than vertebrates such as mammals, birds and reptiles… Humans have wiped out about 60 percent of the planet’s animal life since 1970…

“Insects are considered vital to many of nature’s ecosystems for the productive role they play, particularly in controlling populations of other organisms. They maintain soil structure and fertility, pollinate plants and control insect and plant pests. Many insects feed on dead animals and fallen trees, thereby recycling nutrients back into the soil. Various insects are also a common food source for larger animals… If this food source is taken away, all these animals starve to death…

“The main driver behind the decline… was habitat loss due to intensive agriculture and urbanization. They also pointed to the growing use of pollutants, mainly synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, as well as the impact of invasive species and climate change…”

The Bible tells us that especially in these last days, man will be destroying the earth (Revelation 11:18), and many animals will die and become extinct in the process (Hosea 4:3). It also condemns those who “join” house to house (Isaiah 5:8), thereby causing extreme habitat loss for animals. Also note the next sickening article.

The Appalling Business with Sick Trophy Hunters

The Sun wrote on February 13:

“The Zambian government stands to make MILLIONS by letting sick trophy hunters slaughter thousands of hippos in the country, a charity has said. Zambia says the mass killing is being carried out to control the hippopotamus population in Luangwa Valley in the east of the African nation. However, experts at Born Free have slammed the decision insisting the species is increasingly rare and is being threatened across the African continent.

“The killing of 1,250 hippos over five years could generate upwards of £2.6m for trophy hunting outfitters and the Zambian government, the charity says. Dr Mark Jones, Associate Director of the International wildlife organisation… said: ‘We don’t believe there is any reason the hippos should be culled and trophy hunting is not in any way an appropriate way of managing animal populations… they’re talking about hunters killing two hippos for over £4,350… this is very far from an animal management programme and very much to do with lining the pockets of trophy outfitters and very presumably of some of Zambia’s officials.’…

“There are only approximately 130,000 wild hippos remaining on the planet and the sick trophy hunting industry is driven by Asian demand for their tusks as a substitute for ivory.”

This is VERY sick indeed.

Chaos and Devastation in Australia

The Guardian wrote on February 12:

“After what can only be described as an environmental massacre of mammoth proportions throughout the whole of north-west Queensland, the people of this country are heartbroken… The scale of devastation here and throughout the north-west is impossible to put into words. There are estimates of hundreds of thousands of domestic livestock having been lost so far during this disaster and it is impossible to put into numbers the impact on the region’s native wildlife…

“Almost overnight we have transitioned from relative drought years to a flood disaster zone…

“There are kangaroos dead in trees and fences, birds drowned in drifts of silt and debris… The sheer amount of storm water that engulfed the region has demolished fences, exposed pipelines, destroyed water infrastructure, created huge gullies that were once only small seasonal streams, turned roads into rivers and washed dam banks away… reports are coming in of entire herds being washed away. Many homestead complexes have been completely submerged…

“It will be four years before many of these people once again have a useful income… This is possibly the greatest disaster that our livestock industries have suffered in Australia’s history.”

“Four in Five Vatican Priests Are Gay”

The Guardian wrote on February 12:

Some of the most senior clerics in the Roman Catholic church who have vociferously attacked homosexuality are themselves gay, according to a book to be published next week. Eighty per cent of priests working at the Vatican are gay, although not necessarily sexually active, it is claimed in the book, In the Closet of the Vatican. The 570-page book, which the French journalist and author Frédéric Martel spent four years researching, is a ‘startling account of corruption and hypocrisy at the heart of the Vatican’, according to its British publisher Bloomsbury. It is being published in eight languages across 20 countries next Wednesday, coinciding with the opening day of a conference at the Vatican on sexual abuse, to which bishops from all over the world have been summoned.

“Martel, a former adviser to the French government, conducted 1,500 interviews while researching the book, including with 41 cardinals, 52 bishops and monsignors, 45 papal ambassadors or diplomatic officials, 11 Swiss guards and more than 200 priests and seminarians… Martel describes a secretive culture among priests that creates conditions in which abuse is not confronted…”

We should note that the book’s author, Frédéric Martel, is a non-believer and openly gay.

Canada’s Ungodly Agenda

Life Site News wrote on February 7:

“Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government will spend $30 million over the next five years to push the homosexual and gender identity agenda in developing countries… After that, Canadians will fork over $10 million every year in perpetuity… to advance the homosexual agenda as part of their country’s international aid…

“The non-stop multimillion dollar international homosexual promotion fund is intended to… further the aims of the Feminist International Assistance [FIAP] Policy… Adopted in June 2017, the Trudeau government’s FIAP has as a key goal the promotion of global legal abortion. Indeed, the Liberals earmarked $650 million over three years in March 2017 to push abortion in the developing world, including funding campaigns to legalize abortion in countries where the unborn child is protected…

“The first Canadian prime minister to march in a homosexual Pride Parade, Trudeau most recently green-lighted the Royal Mint’s release of a new one-dollar coin designed to commemorate the 50th anniversary of his father’s decriminalization of homosexuality… More substantially, the Liberals codified the unscientific gender identity theory in law in June 2017 with Bill C-16, which added ‘gender expression’ and ‘gender identity’ to Canada’s Human Rights Code and the Criminal Code’s hate crime section

“That was during his tearful apology in the House of Commons for Canada’s alleged past mistreatment of LGBTQ persons, including apologizing to Canadians convicted under former laws against… running bawdy houses. In February 2017… [the government began] forcing public servants to take a pro-LGBT ‘gender equality’ test, with unspecified consequences if they refused or failed to provide the appropriate ‘feminist’ answers. The Canadian military… responded to Trump’s 2017 ban on transgender military members by declaring they actively recruit LGBT people.”

Please view our StandingWatch program, “Persecutions of Homosexuals and Conversion Therapies”.

Acknowledgement and Disclaimer

These Current Events are compiled and commented on by Norbert Link. We gratefully acknowledge the many contributions of news articles from our readership. The publication of articles in this section is not to be viewed as an endorsement or approval as to contents or accuracy of the selected articles, but they are published for the purpose of pointing at worldwide developments in the light of biblical end-time prophecy and godly instruction. Our own comments are provided in italics.

Current Events

by Norbert Link

We begin with an article about the current crisis in which the world finds itself; speak on Austria’s chancellor Sebastian Kurz; address developments in Europe, especially pertaining to Sweden and Germany; and point out concerns about European dependency on Russia and further totalitarian measures under Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.

We address the bi-partisan deal between US Democrats and Republicans to avoid a new shutdown and President Trump’s controversial announcement to declare a national emergency; and we speak on the astronomical and unprecedented public debt of the US government. We also address the terrible situation in Venezuela and attempts to effectively ban smoking in Hawaii in the face of the powerful and rich tobacco industry; further attempts by left-wing politicians and the powerful and rich pharmaceutical industry in California to promote flu shots and prohibit exemptions to vaccinations; the nonsense of the flat earth conspiracy; the drift of the north magnetic pole; the decline in insect populations; sick trophy hunting; devastation in Australia; gay power in the Vatican; and Canada’s ungodly agenda.

Throughout this section, we have underlined pertinent statements in the quoted articles, for the convenience and quick overview of the reader.


We may experience a degree of frustration when we don’t see, from time to time, much numerical growth in God’s Church. There is growth in numbers in the German-speaking areas, but this is not necessarily the case today in other countries such as the United States, Canada or the United Kingdom.

What we have to bear in mind is that Christ is the Head of His Church, and God adds members to the Church according to His will and His pre-ordained plan for this time and age. Furthermore, growth can be measured in more than one manner. There is physical numerical growth of new members being added to the Church, and there is spiritual growth in grace, knowledge and understanding.

God warns us that in these end times, many members will be part of the Laodicea era. He challenges all of us to be zealous and on fire. Our Church group is small by comparison. We are truly a little flock. But what is most important to God? Does He delight in a large group of half-hearted, compromising individuals easily distracted by the cares of this world and delving in areas not related to the commission of the Church? No! Rather, He has pleasure in a dedicated focused group, doing the Will of God in supporting the preaching of the Gospel and overcoming their sins.

We are admonished not to despise the day of small things (Zechariah 4:10), and we must not forget Gideon’s army being reduced to three hundred men, yet accomplishing a great task.

Some of our members have died, and others have left our fellowship, reducing our numbers. Bear in mind that in addition to death, there are two ways people leave the Church: They “voluntarily” quit for some reason, usually because of compromise, their passing pleasures in the ways of this world and their unwillingness to deal with their sins; or Christ, the living Head of the Church, puts them out of the Church through His ministry.

If we are not growing and overcoming and if we refuse to utilize the talents God has given us and if we rather continue in a wicked and evil lifestyle, then Christ’s patience with us runs out. We read that He gave Jezebel plenty of time to repent but there comes a time when it is too late (Revelation 2:20-23). Christ will cut off from His body rotten apples or a cancer that is not healing or getting better. Christ will do so for the good of His Body since a little leaven leavens the whole lump. If the sinner does not repent and forsake his or her sin, he or she will suffer the consequences.

As an analogy, we might look at a business company. Some employees may resign or quit to their own detriment, or they can be fired or let go. Some companies have a “three strikes and you are out” policy. An employee may be given two chances to correct his or her behavior or lack of performance, but at the third offense, he or she is terminated.

When a person is actually put out by Christ, it is for the good of the Body. We should of course pray that the person would repent and could be reinstated, but sadly, many times a person who is being disfellowshipped or leaves voluntarily because of his or her sinful ways or a haughty and self-righteous attitude will not repent, at least not any time soon.

Let us keep our eyes on the goal and continue to grow in grace, knowledge and understanding, and let us allow God the Father and Jesus Christ to manage the true Church as They see fit. And, let us be grateful for the opportunity we have been given today to qualify for a glorious future in God’s Kingdom.

Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

compiled by Dave Harris

How to Keep the Sabbath,” is our newest booklet. Written by Evangelist Norbert Link, this booklet is now posted and, following printing, will be available upon request.

A new Member Letter (February 2019) has been written and is now posted. In this letter, Pastor Brian Gale reflects on the divisive political situation in the UK in light of the Brexit vote, and he points us to the future in which God will intervene to establish lasting peace on the earth!

The 2019 Church Conference will be conducted in Escondido, California. Arrival will be Wednesday, April 3, 2019, and departure is scheduled for Tuesday, April 9, 2019.

“Das Papsttum und die babylonische Mysterien-Religion,” is the title of this Sabbath’s new German sermon, presented by Norbert Link. Title in English: “The Papacy and the Babylonian Mystery-Religion.”

“Der Christliche Weg,” is the title of a newly recorded German sermonette, presented by Christoph Sperzel. Title in English: “The Christian Way.”

“Anger’s Grip,” the sermonette presented last Sabbath by Eric Rank, is now posted. Here is a summary:

One of the most antagonizing emotions of mankind is anger. What can a Christian do to release anger and become immune to its influence?

Fair-minded in an Age of Contempt,” the sermon presented last Sabbath by Robb Harris, is now posted. Here is a summary:

We have been called out of darkness into light.  As lights, we must shine with glory, illuminating those that are in darkness.  But darkness is never satiated, it constantly spreads into all aspects of human character.  The world has chosen this state of being and is comfortable in—an attitude we must constantly be on guard against.

Do You Have the Time—for God?; The Power of Family

On February 16, 2019, Frank Bruno will present the sermonette, titled, “Do You Have the Time—for God?” and Dave Harris will present the sermon, titled, “The Power of Family.”

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.

How should we confront worldly reasoning?

As worshipers of God, we are set apart because of the knowledge bestowed upon us through the Holy Spirit.  We are called to be ambassadors for a way of life that is foreign to our world. This understanding changes how we perceive reality, both physically and spiritually.  Because of this gift we must become guardians of the Truth, withstanding the wiles of the devil through our commitment to the Truth.

Paramount to a Christian is the necessity to guard the Truth of God.  Jude told a spiritually besieged church, “Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).

Jude understood how precarious it was for the Church as Satan’s influence crept into and adulterated the Truth, “For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 4).

Allowing this precious understanding to become tainted in any measure will lead us away from the Truth. Once we begin making concessions with the Truth, we will find ourselves walking down a path that is not easy to come back from.  What was once fact too often becomes doubt when worldly reasoning takes root.

David understood the value of Godly wisdom, “How long, O you sons of men, Will you turn my glory to shame? How long will you love worthlessness And seek falsehood? Selah. But know that the LORD has set apart for Himself him who is godly; The LORD will hear when I call to Him” (Psalm 4:2-3).

Throughout the book of Psalms David wrote about Godly Truth and how important it was in separating himself from ungodly understanding. He also understood that the Truth would empower him with Godly wisdom, “Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom” (Psalm 51:6). That same wisdom is available to each of us through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

The Truth will set us free (see John 8:32) but that by no means constitutes continued freedom without commitment on our part to remain unspoiled from worldly desires. Throughout the ages, many who once understood the plan of God lost it.  The will of the self prevailed over the Will of God in the hearts of the individuals once called.  Many found themselves walking down a path of destruction instead of life.  Paul reflected on this throughout his ministry, “Do not be deceived: ‘Evil company corrupts good habits.’ Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame” (1 Corinthians 15:33-34).

Destruction is the end for those who reject the Truth of God.  Unless we are firmly grasping and seeking God’s Truth, we are subject to having it stolen away.  Peter warned of this to the church, “But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed” (2 Peter 2:1-2).

It is important not to place ourselves into environments or engage with those bent on destroying the Word of God.  While most wouldn’t state that as an intent, the end result of denying the Truth is still the same.  Surrounding ourselves with godlessness will eventually break down our resistance.  Lot did just this. It is true, of course, that God delivered righteous Lot when He destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, as we read in 2 Peter 2:6-8: “… and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, [God] condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly; and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds)…” However, Lot was so entwined with his own desires that “…while he lingered, the men [angels] took hold of his hand, his wife’s hand, and the hands of his two daughters, the LORD being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city” (Genesis 19:16).

Becoming embroiled in meaningless pursuits (worldly arguments) will leave us spiritually empty and unable to confront evil.  We read about this slumber that overtook the early church, “…of whom [Jesus Christ] we have much to say, and hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food” (Hebrews 5:11-12).

Facing godlessness on a daily basis requires more than simply accepting the Truth in our lives–we must love the Truth and seek it (see 2 Thessalonians 2:10). Solomon understood this need, “Now therefore, listen to me, my children, For blessed are those who keep my ways. Hear instruction and be wise, And do not disdain it. Blessed is the man who listens to me” (Proverbs 8:32-34).

Confronting the godlessness that permeates this world is the reason we have been called.  As lights, it is in fact our duty.  We must always have the mindset to “…sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil” (1 Peter 3:15-17).

Having the ability to comprehend the Truth is what separates us from a world that has chosen to ignore God.  It is a blessing that we must protect.

Lead Writer: Robb Harris

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