Current Events


A strong earthquake struck northern Chile on June 14, 2005, killing ten people, toppling 17 houses and sparking alarm on the country’s border with Peru. According to AFP, “The quake cut power in Iquique, 2,460 kilometers (1,528 miles) north of Santiago, on the Pacific Coast of South America. The United States Geological Survey measured the quake at 7.9 on the Richter scale.”

On Sunday, June 12, 2005, an earthquake with the magnitude of 5.6 struck Southern California, at Anza, near Palm Springs. It was felt from Los Angeles to San Diego.

Subsequently, “a major earthquake struck about 80 miles off the coast of northern California on Tuesday night, briefly prompting a tsunami warning along the Pacific coast,” according to The Associated Press.

The article continued: “The 7.0-magnitude quake [others state that the magnitude was 7.1 or 7.2] struck at about 7:50 p.m. southwest of the coastal community of Crescent City and 300 miles northwest of San Francisco… Witnesses felt buildings shaking along the California coast but there were no immediate reports of damage. A tsunami warning was briefly in effect from the California-Mexico border north to Vancouver Island, British Columbia, but was called off about an hour after the quake hit… Crescent City was the site of the only known tsunami to cause deaths in the continental United States. Eleven people died and 29 city blocks were washed away when a tsunami spawned by a quake hit Crescent City in 1964.”

On Thursday, June 16, 2005, an additional earthquake struck Southern California. As The Associated Press reported:

“A moderate earthquake shook most of Southern California Thursday, but there were no immediate reports of damage or injuries. The 1:53 p.m. quake had a preliminary magnitude of 5.3 and was centered three miles northeast of Yucaipa in San Bernardino County east of Los Angeles… Shaking was reported from Los Angeles to San Diego and in counties to the east.”

HIV on the Rise

According to a report published on June 14, 2005, by, “More than 1.1 million Americans are living with HIV, the government reported Monday. The HIV/AIDS pandemic has reached epic proportions in the United States, surpassing the 1 million mark for the first time since the 1980s. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that between 1,039,000 and 1,185,000 Americans were living with HIV when the study took place in December 2003, a nearly 25 percent increase since the last report was released in 2002… The report indicates that nearly three-quarters of Americans living with HIV are men, and about 25 percent of individuals who are HIV-positive do not even know it… The new report did find that infection rates for young females have declined over the past 10 years but have increased among males in recent years. Notably, there was a 47 percent increase in diagnoses among young adult men (20 to 24) who have sex with men, the majority of whom were black. And while HIV and AIDS reporting differs from state to state, experts say one out of every four people infected with HIV each year is under 21.”

German TV Show Blames Bush

The Washington Times reported on June 9, 2005, about an incredible German episode of a crime series (“Tatort”), which was broadcast on German public television on Sunday, June 5, 2005. According to the article, “A fictional crime drama based on the premise that the Bush administration ordered the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Washington aired this week on German state television, prompting the Green Party chairman [Reinhard Buetikofer] to call for an investigation… Sunday night’s episode… revolved around a German woman and a man who was killed in her apartment. According to the plot, which was seen by approximately 7 million Germans, the dead man had been trained to be one of the September 11 pilots but was left behind, only to be tracked down and killed by CIA or FBI assassins. The drama concludes with the German detectives accepting the truth of her story as she eludes the U.S. government hit men and escapes to safety in an unnamed Arab country.”

The article continued to explain:

“As ludicrous as it may sound to most Americans, the tale has resonance in Germany, where fantastic conspiracy theories often are taken as fact. Many Germans think, for example, that the 1969 moon landing was faked, and a poll published in the weekly Die Zeit showed that 31 percent of Germans younger than 30 ‘think that there is a certain possibility that the U.S. government ordered the attacks of 9/11.'”

Sects Danger to Catholic Church?

Zenit reported on June 9, 2005, that a Vatican official, French Cardinal Paul Poupard, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, blamed religious sects in Latin America for religious “indifference.” According to the article, the cardinal explained the conclusions for this rather preposterous claim, as follows: “…religious sects are the penultimate link in a chain that ends in indifference. That chain, he said, ‘begins with the absence of an answer through religious experience to the problem of the meaning of life.'” This phenomenon is due to “a compulsive search for transcendence,” he said, “and rejection of any authority that does not justify itself by being emotionally close.”

The Cardinal blamed, in part, the Catholic clergy for this phenomenon. He said: “Many [Catholics] received only imperatives, rules, programs and commitments to action, but they were ignorant of the proclamation of salvation with convincing force and concrete language… the [Catholic] Church is seen as having inquisitorial and bureaucratic seriousness.”

A New Temple in Jerusalem?

On June 8, 2005, WorldNetDaily reported that “The Israeli rabbinical council involved with re-establishing the Sanhedrin, is calling upon all groups involved in Temple Mount research to prepare detailed architectural plans for the reconstruction of the Jewish Holy Temple. The Sanhedrin was a 71-man assembly of rabbis that convened adjacent to the Holy Temple before its destruction in 70 AD and outside Jerusalem until about 400 AD.

“The move followed the election earlier this week of Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz as temporary president of a group aspiring to become Judaism’s highest-ranking legal-religious tribunal… the group will establish a forum of architects and engineers to begin plans for rebuilding the Temple–a move fraught with religious and political volatility… The Sanhedrin was reestablished last October in Tiberias, the place of its last meeting 1,600 years ago. Since then, it has met in Jerusalem on a monthly basis.”

Israel and the USA

Reuters reported on June 14, 2005, that “Israel is trying to defuse a festering dispute over longstanding U.S. opposition to its arms sales to China and faces new U.S. demands for closer oversight of weapons deals with India… The affair has strained security ties between Israel and the United States, its main ally and provider of about $2 billion in annual defense aid, at a time when it seeks U.S. assistance to help implement its planned withdrawal from Gaza this August… Washington torpedoed Israel’s multi-billion dollar sale of Phalcon strategic airborne radar systems to China in 2000, citing concerns it could upset the regional balance of power. The United States now has similar concerns with regard to weapons sales to India… ‘Relations with the U.S. are important and critical to Israel … but at the same time Israel must uphold its independence and there should be some type of reciprocity in (defense) relations,'” according to Yuval Steinitz, head of the parliamentary Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

Europe’s Future

On June 9, 2005, Der Spiegel Online discussed the potential consequences of the French and Dutch “No”-votes against the EU Constitution. The magazine pointed out:

“So far, every attempt to save the European constitution following its spectacular rejection in France and Holland has failed. More storms are rapidly approaching. The European Union is now –finally — being forced to decide what it wants to be… Now, the constitution, designed as a showpiece for European unity and future guarantee for an expanded Europe, is clinically dead… A dam has been broken, but nobody wants to be the first to admit that the house is under water… In truth, nobody knows how Europe is supposed to find its way out of this impasse… this debate is about more than a controversial draft constitution. The questions go to the very core of the European project.

“Are the entire foundations of European unity up for debate? Will countries leave the euro and return to their national currencies, like the deutsche mark and the Dutch guilder? Will it be full-steam reverse out of Brussels and back to nation-states?

“Experts are now considering, in the event the crisis heightens, scenarios in which countries could leave the EU. And, paradoxically, the very constitution rejected by the Dutch and French would have made exiting the Union possible… A not insignificant group of European citizens are no longer willing to prostrate themselves before the altar of a Europe… Both politically and economically, fundamental decisions must now be made about the future course of the European Union. Should the EU maintain its goal of a strong political union, as desired by Germany and France?… Europe dreams of becoming a super state like the US, a world power… These are times in which extremists and populists are achieving ever-greater success with their anti-Europe slogans, and a boundless debate could greatly damage it or even lead to the collapse of what former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl — one of the great architects of EU unity — called the ‘European House.'”

The Associated Press reported on June 16, 2005:

“In a blow to their ambitions, European Union leaders decided Thursday to put on hold plans to unite their 25 nations under a single constitution, saying they needed to reconnect with their people.”

It was announced that the target date of November 2006 for ratification of the EU constitution will “with certainty” not be met. As the German and Austrian press reported, it is hoped that a special European summit will be arranged in June of 2006, under the Austrian presidency.

EU vs. Germany and France

As Reuters reported on June 14, 2005, “Britain and France failed on Tuesday to resolve major differences over the European Union’s long-term budget, leaving the bloc facing financial deadlock as well as a political crisis over its constitution. British Prime Minister Tony Blair said it was hard to see how the differences could be bridged after talks with French President Jacques Chirac, dimming hopes of an agreement on the 2007-2013 budget at an EU summit on Thursday and Friday…

“France and other EU member states want Britain to compromise over its annual budget rebate from EU coffers. Blair has signaled he might compromise if France gives ground on the big EU farm subsidies it receives. Paris has rejected this.”

After the first day of the summit, no agreement was reached.

The Catholic Church and the Italians

As AFP reported on June 12, 2005, “Italians voted on whether to relax a tough assisted procreation law in a two-day referendum seen [as] a first test for Pope Benedict XVI after the Roman Catholic Church called on Italians to boycott the vote on moral grounds… But many Italians said they were angered by what they described as the Church’s interference in national politics… Even some practicing Catholics said they were upset by the Church’s campaign.” Nevertheless, most Italians seemed to have followed the Catholic Church’s admonition to boycott the vote. According to Zenit, only about one-quarter of Italians went to the polls on Sunday and Monday to vote on the referendum on experimentation with human embryos. Under Italian law, more than half of the eligible voters must participate, for a referendum to be valid.

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