This Week in the News

German Attack on Israel

The Jerusalem Post wrote on December 30:

“German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, a staunch proponent of the Iran nuclear deal, has slammed Israel in a series of tweets and statements since last Friday’s Security Council resolution condemning Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria. In a statement issued to Germany’s largest circulation daily,  Bild, after the UN resolution, the Foreign Ministry claimed that ‘a democratic Israel is only achievable through a two-state-solution.’

“The statement prompted the editor-in-chief of Bild’s digital outlet, veteran journalist Julian Reichelt, to express astonishment at the harsh wording. In response to Reichelt’s criticism, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman Steffan Seibert wrote on his Twitter feed: ‘Israel is a Jewish democratic state.’ Steinmeier, a Social Democratic politician who is jockeying to be the next president of Germany, later said on Twitter: ‘Israeli settlements in occupied territories jeopardize possibility of peace process.’

“The same English-language tweet was issued again. The flurry of messages attacking Israel appeared on the German- and English-language Twitter feeds of the Berlin-based Foreign Ministry. Steinmeier also endorsed US Secretary of State John Kerry’s Wednesday speech, writing that the ‘speech is a warning and a reminder that the 2 State Solution must not become an empty phrase.’…

“Prof. Gerald Steinberg, who teaches political studies at Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan, told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday, ‘In many ways, the Obama-Kerry perception of the conflict has been shaped by European conventional wisdom. So it is not surprising to see European leaders embracing Kerry’s speech. In Germany, Foreign Minister Steinmeier has been particularly critical of Israel and Prime Minister Netanyahu (taking Germany farther away from its post-Holocaust role).’

“Steinberg, who is president of the Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor, added, ‘Steinmeier, like powerful German NGOs such as Brot fur die Welt, [‘Bread for the World’] echoes the Palestinian victimization narrative. In addition, Steinmeier’s personal attacks on Netanyahu reflect German eagerness to do business with Iran, which was facilitated by Kerry.’

“Writing in the Berlin daily Der Tagesspiegel on Thursday, Volker Beck, a leading Green Party lawmaker and head of the German-Israel Parliament Group in the Bundestag, said, ‘No, settlement construction is not the most difficult problem on the way to a two-state solution. It is one of many.’ Beck voiced understanding for the outrage in Israel to the UN resolution. Beck termed the measure ‘counterproductive,’ adding that the decisive factor is the ‘security question,’ because after Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2005, the US- and EU-designated terrorist organization Hamas, which controls the Palestinian enclave, fired many missiles at Israel.”

The UK’s Hypocritical Position

The Guardian wrote on December 29:

“Theresa May distanced the UK from Washington over John Kerry’s condemnation of Israel…  Kerry, the outgoing secretary of state, delivered a robust speech this week, criticising Benjamin Netanyahu’s government as the ‘most right-wing coalition in Israeli history’, and warned that the rapid expansion of settlements in the occupied territories meant that ‘the status quo is leading toward one state and perpetual occupation’.

“The prime minister’s spokesman said May thought it was not appropriate to make such strongly worded attacks on the makeup of a government – or to focus solely on the issue of Israeli settlements… The UK backed the UN resolution passed last week condemning the continued expansion of settlements. But May’s spokesman said she was concerned about the language Kerry had used. ‘We continue to believe that the construction of settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories is illegal, which is why we supported UN security council resolution 2334 last week.'”

Theresa May’s position is more than strange and appears to be quite hypocritical, as the UK backed the resolution which did “focus solely on the issue of Israeli settlements.” 

George Orwell’s Big Brother Coming to Legal Reality in the UK

The Daily Mail wrote on December 30:

Police are now officially able to hack into your phones and check your browsing history after the Snoopers’ Charter came into force yesterday. The law – officially called the Investigatory Powers Bill – forces electronic data to be stored by app companies for 12 months, which can be subsequently collected by law enforcement. While critics have cited it as an attack on privacy, the Government believes the charter is essential for combating terrorism and organised crime…

“Aside from the controversy surrounding its morality, the charter’s effectiveness has also been questioned, with Virtual Private Network software already being highlighted as a potential way for internet users of getting around it. Using a VPN means data will be scrambled and protected from the company that provides the connection.

“In China VPNs are routinely used by expats to avoid Beijing’s rigid control of the internet, which involves blocking news websites like the BBC [and] anything which might be remotely critical of the Chinese Communist Party…”

Internet Shutdowns and Hackings

Breitbart wrote on December 30:

“There have been more than 50 government shutdowns of the Internet in 2016, costing the respective countries hundreds of millions of dollars and choking citizen freedoms during crucial moments…

“Global Advocacy Manager Deji Olukotun of the Access Now digital rights organization believes that an even greater cost can be counted in human lives. Olukotun says that the shutdowns ‘go hand in hand with atrocities,’ citing the deaths of Ethiopian protesters ‘during the kind of blackout where it’s difficult to report on what’s happening.’ Other shutdowns include communication blackouts during the Ugandan elections, and governments that chose to go so far as shutting down all Internet access just to keep students from cheating on exams.

“… estimates suggest that India lost nearly a billion dollars due to its shutdowns, while Saudi Arabia managed nearly half a billion on its own. Morocco gave up $320 million. Even governments that didn’t wall off the entirety of the Internet still blocked access to social media in some cases, and their methods have steadily become more sophisticated. As time goes on, it grows more and more difficult for citizens to find any way around restrictions on digital information…”

The Associated Press reported on January 1:

“President-elect Donald Trump says that ‘no computer is safe’ when it comes to keeping information private, expressing new skepticism about the security of online communications his administration is likely to use for everything from day-to-day planning to international relations. Trump rarely uses email or computers, despite his frequent tweeting.

“‘You know, if you have something really important, write it out and have it delivered by courier, the old-fashioned way,’ Trump told reporters during his annual New Year’s Eve bash. ‘Because I’ll tell you what: No computer is safe.’ Trump has repeatedly cast aside allegations by U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia tried to influence the presidential election through hacking…”

Putin Will Not (Yet) Retaliate Against Obama’s USA

The Washington Post wrote on December 29:

“In a rare break from the diplomatic tradition of reciprocal punishment, Russian President Vladi­mir Putin said Friday he would not deport U.S. diplomats in a tit-for-tat response to U.S. hacking sanctions, as Russia looks to cultivate relations with the incoming administration of President-elect Donald Trump. ‘We won’t create problems for American diplomats,’ Putin said in a statement… adding that Russia retained the right to punish U.S. diplomats in the future. He said he would ‘plan further steps for restoring the Russian-American relationship based on the policies enacted by the administration of President Donald Trump.’”

In response, Donald Trump congratulated Vladimir Putin for his decision to delay any measures, saying it was a “great move” and that he always knew that Putin was “very smart.”

Kremlin Unveils Unmanned Killing Machines With Which Russia Will Fight World War III 

Express wrote on December 31:

Vladimir Putin has been showing off his latest high-tech robotic killing machines which are so advanced sabre-rattling Russia could fight a ground war without committing a single soldier. The terrifying combat robots were put through their paces in harsh winter conditions during military exercises on the outskirts of the capital Moscow… Lieutenant General Andrey Grigoriev, head of Moscow’s Advanced Research Foundation, said the longer-term plan was to fight wars without men. He added: ‘It would be powerful robot units fighting on land, in the air, at sea as well as underwater and in outer space. The soldier would gradually turn into an operator and be removed from the battlefield.’

“… Russian armed forces have significantly progressed over the years in the development and use of various robotic systems. State-of-the-art weapons systems, such as the T-50 fifth-generation fighter jet or brand new Armata main battle tank, are said to involve robotic technologies or artificial intelligence. Military industry officials predict robotic combat platforms will define future battlefields and eventually replace soldiers.”

We have been speaking for a long time about the possibility that armies of robotic soldiers will be created by powers in the Far East. In the book of Revelation, John sees in a vison a huge army consisting of “two hundred million” “horsemen” (Revelation 9:16). This “army” is described as originating in the Far East, being at war with continental Europe. The “horses” are described, symbolically, as weapons spewing “fire, smoke and brimstone” and doing harm with their tails which are like serpents, killing a third of mankind. This can easily be understood as a description of modern tanks and other destructive war machines. It is interesting that the “horsemen” are not necessarily human beings. The Greek word is, “hippikon.” It has the meaning of “cavalry” or “cavalry force.” The number of 200 million “horsemen” could be understood as describing, at least in part, the mass production of war machines and combat robots. Others have speculated that the number could include a “supernatural cavalry” of “demons or demonic-possessed humans” (compare Ryrie Study Bible). 

Trump or Strache—What’s Going On?

The Local wrote on December 22:

“A spokesman from the transition team working for newly-elected US president Donald Trump denied that their new national security advisor had met with Austrian far-right politicians in New York earlier in the month. The meeting was first mentioned by Freedom Party (FPÖ) leader Heinz-Christian Strache, who claimed in a Facebook post that he had met with Lt. General Michael Flynn, the designated national security maven who will be appointed after the inauguration of Donald Trump.

“In a press call on Thursday morning, Trump campaign spokesman Jason Miller denied that such a meeting took place. ‘The fact of the matter is that General Flynn has never spoken with or met the Austrian politician in question and strongly disavows groups with such viewpoints,’ Miller said, according to media reports.”

Trump’s Election by Divine Providence?

Breitbart wrote on December 31:

“Celebrated evangelical… Franklin Graham says that it was the ‘hand of God,’ rather than Russian hackers, that determined the outcome of November’s presidential election… Graham said that beyond mere human factors, the mysterious hand of divine providence was at work in the elections.

“‘All I know is Donald Trump was supposed to lose the election’ according to all the polls, Graham said. ‘For these states to go the way they did, in my opinion, I think it was the hand of God,’ he said. ‘It wasn’t hacking. It wasn’t Wiki-leaky or whatever. It was God, in my opinion, and I believe his hand was at work…’”

US Embassy to Be Moved to Israel’s Eternal Capital, Jerusalem?

Israel National News wrote on January 3:

“Three Republican senators on Tuesday unveiled legislation that would recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s official capital and move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The new legislation, entitled the Jerusalem Embassy and Recognition Act, was introduced by Senators Ted Cruz of Texas, Dean Heller of Nevada and Marco Rubio of Florida. ‘Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Jewish state of Israel, and that’s where America’s embassy belongs,’ Rubio said… ‘It’s time for Congress and the President-elect to eliminate the loophole that has allowed presidents in both parties to ignore U.S. law and delay our embassy’s rightful relocation to Jerusalem for over two decades,’ he added.

“A statement from Heller said that some State Department funds would be withheld until the embassy was relocated. The measure is in line with President-elect Donald Trump’s support for moving the embassy to Jerusalem, something he repeatedly pledged to do during his election campaign… ‘Jerusalem is the eternal and undivided capital of Israel,’ Cruz said… ‘Unfortunately, the Obama administration’s vendetta against the Jewish state has been so vicious that to even utter this simple truth — let alone the reality that Jerusalem is the appropriate venue for the American embassy in Israel — is shocking in some circles…’”

The Return of Civil Disobedience

In the January 9, 2017 issue of The New Yorker, the following was stated:

“Last summer, the A.C.L.U. issued a report highlighting the ways in which Trump’s proposals on a number of issues would violate the Bill of Rights… But, with a Republican majority that has mostly shown compliance with Trump, despite his contempt for the norms of democracy, the fear is that he will achieve much of what he wants. Even if he accomplishes only half, the landscape of American politics and policy will be radically altered. This prospect has recalled another phenomenon of the nineteen-sixties: the conviction that ‘democracy is in the streets.’

“Two hundred thousand women are expected to assemble in front of the Capitol, on January 21st, the day after the Inauguration, for the Women’s March on Washington. Born of one woman’s invitation to forty friends, the event is meant as a rejoinder to the fact that a candidate with a troubling history regarding women’s rights—one who actually bragged about committing sexual assault—has made it to the White House.

“The first Inauguration of George W. Bush, in 2001, saw mass protests driven by the sentiment that the election had been stolen. The protests that greet Trump will, in all probability, exceed them: some twenty other groups have also applied for march permits. Given his history with African-Americans, Muslims, Latinos, immigrants, unionized labor, environmentalists, and people with disabilities, it is not hard to imagine that there will be many more to come. The Congress is unlikely to check the new President, but democracy may thrive in the states, the courts, the next elections, and, lest the lessons of the sixties be forgotten, the streets…”

Obama Trying to “Cement” His Legacy

The New York Times wrote on December 31:

“Only two days after the election, President Obama sat by President-elect Donald J. Trump’s side in the Oval Office and declared that the No. 1 priority in his last days in the White House would be ensuring a smooth transition of power. What Mr. Obama did not say was that he also intended to set up as many policy and ideological roadblocks as possible before Mr. Trump takes his oath of office on Jan. 20. With less than three weeks before the Obama White House is history, making way for a new administration with radically different priorities, the president is using every power at his disposal to cement his legacy and establish his priorities as the law of the land.

“He has banned oil drilling off the Atlantic coast, established new environmental monuments, protected funding for Planned Parenthood clinics, ordered the transfer of detainees from Guantánamo Bay, criticized Israeli settlements and punished Russia for interfering in the recent elections through cyberattacks.

“The next president may be able to roll back some, or even most, of those actions, a point that Mr. Obama’s top aides concede. But every step the current president takes requires Mr. Trump to overcome one more legislative or procedural hurdle as he seeks to change direction in Washington.

“Mr. Obama is continuing to fill the ranks of the government with his own appointees; since Election Day, he has named 103 people to senior Civil Service jobs, boards, key commissions and oversight panels, including the National Council on Disability, the Amtrak board of directors, the Holocaust Memorial Council and the boards of visitors at military academies. He is also pushing ahead with his goal of freeing nonviolent drug offenders from federal prisons. In the last few weeks, he has commuted the sentences of 232 federal inmates and pardoned 78 others. And on Wednesday, he will meet with Democratic lawmakers to discuss ways to protect the Affordable Care Act from efforts by Mr. Trump and Republicans to dismantle it.

“To many conservatives, Mr. Obama is acting out of spite as much as conviction… Mr. Obama’s most permanent action may be his order banning oil drilling off the Atlantic coast, a decision rooted in a 1953 law that experts say will be legally difficult for Mr. Trump to reverse…”

The Battle For and Against Obamacare

Deutsche Welle wrote on January 5:

“The US Senate has voted to open the debate on beginning the repeal of Obamacare. The move prompted President Barack Obama to make a rare visit to Capitol Hill to urge Democrats to fight to preserve his signature policy… On Wednesday, the Senate voted 51-48 in a procedural tally that opened debate on beginning the Obamacare repeal process… Trump tweeted Wednesday that Republicans ‘must be careful…’

“[Vice President-elect] Pence, along with Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, failed to provide more details on what a Republican health plan might look like… Democrats have accused the GOP lawmakers of tearing apart Obamacare without a firm plan to replace it… Trump… has pledged to keep popular aspects of the act, such as the provisions that bar companies from refusing coverage due to preexisting conditions…

“However, a minority in the Senate coupled with a crushing presidential election loss means Democrats have few options to prevent the repeal of Obamacare…”

WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange: Russia Not the Source for Hacking

Newsmax wrote on January 3:

“WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange reiterated Russia was not the source of Democratic documents released over the summer and accused the Obama administration of trying to delegitimize Donald Trump’s White House victory. Assange’s comments came during an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity… ‘We can say, and we have said repeatedly over the last few months, that our source is not the Russian government and it is not a state party,’ he told Hannity.

“Assange went on to say President Obama was focused on blaming the Russians for releasing the documents in an attempt to discredit the incoming Trump administration. ‘They are trying to say that President-elect Trump is not a legitimate president. Our publications had wide uptake by the American people, they’re all true. But that’s not the allegation that’s being presented by the Obama White House.’”

Trump at Odds with CIA and Leading Republicans

Newsmax wrote on January 4:

“President-elect Donald Trump plans to restructure and scale back the nation’s intelligence agencies — amid concerns that they have become politicized and bloated — and that includes cutting CIA staff and moving more agents into field offices worldwide… Trump has slammed the nation’s intelligence agencies since the November election, particularly challenging findings that Russia has hacked into the Democratic National Committee and other party operatives and leaked its findings to WikiLeaks for publishing on its website.”

The Guardian wrote on January 4:

“Leading Republicans broke with Donald Trump on Wednesday after the president-elect appeared to put more faith in WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange than in US intelligence agencies. The sharp differences on a highly charged national security issue are the latest sign that matters of intelligence and policy towards Russia reflect a deep fault line in Trump’s relationship with the Republican party establishment.

“The House speaker, Paul Ryan, called Assange ‘a sycophant for Russia’ on a conservative radio show and GOP Senator Tom Cotton told MSNBC that he had ‘a lot more faith in our intelligence officers serving around the world … than I do in people like Julian Assange’. The comments followed tweets from Trump on Wednesday morning in which he approvingly repeated Assange’s claim that the Russian state was not the source of the hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign chairman, John Podesta, published by WikiLeaks during the election. ‘Julian Assange said “a 14 year old could have hacked Podesta” – why was DNC so careless? Also said Russians did not give him the info!’ one Trump tweet said. Another quoted Assange as describing US media coverage on the issue as ‘very dishonest’. Trump added: ‘More dishonest than anyone knows.’…

“McCain called the alleged Russian cyber-attacks ‘an act of war’ on Wednesday… Trump’s support for Assange has not led to [a] break with all his Republican allies. Sarah Palin said on Wednesday that she now regretted her attacks on Assange in 2010 after he published leaked documents from her time as governor of Alaska…”

Newsmax added on January 5:

“President-elect Donald Trump took aim at news coverage of his comments about WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. He took to Twitter Thursday to blast the ‘dishonest media’ for reporting that he agrees with Assange, insisting the he just repeats what the exiled figure says and expects Americans to make up their own minds. ‘The dishonest media likes saying that I am in Agreement with Julian Assange – wrong. I simply state what he states, it is for the people…. to make up their own minds as to the truth. The media lies to make it look like I am against “Intelligence” when in fact I am a big fan!’

“Thursday’s Twitter blast comes in the wake of reaction to his Wednesday tweets citing Assange’s statements about how easy it was for hackers to infiltrate the Democratic National Committee last year. He also highlighted Assange’s statement labeling the U.S. media dishonest.”

“New Quarantine Rule Could Violate Civil Liberties”

The Atlantic wrote on December 30:

“On August 15th, with little fanfare, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) took steps to improve its ability to deal with infectious outbreaks. The agency proposed a new rule that would expand its powers to screen, test, and quarantine people traveling into or within the United States, in the event of a crisis like the historic Ebola outbreak of 2014.

“On the face of it, this sounds like a good thing… But some epidemiologists, lawyers, and health organizations say that the rule, in its current form poses a serious threat to civil liberties, allowing authorities to detain and examine people with little heed to due process and informed consent…

“For a start, the rule is sparse when it comes to due process. It allows the CDC to detain travelers indefinitely before deciding whether to quarantine them, saying only that the agency ‘doesn’t expect’ such apprehensions to last for more than 72 hours. It doesn’t make provisions for legal counsel if people can’t afford a lawyer themselves. And it puts any reviews of the agency’s decisions under the auspices of its own employees, rather than a neutral third party. Using the rule, ‘a future administration could hold travelers in government custody for days or weeks without providing an explanation or an opportunity for the individuals to challenge their detentions,’ write Emma Roth and Kyle Edwards from Yale Law School.

“The rule also gives the CDC ultimate authority to carry out medical tests and treatments, stating that ‘the individual’s consent shall not be considered as a prerequisite to the exercise of any authority.’ That’s medically unethical…

“The stickier problem is that there’s little evidence to support screening or quarantining travelers. Consider the Ebola outbreak. The CDC screened more than 38,000 travelers flying into the U.S., by interviewing them and checking their medical records. They then monitored over 10,000 people for 21 days. And they caught exactly zero cases of Ebola…”

These new rules are indeed of great concern.

Merkel: Germany Must Take a Leading Role 

Thomson/Reuters reported on December 30:

Islamist terrorism is the biggest test facing Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Saturday in a New Year’s address to the nation, and she vowed to introduce laws that improve security after a deadly attack before Christmas in Berlin. Describing 2016 as a year that gave many the impression that the world had ‘turned upside down,’ Merkel urged Germans to forsake populism and said Germany had an interest in taking a leading role in addressing the many challenges facing the European Union…

“‘And, yes, Europe should focus on what can really be better than the national state,’ Merkel said. ‘But we Germans should never be led to believe that [we] could have a better [happy] future by going it alone.’”

Angela Merkel Is Losing Popularity in Germany and Abroad”

Express wrote on January 4:

“The three term Chancellor was desperate to impose year-long sanctions against Russia amid the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, but her supposed European allies have shunned her in favour of the Russian strongman.

“The EU’s top brass instead decided to impose just six months’ worth of sanctions against Mr Putin, who openly land-grabbed Crimea from Ukraine – a country desperate to join the European Union (EU).  Merkel’s rating in the opinion polls is also at a low ebb, with the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany party soaring in popularity to 15 per cent in the wake of the Berlin Christmas markets terror attack… According to the latest polls, support for the coalition between her Christian Democratic Union party and the Christian Social Union party has plummeted to just 32 per cent so far in 2017.

“To make matters worse, the result of the French elections is likely to weaken Merkel’s standing on the Continent even more. Marine le Pen openly wants France to leave the ailing Union, and the other candidate, Francois Fillon, will completely undermine the Chancellor when it comes to Russia as he opposes any form of strict sanctions…

“Embarrassingly, Merkel is now being ridiculed on the world stage too as she was forced to pull out of attending the World Economic Forum’s Davos summit for fear of receiving a hounding over her floundering leadership… It also coincides with Donald Trump’s inauguration as American President and the right-wing critic of Merkel is likely to be a frequent topic of conversation. Mr Trump’s supposed close relationship with Mr Putin, coupled with new found support for the Kremlin chief from Germany’s traditional European allies, could leave Merkel isolated.

“Jochen Bittner, the political editor for the German weekly newspaper Die Zeit, said: ‘Germany is holding general elections next autumn, and with politicians sympathetic to Moscow on the rise, she may well be running for her fourth term as the sole European leader willing to stand up to a newly assertive Russia.’”

Archbishop of Vienna Schönborn on Islamization

Beitbart wrote January 3:

“The Archbishop of Vienna who has been tipped to be the next Pope, has implied the election of Donald Trump is a good thing as Ronald Reagan turned out to be ‘certainly one of the best presidents the U.S. ever had’.  Looking back on a transformational year in politics, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn also cautioned about the effects of mass Muslim migration, urging Europeans to retain the continent’s Christian heritage…

“[He said:] ‘We [Europeans] have responded with a great deal of generosity to the refugee crisis… The figures last year were simply dramatically high… The key issue we are facing in Austria is the integration of refugees… Of course, as a Christian, I would like the Middle East to become Christian again, as it once was, or North Africa. North Africa was completely Christianised…’

“Whilst insisting he did not blame individual Muslims for wanting to change Europe, he spoke of the huge rise in the number of mosques in the West and the destruction of churches in Muslim countries, claiming ‘religions are in competition with each other… But we already have 200 Islamic places of prayer in Vienna. We have mosques in cathedrals in Spain, and we have, for example, in Damascus, the cathedral of John the Baptist is now a mosque… The Islamisation of Europe is nonsensical if one does not contribute something to the fact that Europe remains Christian’…  we must reproach ourselves for not doing enough to maintain a Christian Europe.’”

New Year’s Eve Terror Attack in Istanbul by Insane ISIS Murderer(s)

AFP wrote on December 31:

“At least [39] people were killed and 40 wounded in a ‘terror’ attack in Istanbul Sunday when gunmen reportedly dressed as Santa stormed an elite nightclub where partygoers were celebrating the New Year, the latest carnage to rock Turkey after a bloody 2016. Two gunmen entered the venue dressed as Santa and spraying bullets at random inside the Reina nightclub, one of the city’s most exclusive party spots, Dogan news agency said…

“Many party-goers threw themselves into the Bosphorus in panic after the attack and efforts were underway to rescue them from the waters, NTV television said. Dogan news agency reported that some witnesses claimed the attackers were ‘speaking Arabic’… The nightclub in the Ortakoy district of Istanbul is one of the most elite spots in the city, and getting inside past the bouncers who seek out only the best dressed is notoriously hard… Turkey has been hit by a string of attacks in recent months blamed on Kurdish militants and Islamic State jihadists.”

The New York Times added on December 31:

“… the attackers — initial reports said there had been as many as three — had fired on the police before heading inside the club. ‘One person first kills the police officer outside, and then a civilian,; the governor said. ‘Inside, he rained bullets brutally, mercilessly over innocent people…’ The club overlooks the Bosporus — which separates Europe and Asia… On the European side of Istanbul, the neighborhood is an international travel destination known for its food stalls and vibrant night life…”

Daily Mail wrote on January 1:

“The ‘ISIS killer’… is the prime suspect in Turkey nightclub attack after gunman screamed ‘Allahu Akbar’ as he used a Kalashnikov to kill 39 people, including a female security guard … The unnamed man is described as being from Afghanistan, Chechnya or East Turkestan – a region of western China that is predominantly Muslim. Turkish intelligence services reportedly believe that he could be a member of the East Turkestan branch of ISIS but his exact nationality is still unknown.”

German Superstition on New Year’s Eve

The Local wrote on December 30 about German superstitious practices Germans engage in on New Year’s Eve:

“Bibelstechen, literally ‘bible poking’ involves opening up a random page of the Bible and reading a passage in it. You then discuss what that could mean for [the next year]… Swinging a pendulum will also give you clues about what will happen in the new year. If you ask a question and the pendulum swings clockwise, it means yes. If it swings counterclockwise, the answer is no… Das Gummibärenchen-Orakel involves picking five gummy bear sweets at random from a packet. The colour of the sweets gives an indication of the future. A red one will mean love, a yellow one wealth, hence the name, the gummy bear oracle… Bleigießen in German involves heating some lead and pouring the melted contents into cold water. The shape the lead forms will tell you what might happen in the New Year. A cross, for example could signify death… In German ‘Das Drehen um die eigene Achse’ will help you out if all the omens so far from Bibles and gummy bears have been bad. Spinning turns a bad omen into a good one.”

There are even more superstitious activities, such as fire crackers and fireworks at the time of New Year’s Eve. It was believed that between Christmas and January 6, the ghosts became active. When winter storms howled around the houses of the Germanic tribes, Wotan’s wild hunt was present—a frightening train of gods, demons and ghosts of the dead. These ghosts were driven away with big fires and cracks of whips. The cracks of whips changed with the invention of black powder to fireworks.

France Prohibits Spanking of Children

Breitbart wrote on January 3:

“The French parliament has passed a formal ban on spanking children, bringing the global total to 52 different countries where such corporal punishment in homes is against the law. The new law that went into effect for 2017 bans ‘any cruel, degrading or humiliating punishment, including any use of physical violence,’ including spanking in the home… Unsurprisingly, the first country to make spanking illegal was Sweden, in 1979, followed by Finland in 1983. The last to join the list before France in 2016 were Mongolia, Paraguay and Slovenia.

“The decision of the French parliament follows a symbolic reprimand by the Council of Europe in 2015 decrying France’s lack of a specific law ‘prohibiting corporal punishment in a clear, binding and precise way, including slaps and spankings, in breach of Article 17 of the European Charter of Social Rights.’ ‘To comply with Article 17, states’ domestic law must prohibit and penalize all forms of violence against children,’ the Charter states, and the relevant provisions ‘must be sufficiently clear, binding and precise, so as to preclude the courts from refusing to apply them to violence against children’…

“In February 2015, Pope Francis expressed his approval of parents who spank their kids, as long as it is carried out with respect for their dignity. His words drew a wave of reactions, both negative and positive, to the idea that corporal punishment is okay…

“Despite the extensive debate regarding the value or detriment of corporal punishment, few have questioned the more problematic aspect of a creeping intromission of the state in the lives of families and their choice of how to educate their children. The Catholic Church teaches that the state should not interfere with parents’ education of children except in grave and extraordinary circumstances. ‘Since parents have given children their life, they are bound by the most serious obligation to educate their offspring and therefore must be recognized as the primary and principal educators,’ Catholic doctrine states.”

The Catholic Church is absolutely correct on this point, while 52 different countries and the Council of Europe have it completely wrong. Human laws prohibiting spanking of children in any way are in opposition to the clear teaching of the Bible. At the same time, parents need to exercise great caution in this world which is ruled by Satan the devil. We state the following in our free booklet, “The Keys to Happy Marriages and Families”:

“There is never a justification for physical abuse. On the other hand, to totally ban spanking and define it as physical abuse only shows how liberal and anti-biblical our Western society has become. This is of course the fruit of the anti-authoritarian education that has brought about a curse on our Western world. As parents, we must be aware, though, that in certain countries, spanking is illegal, and could result in the authorities coming in and taking away our children. And even in countries where spanking is not illegal, many governmental officials look at such practice with great disfavor. There have been cases where Social Workers in the United States tried to take away children from Christians, because the Christian parents believed and practiced—in moderation and with great love and care—biblically-endorsed spanking.

“Note what the Bible clearly teaches in regard to corporal punishment in Proverbs 13:24, ‘He who spares his rod hates his son, But he who LOVES him disciplines him promptly [or early].’ Since using the rod is compared with prompt or early discipline, it is clear that this passage includes the concept of spanking, where and when appropriate. Of course, we don’t spank a teenager or an adult, so the spanking needs to be done early in the life of the child. But note, again, we discipline our children, because we LOVE them. If we discipline our children for any other reason, or because of any other motive, we do NOT follow God’s instructions. Spanking should never cause physical injury to a child. The intent is to break a rebellious spirit, not to bruise skin…

“We have heard a lot about child neglect. But one kind of child neglect is seldom ever mentioned—the neglect to discipline the child, in LOVE, when the child deserves, and must have, discipline for his or her own good.”

Rwanda Bans Witchcraft From Soccer

Breitbart wrote on December 30:

The Rwandan soccer federation has banned witchcraft in soccer matches following a crazy incident in a match earlier this month between Mukura Victory Sports and Rayon Sport. Rayon Sport striker Moussa Camara, whose team was losing 1-0, is seen in the video running over to the goal and grabbing an object before running off. The goalkeeper and other opposing players chased after Camara in a frenzy, later resulting in yellow cards being handed out. Minutes later, Camara scored a goal to tie it up.

“The Rwanda Football Federation will now start fining players and teams 500,000 Rwandan Francs, or roughly $600, if found guilty of using witchcraft.”

Even though it may be difficult to believe that these kinds of witchcraft activities will lead to scoring goals, we must not forget that demons are indeed ruling this world. If players are indeed guilty of witchcraft (as the video seems to suggest), they should be totally banned from playing soccer anywhere, until they deeply repent of their evil deeds. For true Christians, it is extremely important not to have anything to do with occult activities, including consulting mediums. God killed King Saul for engaging in witchcraft (1 Chronicles 10:13-14).

Neanderthals Were Cannibals

The website of wrote on December 30:

“Deep in the caves of Goyet in Belgium researchers have found the grisly evidence that the Neanderthals did not just feast on horses or reindeer, but also on each other… The bones in Goyet date from when Neanderthals were nearing the end of their time on earth before being replaced by Homo sapiens, with whom they also interbred.

“Once regarded as primitive cavemen driven to extinction by smarter modern humans, studies have found that Neanderthals were actually sophisticated beings who took care of the bodies of the deceased and held burial rituals. But there is a growing body of proof that they also ate their dead.

“… an international team… has proved from the bones found at Goyet that the Neanderthals there were cannibals. The bones show traces of cutting… The Neanderthals ‘broke these bones in the same way that they broke those of the reindeer and horses found at the entrance of the cave, certainly to extract the marrow’…  ‘Some of these bones have also been used to make tools to touch up the edges of flints to re-sharpen them’…

“But the reasons for the cannibalism remain a mystery, as to the extent to which the Neanderthals ate their dead…”

We speak in great detail about the Neanderthals in our free booklet, “Heavens and Earth… Before and After the First Man.”

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