This Week in the News

The State of the Union Address—Facing a Deeply Divided Congress

The Guardian wrote on February 6:

“Donald Trump issued sharp warnings to Democrats, including that ‘ridiculous partisan investigations’ would harm economic progress, in comments that clashed with an appeal for unity during his first State of the Union address to a newly divided Congress. ‘If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation,’ Trump declared. The presence of Democratic House speaker Nancy Pelosi on the dais behind him was an acute reminder of the political challenges he faces in the next two years…

“Trump appealed to two areas of his base supporters by reasserting his vow to build a wall on the southern US border with Mexico, and urging lawmakers to ban late-term abortions

“During the speech, Trump’s comments careened from dark proclamations about the ‘lawless state of our southern border’ and the ‘bloodthirsty monsters’ who fight for Isis, to sweeter moments, such as praising the optimism of a 10-year-old girl who fought brain cancer, and veterans who helped liberate Europe from Nazism during the second world war.

“Trump commanded one of the biggest stages in American politics on Tuesday night but… Capitol Hill was something of a hostile environment. Pelosi… who has thwarted his border wall at every turn… sat mostly stone-faced… She was joined on the dais by Vice-President Mike Pence, who dutifully applauded the president at each opportunity…

“Trump decried ‘new calls to adopt socialism in our country… On foreign policy, an area where Trump faces an increasingly adversarial Republican Senate, the president defended his decision to withdraw US troops from Syria and Afghanistan. Just hours prior, the Senate approved a resolution opposing the plan… ‘Great nations do not fight endless wars,’ he said.”

Newsmax added on February 6:

“Facing a divided Congress for the first time… Trump peppered his remarks with calls for bipartisanship, urging Washington to govern ‘not as two parties, but as one nation.’ But his message clashed with the rancorous atmosphere he has helped cultivate in the nation’s capital — as well as the desire of most Democrats to block his path during his next two years in office…

“Trump’s speech to lawmakers and the nation comes at a critical moment in his presidency. He pushed his party into a lengthy government shutdown over border security, only to cave to Democrats. With another shutdown deadline looming, the president has few options for getting Congress to fund a border wall, and he risks further alienating his party if he tries to circumvent lawmakers by declaring a national emergency instead.”

High Marks in Polls

The Week wrote on February 6:

“President Trump earned high marks among those who tuned into his State of the Union address Tuesday night. A CBS News poll found that 76 percent of speech-watchers approved of what the president said, and 72 percent specifically approved of his remarks on immigration.

“In this poll, 24 percent disapproved of the speech. CNN found that 59 percent of speech-watchers had a very positive reaction, up from 48 percent in 2018, while 17 percent had a somewhat positive reaction, and only 23 percent had a negative reaction…”

USA and Russia Withdraw from Nuclear Arms Treaty… Europe Worried

The Associated Press wrote on February 1:

“Russian politicians accused the United States on Friday of undermining global security by ending compliance with a nuclear arms treaty, while NATO said Russia was at fault for the pact’s demise and European countries watched with dismay.

“The U.S. announced it would stop observing the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty as of Saturday and would withdraw within six months from the pact, a cornerstone of international security since 1987. The treaty signed by the United States and the Soviet Union bans the development, deployment and testing of land-based nuclear weapons with a range of 500 to 5,500 kilometers (310-3400 miles). Moscow and Washington have for years traded claims of the other party being in violation.

“Before Friday’s announcement, the United States alleged that a new Russian missile breached the treaty. Russia in turn accused the United States of unilaterally seeking to neuter the agreement and of resisting Russian attempts to resolve the dispute. ‘I “congratulate” the whole world; the United States has taken another step toward its destruction today,’ Konstantin Kosachev, head of the foreign affairs committee in the upper house of Russia’s parliament, said…

“However, the end of the treaty could also serve Russia’s strategic interests, removing any obstacle to Moscow deploying intermediate-range missiles that could reach Europe and China. U.S. officials had expressed worry that China was gaining a significant military advantage in Asia by deploying large numbers of missiles with ranges beyond the treaty’s limit…

“Washington’s decision was received with anxiety in Europe… The Europeans are keen to avoid a repeat of a crisis in 1983, when NATO allies decided to deploy U.S. cruise and Pershing 2 ballistic missiles as negotiations with Moscow faltered over Russia’s stationing of SS-20 missiles in Eastern Europe… European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini [said:] ‘What we definitely don’t want to see is our continent going back to being a battlefield or a place where other superpowers confront themselves,’ Mogherini told reporters in Romania.”

Europe will become a battlefield where superpowers (continental Europe and mainly Russia and Ukraine) will confront themselves.

Deutsche Welle wrote on February 2:

“Russia will withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday… Putin said Russia would, for now, not initiate talks with the US on disarmament… Putin added that Russia would now begin work on developing new medium-range missiles, but would only deploy them if Washington does so…

“The US [said it] would develop ‘military response options’ and work with its NATO allies ‘to deny Russia any military advantage from its unlawful conduct’… German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas… said on Twitter that ‘many new weapons have been developed for which there are almost no international rules.”

Russia’s New Weapon

Newsmax wrote on February 4:

“A weapon that sounds like something out of the ‘Star Wars’ movies has apparently been installed onto a pair of Russian Naval ships…

“[It allegedly] fires a beam that resembles a strobe light. People on the receiving end of the beam have their vision impacted. Others who participated in the weapon’s tests experienced hallucinations and vomiting. More specifically, people on whom the weapon was tested had difficulty aiming rifles because their vision was affected by the light.”

Rearming Europe

Focus Online wrote on February 2: “The Cold War is back and we can’t rely on the USA. Europe must rearm.”

Global Firepower wrote: “… the combat tank remains the primary spearhead for ground offensives combining the qualities of fire power, mobility protection into an all-in-one system.”

They continued to give the following statistic:

Russia has 20,300 tanks; China has 7,716 tanks; North Korea has 5,243 tanks; India has 4,426 tanks and Japan has 679 tanks. The USA has 5,884 tanks.

Poland has 1065 tanks; Germany has 432 tanks; France has 406 tanks; Spain has 327 tanks; United Kingdom has 227 tanks; Italy has 200 tanks; and other European countries have less than 160 tanks each. Some have no tanks at all.

No wonder, then, that there is call for re-armament.

Closer European Defense Cooperation

Handelsblatt Global wrote on February 4:

“The announcement by the United States and Russia that they both plan to abandon a key nuclear arms limitation agreement has stoked German fears of a revived nuclear arms race…

“Speaking to Handelsblatt, Wolfgang Ischinger, the chair of the conference and a former German ambassador to Washington, said Europe should engage in a two-pronged strategy. It should bolster its conventional defenses while also supporting negotiations to reduce the risk of a nuclear arms race…

“This did not mean Germany or Europe were powerless, he added. But Europe needed a more coherent policy-making environment… Germany should take the lead on this, he suggested…

“US-European relations [are] worse than at any time in decades…”

Capturing the Neoliberal EU?

The Week wrote on February 1:

“For those who support the European Union, the good news of recent months has been that Brexit is unfolding so disastrously in the U.K. that the temptation of some to bolt from the bloc has faded across the continent. But the bad news is that those who despise the bureaucrats in Brussels may have found a new strategy to advance their aims — and one that has a much greater chance of succeeding. Instead of fighting the EU, the anti-liberals now hope to capture it.

“The first big push to make that happen will take place from May 23 to May 26, when elections for the European Parliament will be held across 28 member countries. The idea is simple: Parties that oppose the neoliberal policies of the EU aim to forge a right-wing popular front — and perhaps even a truly big-tent anti-liberal movement that includes both right- and left-wing populist parties — that can win a large block (and maybe even a plurality) of seats in the legislative body.

“… There are ideological and practical political reasons why this is likely to happen — and some signs that it has already begun… over the past two decades, the institutional left and right have converged across Europe, with differences between them becoming miniscule. A long list of policies has been championed by both sides… It’s been an era of nearly homogenous elite consensus — on immigration and refugees (follow humanitarian imperatives that demand acceptance of all comers), on crime (don’t talk about it), and on economic policy (austerity is the only responsible option)…” We should not forget that Hitler’s declared rule was based on national socialism.

World’s Largest Free Trade Agreement between EU and Japan

Deutsche Welle wrote on February 1:

A free trade agreement between Japan and the EU entered into force on February 1, covering 635 million people and almost one-third of the world’s economy. Dubbed the world’s largest free trade agreement,  [it] removes duties on almost all agricultural and industrial products and opens up the service sector and procurement. It also moves to eliminate non-tariff barriers to trade…

“Japan is the EU’s second-largest trade partner in Asia after China. EU businesses export €58 billion in goods and €28 billion in services to Japan every year. The EU estimates exports to Japan will increase 13 percent, or €13 billion, as a result of the free trade zone. Japan exports €69 billion in goods and €18 billion in services to the EU annually.”

A close economic relationship between Europe and Japan has been prophesied before the relationship between those powers becomes hostile and Japan joins an economic and military coalition of Far Eastern nations.

Status of Gibraltar and Free Travel

The Guardian wrote on February 1:

“A straightforward change in EU law guaranteeing visa-free travel for Britons in Europe after Brexit has sparked a diplomatic row after Brussels described Gibraltar as ‘a colony of the British crown’ in its no-deal legislation.

“The footnote containing the contentious description of the Rock was attached to the EU’s regulation on the insistence of Spain, with whom the UK has been in dispute over Gibraltar for three centuries…

“Despite the flare-up, the decision means UK citizens entering the EU’s Schengen area for up to 90 days in any 180 days should be granted visa-free travel. The EU said, however, that British tourists would lose that right if the UK government imposed visa requirements on any of its member states.”

Recently, Spain has renewed its claims for Gibraltar in case of a no-deal Brexit. The UK will ultimately lose Gibraltar to continental Europe.

Brexit and War Talk

The Guardian wrote on February 4:

“A Conservative MP (Daniel Kawczynski) came under fire this weekend after invoking the second world war in a statement about the way the ‘ungrateful’ EU treats the UK on Twitter… But Kawczynski… isn’t the first politician to have used war analogies to describe Brexit proceedings:

“Last week (MP) Mark Francois said: ‘My father, Reginald Francois, was a D-Day veteran. He never submitted to bullying by any German and neither will his son.’…

“Johnson [argued] in May 2016, when he argued in a Telegraph interview that the EU were trying to create a superstate like Hitler had. ‘Napoleon, Hitler, various people tried this out, and it ends tragically. The EU is an attempt to do this by different methods,’ said Johnson.”

Wars start with words…

Brexit “Talks” Become More Hostile

Deutsche Welle wrote on February 6:

“European Council President Donald Tusk did not mince words on Wednesday with regards to Brexit. Writing on Twitter, Tusk wrote: ‘I’ve been wondering what that special place in hell looks like, for those who promoted Brexit, without even a sketch of a plan how to carry it out safely.’

“The president’s comment was criticized by prominent pro-Brexit voices, such as Nigel Farage, who called Tusk and his colleagues ‘arrogant bullies’…  British Prime Minister Theresa May took a slightly more subdued, but no less critical tack, saying ‘it’s a question for Donald Tusk as to whether he considers the use of that kind of language helpful.’

“Tusk’s strong words came as he met Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar in Brussels… ‘The top priority for us, remains the issue of the border on the island of Ireland… There is no room for speculation…’  Tusk said in a statement… But Northern Ireland’s conservative unionist DUP party, which props up May’s government, was insisting the backstop, the only measure the UK and EU agree unequivocally onbe scrapped… The DUP also had choice words for Tusk’s Twitter tirade, calling him a ‘devilish, trident-wielding, euromaniac.’”

Iran’s New Cruise Missile

Breaking Israel News wrote on February 3:

On Saturday, during celebrations marking the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Iran state television announced their military had successfully tested the new Hoveizeh surface-to-surface cruise missile. The missile, launched from a mobile launcher, has an effective range of 800 miles, puttingIsrael and U.S. troops stationed in the region within range…

“Debka File, an English language Israeli military intelligence news site, described the effectiveness of this type of missile. ‘Iran is confident that neither the United States nor Israel has the answer to this threat,’ Debka wrote. ‘And indeed, say our military experts, no military force in the world has so far found an effective means of intercepting cruise missiles before they strike unless they are of short range.’”

Iran Threatens Israel with Obliteration

Express wrote on February 1:

“Iran has chillingly warned Israel that it will be ‘destroyed’ with a death toll so high there will not be sufficient space to bury them as tensions mount over Syria.

“The shocking remarks made by a senior Iranian military leader come after Israel hit several military targets in Syria, which… killed up to 12 Iranians… it said the overnight operation… was in response to a rocket fired towards the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights… Brigadier General Hossein Salami said Israel would be obliterated before its closest ally, the United States, has a chance to intervene…

“Since the war in Syria broke out in March 2011 Israel has hit military targets in Syria on dozens of occasions. Israel’s arch-enemy Iran has backed President Bashar al-Assad since the war began as an uprising of rebels and jihadists against the regime. Assad’s other top foreign ally, Russia, has called on Israel to end its strikes on its war-torn neighbor… Moscow joined in on the war in 2015 at the request of Assad, saying it was acting to ‘fight and destroy militants and terrorists’ in Syria rather than wait for them to come to Russia…”

These may not be just idle threats. We are told in the Bible that the state of Israel or “Judah” will receive a wound… apparently some kind of defeat in a war with its enemies.

Executions of Homosexuals in Iran

On February 1, Bild Online published the following commentary by US Ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, who is openly gay:

“The recent press reports, first carried by ‘The Jerusalem Post,’ that the Iranian regime publically hanged a 31-year-old man for being gay should be a wakeup call for anyone who supports basic human rights… This is not the first time the Iranian regime has put a gay man to death with the usual outrageous claims of prostitution, kidnapping, or even pedophilia. And it sadly won’t be the last time they do it either. Barbaric public executions are all too common in a country where consensual homosexual relationships are criminalized and punishable by flogging and death.

“In Iran, where children as young as nine can be sentenced to death, gay teenagers are publically hanged in order to terrify and intimidate others from coming out. Iran’s horrific actions are on par with the brutality and savagery regularly demonstrated by ISIS. Being gay is a death sentence in eight countries and criminalized in 70 more. LGBT status or conduct means arrest, imprisonment, and violence for people who are simply dating or falling in love…

“The truth for LGBT people is that we were born gay. Enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is the idea that all of us are born free and equal in dignity and rights. People can disagree philosophically about homosexuality, but no person should ever be subject to criminal penalties because they are gay.

“India, Trinidad and Tobago, Angola, and Belize have recently decriminalized consensual same-sex sexual conduct. But there’s still much more work to be done. Reasonable people can help by speaking out when young gay men are publically hanged in Iran or shot in Chechnya. And government officials must work harder to demand that UN Members decriminalize homosexuality.”

First of all, LGTB people are NOT born gay. Rather, this is an adopted lifestyle which, according to the Bible, is wrong. In addition, why does Ambassador Grenell not single out the most vicious and brutal culprit when it comes to killing homosexuals… which is America’s ally, Saudi Arabia? Could it be that political motivations played a decisive role for writing this article against America’s enemy, Iran? In this context, read the next article.

Curing Homosexuals?

Handelsblatt Global wrote on February 3:

“‘The physical and mental state of homosexuals is far from normal.’ Or: gay people ‘are not healthy.’… those statements were published by a group of German doctors just five years ago… Homosexuality, ‘a disturbance in the developmental phase,’ can be treated, the Munich-based group insists. [It] offers ‘treatment’ ranging from psychoanalysis to homeopathy, prayer or ‘detoxification.’…

“German doctors stopped ‘diagnosing’ homosexuality as a mental disease after the World Health Organization dropped it from its list of illnesses in 1992… the World Medical Association has condemned so-called ‘conversion’ or ‘reparative’ methods targeting same-sex attraction. ‘These constitute violations of human rights and are unjustifiable practices that should be denounced and subject to sanctions and penalties,’ the WMA said in a 2013 statement. The body represents some 10 million physicians in over 100 countries…

“Nearly two dozen US states, Canadian provinces and Latin-American countries have outlawed or restricted anything resembling a ‘gay cure.’ It has been outlawed, at least for minors, in places like Ontario, California, Illinois, among others, while Brazil and Argentina have imposed nationwide bans. But not in Germany, where conversion therapies are still legal. This is also true throughout most of Europe, despite a non-binding resolution against conversion therapy overwhelmingly backed by the European Parliament last year. In fact, Malta and Switzerland are the only European countries that have passed any legislation against them, in addition to a handful of Spanish regions…

“Six years ago, Merkel, the daughter of a Protestant pastor, raised eyebrows when she wrote a letter congratulating the Gnadau community on its 125th anniversary. An Evangelical organization with some 200,000 members in Germany, Gnadau is an outspoken proponent of ‘healing’ gays. Another CDU heavyweight, Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen, once endorsed a Christian festival in Bremen which promoted gay conversion seminars. And last spring, German media reported that regional CDU politicians in Saxony-Anhalt, including a former president of that eastern state, supported a Protestant group that for decades had attempted to cure homosexuals…

“The current health minister, Jens Spahn, is one of the country’s best known gay politicians – and unsurprisingly, he is against ‘curing’ homosexuals, which falls within his remit. In a Facebook post last summer, he called conversion therapies ‘nonsense’ and ‘a form of torture.’ [But] in early July, a left-wing lawmaker submitted a written request asking the government to take steps to ban conversion therapies. The written answer consisted of one word: ‘Nein.’”

Regardless of what man might say, the practice of homosexuality is clearly condemned in the Bible as sinful and an abomination. The apostle Paul made it clear that those who practice homosexuality will not inherit the Kingdom of God and eternal life, but he also said that those who became members of God’s true church were cured and healed from committing this sinful practice.

God Wanted Trump to Become President

CNN wrote on January 31:

“White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said she believes God wanted President Donald Trump to win the 2016 election, the Christian Broadcasting Network reported on Wednesday. ‘I think God calls all of us to fill different roles at different times and I think that he wanted Donald Trump to become president, and that’s why he’s there,’ Sanders told CBN’s David Brody and Jennifer Wishon, according to a transcript of the interview provided by CBN. ‘

“‘I think he has done a tremendous job in supporting a lot of the things that people of faith really care about,’ Sanders added. When asked about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi calling Trump’s proposed wall along the US southern border ‘immoral,’ Sanders told CBN, ‘The idea that protecting the people of your country, which is the fundamental duty of being president of the United States, would in some way be immoral is a ridiculous charge.'”

To be clear, we believe too that Donald Trump was placed in the position of President to fulfill biblical prophecy–not, in order to support a lot of things which true Christians care about, but in order to bring about the speedy downfall of the USA.

Suicide Risks Through Contraceptive Pills

Deutsche Welle wrote on February 1:

“The European Medicines Agency demands that a warning about a heightened suicide risk be included in the medication package insert for contraceptive pills. What is the connection between hormones and mental health?

“… there are scientific studies that do draw a connection between depression and hormonal contraception… Women who take the pill have a higher risk of suffering from depression than women who do not use hormonal contraception… the probability of suicide is about three times higher for women taking the pill than for women who did not use hormonal contraception. And the probability of a (first) suicide attempt is twice as high with the pill as it is without it. Similar to the study on depression and the pill, teenagers were particularly at risk…

“In addition to depression and suicide attempts, the pill is also associated with other risks. These include an increased likelihood of thrombosis, an increased risk for certain types of cancer and reduced libido.”

It has been known, but many times ignored, that “the pill” poses a great risk to the health of women. In addition, using medication after conception constitutes abortion which is sinful in the eyes of God. Note the next article.

Third-Trimester Abortions

Newsmax wrote on February 1:

“The growing laws allowing third-trimester abortion is a serious issue for many Americans,… Rep. Mark Walker said Friday… Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is refusing to back down from comments about a late-term abortion proposal in his state that would have allowed women to have the legal right to abort a fetus up until and even after birth, and Walker said he finds that frustrating.

“‘One of the things that bothers me as well is almost the arrogance or prideful spirit he has with this,’ said Walker. ‘Never once have I heard him mention (anything) about the baby, the concerns about the third trimester.’ However ‘81 percent of Americans are against’ third-trimester abortion, said Walker…”

“The baby” is indeed an innocent human being who is being murdered through abortion.

AI Today and Tomorrow

Express wrote on February 2:

“Robots will be in a position to outstrip the abilities of mankind within half a century, an expert in artificial intelligence has warned, stressing it was vital to introduce safeguards to prevent mankind being ‘replaced.’ Luca De Ambroggi, the research and analysis lead for AI solutions [said:] ‘In 50 years, it is reasonable to think that robots will be able to ‘support’ and replace human beings in several activities. Already electro-mechanical devices outperform humans in sensitiveness and reaction time.’ Considering the vast technological progression witnessed in the last decade, Mr Ambroggi said 50 years was ‘sufficient’ to close several gaps with human beings.

“He added: ‘Even if our brain will still have advantages and human beings will remain more dynamic and versatile, electronics will be able to outperform humans in several specific functions, as it does today, from machine vision, to audio/speech recognition…’ He said: ‘Artificial Intelligence is here, and it’s here for the long haul… from the sensing perspective electronics and semiconductor support, to the ability to see, hear, touch, as well as smell and taste with the latest MEMS technologies.”

Once-in-a Century Floods Overtake Australia

Breitbart wrote on February 3:

“Once-in-a-century floods have turned streets into rivers and forced thousands to abandon their homes in northeast Australia, with authorities warning of tornadoes and more rain over the next few days. Australia’s tropical north experiences heavy rains during the monsoon season at this time of the year, but the recent downpour has surged far above normal levels…

“Military personnel were delivering tens of thousands of sandbags to affected locals, as Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk warned residents to be careful. ‘It’s basically not just a one in 20-year event, it’s a one in 100-year event,’ she told reporters Saturday…

“The deluge comes amid a severe drought in the eastern inland of the vast Australian continent, including parts of Queensland state… Extreme heatwaves during the southern hemisphere summer have also led to maximum-temperature records being broken in some towns…”

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.