This Week in the News

No Inspections in Iran–Ever!

Newsmax reported on April 20:

“A top Iranian commander said over the weekend that Tehran will never permit outsiders to inspect the regime’s military sites under any nuclear agreement, the state media organ Press Television reported. Brigadier Gen. Hossein Salami, the number two official in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps, said a harsh response would await anyone who raised the subject of inspections. ‘Visiting a military base by a foreign inspector would mean the occupation of our land,’ Salami said. Even discussing the subject is tantamount to ‘national humiliation,’ he added.

“Iran and six world powers – the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and China – announced  earlier this month that they had reached a framework deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program in return for lifting sanctions. Participants said they would work to conclude a final agreement by June 30. A fact sheet on the framework accord issued by the State Department said Iran would be required to grant the U.N.-affiliated International Atomic Energy Agency access to any ‘suspicious sites,’ the Associated Press noted.

“But Iran has questioned numerous points in the fact sheet – including Washington’s claim that sanctions against the Islamic Republic would be lifted only after the IAEA verified Tehran’s compliance with commitments it made in the talks. Iranian leaders, by contrast, have said the deal requires that sanctions be removed immediately, and have accused Washington of lying about its contents…

“Salami declared that permitting foreign inspectors to visit a military base was unacceptable because it would potentially expose Iranian ‘military and defense secrets,’ the Associated Press reported.”

So where is that great deal now? It sounds like it’s a fairy tale of delusional politicians.

Conflict in Yemen—US vs. Iran

The Associated Press reported on April 20:

“The U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt is steaming toward the waters off Yemen to beef up security and join other American ships that are prepared to intercept any Iranian vessels carrying weapons to the Houthi rebels fighting in Yemen.

“Navy officials said Monday that the Roosevelt was moving through the Arabian Sea. The U.S. Navy has been beefing up its presence in the Gulf of Aden and the southern Arabian Sea amid reports that a convoy of about eight Iranian ships is heading toward Yemen and possibly carrying arms for the Houthis. Navy officials said there are about nine U.S. warships in the region, including cruisers and destroyers carrying teams that can board and search other vessels…

“The U.S. has been providing logistical and intelligence support to Saudi Arabia-led coalition launching airstrikes against the Houthis. That air campaign is now in its fourth week… So far… U.S. naval personnel have not boarded any Iranian vessels since the Yemen conflict began.

“White House spokesman Josh Earnest… said the U.S. has concerns about Iran’s ‘continued support for the Houthis… These are exactly the kind of destabilizing activities that we have in mind when we raise concerns about Iran’s destabilizing activities in the Middle East.’”

On April 20, Deutsche Welle added the following about the Pentagon’s usual denial:

“Later on Monday, Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steve Warren said the US Navy had sent an aircraft carrier and a guided-missile cruiser into the waters near Yemen to conduct maritime security operations. However, he denied that the vessels were on a mission to intercept Iranian arms shipments.”

Russia’s Ambitions in the Middle East

BBC News wrote on April 21:

“Russia’s decision to go ahead with the sale of the advanced S-300 surface-to-air missile system to Iran has angered its critics in the West and alarmed the Israeli government in equal measure. For some it has raised additional question-marks over the fate of any putative nuclear deal between Iran and the international community. But more significantly it may also mark a renewed effort by Moscow to bolster its diplomatic profile in the Middle East…

“During the years of Washington’s active engagement in Iraq, Russia’s once-strong role in the Middle East seemed to have been eclipsed… But in many ways appearances are deceptive. Russia had never really gone away and it has seized upon every opportunity in the wake of the failed ‘Arab spring’ to maximise its influence.

“No more so than with the government of its long-standing ally Syria, whose President, Bashar al-Assad, is anathema to the West, but not for the Kremlin… In addition, its former ally Egypt is again cosying up to Moscow. A major arms deal was signed last year; a sure indication of the military government’s frustration at its dealings with Washington.

“Moscow has also developed a highly pragmatic relationship with the region’s other major power, Turkey…

“Israel gave up arms deals with Georgia and has hesitated to sell lucrative drones to Ukraine in an effort to win favour with Moscow. Closer ties with Iran will also frustrate the Saudis and others in the Gulf…

“These are indeed difficult diplomatic waters to navigate, given the many regional rivalries that have only come to the fore as significant parts of the region’s political landscape have descended into chaos and blood-letting.”

Israel’s attempts to cozy up to Russia will back-fire.

Murders of Pro-Russian Journalists and Politicians in Ukraine

Deutsche Welle reported on April 21:

“… near the center of Kyiv, Ukrainian writer [and pro-Russian journalist] Oles Buzyna was shot dead last Thursday in broad daylight… The presumed assassination of the controversial journalist is particularly sensitive. Only a day earlier, on Wednesday evening, opposition politician Oleh Kalashnikov was shot dead in the Ukrainian capital. He too articulated Kremlin-friendly views. The 52-year-old was a former member of parliament for the pro-Russian Party of Regions.

‘The murders of Buzyna and Kalashnikov are the latest in a series. Ukrainian media have tallied around a dozen murders and suicides of members of the former ruling class in less than a year…

“Opposition politician Olena Bondarenko has received police protection. ‘I have to leave Kyiv,’ she told DW by telephone. She did not want to reveal her current location. The 41-year-old lawmaker and former member of the Party of Regions is known for her pro-Russian views…

“The two recent murders have further fueled the already tense atmosphere in Ukraine…  Whether on television talk shows or social networks, the division in the country has become noticeably deeper. Not infrequently, Ukrainian activists and ordinary citizens even go so far as to praise the killings of pro-Russian politicians, whom they consider ‘traitors.’”

If this continues, Russia will undoubtedly use this as justification to intervene militarily in Ukraine.

Morsi’s Sentence a Travesty of Justice?

Deutsche Welle reported on April 21:

“A Cairo court on Tuesday sentenced Morsi to 20 years for his role in attacks against people protesting his rule in 2012, convicting the former president and 14 associates of use of force, false imprisonment and torture against protesters. Rights group Amnesty International called the verdict ‘a travesty of justice’ and called for Morsi to be either retried, or released. The verdict is subject to appeal. ‘This verdict shatters any remaining illusion of independence and impartiality in Egypt’s criminal justice system,’ said Hassiba Hadj Saharaoui, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Amnesty International. ‘Any semblance of a fair trial was jeopardized from the outset by a string of irregularities in the judicial process and his arbitrary, incommunicado detention.’

“Morsi’s questioning took place without his lawyers present during his detention in an undisclosed location for four months following his ouster in July 2013. Amnesty also said Morsi’s lawyers could only access case files days before the trial’s start, and that only evidence of violence by Morsi supporters – and not of violence against them – were documented in court…

“Lawyers for the victims, however, told reporters in Cairo that they had anticipated a sterner sentence against the ex-president with regards to the dropped incitement of murder charges. ‘We were expecting them to be convicted of murder,’ Ramy Ghanem, a lawyer for an anti-Morsi protester wounded in the clashes…

“Twenty-two Morsi supporters received death sentences on Monday. The Brotherhood’s leader, Mohammed Badie, faces a death sentence but can appeal; all capital sentences in Egypt must go to an appeals court…

“Though democratically-elected, Morsi was toppled after major public protests against his government, with some in Egypt appealing to the military to intervene. The 63-year-old famously interrupted the first day of his trial repeatedly with cries of ‘I am the president of the republic!’…”

It is a sad truism that, no matter as to how one wants to look at this verdict, many of those in power (especially in dictatorial countries in the Middle East and elsewhere) rule without justice and mercy, until they are toppled by others who will rule without justice and mercy.

Controversial Statements of US Republican Presidential Candidates

Bloomberg News reported on April 19:

“Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio says he does not believe sexual orientation is a choice for the ‘enormous majority of people.’ [He added:] ‘In fact, the bottom line is, I believe that sexual preference is something people are born with…’… [He also] said he would attend a same-sex wedding…

“Texas Senator Ted Cruz said he has never had to make such a decision, dodging the question. Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, who has not announced a campaign yet, said he would not attend such a wedding. Ohio Governor John Kasich, another possible candidate, said he and his wife had been invited to a same-sex wedding and plan to attend…”

The only one who is clear and correct on this particular question, as quoted, is Rick Santorum. You might also want to review carefully the Q&A in this issue, regarding the topic of homosexuality.

Newsmax reported on April 18:

“Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee told Iowa radio talk-show host Jan Mickelson that the Obama administration had ‘an open hostility toward the Christian faith’ — urging prospective military recruits to enlist after President Barack Obama leaves the White House… ‘There’s nothing more honorable than serving one’s country and there’s no greater heroes to our country than our military,’ Huckabee said. ‘But I might suggest to parents, I’d wait a couple of years until we get a new commander-in-chief who will once again believe in “one nation under God” and believe that people of faith should be a vital part of the process of not only governing this country, but defending this country.’”

Mike Huckabee is correct in advising people not to enlist in the army now, but he is incorrect in advising people to enlist in the army later. For more information, please read our free booklet, “Should You Fight in War?” 

Controversial Statements of US Democratic Presidential Candidate

The Website of reported on April 15:

“Just a few days after officially announcing she will run for president in the 2016 elections, Clinton has addressed one of the most hotly debated topics in politics—marriage equality. In her first remarks about same-sex marriage in nearly a year, a spokeswoman for Clinton’s campaign says [Clinton] hopes the Supreme Court will embrace marriage equality when it considers cases out of four states on April 28. ‘Hillary Clinton supports marriage equality and hopes the Supreme Court will come down on the side of same-sex couples being guaranteed that constitutional right,’ Adrienne Elrod told the Washington Blade today. This means Clinton is the only declared candidate for presidency who believes that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry.”

Hillary Clinton is wrong on this issue, and the Supreme Court might very well decide this issue wrongly as well.

One of US’s Biggest Legal Scandal Unfolding

Deutsche Welle reported on April 20:

The FBI has admitted that most of the experts in its forensic unit gave flawed testimony over two decades. This testimony was crucial in several rape and murder cases, some of which carried the death penalty… The US domestic intelligence service admitted officially that the Washington Post revelations on Saturday were correct. The paper had reported that 26 of 28 examiners with the FBI’s microscopic hair comparison unit had overstated matches of hair at crime scenes in ways that favored the prosecution’s cause. Wrong evidence was included in over 95 percent of the 268 trials reviewed for the twenty year period leading up to 2000.

“The paper… found that of the 32 defendants who were sentenced to death during that time, 14 had been executed or had died in prison… The review of a total of 2,000 criminal cases in which the FBI conducted microscopic hair analysis of crime scene evidence is being conducted under an agreement with the US government. It was launched after three men were exonerated by DNA evidence in three separate cases where different FBI analysts had provided scientifically invalid evidence…

“The report reveals one of the US’s biggest legal scandals, revealing that the courts had failed to recognize dubious scientific information that contributed to wrongful convictions in more than a quarter of 329 cases since 1989 where defendants were later exonerated on the basis of DNA evidence…”

How could a true Christian sleep at night if he had served on a jury and convicted a person to death, based on such false evidence and testimony?

How Could the Holocaust Happen?

The EUObserver wrote on April 21:

“The director of the US intelligence service FBI James Comey has caused a diplomatic row between his country and Poland with comments on Polish and Hungarian complicity in the mass killings of Jews during the Second World War. Hungary has also protested against the comments he made… [He said:] ‘In their minds, the murderers and accomplices of Germany, and Poland, and Hungary, and so many, many other places didn’t do something evil. They convinced themselves it was the right thing to do, the thing they had to do. That’s what people do. And that should truly frighten us.’…

“Historians estimate that during the Second World War six millions Jews have been killed. Many of Nazi Germany’s death camps were in the occupied region that is now Poland, but there was no independent Polish government at the time. In 1944-45 Hungary briefly had an anti-Semitic government which killed thousands of Jews…

“Many of Europe’s nations struggled after the war with the question how the genocide could have been allowed. Anti-Semitism was widespread in Europe, and according to historian Mark Mazower governments that were approached for support for the so-called Final Solution, ‘tended to be particularly cooperative in handing over Jewish refugees and other non-nationals’. It is difficult to determine how widespread support for the extermination of Jews was in the popular opinions of regular people in occupied Europe, Mazower notes in his book Dark Continent.

“However, ‘approval of the Final Solution was not a common phenomenon. In response to the horrors of occupation, most people living under Nazi control had retreated into a private world and tried to ignore everything that did not directly concern them.’”

People become complacent and indifferent about the horrors which are happening all around them… and which will increase in the near future. But this is not the attitude which a true Christian should have. He is most certainly not to participate in any violent action or military intervention, but he IS to “sigh and cry over all the abominations that are done…” (Ezekiel 9:4; compare also 2 Peter 2:7-8 and Psalm 119:136).

Greece’s Poker Game With Russia, the EU and the USA

The Telegraph wrote on April 18:

“Greek sources have told The Telegraph that [Greek’s] Syriza may sign a deal with Russia for Gazprom’s ‘Turkish Stream’ pipeline project as soon as next week, unlocking as much as €3bn to €5bn in advance funding. This confirms a report in Germany’s Spiegel magazine, initially denied by both the Russian and Greek governments. It is understood that the deal is being managed by… Greece’s energy minister and head of Syriza’s militant Left Platform, a figure with long-standing ties to Moscow…

“Bridging finance from the Kremlin would transform the situation, allowing Greece to avert a disastrous clash with the IMF… The drama has escalated into a bizarre form of brinkmanship for the highest stakes, with Greece effectively playing off Moscow, Brussels, and Washington, against each other in three-way geo-strategic poker… it is not yet clear whether Syriza can expect much more than a comfort blanket from the US… The Kremlin appears to have outbid the White House in the latest round. Brussels has yet to make any bid at all.”

The Telegraph added on April 20:

“The Greek government has ordered a mandatory transfer of cash reserves from state-owned enterprises to its central bank, in a desperate bid to gather enough cash to remain solvent. Citing ‘extremely urgent and unforeseen needs’, the government issued the emergency decree which will apply to all local government bodies immediately… Even the most conservative estimates calculate the government’s coffers will run dry in a matter of weeks.

“Despite the risk of violating its fiduciary obligations, the decree could now help the government meet its monthly €1.7bn wage and pension bill, averting a default on its own citizenry. It is thought the confiscation of reserves held in commercial banks to the Bank of Greece could raise as much as €2bn for the government.”

Fortress Europe for Migrants?

The Guardian wrote on April 23:

“Only 5,000 resettlement places across Europe are to be offered to refugees under the emergency summit crisis package to be agreed by EU leaders in Brussels on Thursday.

“A confidential draft summit statement seen by the Guardian indicates that the vast majority of those who survive the journey and make it to Italy – 150,000 did so last year – will be sent back as irregular migrants under a new rapid-return programme co-ordinated by the EU’s border agency, Frontex. More than 36,000 boat survivors have reached Italy, Malta and Greece so far this year.

“The draft summit conclusions also reveal that hopes of a major expansion of search-and-rescue operations across the Mediterranean in response to the humanitarian crisis are likely to be dashed, despite widespread and growing pressure.”

Genetically Modifying Human Embryos?

The Telegraph wrote on April 23:

“China has been ordered to ‘rein in’ scientists who have edited the DNA of human embryos for the first time, a practice banned in Europe. In a world’s first, researchers at the Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou confirmed they had engineered embryos to modify the gene responsible for the fatal blood disorder thalassaemia.

“The team, led by Junjiu Huang attempted to head off fears of eugenics by claiming the embryos were ‘non-viable’ and could never had become babies. But critics warned that China was becoming the ‘Wild West’ of genetic research saying it was the first step towards designer children and called for a worldwide ban on the practice…

“Advocates of gene editing say that it could eradicate devastating inherited disease. But others are worried that it crosses an ethical line, allowing children to be genetically engineered. And because the genetic changes are happening to embryos the changes will be passed down to future generations…

“Huang said he had abandoned the current project to go back to working out how to minimise the unexpected mutations in adults cells and animals. However at least four groups in China are believed to be currently working on genetically modifying human embryos.”

Ridiculous Pharisaical Teachings in Modern Judaism

JTA wrote on April 16:

“By changing the way a light switch works, the patented Kosher Switch offers a novel — and, its backers say, kosher — way to turn light switches (and, perhaps, other electrical appliances) on and off during Shabbat, circumventing one of the Sabbath’s central restrictions: the use of electricity… But critics say the Kosher Switch isn’t really kosher for Shabbat at all…

“At issue is whether the device’s permissibility for Shabbat relies on a Jewish legal loophole that applies only to extraordinary circumstances like medical or security needs. The loophole, known as a ‘gramma,’ allows for indirect activation of electronic devices on Shabbat. How does gramma work? If, for example, a non-life-threatening field fire is burning on Shabbat, jugs full of water may be placed around the fire to indirectly cause its eventual extinguishing. Dowsing the fire directly — a Sabbath prohibition — is permitted only in life-threatening circumstances.

“Kalati, 43, says his switch does not rely on the gramma loophole. When the switch is in the off position, a piece of plastic blocks an electronic light pulse that when received turns on the light. Turning the switch on moves the piece of plastic, which is not connected to anything electrical, so that it no longer obstructs the pulse. Because the light pulse is subject to a ‘random degree of uncertainty’ and won’t instantaneously kindle the light when in Sabbath mode, it is kosher for use on Shabbat…

“But Yisrael Rosen, head of the Zomet Institute, the leading designer of electronic devices for use on the Jewish Sabbath, says the Kosher Switch is unfit for Sabbath use… The son of another rabbi… Rabbi Oelbaum said his father’s true position is that while the switch does not involve a technical violation of the Sabbath prohibition against labor (which forbids electricity use), it is a desecration of the Sabbath spirit…

“For decades, Sabbath-observant Jews have used electronic timers set before Friday night to control lights and appliances like air conditioners or hot plates. Multistory buildings throughout Israel and some in the United States have Shabbat elevators that can run on autopilot. In 2004, Canadian rabbi and entrepreneur Shmuel Veffer invented a bedside-style lamp called Kosher Lamp that could be “turned off” by twisting a cylinder encasing a lit bulb so that the bulb was completely concealed.

“The Zomet Institute, located in the Jerusalem suburb of Gush Etzion, in the West Bank, has invented baby sensors, sump pump gadgets, hot water heater contraptions, and special switches that modify wheelchairs, hospital beds, electronic scooters and staircase elevators for use on Shabbat. However, many of these devices rely on the gramma loophole and are permitted only for medical or security use.

“Many observant Jews also rely upon non-Jews for help circumventing Sabbath restrictions, though such requests for help are forbidden from being expressed explicitly…”

These kinds of ridiculously burdensome, ungodly and UNBIBLICAL restrictions pertaining to the Sabbath were expressly and explicitly condemned by Jesus Christ. He stated that these human traditions (as opposed to God’s Law) made the Sabbath a burden, explaining that the Pharisees had done away with the commandments of God (including, how to observe the Sabbath in the RIGHT way), in order to uphold their own traditions (also referred to as “Judaism” in the Bible.). For more information, please read our free booklet, “God’s Commanded Holy Days”.

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