This Week in the News

US Summit with North Korea—Off and On?

ABC News wrote on May 29:

President Donald Trump announced on Twitter Tuesday that a high level North Korean official [Kim Chol, the Vice Chairman of North Korea] is heading to the U.S. for meetings [including with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo] surrounding a potential revival of the June 12 Singapore summit with leader Kim Jong Un. The announcement comes a day after the White House described the summit as ‘expected’ in a readout of a call between Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe… The White House said Tuesday that Trump will meet with Abe on June 7 at the White House.”

Breitbart wrote on May 29: “The White House also confirmed that National Security Adviser John Bolton continues to speak frequently with South Korean and Japanese officials about the proposed summit.”

It is very likely that North and South Korea will unite in the future, and that a united Korea will become part of a Far Eastern anti-European coalition, including countries such as China, Russia and Japan.

Tariff on $50 Billion Worth of Chinese Goods

The Week wrote on May 29:

“The White House confirmed Tuesday that it will be going forward with the implementation of heavy tariffs on Chinese imports next month following weeks of concern that doing so might spark a trade war. Some $50 billion in imported goods will be subject to the 25 percent tariff, with a finalized list of goods expected by June 15.

“The U.S. also plans to restrict China’s access to American technology, with the administration citing national security concerns. Trade negotiations between the nations are ongoing…”

This will make China very unhappy, and anti-American sentiments will rise.

Trade War Coming? US to Impose Steel, Aluminum Tariffs on EU, Canada, Mexico

 AFP wrote on May 31:

“The United States said Thursday it will impose harsh tariffs on steel and aluminum imports [25 percent tariff on imported steel and a 10 percent tariff on imported aluminum] from the European Union, Canada, Mexico at midnight—another move sure to anger Washington’s trading partners. [Commerce Secretary Wilbur] Ross said talks with the EU had failed…

“French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire has warned before the announcement that the EU would take ‘all necessary measures’ if the US imposed the tariffs… German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the EU would respond in a ‘firm and united’ manner to the tariffs.”

Chancellor Merkel also said: ‘We consider this unilateral measure to be unlawful.” The EU has threatened to retaliate by imposing tariffs worth up to $3.3 billion on Harley-Davidson motorbikes, blue jeans, bourbon whiskey, orange juice and peanut butter. President Trump announced that he would “respond” to the EU if that was to happen.

The Associated Press wrote on May 31:

“Besides the U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs, the Trump administration is also investigating possible limits on foreign cars in the name of national security…”

Deutsche Welle wrote on May 31:

“Mexico was the first country hit by the tariffs to announce its response. The country’s Economy Ministry said that it would put penalties on US products including steel sheets, lamps, pork leg and shoulder, sausages, apples, grapes and different types of cheese…

“In a joint statement, EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström and Japanese Economy Minister Hiroshige Seko said the tariffs would ‘cause serious turmoil in the global market and could lead to the demise of the multilateral trading system.’

“On Wednesday, French President Emmanuel Macron delivered a speech at the OECD on the matter, where he warned about the consequences of a trade war

“The imposition of tariffs comes at a time of high tension between Europe and the US…”

The Wall Street Journal wrote on May 31:

“President Donald Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum from the European Union marks a new low in deteriorating trans-Atlantic relations… it offers another sign that the U.S. administration has broken with decades of American policy by playing down European ties.

“The tariffs are particularly painful for European leaders because the U.S. and EU together built the World Trade Organization three decades ago to promote and regulate free trade… the U.S. and EU had operated as peers on trade. Now the two camps could be headed for a trade war with unpredictable consequences, European officials warned…

“Trans-Atlantic relations are worsening as the EU faces financial pressure from political chaos in Italy, which has prompted fears of a renewed euro crisis…”

Ars Technica wrote on May 31:

“US President Donald Trump wants to escalate his trade war to include a total ban on German luxury cars, says a report in WirtschaftsWoche. According to the German publication, which says its report results from talking to several unnamed US and European diplomats, during French President Macron’s recent visit to Washington, Trump told him that he would ‘maintain his trade policy until no Mercedes models rolled on Fifth Avenue in New York.’

“WirtschaftsWoche’s article points out that just prior to his inauguration in 2017, Trump railed against the Mercedes-Benz vehicles he saw in New York.

“The US market is extremely important for luxury German automakers, and a ban on importing new vehicles would be devastating for brands like Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz…”

Please view our new StandingWatch program, Trade War Coming? US Imposes Tariffs on Europe.”

The Far Right vs. the Far Left in Berlin, Germany

The Associated Press wrote on May 27:

Supporters of the nationalist Alternative for Germany party marched through central Berlin to protest against Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government Sunday, and were kept away from a raft of counter-demonstrations by a heavy police presence.

“Police said over 5,000 people turned out for the demonstration organized by the anti-migration Alternative for Germany, known by its German acronym AfD. A variety of counter-protests against the far right attracted well over 25,000 people in total, they said.

“The AfD event opened with German flags, placards such as ‘No Islam in Germany’ and chants of ‘Merkel must go’ outside Berlin’s central train station. The party’s supporters then marched to the landmark Brandenburg Gate. Opponents chanted ‘Nazis out’ from the other side of the monument… About 2,000 police officers were in place to prevent trouble, including reinforcements from other parts of Germany. The march concluded without significant trouble.

“AfD won 12.6 percent of the vote to enter Germany’s national parliament last year on anti-migrant and anti-establishment sentiment. It is now the largest of four opposition parties after the country’s two biggest parties finally agreed to continue a centrist ‘grand coalition’ under Merkel earlier this year.”

Even though the demonstrations were more or less peaceful at this time, they remind us of the violent demonstrations and counter-demonstrations of the right and the left before Hitler rose to power in Germany.

More Chaos in Italy

The New York Times wrote on May 29:

“Italy’s quiet, white-haired president, Sergio Mattarella, emerged as the most contentious figure in Italian and European politics. His refusal to confirm a euroskeptic economist as a government minister set off the collapse of a populist coalition hours before it was expected to take control of the European Union’s fourth largest economy.

“Mr. Mattarella’s defenders hailed him as the courageous protector of Italy’s democracy, institutions and financial health, while fuming populists sought to make the usually revered figure of the Italian head of state the country’s public enemy No. 1. They called for his impeachment…

It was Mr. Mattarella’s loyalty to the euro that prompted the 11th-hour collapse of the nascent government of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement and the anti-immigrant League. He determined that the alliance’s proposed economy minister, Paolo Savona, the co-author of a guide to leaving the eurozone, could lead Italy to abandon the euro without sufficient public debate, being that the parties maintained vague and shifting positions on the issue during the campaign leading up to the March 4 elections.

“But in deliberately forcing a new election over the euro, which a majority of Italians say they support, the usually careful and measured Mr. Mattarella expressly put an explosive issue with the potential of transforming Europe front and center…

“Mr. Berlusconi, the former prime minister… also gave his support to Mr. Mattarella, saying the Five Star Movement was ‘irresponsible as always, talking about impeachment.’”

Coalition Agreement Reached?

The Telegraph wrote on May 31:

“Italy’s populist parties finally reached a deal to form a coalition government on Thursday evening after nearly three months of political deadlock… After days of intensive negotiations, the anti-immigrant, hard-Right League party and the anti-establishment Five Star Movement ironed out their differences.

“The prospect of Western Europe’s first populist, Eurosceptic government will unnerve Brussels and could lead to further turmoil on financial markets, not just in Europe but around the world. Both parties are deeply Eurosceptic and have flirted with the idea of ditching the euro as Italy’s currency, although in the 24 hours before the breakthrough they had been at pains to deny that that was one of their objectives…”

No matter what will happen next, Italy will not abandon the euro or leave the EU.

It’s All Germany’s Fault

Handelsblatt Global wrote on May 28:

“Italy’s populists, angry at being thwarted in their attempt to form a government, have been quick to assign the blame: It’s all the Germans’ fault. After President Sergio Mattarella vetoed their choice for finance minister and put the country on the path to new elections, the populist parties seemed certain to make Germany’s dominance in Europe a campaign issue…

“The caricature of the ugly German matched that of the lazy Italian, which ran through the German media in the past few days as the populists were on the verge of taking power with a plan to provide fiscal stimulus to Italy’s ailing economy. Newsweekly Der Spiegel ran a story titled ‘The moochers of Rome,’ casting Germany as the generous provider of funds to an ungrateful nation of deadbeats…

“Even a normally moderate commentator, Federico Fubini at Corriere della Sera, lit out against the Germans. ‘And this Germany, in the way it thrashes through Europe, is once again the de facto best ally and the greatest gift for the anti-Europeans of Italy.’ He proceeds to catalog once again Germany’s own infractions of EU rules, from its excessive current account surplus to its government aid for banks…

“Markets at first breathed a sigh of relief when the president rejected Mr. Savona. But the naming of Mr. Cottarelli, virtually a provocation in the current political environment, brought new agitation. The euro fell to a six-month low…

“Italy is in a political quandary with little hope of a quick resolution. In Brussels, too, the initial relief at dodging the bullet of a Euro-skeptic finance minister quickly gave way to concern that Mr. Mattarella’s move had fueled anti-European feeling in Italy. The perception is that pressure from Germany and France motivated the president’s rejection of Mr. Savona. But there is little evidence to back this claim…

“The growing worry in Brussels, as in Berlin, is that Italian voters would increase their support for the populist parties out of protest against perceived foreign interference.”

A comparison with the events in Germany and Italy under Hitler and Mussolini is compelling. Then, as now, Germany was the dominant force within the alliance.

Austria Wants to Fight Illegal Immigrants in Their Home Countries

The Associated Press reported on May 27:

“Austria’s chancellor says European border guards should be allowed to go to north Africa to prevent migrants from setting off across the Mediterranean Sea in rickety boats. Austria will take over the European Union’s rotating presidency in July. Chancellor Sebastian Kurz’s governing coalition took office in December after a campaign in which both partners talked tough on migration.

“Kurz told Sunday’s edition of German newspaper Welt am Sonntag that a new mandate for EU border protection agency Frontex should allow it ‘to act in third countries, with the permission of their governments, to end smugglers’ dirty business model and prevent smugglers’ boats setting off on the dangerous route across the Mediterranean.”

Austria Discriminates against Non-German Speaking Foreigners

The EUObserver wrote on May 29:

“Austria’s conservative led government announced on Monday plans to cap minimum welfare payments for non-German speaking immigrants, including refugees, at €563 a month, but with the perspective of reaching the Austrian normal level of €863, provided they passed a German test. The test itself costs €1,000.

“The move brings Austria into conflict with European Union rules requiring EU citizens to be treated equally.”

The controversial measures of Austria’s young chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, find more and more supporters inside and outside Austria.

Europe to Lead without the USA

The website of thecorner published the following interesting article on May 25, 2018.

The article was written by Israel Rafalovich, a “journalist based in Brussels who has over 50 years of experience in Tel Aviv, Brussels, Bonn and Washington, DC.”:

“Things have changed on the international political stage, and the European in particular, which gives the European Union an unprecedented opportunity to mould and shape its own military and foreign policy in a way that makes it possible for the EU to deal with crisis on the European continent and elsewhere without American interference. A key lesson is that the EU has to be the one to call the shots in matters of security, foreign policy as well as the economy…

“NATO is a relic of the past and no new ‘strategic concept’ can revive the irrelevance of NATO…  Today, more then ever before, the European Union must take responsibility for its security interests in a way that will result in defence integration and reinforce defence cooperation amongst EU member states.

“Is should be the EU’s assertion of sovereignty that its security is better assured by a dominating European Union and it should seek to become a serious counterpart for the United States.

“The unity among EU member states is a fundamental condition for the EU Security System to be successful… Mistrust of the United States runs deep in EU quarters and the European Union has to decide to what extent and what forum, if at all, the United States should remain politically and militarily engaged…

“EU member states should be working more forcefully for the creation of the new sovereign EU army under combined EU command and control, that will be a capable and powerful military force… They will also have to be ready to contribute to a EU military coalition in time of need according to their capabilities, and they will need to find ways to share resources or buy equipment together…

“If the ability to project force is now a sign of an independent EU foreign and security policy, then the EU has at last to get bolder and more resolute in its action. It is also an opportunity for the EU as well as a challenge to be able to walk alone on the international stage without American crutches. The EU is needed on the international stage and should play a decisive role in calming conflicts, and should become a counter balance to the United States on the world stage.”

The author expresses what many leaders in Europe think without perhaps expressing it in such drastic terms. But the Bible prophesies that this is exactly what is going to happen in Europe very soon.

EU Institutions Support Anti-Israeli Terrorists

Newsmax wrote on May 27:

“European Union institutions have given millions of euros annually to non-governmental organizations with ties to Palestinian terrorist groups and that support boycotts of Israel, according to Gilad Erdan, Israel’s minister for strategic affairs and public diplomacy.

“Examples include Norwegian People’s Aid, which received 1.76 million euros in EU aid in 2016, Erdan said in a 40-page report issued Friday. The group carried out a project with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which is classified as a terrorist group by the EU and U.S. The Norwegian group also provided services to Iran’s energy sector, Erdan said. It was fined $2 million in April by the U.S. Department of Justice because of the links…

“More than a dozen organizations that promote anti-Israel boycotts have together received 5 million euros annually from the EU, the report says.”

Even though the EU gives lip service objecting to such support, and the accused organizations try to explain away their conduct, the facts speak for themselves, and they are very disturbing.

The European Data Protection Law—an Unprecedented Nightmare

Handelsblatt Global wrote on May 25, 2018:

“After thousands of amendments, the European project has finally become a law. And, wow, what a law: The General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR. Yet instead of clarity, the four letters create a lot of question marks. Companies have been complaining that their IT departments have been clogged up for months in preparation for the new rules. Freelancers are considering closing semi-private blogs. And even wedding photographers wonder who they can still photograph without having to fear cease-and-desist letters.

“A hopeless mess with plenty to share the blame… we have a law where it’s unclear whether users need permission to store information from other people’s business cards in their mobile phones… How is a freight forwarder behaving when he stores travel times and movement data about his own vehicles on his computer – is he violating his employees’ privacy? What are accountants, who’ve always informed their clients about current developments via e-mail, now allowed to do? Even law firms are unclear about the law. And doctor’s offices: Will they also need a data protection officer because they deal with sensitive data? Unclear.

“The GDPR… will… become a huge burden for the small ones: for companies with a few dozen employees, a server in the basement, but without a compliance department. A Bitkom survey shows that only 9 percent of startups have successfully implemented the GDPR due to a lack of resources… The law is too bureaucratic and does not answer the important questions ahead…

“… even internet firms in America, Asia and elsewhere have to abide by the new rules if they have European customers, or risk huge fines… the lawmakers overshot disastrously…  this week they hit hundreds of thousands of small family firms. These are businesses with only a few employees that need to keep and manage some data about their customers…

“So here we are, like you, feeling confused and overwhelmed. We have given up reading the new privacy notices…”

This is a horrible indictment of harmful and incompetent conduct by European bureaucrats.

“No Need to Be Concerned…?”

Deutsche Welle wrote on May 25:

“The new EU data protection law taking effect May 25 has many small companies worried. But EU Commissioner Vera Jourova stresses that there is no need to panic – authorities will focus on watching the digital giants

“‘If a company does not process data as its core business, if they do not sell the data and make money with the privacy of people, they will just have to make minimal changes. The data protection authorities will focus mostly on the most risky businesses… We have the law in place. We have the authorities with the power to sanction violations and we have companies and institutions which are aware of these rules…’”

On the surface, such “assurance” sounds good and comforting for smaller businesses (even though the statement that the EU will focus MOSTLY on digital giants and risky businesses should give pause for alarm), but the truth is altogether different anyhow. Note the next article.

A new EU Body Created Just to enforce the Data Protection Law

The EUObserver wrote on May 25:

“The European Data Protection Board is a new EU body tasked with enforcing the EU’s privacy laws with powers to impose massive fines. Its head Andrea Jelinek told reporters complaints against companies are expected to be immediate

“Andrea Jelinek, a former Austrian police chief, will be in charge of coordinating enforcement of the EU’s general data protection rules as of Friday (25 May) – in a move that has rattled companies worldwide. Jelinek chairs a new EU body known as the European data protection board or EDPB which coordinates all the national data protection authorities in a bid to ensure European rights to privacy are uniformly respected throughout member states…”

This gives us a foretaste as to how it will be when the mark of the beast is enforced on all citizens of Europe… and elsewhere.

Ireland To Legalize Abortions

The Guardian wrote on May 26:

“Ireland has voted by a landslide to legalise abortion in a stunning outcome that marks a dramatic defeat for the Catholic church’s one-time domination of the Republic. The Irish electorate voted by 1,429,981 votes to 723,632 in favour of abolishing a controversial constitutional amendment that gave equal legal status to the lives of a foetus and the woman carrying it. The result was a two-thirds majority: 66.4% yes to 33.6% no.

“By voting yes in unexpectedly large numbers to abolish the eighth amendment to the Irish constitution, the country has enabled the government in Dublin to introduce abortion in Ireland’s health service up to 12 weeks into pregnancy… The eighth amendment – article 40.3.3 of the Irish constitution – which prohibited abortion, will be replaced with a clause stating: ‘Provision may be made by law for the regulation of termination of pregnancy.’

“… The prime minister, Leo Varadkar, said he wanted the new law to be enacted by the end of the year. Between 12 and 24 weeks, abortion will be available only in cases of fatal foetal abnormality, a risk to a woman’s life or a risk of serious harm to the health of the mother. After 24 weeks, termination will be possible in cases of fatal foetal abnormality. There will be provision for conscientious objection among medical practitioners, although doctors will be obliged to transfer care of the pregnant woman to another doctor…

“Victory for the yes side means that the only part of the United Kingdom and Ireland where abortion remains banned in almost all circumstances is Northern Ireland…”

Human life begins with conception. Abortion violates God’s sixth commandment against murder.

“Will Christianity Be Ditched When Prince Charles Becomes King?”

CBN News wrote on May 24:

“A new report from a leading UK think tank argues that Christianity should be reduced or purged from Prince Charles’ future Coronation Ceremony. Prince Charles is next in line to the throne and will be the first king in decades after his mother, Queen Elizabeth II. Before that happens, University College London’s Constitution Unit, says the coronation ceremony should cut back on its overtly Christian rituals for the sake of progress. ‘The UK is no longer a global or a colonial power. Celebration will therefore need to reflect what the UK has become rather than what it once was,’ the report said. ‘… a wholly Anglican coronation service is no longer capable of reflecting or responding to modern British society.’

“The ceremony is performed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, who anoints the Monarch with oil, administers communion, and leads them in pledging their obedience to God in a series of Oaths. In the Oaths the monarch affirms he or she is a ‘faithful Protestant,’ and will preserve the church. The Constitution Unit says this needs to change, noting that half of the UK’s population has ‘no religious affiliation.’ The report suggests that a separate non-Christian ceremony could take place at Westminster Hall to honor Britain’s religious diversity

“It is yet to be seen how Prince Charles’ coronation ceremony will proceed, especially since it is the first one the country will see in more than 50 years. While Prince Charles has been quiet about his own personal relationship with God, he has been a strong advocate of the persecuted Church.”

Even though the current Coronation Ceremony does not reflect TRUE Christianity, it is still remarkable that voices propose to abandon any reference to Christianity because of Britain’s modern unchristian society.

The Pope’s Contradictory Messages on Homosexuality

Christianity Today wrote on May 25:

“Pope Francis has warned Italian bishops to be wary of priesthood applicants suspected of having homosexual tendencies… ‘Keep an eye on the admissions to seminaries, keep your eyes open,’ the pope said, according to the Vatican Insider service of Italian newspaper La Stampa. ‘If in doubt, better not let them enter.’

“The remarks were reportedly made at a closed-door gathering at the Vatican on Monday, opening the 71st general assembly of the Italian bishops’ conference. The pontiff reportedly called for ‘careful discernment’ of seminary applicants, including caution about those with ‘deep seated tendencies’ or who ‘practise homosexual acts’. These tendencies could lead to scandal, compromising both the priest and the Church, he said.

“The pope’s reported comments were confirmed by Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti of Perugia-Citta della Pieve, president of the Italian bishops’ conference, in a press conference yesterday… They appear to affirm the traditional Catholic teaching that practising homosexuals should not be admitted to the priesthood.

“The remarks will be seen by some as an attempt by Pope Francis to appease conservatives agitated by widely publicised comments the pope has been reported as saying, such as when he told a gay Chilean man who had suffered clerical sex abuse that God loved him the way he had made him…

“In now-famous remarks on his first overseas trip in 2013… Pope Francis said: ‘If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge?’ In 2016 he said that ‘when a person arrives before Jesus, Jesus certainly will not say: “Go away because you are homosexual.”‘

Pope Francis is always good for surprises, and one never knows what his position is on any given subject—or how long it will be maintained. His prior comments on homosexuality were controversial for sure, in light of the Catholic Church’s official teaching, but now it seems that he is backpedaling to appease the strong conservative fold in the Vatican. One wonders what his TRUE position is on the issue.

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.

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