This Week in the News
Turmoil in Germany
MSNBC wrote on February 8 about the AfD’s role as kingmaker by supporting a FDP candidate in Thuringia:
“‘A pact with fascism,’ one headline screamed. Another gasped about ‘a coup.’ Protesters gathered spontaneously in major cities across the country, chanting anti-fascist slogans. Even the chancellor weighed in from afar during a visit to South Africa: ‘It was a bad day for democracy,’ she said darkly.
“Three years after the Alternative for Germany (AfD) became the first far-right party to enter Germany’s national parliament since World War II, the events underscored how the country’s beleaguered traditional parties are still struggling to deal with the new disruptive force… For many Germans, allowing the far right to be kingmakers conjures up dark memories… It did not help that Thuringia is precisely where, in the dying days of the Weimar Republic more than 90 years ago, the Nazis first won power locally, before going on to win nationally — with the help of conservative parties. This history echoed loudly across the country…
“The taboo of not collaborating with the AfD, while sacred, is at risk of crumbling in an increasingly fragmented political landscape. So far, no German state governor has been elected with support from the Alternative for Germany. But the Alternative for Germany has steadily broadened its presence in state legislatures. Especially in eastern states, it has in recent elections been among the top finishers.
“The events in Thuringia were all the more symbolic — and significant — because it is the fief of the AfD’s most notorious far-right leader, Björn Höcke… The photo of Mr. Höcke shaking hands with the victorious center-right candidate, Thomas Kemmerich, prompted particular outrage. ‘Handshake of shame’ the front page headline of the tabloid Bild read. The new governor ‘gets elected by neo-Nazi Höcke.’
“But even beyond Thuringia, enforcing a ban on cooperating with the AfD is proving to be tricky… Some fear it is only a question of time before it arrives on the federal level, where the AfD is the leading opposition party in the national parliament…
“The AfD, meanwhile, has enjoyed accusing mainstream parties of distorting democracy by ignoring the will of voters. For it, the week’s events served as a case in point.”
And that is very true. The more the mainstream and the social media and the mainstream, as well as left-wing, politicians rail against the AfD—even sabotaging and trying to circumvent and silence the declared will of the voters–the more the popularity of the party will increase, as voters are very dissatisfied with the perceived lack of accomplishment by their “established” parties.
As Bloomberg reported on February 8, “Merkel in an unusual step fired a government official from her party who had congratulated Kemmerich for his election. The official, Christian Hirte, is the federal government’s top liaison for the eastern German states and the CDU’s deputy leader in Thuringia.”
Merkel’s overreaction will harm her. Kemmerich announced on Saturday that he was quitting immediately after he had previously announced his immediate resignation, only to subsequently revoke it. Still, as premier, he is obligated to continue in a caretaker capacity until a successor takes up office.
This might require new state elections.
In fact, it might even require new federal elections very soon. Note the next articles.
Another Big Blow in Germany—AKK to Resign
Deutsche Welle wrote on February 10:
“Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer surprised fellow members of the Christian Democrats (CDU) on Monday by announcing that she would step down from her position as the head of the party and would not run for chancellor. She said the candidate for chancellor should also lead the party. Kramp-Karrenbauer intends to stay on as defense minister… She spoke of the need to create a strong CDU, saying that recent events in the eastern state of Thuringia had weakened the party…
“AKK, as she is commonly known, has struggled through a series of scandals that have sowed doubt about her ability to lead the country effectively…
“In 2018, Kramp-Karrenbauer had emerged victorious in the first grassroots contest for CDU leadership… winning against [Friedrich] Merz, who is currently vice president of the business council of the CDU, and Health Minister Jens Spahn… Members of an ultraconservative wing of the CDU came out in favor of Merz as party head. The parliamentary group leader of the Greens… responded to the news by warning the CDU against shifting to the right… AfD parliamentary group head Alexander Gauland… said the decision created an opportunity for the two parties to improve their relations. Kramp-Karrenbauer had ‘plunged the CDU into chaos with her policy of exclusion,’ Gauland said.”
Who Will Succeed Merkel?
The Local wrote on February 10:
“The race to succeed Angela Merkel as Germany’s chancellor became more unpredictable than ever Monday after her protegee Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer threw in the towel as leader of the centre-right party. Here’s a look at four possible candidates for the chancellery from Merkel’s CDU/CSU conservative bloc…
“Friedrich Merz, 64, has never forgiven Merkel for driving him out as head of the party’s group of MPs in the Bundestag in 2002… He was narrowly beaten in the vote for party leader by Merkel’s preferred successor Kramp-Karrenbauer in December 2018, and has been waiting in the wings ever since…
“State premier of Germany’s most populous region North Rhine-Westphalia, 58-year-old Armin Laschet could emerge as the compromise candidate… He has won plaudits for his tough stance against criminal gangs in his state, while his liberal leanings make him acceptable to Merkel’s centre-left coalition partner, the Social Democratic Party (SPD)…
“At just 39 years old the youngest potential candidate, the ambitious [and openly gay] Health Minister Jens Spahn is seen by many as the ‘anti-Merkel’. Highly critical of Merkel’s decision to open the door to an influx of asylum seekers in 2015, he is liked by the CDU’s more right-wing faction. ‘Spahn would represent a new start,’ the conservative Frankfurter Allgemeine daily said, seeing in him ‘a brave party leader’ and ‘potent’ possible chancellor…
“The 53-year-old leader of Merkel’s Bavarian CSU sister party [Markus Söder] is seen as having a more distant shot at the chancellery — and may not even want to throw his hat in the ring…”
The choice of AKK’s successor could be decisive for the survival of the CDU and the grand coalition. It could also open the door for closer cooperation between the CDU and the AfD. In addition, calls for Merkel’s resignation—even within her own party—are getting louder.
Bild Online asked the pointed question about Jens Spahn: “Would Germany be ready for a gay chancellor?“ Spahn already announced that he has always said that he is ready to accept “responsibility.” AKK stated that a new chancellor candidate would be recommended by her party (CDU) in the summer and confirmed in December. Whether the CDU has time to wait that long is questionable.
Is Merkel Destroying Her Party?
The conservative mass tabloid, Bild Online, wrote on February 10:
“The life-threatening crisis of the CDU is primarily due to one person who has just now clearly shown that she still sees herself as the party chairperson: Chancellor Angela Merkel (65). From South Africa, she told her party to ‘reverse’ the Thuringia election results.
“Angela Merkel created a pseudo-successor to herself – who was not supposed to shine brighter than her and who never had the power and influence to fix the damage that Chancellor Merkel has done within the CDU. Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (57), on the other hand, lacked the power instinct necessary for quickly bringing problem cases… back under control. Under AKK, everybody could do what they want.
“Now the CDU is swinging suicidally between the Greens and the AfD, because Merkel as the party leader slept through, ignored, and gave away the two big issues of migration and climate. Instead of shaping the future, the major party CDU is trying to keep up with the Greens and the AfD – without winning back any of the voters it has lost.
“In the big cities, the Greens are about to become a major party. In Germany’s east, it’s the AfD. At the same time, the CDU is tumbling through the country without leadership. Chancellor Merkel is restricting herself to working on her own personal popularity. She is concerned with shaping her own image for the history books and leaves the party to fend for itself. She doesn’t even show up in the election campaigns, because she knows she is no longer wanted there.
“The AKK debacle has shown: With Angela Merkel in the chancellery, a new beginning for the CDU is not possible – even less so with candidates that are popular in the country, but despised by Merkel. As long as Merkel is governing, the CDU will not win over new voters. If this comes to pass, the political centre would – following the near-demise of the SPD – finally collapse.
“If the Chancellor does not realize this, her legacy could be that she ruined her own party and that, with the AfD and Greens, she created two new major parties. One will then look at the CDU as pitifully and nostalgically as one does today at the SPD.”
And this is exactly what might happen.
Waiting for German Leadership
The New York Times wrote on February 11:
“The resignation of the chancellor’s preferred replacement threatens to extend a lack of German leadership… ‘Germany is the elephant in the room,’ said Jan Techau, director of the German Marshall Fund’s office in Berlin. ‘Today Germany and its leadership in the security realm are once again foremost on everyone’s mind,’ he said. ‘Everyone is waiting for Germany.’…
“The uncertainty over who will succeed Ms. Merkel means that Germany will be… extending the sense of paralysis that is frustrating Germany’s allies in the European Union and Washington… even as China, Russia and President Trump’s America seem to circle Europe like predators on issues ranging from trade and competition to Ukraine and Huawei, the political leadership to translate this into policies that German voters support has been missing…
“Who will lead Germany next is by no means clear, with general disappointment in the visible alternatives… ‘Germany is sleepwalking,’ Professor Enderlein said… ‘When Trump took office, we talked of Merkel as the leader of the West, but who would say that now?’ asked Anna Wieslander, a Swede and director for Northern Europe of the Atlantic Council… ‘We want Germany to lead, because it tries to unite Europeans while France is more disruptive, but Germany is not there.’”
Not yet, but a mighty powerful leader will arise, and then things will change dramatically. The comment about France is interesting. See the next article.
France to Lead Europe?
The Associated Press wrote on February 7:
“French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday advocated a more coordinated European Union defense strategy in which France, the bloc’s only post-Brexit nuclear power, and its arsenal would occupy a central role. Macron outlined France’s nuclear strategy… one week after Britain, Europe’s only other nuclear-armed state, officially exited the EU.
“The French leader said… he refused to sign any treaties at this time to further reduce the size of France’s nuclear arsenal and announced an increase in military spending. Macron also positioned himself as the driving force for a united EU, using France’s military clout to make his point… The central idea in the speech, however, was that of a boosted Europe-wide role for the French nuclear arsenal in a more coordinated European defense policy.
“Macron said… the strategy would prevent Europe ‘confining itself to a spectator role’ in an environment dominated by Russia, the United States and China… His remarks come at a time when NATO allies, who would ordinarily look to the United States for help in a nuclear standoff, worry about Washington’s retreat from the multilateral stage. This could create new tensions within NATO, where Macron ruffled feathers last year by saying the lack of U.S. leadership is causing the ‘brain death’ of the military alliance…
“Friday’s speech was part of Macron’s long-running push for a stronger European defense, as U.S. President Donald Trump has pulled away from European allies and admonished them to pay more for their own protection…”
France would love to play the leading role but ultimately, it will be Germany which will lead Europe.
Brexit Transition… the Fight Goes On
Bloomberg wrote on February 5:
“European authorities are hatching an offensive to weaken the Brexit-addled City of London. Officials in Berlin, Brussels and Paris are looking to amend the post-crisis financial rulebook known as MiFID II by walking away from concessions they made to the U.K. in the six years it took to complete the regulations.
“Policies governing research spending, record keeping and trading in stocks, derivatives and commodities are likely to be revised and could make Brexit tougher to negotiate for international banks such as Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. Changes would also be aimed at bolstering Deutsche Boerse AG’s dominance against the London Stock Exchange Group Plc in futures and other listed derivatives…
“London financial services firms’ access to the EU will depend on a process known as equivalence — under which Britain would have to prove to Brussels that its rules are at least as stringent as the bloc’s. The equivalence system that will govern finance gives the EU unilateral power to decide if British rules are tough enough to create a level playing field…
“Germany and France are already talking about reversing key parts of the finance law that were backed by the U.K. when it was a member of the EU…”
It will be an eventful transition period, with bad headlines topping each other.
Ireland on New Course?
Deutsche Welle wrote on February 8:
“Millions headed to vote in Ireland on Saturday, with an initial exit poll showing a virtual three-way tie for the major parties. The poll show a huge resurgence for the left-wing Sinn Fein party… Frustration with economic austerity and an ongoing housing crisis have fueled the rise of Sinn Fein, which is committed to the reunification of Ireland and is still sidelined by the political establishment for its links to the IRA…
“[Before the election,] both major parties [had refused] to work with them…”
But this may change. Note the next article.
The Guardian wrote on February 10:
“Sinn Féin has declared victory in Ireland’s general election and called for talks with other main parties to form a coalition government… Sinn Féin won 24.5% of the first-preference vote in Saturday’s election, almost doubling its share from 2016… Fine Gael slid to 20.9% and the main opposition party, Fianna Fáil, slipped to 22.2%… The Greens, independents and small leftwing parties accounted for the rest…
“The fragmented results will produce a hung parliament with no party close to 80 seats – the number for a majority and stable government in the 160-seat chamber, which includes a speaker…
“Sinn Féin said it wished to promote its defining issue – a united Ireland – in any future government. An exit poll found that 57% of people supported Sinn Féin’s desire to hold referendums on unity on both sides of the border in the next five years.”
Express wrote on February 9:
“A UNITED IRELAND would automatically rejoin the EU, unlike an Independent Scotland, whose ministers would have to go through a long ‘accession process’, one of Britain’s foremost constitutional experts told Express…”
It is entirely possible that the UK will fall apart, and that a united Ireland will rejoin Europe.
Lessons from Leprosy
NPR wrote on February 7:
“… past efforts to isolate disease show that such moves — as well-intentioned as they might be — don’t always go as planned…
“When the federal government sought to identify all the leprosy cases in the country in the early 1900s, it found only 278. But public health investigators told Congress there likely were many more in hiding out of fear… the assistant surgeon general announced that there were ‘1,200 lepers at large’ in the country… When Americans feared a potential leprosy pandemic in the late 1800s, people of Asian descent were also unjustly stigmatized…
“Throughout history, those believed to have leprosy, now called Hansen’s disease, were among the most reviled members of society, outcasts sometimes believed to be sinners who brought the illness upon themselves. Even today, the threat of leprosy is used to demonize immigrants and people living in homeless encampments as potential carriers of the disease — although there’s no evidence that’s true.
“About 200,000 people around the world are diagnosed each year with Hansen’s disease. Many of them still prefer not to make their diagnosis public for fear of how they’ll be treated by the rest of society…”
The Bible clearly advocates isolation and even quarantine for those who are suffering from a serious contagious disease—not because those who suffer from it are cursed and guilty of sin, but because of love for our fellow man. But in this world ruled by Satan, most don’t care about God’s laws. They may not reveal their sickness because of selfish reasons and lack of love for others, or because of fear of the abominable condemnations from their ignorant and self-righteous fellow men. And so, contagious diseases will spread.
Africa Unprepared for the Coronavirus
The Associated Press wrote on February 8:
“At a Chinese-run hospital in Zambia, some employees watched as people who recently returned from China showed up with coughs but were not placed in isolation. A doctor tending to those patients has stopped coming to work, and health workers have been ordered not to speak publicly about the new virus that has killed hundreds around the world.
“The virus that has spread through much of China has yet to be confirmed in Africa, but global health authorities are increasingly worried about the threat to the continent where an estimated 1 million Chinese now live, as some health workers on the ground warn they are not ready to handle an outbreak.
“Countries are racing to take precautions as hundreds of travelers arrive from China every day. Safeguards include stronger surveillance at ports of entry and improved quarantine and testing measures across Africa, home to 1.2 billion people and some of the world’s weakest systems for detecting and treating disease. But the effort has been complicated by a critical shortage of testing kits and numerous illnesses that display symptoms similar to the flu-like virus…
“Those growing worried include employees at the Sino-Zambia Friendship Hospital in the mining city of Kitwe in northern Zambia, near the Congo border. Chinese companies operate mines on the outskirts of the city of more than half a million people. One company is headquartered in Wuhan, the city at the center of the virus outbreak. Hundreds of workers traveled between Zambia and China in recent weeks…
“Several African nations such as Ghana, South Africa and Ethiopia have announced their precautions, including updates on negative test results for suspected cases and demonstrations of surveillance and quarantine capabilities. Ethiopian Airlines, however, faces questions by some in Africa about why it continues to operate more than 30 China flights a week while other African airlines have suspended theirs…”
The virus is spreading much faster than scientists had originally contemplated. It has been reported that even IF a vaccine was to be found NOW, it would ALREADY be too late. But we are told it might take up to eighteen months to find a vaccine.
Newsmax wrote on February 13:
“The total deaths in mainland China since the outbreak began in December stood at 1,367 (1,491 worldwide, according to Axios) with the total number of confirmed cases mounting to 52,526.” This brings the total to more than 60,000 worldwide.
Axios wrote on February 13: “There are more than 500 cases in 27 other countries and territories.”
How China “Deals” with the Virus
The Washington Post wrote on February 6:
“The Chinese Communist Party has once again proved that authoritarianism is dangerous — not just for human rights but also for public health.
“Confronted with the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak, the CCP has instinctively reverted to its familiar tool kit: It immediately staged a large-scale lockdown of people and information at the expense of the public good…
“All you need to do is look at the images and words of brave citizens in Wuhan who have responded by passing on firsthand information about the epidemic to their compatriots and the outside world. They are doing this at great risk to themselves. They know they potentially face reprisal for the heroic act of simply sharing the truth…”
China is an absolutely totalitarian country. It has been reported that those who are suspected of being infected are being violently dragged out of their homes, arrested, and transported into “isolation.”
Massive Death Toll Possible
The Guardian wrote on February 11:
“The coronavirus epidemic could spread to about two-thirds of the world’s population if it cannot be controlled, according to Hong Kong’s leading public health epidemiologist. His warning came after the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said recent cases of coronavirus patients who had never visited China could be the ‘tip of the iceberg.’…
“‘Sixty per cent of the world’s population is an awfully big number,’ Leung told the Guardian in London… the death toll would be massive…”
Man’s Unwillingness to Learn!
AFP wrote on February 12:
“Bats, rats and snakes are still being sold at an Indonesian market known for its wildlife offerings, despite a government request to take them off the menu over fears of a link to the deadly coronavirus.
“Vendors at the Tomohon Extreme Meat market on Sulawesi island say business is booming and curious tourists keep arriving to check out exotic fare that enrages animal rights activists…
“A wildlife market in Wuhan, the epicentre of the virus, is thought to be ground zero and there is suspicion it could have originated in bats… [Indonesia’s] grubby stalls feature a dizzying array of animals including giant snakes, rats impaled on sticks and charred dogs with their hair seared off by blowtorches — a gory scene described by some critics as ‘like walking through hell’.”
This is SICK and DISGUSTING. God calls it a terrible abomination!
The Unforeseen Consequences of the Coronavirus Outbreak
CCN wrote on February 10:
“… the coronavirus epidemic is one big threat that could cause the U.S. housing market bubble to burst at last…
“The Chinese have already been pulling back their investments in the U.S. housing market as regulations have tightened in China to control the outflow of cash from the country. The trade war between the U.S. and China is another reason why their housing market investments have declined. But now, the coronavirus epidemic could deal yet another blow to Chinese investments in the U.S. housing market…
“The travel ban by President Trump on foreign nationals who have been to China in light of the coronavirus outbreak is going to further complicate things for anyone from that country looking to invest in the U.S. housing market. So, don’t be surprised to see a drop in home sales as the Chinese reportedly account for 20 percent of the foreign buyers who buy homes in the U.S.
“… the housing market inventory in the U.S. was down 13.6 percent in January. This was the largest annual decline seen in four years. What’s more, the report states that the listing volume of new properties was also down 10.6 percent year over year…
“As it turns out, homes in the U.S. are getting more and more expensive with each passing month. The median price of a home listed for sale went up by 3.4 percent in January to $299,995…
“At the same time, the pull-out by Chinese buyers on account of the coronavirus outbreak will be another headwind for the market… These two factors could… spark a potential crisis in the market.”
A collapse of the housing market in the USA is certain.
“US Navy Wants More Ships but Can’t Afford Them”
Defense News wrote on February 10:
“The US Navy’s fiscal year 2021 budget slashes 10 planned ships over the next five years…
“That would leave the Navy scrambling to add 50 ships to the battle force over five years starting in 2026, just as the Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine enters serial production and is expected to eat as much as 40 percent of the Navy’s shipbuilding account.”
Crazy–Californians Compelled to Vote?
The Los Angeles Times reported on February 6:
“… a [Democratic] California lawmaker is pushing to require voters to cast a ballot in future elections. The proposal, introduced in the state Assembly on Tuesday, would be unprecedented and probably challenged in court should it ultimately become law. It would place the burden for determining the civil penalty and the ultimate punishment on the secretary of state, California’s chief elections officer…
“As many as 30 countries have compulsory voting laws on the books, including Australia, Belgium and Brazil… Assembly Bill 2070… would require every Californian who registers to vote to ‘cast a ballot, marked or unmarked in whole or in part, at every election held within the territory within which the person resides.’ AB 2070 has yet to be referred to a policy committee and is unlikely to be considered until the spring…
“Opponents… have said that mandatory voting could be in conflict with the right to free speech guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution.”
What absolute utter nonsense… but it is dangerous as, again, the state wants to control the people and limit, if not abolish, their individual rights. Compelling people to serve on a jury would fall into this same category, and so would be the institution of a draft.
Pope Removes German Archbishop Georg Gänswein
LifeSiteNews wrote on February 5:
“Pope Benedict’s secretary, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, has been put on administrative leave indefinitely by Pope Francis… Gänswein has been the private secretary of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger since 2003. He remained at his side after Ratzinger’s election to the papacy. Only a few months before Benedict resigned in 2013, he made Gänswein the Prefect of the Papal Household, as well as an archbishop.
“Since then, the German prelate has spent part of his day with the Pope emeritus, while fulfilling his duties as Prefect of the Papal Household during the remainder of his day. Die Tagespost speculates that the administrative leave is related to the rollout of the book From the Depths of Our Hearts on clerical celibacy by Cardinal Robert Sarah, to which Benedict XVI contributed… Vatican-based journalist Antonio Socci had claimed that Pope Francis was ‘furious’ over Benedict’s contribution to the book on celibacy, demanding he retract his name from the work.”
The liberal and conservative factions within the Catholic Church and the Vatican become more and more embittered adversaries. But it seems that for now, Francis who is sometimes very difficult to read, has bowed to conservative pressure. Note the next article.
Francis: No Ordination of Married Men as Priests… for Now!
The Australian Associated Press wrote on February 12:
“Pope Francis, in one of the most significant decisions of his papacy, has dismissed a proposal to allow some married men to be ordained in the Amazon region to ease an acute scarcity of priests. The recommendation, put forward by Latin American bishops last year, alarmed conservatives in the deeply polarised 1.3 billion-member Roman Catholic Church, who feared it could lead to a change in the centuries-old commitment to celibacy among priests.
“Francis delivered his response in an Apostolic Exhortation on Wednesday, three months after the proposal passed by 128 votes to 41 at a contentious Vatican assembly, or synod, of Roman Catholic bishops. Apostolic Exhortations are used to instruct and encourage the Catholic faithful but do not define Church doctrine.
“Wednesday’s 32-page document did not even mention the proposal, which was for older married deacons who are proven leaders of remote Catholic communities and have stable families to be ordained as priests. Conservatives balked, fearing that even a circumscribed change would be a slippery slope leading to a married priesthood throughout the Church. They branded a pre-synod working document as heretical.
“In what some viewed as a strategically timed appeal to Francis not to approve the Amazon proposal, a book published last month by Church conservatives defended the tradition of priestly celibacy… Vatican officials said the pope completed the document on December 27, before the book controversy, and handed it in for translations. They said no changes were made after that.”
While conservatives may be pleased, liberals will not be.
Pope Pushes One-World Religion
Breaking Israel News wrote on February 11:
“Historically, the Vatican was no friend to the Jews but its new initiative aligns the Catholic Church with Islam in a one-world religion that may be the biggest threat ever to the Jewish People. A major event to advance the project will take place on the anniversary of the birth of the State of Israel…
“The date of the global educational summit is May 14, precisely 72 years after Israel proclaimed its independence. Rabbi Winston suggested that this could have a deeper meaning, indicating the inherent conflict between the Jewish People and universal religion… ‘Are they trying to get rid of the Jews and the Torah by creating one world religion? Anyone who wants a one-world order has to get rid of the Jews because all of human history has proven that the core of Torah Judaism doesn’t change, even, when necessary, and the cost of death…’”
The Bible prophesies an end-time worldwide persecution of the Jewish people.
The Brutal Origin of Valentine’s Day
The Sun wrote on February 12:
“Valentine’s Day hasn’t always meant a cosy, candlelit dinner… The Roman festival of Lupercalia – one of the earliest instances the date became synonymous with ‘love’ – was launched to promote fertility in women, but its barbaric acts were distinctly un-romantic. … Here are the bloody beginnings of Valentine’s Day…
“The ancient pagan festival Lupercalia began in a dark, sacred cave as far back as the 6th century BC. A group of Roman priests would gather and strip naked before slaughtering a goat, as a representation of sexuality, and then a dog – for purification. Two of the priests would then have the animals’ blood smeared on their foreheads with the same knife used for the slaughters, before wiping it off with a piece of milk-soaked wool. Once the sacrifices were complete, things took an even darker turn.
“The priests, known as the Luperci – meaning ‘brothers of the wolf’ – would cut the animals’ skins into strips and dip them in the sacred blood. They’d then take to the streets, where women would be voluntarily lining up to get whipped by the pieces of hide… If you were struck by a Lupercus, one of the priests, it was considered that you would give birth to more children…
“Once the beatings were complete, a Love Island-style matchmaking ceremony would take place… All of the unmarried women would reportedly add their names to a large urn, before it was passed around any single Roman men – who would each pick out a name.
“The couples who were matched up would remain together throughout the festival… Some retellings suggest the new couples would be forced to have sex throughout the remainder of the festival and perhaps even beyond, as the man tried to give his woman a baby.
“Pope Gelasius made it a Christian holiday in the fifth century, historian Noel Lenski told NPR. ‘It was a little more of a drunken revel... That didn’t stop it from being a day of fertility and love.’
“The Roman festival has long been linked to February 14… as the day that birds mate, signifying love.”
For further information on Valentine’s Day, see our free booklet, “Man’s Holidays and God’s Holy Days.”
Lesbians and Gays in Leadership Positions of the Episcopal Church
The Associated Press wrote on February 8:
“The Michigan diocese of the Episcopal Church has its first female and openly lesbian bishop. [She] was ordained Saturday during a ceremony in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn… [Another woman] was the church’s first lesbian bishop in 2010 in Los Angeles…
“[Another woman] became its first female bishop when she was ordained in 1989 in Massachusetts. [A man] became the Episcopal Church’s first openly gay bishop in 2004… ‘If you look at scripture, Jesus said absolutely nothing about homosexuality,’ [the lesbian bishop from Michigan] said…”
It seems one can try to justify everything, even though the Truth should be blatantly obvious.
Israel Prepared to Annex Parts of the West Bank
The Jerusalem Post wrote on February 8:
“Israel has begun preparing a precise map of the parts of the West Bank it will annex in accordance with the new US peace plan, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Saturday… ‘It won’t take much time… Within a few weeks, it will happen.’…
“Earlier this month, US President Donald Trump presented his peace plan, by which the US will approve of Israel annexing some 30% of the West Bank, including all settlements and the Jordan Valley…
“Netanyahu remarked on the historic change of the Trump administration recognizing Israel’s right to Jerusalem and the West Bank – as opposed to the world, including previous administrations, which did not. ‘I’m happy that American policy changed under [Trump’s] courageous leadership, starting with [canceling] the Iran Deal, recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, moving the US embassy, recognizing our sovereignty in the Golan and recognizing the legality of settlements in Judea and Samaria,’ he stated.”
Such action would result in an uproar in the Middle East.
Only Israel Approves of Trump’s Foreign Policies
Breaking Israel News wrote on February 9:
“Israel was the only one of 33 non-U.S. countries included in a new Pew Research Center survey where a majority of respondents expressed approval of U.S. President Donald Trump’s foreign policies.
“Some 55 percent of Israelis in the spring 2019 poll, released on Monday, expressed net approval of Trump’s international policies—meaning they approved of more policies than they disapproved of. The second non-U.S. country with the highest net approval was Poland at 34 percent, and Germany had the lowest net approval at 6 percent.”
America and Israel become more and more isolated from and rejected by the rest of the world.
No Freedom of Speech for the Truth in England
Daily Mail wrote on February 8:
“The preacher son of US evangelist Billy Graham is threatening to sue eight British arenas that cancelled his shows after protests from the LGBT community. Franklin Graham, 67, a vocal supporter of US President, Donald Trump, describes homosexuality as a ‘sin’ and is in favour of ‘gay conversion therapy’.
“The ACC Liverpool conference centre was the first to cancel one of his planned events saying last month that his views were ‘incompatible’ with their values and the Sheffield Arena followed soon after. Since then venues in Glasgow, Newcastle, Cardiff, Birmingham, Milton Keynes and London have all followed suit. But Graham… remains unrepentant on his ‘homophobic’ views and even claimed that the Queen would agree with him…
“He told Premier Christian News: ‘I believe the Bible teaches that marriage is between a man and a woman. That’s the Church of England’s position… This is what the Bible teaches and that’s what I believe.’… Graham… has previously described gay marriage as a ‘sin‘… Graham claimed the LGBT community were threatening free speech… ‘If a small group of people can force a cancellation of an event where thousands of Christians are participating, I think there is no question about the danger in the future to others.’”
No Freedom of Speech for the Truth in Switzerland
Deutsche Welle wrote on February 9:
“Switzerland has voted strongly in favor of banning discrimination against gay people… Sunday’s referendum decided on legislation that specifically outlawed hate speech and discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation with jail terms of up to three years… However, the right-wing Swiss People’s Party (SVP) — the strongest party in parliament — opposed the law… The change was first passed by Swiss parliament in 2018, but it was forced to a referendum after critics said it would stifle free speech…
“SVP lawmaker Eric Bertinat told the Agence France-Presse news agency that he believed the law was ‘part of an LGBT plan to slowly move towards same-sex marriage and medically assisted reproduction’ for gay couples. Marc Frueh, head of the Federal Democratic Union of Switzerland (EDU), a small Christian party called it a ‘censorship law.’… Green, left-leaning and centrist parties support the law.”
The Associated Press wrote on February 9:
“Supporters said the addition is needed but that it would not stifle legitimate public debate as long as the views expressed don’t stray into fomenting hate or discrimination… Opponents argued that protections against denigration were already enshrined in Swiss law. The nationalist Swiss People’s Party, the biggest single party in parliament, opposed the change and said the backers must now show it was ‘not a pretext for handing down politically motivated verdicts and silencing unwelcome opinions and voices.’
“[Justice Minister Karin] Keller-Sutter said ‘freedom of expression remains guaranteed.’ She added that courts have been ‘restrained’ in their application of the existing law and ‘anyone who remains respectful need have no fear of being convicted.’”
However, the accuracy of the concerns of the SVP is only too clear.
Major Winter Storm Hits Europe
Deutsche Welle wrote on February 10:
“A major winter storm — named both Ciara and Sabine — has passed through large swaths of Europe, resulting in a number of deaths across the continent…
“Hurricane-force winds and heavy rains grounded flights, canceled trains and shut down operations at major ports across western Europe from Sunday… Gusts measuring over 170 kilometers (106 miles) per hour were reported in the Black Forest in southern Germany Monday morning… Germany issued its second-highest storm warning level for the entire southern half of the country. In parts of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg, the highest-level warning, No. 4, has been issued.”
The Associated Press reported on February 11:
“Ferocious winds, with gusts over 200 kph (125 mph), lashed Corsica and whipped up a forest fire that flared overnight on the French Mediterranean island on Tuesday, after a storm with hurricane-force winds and heavy rains battered northern Europe for days, killing at least eight people and causing severe travel disruptions…
“Deaths due to the fierce storm were reported in Poland, Sweden, Britain, Slovenia, Germany and the Czech Republic… In northern Bavaria, where a gust of over 160 kph (100 mph) was recorded, the storm produced a record amount of electricity being fed into the German grid from wind turbines, equivalent to almost 44 nuclear power plants.
“The German Weather Service said strong winds would keep blasting much of the country on Tuesday but the brunt of the storm had moved to the southeast. In northeastern Germany, a new storm was expected to reach the Baltic coast… In England and Scotland, the Met Office national weather agency still had 85 flood warnings in force as torrential rains caused numerous rivers to overflow their banks.
“In the Czech Republic, more than 40,000 households remained without electricity Tuesday morning, down from some 300,000 on Monday afternoon. Around 20 train routes were still blocked because of fallen trees on the track…”
Deutsche Welle wrote on February 12:
“A swell caused by storm Sabine flooded Hamburg’s iconic fish market. Fish could now be swimming through the stalls where they are usually sold.”
This winter storm might also be viewed as a preview of the major political storm which will be hitting Europe very soon.
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.