Current Events

News from Europe

Associated Press reported on July 20 about the election of the new European President. It pointed out: “Despite a boycott from Euro-skeptics, lawmakers on Tuesday elected a pro-European from Spain to be its next president as the expanded European Parliament met for the first time. The 732-member assembly chose Josep Borrell, a relatively UNKNOWN Spanish Socialist, to its top job… He asked all members for their help during his 2 1/2 year term as head of the EU assembly to push ahead with EUROPEAN INTEGRATION…”

How politics “works,” and how candidates are “chosen,” can be seen by the next few interesting statements of the article: “Borrell’s victory was expected FOLLOWING A DEAL BETWEEN THE CONSERVATIVE EUROPEAN PEOPLE’S PARTY AND THE PARTY OF EUROPEAN SOCIALISTS — THE TWO LARGEST GROUPS IN THE ASSEMBLY. The two parties worked together to secure the EU’s top jobs for the next five years. The deal is expected to help former Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Manuel Barroso to win lawmakers’ approval as president of the European Commission, the bloc’s executive.”

And so, let us notice what happened on July 22, 2004, as reported by Reuters:

“The European Parliament on Thursday approved former Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Manuel Barroso as the next president of the European Union’s executive commission… The 48-year-old Barroso, who traveled a path from MAOIST STUDENT ACTIVIST IN THE 1970s TO PRIME MINISTER OF A CONSERVATIVE GOVERNMENT AND SUPPORTER OF THE WAR IN IRAQ, has promised to bring a STRONG HAND TO HIS NEW EU ROLE. He will head the European Commission, which runs the EU’s day-to-day affairs. It drafts EU law, ensures they are enacted in each of the 25 member states and represents the union in world trade and other negotiations. The president is the face of the EU.”

These incredible developments show HOW QUICKLY relatively unknown persons can, virtually and literally “overnight,” climb to the highest political and governmental positions in Europe.

France and the US

Associated Press published an article last week, titled, “Chirac’s Outbursts Worry World Leaders.”

The article explained: “Jacques Chirac, whose refusal to join the Iraq invasion gained him I-told-you-so clout, IS WORRYING ALLIES WITH BLUNT OUTBURSTS that some say RAISE THE RISKS IN AN OVERHEATED WORLD. At a time when fighting terrorism needs a united front, arrogance in Paris and Washington alike is breeding discord, analysts and diplomats say… But things have gone beyond the two men’s [Chirac and Bush] apparent mutual dislike to drag in other leaders. Turkey, for instance, badly wants to join the European Union. But last month, when Bush endorsed Turkey’s ambitions, Chirac [and many other European leaders and the European media] essentially told him to mind his own business [a polite saying for “keep your nose out of European affairs”], saying Europe doesn’t tell the United States how to deal with Mexico.”

The article continued: “Chirac has enraged eastern European newcomers to the European Union by warning them against supporting the Iraq invasion. He is engaged in a nasty exchange with Ariel Sharon over the Israeli prime minister’s [overblown] claim that France is engulfed in the ‘wildest anti-Semitism’ and that its Jews should get out. And he has angered the Muslim world by championing a ban on schoolgirls’ wearing Islamic head scarves at school. Chirac also sent a message to this month’s international AIDS conference in Thailand accusing Washington of tying aid to trade and calling it ‘tantamount to blackmail.'”

The article pointed out: “Iraq is the obvious issue [for discontent between France and the USA], but underlying it is something much more basic to the French — a sense that their global leadership role, and even their identity, is being submerged in the united 25-nation European superstate they themselves worked to build.”

The German media implied that Chirac’s behavior can be explained by his desire to become a modern Napoleon — the new leader of Europe. However, the final leader will not be French, but of German/Austrian descent — as the Bible clearly reveals. For more information, please study our free booklets, “Europe in Prophecy” and “The Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord.”

Turkey and the EU

The Middle East Times ran an aticle this week, titled, “Austria Lists Turkey’s EU Obstacles.” The article stated: “Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel said in a TV interview on Sunday that Turkey’s entry into the EU would pose ‘huge problems.’ He said the main problem was that Turkey had a population larger than the 10 most recent EU entrants combined. Per capita purchasing power in Turkey was only one-fifth of that in the older members of the EU, and half that of the 10 new members, he said, Turkey had three times more farmers than the entire EU. Turkey’s strategic position on the frontiers of Iraq, Iran, and Syria could also be a problem, Schuessel said.”

EU and the Middle East

On July 22, 2004, Reuters reported that “Israel’s Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said he told an E.U. convoy on Thursday the Jewish state was uncertain it could trust the European Union as a negotiating partner for Middle East peace. Israel is furious at the European Union, a member of an international peacemaking quartet, for backing a U.N. General Assembly resolution that it should tear down the barrier it is building inside the West Bank.”

On July 23, 2004, Reuters published an article, titled, “EU Vows Middle East role as Israel fumes.” It pointed out: “The European Union’s top diplomat has said the EU will play a role in ending the Middle East conflict ‘like it or not.’ The pledge by EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana followed talks on Thursday in which Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon warned him there would be little chance of EU involvement in ending the conflict without a drastic change in the European position. Ties between Israel and the EU have hit a new low after the 25-nation bloc voted for a Palestinian-sponsored General Assembly resolution demanding Israel heed a World Court ruling calling on it to tear down the barrier.”

The article continued: “After failing to resolve the row in meetings with Israeli leaders, Solana wrapped up his visit telling reporters: ‘Europe … is a very important international power and is going to play a role, (whether) you like it or not.’ He said the EU had a right to participate because of its important interests in the region… Palestinians have always insisted on a European role, seeing them as more balanced to their cause than Washington, Israel’s staunchest ally.”

Israel Faces Potential Missile Attack published an article, dated July 26, 2004, titled, “Hizbullah can hit Tel Aviv.” It was stated: “The head of Israeli military intelligence warned Sunday that Hizbullah has developed rockets capable of reaching the Tel Aviv region from its bases in Southern Lebanon, public radio reported.” The article continued: “Agence France Presse reported that General Aharon Zeevi Farkash told the weekly Cabinet meeting that Hizbullah had dozens of missiles with a 105-kilometer range and several with a 205-kilometer range which would represent a threat to Israel’s commercial capital. The missiles were supplied by Syria, the chief sponsors of the militia, public radio said. Israeli officials warned two years ago that Hizbullah possessed 8,000 Katyusha rockets with a range of up to 70 kilometers, representing a direct threat to the north of the country.”

Reuters reported on July 24, 2004: “Israel’s Security Minister warned Saturday of a possible attack on a Jerusalem mosque that is Islam’s third holiest shrine by Israeli right wing groups seeking to derail a plan to pull out of Gaza. The comments follow a report by Israel’s secret service that there is an increasing threat of an attack on Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon by right-wing groups who oppose his plan to pull troops out of Gaza and dismantle all 21 settlements… The al-Aqsa mosque in Arab East Jerusalem is known to Muslims as al-Haram al-Sharif, or Holy Sanctuary, and is revered by Jews as the Temple Mount, the site of two ancient biblical temples. The extremists would take advantage of the fact that the shrine served as ‘the most sensitive, most volatile, most sacred site for Muslims’ in order to attack either the mosque itself or its worshippers’… The shrine has also been the site of numerous clashes by Palestinian worshippers and Israeli police since a Palestinian uprising erupted in September 2000.”

Alternate Pope in Spain?

On July 27, 2004, Reuters published an interesting article, titled, “Spanish Sect Leader says he is the real Pope.” The article pointed out: “Papal pretender ‘Gregorio XVII’ is leader of a self-styled church in Spain who says God crowned him after Pope Paul VI’s 1978 death, that Satan controls the Vatican and that the devil will crucify him at the start of an apocalyptic end of an era.” The article continued: “Church members say followers number several thousand and come from as far away as the Americas. But membership is clearly dwarfed by the 1 billion Roman Catholics around the world who recognize John Paul as head of the church… Gregorio’s church has conferred sainthood on former Spanish dictator Francisco Franco for defending Catholicism in Spain’s Civil War and four subsequent decades of fascist rule. Followers call 58-year-old Gregorio the last pope, and say he will be crucified. An electronic information package handed out at the church shows gory pictures of Gregorio with bleeding wounds in the hands, torso and forehead similar to those of Christ on the cross… Gregorio’s congregation rejects reforms made by the Catholic Church at the 1962-65 Second Vatican Council, such as saying mass in local languages instead of Latin and dialogue with other religions and branches of Christianity… Mass is said in Latin and members of the congregation — all wearing pictures of Christ’s face and two bleeding hearts around their necks — spend most of the service on their knees.”

The article continued to point out: “Before crowning himself ‘pope,’ the man formerly known as Clemente Dominguez said he had visions of the Virgin Mary and messages from God that the church in Rome and Pope Paul VI were being misled. ‘Satan is governing in the Vatican,’ Gregorio was told in a vision in 1971, according to one booklet. A year later he was told, ‘Masons and communism have infiltrated the Vatican.’ Gregorio lost his sight in a 1976 car crash but the Virgin Mary promised he will regain it one day, church documents say. Two years later Paul VI died and Clemente Dominguez, on a trip to Colombia, proclaimed himself pope… The corpulent leader does not always lead services but appears for special occasions. But Pura Hernandez, a 76-year-old woman from Barcelona, said that his presence was overwhelming. ‘I saw him once in ecstasy. There were so many angels,’ she whispered.”

Reading an article like this, one should be reminded of Christ’s stern warnings for our days, as recorded in Matthew 24:11, 24: “Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many… For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.”

Francis Arinze — the Next Pope? published an article, dated July 26, 2004, titled, ” Outspoken Catholic cardinal captivates audience.” The article pointed out: “Cardinal Francis Arinze, one of the most powerful men at the Vatican, is known for an acerbic wit in defense of church teachings… Arinze, 71, heads the Vatican office responsible for sacraments and liturgy. Because he is embarrassed that the news media have touted him as a potential future pope, he avoids interviews… While Arinze is known as a traditionalist, he criticized what he perceived as traditionalist deviations from good Catholic practice. Two questions dealt with purported ongoing apparitions of the Virgin Mary, which are wildly popular in some conservative Catholic circles but have not been approved by the church. Arinze said he would not visit an unapproved apparition site, recommending Mass instead. Even when an apparition has been judged authentic — such as at Lourdes in France or Fatima in Portugal — no Catholic is required to believe in it, he said. ‘If you don’t believe Our Lady came to Fatima and you don’t believe Our Lady came to Lourdes, you can still be a good Catholic. But, if you don’t believe that Jesus died in Jerusalem, then you are not a Christian anymore,’ he said.

“He cautioned against extreme fasting and penance that Mary is said to have called for in some of these apparitions. Prayer and fasting are good, but not when they begin to interfere with the joyful completion of the ordinary God-given duties of family life, work and service to the church, he said… Arinze is an enthusiastic advocate of the church ban on artificial contraception. But in reply to a question about what to do when one spouse wants more children and the other doesn’t, he insisted they decide together… Arinze called the ban on women’s ordination ‘settled’ and said no future pope was likely to reconsider.”

US in Danger of Nuclear Attack published an article, titled, “US vulnerable to EMP attack.” The article pointed out:

“The US armed forces infrastructure, and American society at large, remain vulnerable to a debilitating attack by an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) generated by a high-altitude nuclear blast, a senior-level, congressionally appointed panel has warned. Several potential adversaries, such as China, are capable of launching a crippling EMP strike against the US with a nuclear-tipped ballistic missile, and others, such as North Korea or even terrorist groups, could have the capability by 2015, the panel said in its findings that it unveiled to US legislators at a hearing on 22 July. Panel members said this type of attack may be an appealing option, especially for an unsophisticated opponent. One possible scenario is a ‘Scud’ missile, with a modified nuclear warhead to maximise the EMP effect, launched from a barge off the US coast.”

The article continued: “An EMP attack, for example, could place the nation’s electrical grid ‘in danger of fundamental collapse,’ said commission chairman William Graham, who served as scientific advisor to US President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. The overall effects could be long lasting and difficult to recover from, he added. An EMP strike would also be likely to knock out non-hardened satellites in low-Earth orbit ‘within days or weeks,’ he said, noting that commercial satellites are especially vulnerable.”

Religion under attack in the US?

On July 23, 2004, WorldNetDaily ran an interesting exclusive, titled, “Group threatens churches with loss of tax-exempt status over activism.” The article pointed out: “At least two organizations are monitoring the content of Sunday sermons by U.S. pastors and threatening to report churches to the Internal Revenue Service if they hear political messages they deem inappropriate under federal guidelines on tax-exempt status. Earlier this week, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, headed by Barry Lynn, filed a complaint with the IRS against Ronnie Floyd, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Springdale, Ark., accusing him of preaching a sermon promoting President Bush’s re-election July 4. The complaint challenges the church’s tax-exempt status as a religious organization.

The article continued to point out: “Lynn’s letter to the IRS reads, in part: ‘The pastor’s description of the candidates’ stands and their personal religious beliefs was obviously aimed at encouraging congregants to cast ballots for Bush. The church is known for its stands on social issues and its opposition to legal abortion and gay rights. By lauding Bush’s stands on these and other issues and attacking (Sen. John) Kerry’s, Floyd was plainly telling his congregation to be sure to vote for Bush…’

“Organizations granted tax-free status under federal law ‘may not participate at all in campaign activity for or against political candidates,’ according to published IRS guidelines. According to IRS regulations, tax-exempt organizations ‘are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of, or in opposition to, any candidate for elective public office. Contributions to political campaign funds or public statements of position, verbal or written, made on behalf of the organization in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for public office clearly violate the prohibition against political campaign activity. Violation of this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise tax.’

“The guidelines add: ‘The political campaign activity prohibition is not intended to restrict free expression on political matters by leaders of organizations speaking for themselves, as individuals. Nor are leaders prohibited from speaking about important issues of public policy. However, for their organizations to remain tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3), leaders cannot make partisan comments in official organization publications or at official functions.'”

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