This Week in the News

Russia and Ukraine—Warring Regimes, but Brotherly People?

Deutsche Welle wrote on December 2:

“At a press conference… on Saturday, Putin said Ukraine was not interested in a peaceful resolution to the conflict and called the governing party in Kyiv a ‘party of war.’ ‘As long as it’s in power, tragedies of this type and the war will continue,’ Putin added.”

In a prior interview on or about November 30 which was published in German by the Russian outlet RT, Putin accused the Ukrainian leader, Petro Poroshenko, of provocation. Putin also said that the Russian and the Ukrainian peoples will always remain “brotherly people.”

n-tv reported on November 30:

“Former German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel stated that Ukraine was willing to draw Germany into a war with Russia.”

Breitbart wrote on November 30:

“Ukraine announced a ban on Friday on male Russian nationals between the ages of 16 and 60 entering the country for the duration of martial law, currently scheduled to last 30 days…

“The Russian Foreign Ministry on Friday warned ‘the Russian people might lose patience’ and begin attacking Ukrainian diplomatic facilities on Russian soil, or even demand their government seize Ukrainian territory surrounding Russian diplomatic outposts…

“Ukraine’s state security service on Friday raided the home of Father Metropolitan Pavel, a Russia-backed Orthodox priest…, one of Ukraine’s most famous and frequently visited religious sites… President Poroshenko announced on Thursday that Ukraine is working on setting up its own independent branch of the Orthodox Church…”

Ultimately, Russia and Ukraine will act together, as brothers, against perceived enemies.

Putin Under Attack… Willing to Retaliate

The Associated Press wrote on December 1:

“… As the [G20] summit opened, European leaders lined up to criticize what one called Russia’s ‘aggression’ on Ukraine – the weekend seizure of Ukrainian ships and crew members near Crimea. The Group of 7 foreign ministers issued a statement demanding the seamen’s release.

“Isolated by Western democracies, Putin pushed instead to inject new strength into the so-called BRICS grouping of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa…

“The Russian leader has warned that if the United States deploys intermediate-range missiles that are currently banned under the treaty to Europe, Russia will have to target the nations that would host them. Such weapons… take just a few minutes to reach targets, leaving virtually no time for decision-makers and dramatically increasing the possibility of a nuclear conflict over a false attack warning or technical glitch.”

Far Eastern nations will collaborate against western Europe.

In addition, the EUObserver reported the following on December 5:

“‘We’ll do the same,’ if the US deploys new medium-range nuclear missiles in Europe, Russian leader Vladimir Putin said Wednesday, after America said it would walk away from a Cold War-era anti-missile pact, the so-called INF treaty, in 60 days. The US and Nato said Tuesday Russia was anyway violating the INF by building cruise missiles capable of hitting targets in Europe at short notice. Putin denies this.”

Trump Cancels Press Conference at G20

The Daily Mail wrote on December 1:

President Trump canceled his scheduled press conference at the G20. He said it was being done out of respect for George H.W. Bush’s familyHowever… the optics that would come out of Saturday’s press conference would likely not paint the White House in a good light.

“There are the personal problems that have consumed the president’s thoughts and twitter account while he’s been here. Trump has been in a defense posture since Cohen’s [Trump’s former lawyer and “fixer”] latest plea deal was revealed on Thursday. Adding to the pressure are reports that name his daughter Ivanka Trump and son Donald Trump Jr. as being more involved in looking at the Trump Tower Moscow project than previously revealed. The Trump Tower project in Moscow never got off the ground, but the Trump Organization didn’t shelve it until June 2016, long after the future president had locked up the GOP’s White House nomination…

“The one trade deal the president did sign – with Mexico and Canada – was overshadowed by the obvious unhappiness of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau [who] chastise[d] the president over steel and aluminum tariffs and pointedly called the agreement the ‘new North American Free Trade Agreement’ – instead of the USMCA, which is Trump’s preferred moniker. He made a personal plea to Trump during the ceremony to get rid of the tariffs, saying the recent closures of auto plants by General Motors in the United States and Canada made it more important for cooperation… After Trump, Trudeau, and outgoing Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto signed the agreement, Trump held his up and said: ‘We might as well hold that up.’ Nieto did so. Trudeau did not…”

Final G20 Statement

Reuters reported on December 2:

“…the leaders of all the world’s top economies called for reforms to the crisis-stricken WTO in a final statement from their summit… [It] recognized trade as an important engine of global growth but made only a passing reference to ‘the current trade issues’ after the U.S. delegation won a battle to keep any mention of protectionism out of the statement.

“… European officials said a reference to refugees and migration – a sensitive issue for Trump’s administration – was excised to ensure consensus. On climate change, the United States once again marked its differences with the rest of the G20 by reiterating in the statement its decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement and its commitment to using all kinds of energy sources. The other members of the group reaffirmed their commitment to implement the Paris deal and tackle climate change…”

The G20 compromise statement won’t avail to much or contribute to unity between the USA and most other countries.

US Will Hold Off on Raising China Tariffs

CNBC wrote on December 3:

“‘President Trump has agreed that on January 1, 2019, he will leave the tariffs on $200 billion worth of [Chinese] product at the 10 percent rate, and not raise it to 25 percent at this time,’ the White House said… Over the next 90 days, American and Chinese officials will continue to negotiate lingering disagreements on technology transfer, intellectual property and agriculture… ‘If at the end of this period of time, the parties are unable to reach an agreement, the 10 percent tariffs will be raised to 25 percent,’ the statement added.

“Meanwhile, ‘China will agree to purchase [immediately] a not yet agreed upon, but very substantial, amount of agricultural, energy, industrial, and other product from the United States to reduce the trade imbalance between our two countries…’, the White House said.”

Newsmax added on December 3:

“President Donald Trump said China had agreed to cut import tariffs on American-made cars [presently at 40%], buying shares in BMW and Daimler AG who manufacture in the United States for export to the world’s biggest auto market…

“The move, if realized, would bolster U.S. carmakers who were hit hard when China ramped up levies on U.S.-made cars in July as part of a broad package of retaliatory tariffs amid the sprawling trade war between Washington and Beijing.”

The next issues on the international agenda are the American tariffs threats for imported German cars. Note the next articles.

German Carmakers Trying to Trick Trump?

The EUObserver reported on December 5:

“The CEOs of Germany’s top three car firms, Volkswagen, Daimler, and BMW, said they were optimistic on avoiding US tariffs after meeting US leader Donald Trump in Washington Tuesday. ‘We made a big step forward to avoid the tariffs,’ Volkswagen boss Herbert Diess said. The visit caused annoyance in EU circles, where trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom was meant to conduct US trade talks on behalf of the whole EU.”

Handelsblatt Today added on December 5:

“German carmakers emerged from a three-hour meeting on Tuesday with US trade representatives and the president himself with smiles. ‘The US president has advised us to invest more in the US market. We are prepared to do exactly that,’ Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess said in Washington, D.C. The German carmakers are trying to avoid a 25 percent tariff on cars exported into the US. The investments they discussed… have been in the works for months – in response to Trump’s threats. And VW especially had reason to smile because it was able to spin a months-old alliance with Ford as a new idea. US media is treating Volkswagen’s proposal as one that was hatched just days ago to appease Trump and ward off the expensive tariffs.

“In fact, Handelsblatt first reported on a possible cooperation in June and then again early last month… VW’s plan to build some vehicles at Ford plants is anything but certain. Ford Chairman Bill Ford said talks were in the early stages though he didn’t fault VW CEO Diess for blabbing about the plans…

“For his part, Trump is trying to close a $30 billion gap in automotive trade with the European Union that is the largest chunk of the EU’s $65 billion trade surplus with the US. At the same time, he’s smarting from a General Motors announcement that it would shutter four US plants and fire thousands of workers. Trump was so incensed by GM’s plans that his administration is ending subsidies for electric cars to keep tax money away from GM…

“In addition to the Ford collaboration, VW said it might also cooperate with Microsoft on automotive software and build a second US plant, though no location was picked. VW currently produces two models in Chattanooga, Tennessee. And BMW said it had already invested $9.3 billion in its plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina, and was planning an additional $600 million by 2021, leading to 1,000 new jobs. The Munich carmaker also said it’s considering a new US plant, this time for motors.”

World Leaders Honor Late US President George H.W. Bush

Deutsche Welle wrote on December 1:

“Leaders from across the world on Saturday paid tribute to the 41st president of the United States, George H.W. Bush, who passed away on Friday at the age of 94. German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman said, ‘We will never forget his contribution to our reunion.’ The late president was an ardent supporter of a unified Germany as well as Western Europe as the Cold War unraveled in the early 1990s…

“Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev said Bush was present at ‘a time of great change,’ adding that his leadership contributed to ‘the end of the Cold War and nuclear arms race.’ British Prime Minister Theresa May said that ‘in navigating a peaceful end to the Cold War, he made the world a safer place for generations to come.’ New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Bush ‘was a strong supporter of the international rules-based system, the rule of law and democratic values.’

“He tried to ‘create a new international order based on justice and equality among nations,’ said Kuwaiti leader Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah. He never ‘forgot the Kuwaiti people and will remain in their memory.’ When Saddam Hussein’s forces invaded Kuwait, Bush launched the US-led offensive against Iraq, culminating in the First Gulf War.

“US President Donald Trump said Bush ‘inspired generations of his fellow Americans to public service.’ ‘George H.W. Bush’s life is a testament to the notion that public service is a noble, joyous calling,’ said former US President Barack Obama… Former US President Bill Clinton, who beat Bush in the 1992 election but went on to become good friends with his once-rival, said he ‘will be forever grateful for the friendship we formed.’’

The Week added on December 5:

“President Trump on Wednesday declared a national day of mourning for former President George H.W. Bush… Bush’s son and fellow ex-president George W. Bush gave a [emotional] eulogy at Bush’s funeral at Washington National Cathedral, remembering his father’s ‘decency, sincerity, and kind soul’ and his ability to find ‘the good in each person.’

“Trump and first lady Melania Trump were in attendance, seated next to former President Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, former President Bill Clinton, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton [Next to them sat former President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn. Bush’s death makes Carter, also 94 but more than 100 days younger, the oldest living ex-president.]. Bush’s body will be flown back to Houston, where it will lie in repose at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church. Bush will be buried Thursday next to wife Barbara and daughter Robin in a family plot at Texas A&M University in College Station.”

Deutsche Welle added on December 5:

“Foreign dignitaries included German Chancellor Angela Merkel, former Polish president Lech Walesa and Britain’s Prince Charles.”

The king and queen of Jordan were also in attendance, among many other foreign dignitaries.

Controversial Conduct pertaining to the Jewish Community

JTA wrote on December 1:

“George H.W. Bush, the one-term president whose public grappling with Jewish leaders made headlines while his private interventions helped bring tens of thousands of Jews out of danger, has died… The Bush presidency was marked by tensions both with Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir and the American Jewish leadership… Less remembered was how, as Ronald Reagan’s vice president, Bush quietly helped engineer some of the pivotal moments in the effort to bring Jews out of the former Soviet Union, Ethiopia and Syria…

“At the United Nations, Bush made Soviet Jewry one of his signature issues… His concern for Israel and its relationship with the United States was evident again in 1976, when he was director of the CIA…

“By mid-1992, with his presidential campaign underway, Bush seemed irreparably wounded in the eyes of the Jewish community. The younger Bush seemed in some ways to directly contradict his father’s policies. One of the elder Bush’s first acts was to set in motion the process that would eventually welcome PLO leader Yasser Arafat into the American sphere. The younger Bush decided from the outset of his presidency to isolate Arafat, whom he reviled as an unrepentant terrorist.”

Key to German Reunification

Handelsblatt Global wrote on December 3:

“The Germans are fondly remembering the elder Bush as an American of the old school: Generous, optimistic, courteous, responsible. But above all, they remember him as the key to German reunification. When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, the leaders of the other three Allied Powers were far from thrilled to contemplate a reunited Germany in the middle of their continent again. It was Bush who immediately grasped that reunification was the best geopolitical way forward. And it was Bush who, with Chancellor Helmut Kohl, leaned on Gorbachev, Mitterrand and Thatcher to give their blessings.

“… In his inauguration speech, he dared to wish for a nation and world that was ‘kinder, gentler’… [He] was already fearing the bitter divisions to come. George H.W. Bush was a true American patriot, a multilateralist, a free trader, a good ally, and — not least — a decent, pragmatic and moderate Republican…”

Remembering President Bush’s historical role in helping with the reunification of Germany, we wrote the following in our Update #418 (November 13, 2009), pertaining to the 20th anniversary celebration of the fall of the Berlin Wall:

“Most leaders of the free Western world assembled in Germany to recount and to celebrate the events of the fall of the Wall, including Messrs. Gordon Brown, Sarkozy, Berlusconi and Russia’s Dmitry Medvedev, as well as former President George H. W. Bush Sr., former President Mikhail Gorbachev and former Chancellor Helmut Kohl. But President Obama is too busy–even though he has the time to attend a Tribal Nations Conference for America’s 564 federally recognized Native American tribes… the fall of the Berlin Wall and the unification of Germany were indeed inevitable and unstoppable. From a biblical perspective, we know that this is also true for the additional reason that without a unified Germany, Europe would and could not have united. But the Bible has prophesied the unification of Europe in our days thousands of years ago–and that the most important player within a unified Europe will be Germany…

In that Update, we also quoted from The New York Times (November 9, 2009) about the German reunification:

“Willy Brandt was uncomfortable with the idea, Günter Grass… considered it an abomination, and Gerhard Schröder… eventually voted against it. François Mitterrand resisted as long as he could, and Margaret Thatcher, in her fierce opposition, held out even further. From the day after the Berlin Wall fell, and for the next month or two, the prospect of reunifying Germany met with extensive rejection, while the Cold War’s leaders nurtured the notion that it could be negotiated and stalled into a still distant future… History accelerated in the next weeks… In late summer 1990, reunification was virtually a done deal… [It] arrived with extraordinary speed. And extraordinary acceptance… So what now, almost 20 years after George H.W. Bush, to express his pleasure with reunification, offered Germany a ‘partnership in leadership’?…”

Furthermore, the Telegraph of November 9, 2009, was quoted by us as follows: “The combination of Mr Bush, Mr Gorbachev and Mr Kohl at the helm of the most powerful countries and the momentum for unification on the streets of the east was unstoppable.”

CIA Confident that Prince Mohammed Ordered Murder of American Journalist

The Wall Street Journal wrote on December 1:

“… previously unreported excerpts [from a highly classified CIA assessment document]… state that the CIA has ‘medium-to-high confidence’ that Prince Mohammed ‘personally targeted’ Khashoggi and ‘probably ordered his death.’ It added: ‘To be clear, we lack direct reporting of the Crown Prince issuing a kill order.’

“…Secretary of State Mike Pompeo… has said that he had read every piece of U.S. intelligence regarding Mr. Khashoggi’s killing and that the agency didn’t find a so-called smoking gun. ‘There is no direct reporting connecting the crown prince to the order to murder Jamal Khashoggi,’ Mr. Pompeo told reporters.

“The judgment on Prince Mohammed’s likely culpability, the CIA assessment says, is based on the crown prince’s personal focus on Mr. Khashoggi, his tight control over the Saudi operatives sent to Istanbul to kill him, ‘and his authorizing some of the same operators to violently target other opponents.’… ‘We assess it is highly unlikely this team of operators…carried out the operation without Muhammed bin Salman’s authorization’…”

Most world leaders agree with the CIA’s assessment. As a consequence, Prince Mohammed was shunned by most at the G20 summit. A notable exception was Vladimir Putin who was also shunned by most leaders.

Newsmax added on November 5:

“There is ‘no doubt’ that Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman not only knew about the death of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, but also condoned it or ‘worse, was actually involved in directing it,’ Sen. Marco Rubio said Wednesday, citing what he knows from being on the Senate Intelligence Committee. ‘He has absolute control in Saudi Arabia,’ the Florida Republican [said]. There is no way, and I mean no way, that 17 people that close to the crown prince fly into a third country, murder someone in a diplomatic facility, and fly back to Saudi Arabia and he not at least know about it, much less perhaps be involved in it.’

“Rubio’s comments echoed those by other Senate leaders such as Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., who after hearing a briefing by CIA Director Gina Haspel earlier this week said their belief the crown prince was involved in the journalist’s death had been cemented by the intelligence committee’s assessment.”

Multiple Earthquakes in Alaska within two days

The Week wrote on December 1:

“The 7.0 magnitude earthquake that caused serious infrastructure damage in and around Anchorage, Alaska, on Friday has been attended by at least 193 other quakes in the state over the course of two days… Though tremors are common in Alaska, Friday’s major quake was unusual. ‘It was very loud when it came,’ said Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz. ‘It was very clear that this was something bigger than what we normally experience’…”

Reuters wrote on December 2:

“The state late Saturday identified 47 earthquake-damaged roads and bridges, most of which cannot be fully repaired until the region’s dark and snowy winter has passed. But even as cleanup began, as many as 650 aftershocks continued to rock the area…”

California—Be Prepared!

The Los Angeles Times wrote on December 1:

“Buildings cracked. Roads collapsed. People were injured by falling debris. But for all the ferocity of the magnitude 7.0 earthquake that struck the Anchorage area on Friday, the temblor did not cause the catastrophic damage or loss of life that have occurred from even smaller quakes both around the world and in California.

“…the quake was not centered directly under Anchorage. The epicenter was about 8½ miles away… The quake was also fairly deep — 25 miles underneath the surface — which also resulted in less shaking at the surface… The magnitude 6.7 Northridge quake hit directly underneath the suburban San Fernando Valley [in California] and was much shallower — just 11 miles underground — than the Anchorage quake… causing more damage…

“In California… there are hundreds of old brick buildings in the Inland Empire that have been marked as dangerous but haven’t been retrofitted despite decades of warning. Across California, there are other vulnerable building types, such as apartments with parking on the ground floor, older houses with a handful of steps off the ground, and vulnerable concrete and steel buildings…

“The 1964 Alaska temblor (a 9.2. monster), the second-largest earthquake in the modern record, produced 1,995 times more energy than Friday’s quake. It lasted 4½ minutes and, along with its tsunamis, killed more than 120 people. It was felt all the way to Seattle… an area of 185,000 square miles was disrupted. There were areas that dropped as much as eight feet and others rose 38 feet… Eleven people were killed by a tsunami that hit Crescent City, Calif.

“Aside from the mighty San Andreas fault, Southern California is criss-crossed with smaller faults that pose major dangers, including the Newport-Inglewood fault, which produced the 1933 Long Beach quake, and the Hollywood fault, which runs through the heart of Los Angeles. Another big concern is the Puente Hills thrust fault, which runs from near Whittier through downtown L.A., USC and Dodger Stadium, before veering west toward Beverly Hills.”

Brexit Debate in UK Parliament

The Daily Mail wrote on December 4:

“[Prime Minister] Theresa May suffered a number of big defeats in the House of Commons. MPs voted to hold ministers in contempt [which has never happened before] for refusing to publish the [governmental] legal advice [warning the Irish backstop could leave the UK trapped in ‘protracted and repeated rounds of negotiations’ for years to come.] In another defeat, an amendment… also passed. It gives MPs the power to tell [the] PM what to do in talks if her Brexit deal is defeated.”

The Guardian wrote on December 5:

“With just six days to go until the vote on her controversial deal [on December 11], which May is expected to lose heavily, Downing Street confirmed the prime minister was keen to find ways to offer MPs extra reassurance about the backstop, in the hope they will support her.”

France Passes Law Banning Corporal Punishment

The Independent wrote on November 30:

“The bill still needs to pass through the senate, France’s upper house of parliament.  As a result of the vote, France’s civil code will be changed to state that parents must not resort to ‘physical, verbal or psychological violence, nor to corporal punishment or humiliation’ when disciplining their children. Previously, parents were allowed to use corporal punishment under rights granted under Napoleon in the early 1800s.

“… a few conservative and far-right MPs have condemned it for interfering with the private lives of French citizens and families. Corporal punishment is popular in France and around 85 per cent of parents in the country smack their children…

“Following the example of Sweden in 1966, some 54 countries – including 22 EU countries – have introduced similar laws banning corporal punishment in the home… Hitting a child is illegal in England, however a legal defence exists that protects parents who smack their children. Scotland is expected to outlaw the defence next year, and Wales is considering doing the same.”

Whatever the popular opinion and strictly human reasoning might be, the Bible does not endorse such a universal ban on corporal punishment. For more information, please read our free booklet, “The Keys to Happy Marriages and Families.”

Macron in Trouble

Handelsblatt Global wrote on December 3:

“Berlin is watching with growing anxiety the travails of French President Emmanuel Macron. Germany needs Macron to succeed in France — both to stave off the populist Eurosceptic Marine Le Pen… and to reform Europe…

“Macron… returned from his G20 photo op in Buenos Aires to a French capital that looked pre-revolutionary. For the third consecutive weekend, protesters wearing yellow security vests (the ones you’re supposed to keep in your car for accidents) vandalized the Arc de Triomphe and other symbolic sites. Officially, they’re upset about planned hikes in fuel taxes [which subsequently Macron put on hold]. But increasingly they’re just venting against a young president they perceive as haughty.”

Replacing Merkel… through Intrigue and Backstabbing?

Handelsblatt Global wrote on December 5:

“Friedrich Merz’s bid to succeed German Chancellor Angela Merkel as chair of her Christian Democratic Union received its biggest boost yet as Wolfgang Schäuble, the former finance minister, endorsed him two days ahead of the party convention [on Friday, December 7]… The comments are a setback for Merkel, who is widely believed to support Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (AKK), a moderate like her whom she anointed as her successor earlier this year…

“Although polls show AKK is more popular than Merz among the party base and broader German public, Merz is believed to enjoy wider support from CDU party delegates. Many party officials wish for a return to the CDU’s conservative roots after years of Merkel’s centrism… Schäuble was Merkel’s finance minister during the euro crisis and is now the president of the Bundestag, the lower chamber of parliament. At 76, the veteran politician is a veritable patriarch of the party…

“Many in Germany see Merz’s bid to succeed Merkel as a quest for personal revenge. Merz was one of the country’s most senior figures, the head of the CDU’s parliamentary group in the Bundestag until Merkel ousted him in 2002. He left politics in 2009 and went on to become a senior executive with asset management giant BlackRock, amassing a fortune in the process. And Schäuble’s endorsement of Merz may have a similar motive. The men are good friends — and Schäuble also fell victim to Merkel’s intrigues as she pursued power two decades ago. In 1999, in a column in the same daily, she turned against Schäuble, who until then had been among her political mentors…

“In the past months, Schäuble quietly engineered Merz’s political comeback. The nearly-forgotten former politician surprised Germany when he came forward six weeks ago as a candidate to succeed Merkel as CDU chair within minutes of the chancellor’s announcement that the post was up for grabs. It is thought that Merkel got wind of a plan to oust her and chose to step down rather than being pushed out. Pundits say if Merz becomes the CDU’s next chairman, he would likely bring about her downfall before her fourth term is due to end in 2021…”

Neo-Nazis in the German Bundeswehr

Express wrote on December 2:

“Neo-Nazi soldiers have infiltrated the German military and are plotting to butcher a list of politicians and immigrants… [They] have allegedly plotted to kill Green Party leader Claudia Roth, foreign minister Heiko Mass and former president Joachim Gauck. The group have been stockpiling weapons for when the right time arrives… German authorities have reportedly been searching training camps on the Austrian and Swiss borders for weapons, ammunition, petrol and food.

“Death squads allegedly planned to lure them and other left-wing politicians to a remote location and assassinate them. Reports say they planned to kill leaders of asylum seeker groups who have been blamed for social unrest, terrorism and rapes in Germany. Accusations made against one soldier – known by his code name ‘Hannibal’ – revealed how little Germany knows about its most elite troops. According to [a report] by Berlin magazine, Focus, elite soldiers who meet Hannibal are enlisted into his ‘shadow army’ of extremists… Evidence also implies ‘Hannibal’ has been helped by people high up in the Bundeswehr. [The] extremists are still believed to operate in Germany’s military. Germany’s defence Ministry insists the army is clean.”

Serving Pig Blood Sausage to Muslims?

Deutsche Welle wrote on December 3:

“Germany’s Interior Ministry has come under fire for serving blood sausage at a national Islam conference last week… The ministry has defended its decision to serve the sausage consisting of pig’s blood, pork and bacon at the evening buffet on Wednesday. It said the serving reflected the ‘religious-pluralistic composition’ of the event, which brought together Muslim associations and leaders with officials from the federal and local governments. The ministry added that there was a wide range of food at the ‘clearly excellent’ buffet, with vegetarian, meat, fish and halal dishes available. ‘If individuals were still offended for religious reasons, we regret this,’ it said.

“Nonetheless, some have viewed the choice of blood sausage as a deliberate provocation by hardline Interior Minister Horst Seehofer. In March, Seehofer caused a stir when he said in an interview that ‘Islam doesn’t belong to Germany’ and that ‘Germany has been shaped by Christianity’…

“Turkish-German journalist Tuncay Ozdamar, who first reported the ‘#BloodSausageGate’ scandal, questioned on Twitter what message Seehofer had intended to send with the culinary decision. ‘A little respect for Muslims who do not eat pork would be appropriate,’ wrote Ozdamar…

“Green Party politician Volker Beck also slammed the Interior Ministry, writing on Twitter that ‘appreciating diversity means also considering different habits.’ Ali Bas, a Green Party spokesman for religious issues, told that the blood sausage was not clearly identified at the buffet, but was rather served on appetizer trays. The Interior Ministry had said the food servings were clearly marked… The Interior Ministry reportedly served ham in the first year of the annual Islam Conference in 2006.

“The far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) quickly entered the discussion, accusing critics of the Interior Ministry of launching an attack on German culture…”

This “insensitive” or perhaps even intentional conduct of the Interior Ministry, combined with its ridiculous explanation, is not only directed at Muslims, but also, by extension, at Jews and EVERYONE who wants to live by the dietary laws of the Bible. That the AfD would support such conduct is again telling and frightening.

Pope Concerned over Status of Jerusalem

Reuters and The Algemeiner wrote on December 3:

“The Vatican expressed concern over the status of Jerusalem on Monday as Pope Francis and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas held their first meeting since the United States stirred international anxiety by moving its embassy there… ‘Particular attention was reserved for the status of Jerusalem, underlining the importance of recognizing and preserving its identity and the universal value of the holy City for the three Abrahamic religions,’ a Vatican statement said, referring to Christianity, Judaism, and Islam…

“The Vatican expressed concern last year at Trump’s move [of the embassy to Jerusalem], saying the city’s ‘status quo’ should be respected… As Abbas was leaving the library, he told the pope: ‘We are counting on you.’ It was not clear what he was referring to.”

Ultimately, the Roman Catholic Church and a new leadership of a United Europe will collaborate with the Arabs against Israel.

“Why I Left the Catholic Church”

The Week published the following article by Damon Linker, on November 30:

“Three months ago, I announced I was leaving the Catholic Church. My reason was that the latest revelations in the church’s interminable sex abuse scandal had revealed ‘a repulsive institution — or at least one permeated by repulsive human beings who reward one another for repulsive acts, all the while deigning to lecture the world about its sin.’

“Let’s just say subsequent events haven’t led me to regret the decision. That would include Wednesday’s news that the offices of the cardinal-archbishop of Galveston-Houston, who also happens to serve as president of the United States Catholic bishops’ conference, were raided by ‘dozens of local and federal law enforcement officers … looking for evidence in a clergy sexual abuse case.’ A couple of weeks ago, the story was the Vatican’s decision to nix plans by the American bishops to devise some kind of response to the scandal — on the grounds that it’s mostly just a conspiracy drummed up by troublemaking right-wing clerics and laypeople…

“The claim [is absurd] that, of all the Christian churches, the Roman church is the very best, the truest of all, the one most fully and rightly ordered through time. That would be not only the church of the great diabolical popes of the past (like John XII and Alexander VI and Boniface VIII and Leo X), but also the church that in recent decades has seen literally thousands of priests in countries across the globe accused of sexually abusing children — 271 of them in the archdiocese of Boston alone — with untold numbers of bishops covering it up year after year after year. The number is untold, by the way, because we are still nowhere near knowing just how many members of the Catholic hierarchy around the world — all the way up to popes themselves — knew exactly what was happening and responded like self-protective bureaucrats and PR flacks out to protect a corporate brand from bad press…

“If you believe that Jesus Christ was resurrected, that he is the Son of God and the second person of the… Godhead, that his teaching tells us how the creator of the universe wants us to live, then by all means be a Christian. But to believe that this particular church, of all the Christian churches in the world, is the one most fully and rightly ordered through time, over and above all of the others? You can’t possibly be serious…”

The Catholic Church claims that she is the one and only true Christian mother church, and that the Evangelicals or the Protestant organizations are rebellious daughters who have left their mother. Of course, in a spiritual sense, the Evangelicals did not really leave their mother, because they have adopted and still maintain her unbiblical teachings.

“Gay People Should Not Join Catholic Clergy, Pope Francis Says”

The Guardian wrote on December 1:

“Pope Francis is ‘concerned’ about what he describes as the ‘serious issue’ of homosexuality… ‘that must be adequately discerned from the beginning with the candidates’… ‘In our societies it even seems that homosexuality is fashionable and that mentality, in some way, also influences the life of the church’…

“The Roman Catholic church’s position is that homosexual acts are sinful… A decree on training for Roman Catholic priests in 2016 stressed the obligation of sexual abstinence, as well as barring gay men and those who support ‘gay culture’ from holy orders.

“The barring of people who present homosexual tendencies was first stipulated by the Catholic church in 2005. ‘It can happen that at the time perhaps they didn’t exhibit [that tendency], but later on it comes out,’ Francis said. ‘In consecrated and priestly life, there’s no room for that kind of affection. Therefore, the church recommends that people with that kind of ingrained tendency should not be accepted into the ministry or consecrated life… It’s better for them to leave the ministry or the consecrated life rather than to live a double life.’

“In 2013, just months after assuming the papacy, Francis said: ‘If someone is gay and is searching for the Lord and has good will, then who am I to judge him?’, signifying a softer tone on homosexuality.”

Pope Francis’ contradictory positions on the issue of homosexuality must be confusing to many Catholics.

Did Science Confirm Accuracy of the Bible’s Explanation of the Origin of Man?

Express wrote on December 3:

“The Bible’s book of Genesis has been ‘confirmed’ as evidence suggests every man, woman and child can trace their family tree back to an original man and woman, a documentary has claimed.

“… In Amazon Prime’s ‘Unlocking Ancient Secrets of the Bible’, the documentary explores a contentious question: Is the biblical book of Genesis literal, real-life history? The show’s narrator, Roger Moore, claims: ‘The best scientific evidence suggest[s] the universe began thereby confirming the words of Genesis.’ Faze Rana, author and research[er] reveals: ‘There was compelling scientific evidence that this biblical story of Adam and Eve actually is history.’

“Mr Moore asks: ‘Can every single human being, past, present, and future, trace their family tree back to an original man and woman?’ Hugh Ross, President and Director of Reasons to Believe explains: ‘The scientific community actually refers to this genetic Adam that they have found as Y chromosome Adam and they refer to the mitochondrial DNA woman as Eve. This is referred to in the scientific literature as Garden of Eden Hypothesis.’”

Ark of the Covenant in Ethiopia?

The Daily Star wrote on December 3:

“Bible scholars claim to have uncovered the final resting place of the legendary Ark of the Covenant – saying the holy relic was most likely smuggled out of Israel to Africa. Bible Archaeology, Search & Exploration Institute (BASE) claim there is strong evidence that the Old Testament’s ark’s resting place is in Ethiopia.

“The Ark of the Covenant is one of the most sought after relics from the Bible, being the trunk said to contain the Ten Commandments handed down to Moses on Mount Sinai. It is said the chest is made of wood and covered in gold, containing the two stone tablets along with other paraphernalia from the Bible. Ethiopia has long had a connection to the Ark, with Christians in the country outright claiming to be the current holders of the relic with it under guard at the Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion.

“Biblical scholars mounted an expedition to Ethiopia as they believe the Ark was taken there after being shipped out of Israel to Egypt. BASE do not 100% claim to have uncovered the Ark, but said the research has ‘strong potential’. It said: ‘… As unusual as this may sound, the BASE team has uncovered compelling evidence that the Ark may well have been spirited up the Nile River to an eventual resting place in the remote highlands of ancient Kush–modern-day Ethiopia.’

“BASE allege the Biblical king Manasseh drove a sect of Jews out of Israel and they took the Ark of the Covenant with them from its original resting place beneath the Temple Mount… Visiting the alleged site in Ethiopia they were met with Christian monks who… produced the two forks allegedly taken from Solomon’s Temple – the first temple in Jerusalem – that was destroyed in 587 BC. BASE scholars visited the Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion – but were denied access to the alleged Ark… No one can view the Ark except for the guardian monk…

“‘What we have concluded is that St. Mary’s of Zion church in Axum, Ethiopia, is the resting place either of an incredible replica of the biblical Ark of the Covenant, or, of the actual Ark of the Covenant itself.’

“Legends about the end of days are linked to the recovery of the Ark, claiming the construction of the prophesied Third Temple – which would trigger the end times and the arrival of the Messiah – needs the crate to be returned to Jerusalem. Prophecies state that Ark will be found just before Judgement Day when God should ‘gather his people again and receive them unto mercy.’ Other theories on the Ark’s location claim it remains hidden in its resting place beneath the Temple Mount [or] to being sunk in the Sea of Galilee… To this day, there is no leading historical theory on what happened to the Ark…”

For further archeological and biblical information, please read our Q&A, titled, “Where is the Ark of the Covenant today? Will it be found prior to Christ’s return?”

Preparing for the Third Temple

Breaking Israel News wrote on November 29:

“The nascent Sanhedrin released a declaration to the 70 nations for Hanukkah to be read at a ceremony in Jerusalem on the last day of the holiday. The ceremony will include the consecration of a stone altar prepared for use in the Third Temple. The declaration is intended as an invitation to the nations to participate in the Temple and to receive its blessings. The altar is currently in the form of loose stone blocks ready to be transported to the Temple Mount and stored in a manner that will enable them to be transported and assembled at a moment’s notice.

“When complete, the altar will be a square nine feet on each side and five feet tall, and includes a ramp for the priests to ascend. The decision to prepare the blocks and all the details of their composition is the result of a long study performed by the members of the Sanhedrin in conjunction with the Temple Institute. The stones are made of aerated concrete and are fit for use in the Temple. There are plans underway to prepare a new set made of actual stones which are considered the ideal material from which to build the altar.

“A full-dress reenactment of the Korban Olah Tamid (the daily offering) will take place. Kohanim (Jewish men of the priestly caste descended from Aaron) wearing Biblically mandated garb will lead the ceremony. The location is still unclear… the meat [of the offered lamb] will be roasted on the newly consecrated altar

“[On behalf of the Sanhedrin, Rabbi Yoel Schwartz stated:] ‘Now, it is time for the Creator’s people to return to their land… and the Temple will be restored and built on its place, then… all the nations [will] realize that the time has come to worship God.’”

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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