Current Events

Hurricane Rita’s Long-Term Consequences

The Mercury News reported on September 26, 2005, about long-term consequences of Hurricane Rita’s devastation: “President Bush on Monday urged Americans to cut back on car trips amid warnings that the energy disruption from Hurricane Rita could be worse than initially thought. Although Rita spared massive refineries and chemical complexes in the Houston area, the first reports about damage to offshore production of crude oil and natural gas were GRIM.”

The article continued:

“Offshore production across the entire U.S. Gulf of Mexico remained closed Monday, meaning a fifth of the nation’s oil production has been shut down since Thursday. Even before oil workers evacuated offshore rigs in advance of Rita last week, Hurricane Katrina had knocked out 56 percent of Gulf oil production. On-shore refineries also took a hit. The Energy Department said Monday that Katrina and Rita together had cut the nation’s refining capacity by 25 percent. Even when energy companies restart their Texas and Louisiana facilities, at least 10 percent of U.S. refining capacity will remain idle for weeks or months… Some consumer groups have accused oil companies of deliberately restricting refining capacity to keep gasoline prices high.”

On September 24, 2005, The Associated Press reported about Hurricane Rita:

“As the storm raged, the torches of oil refineries could be seen burning in the distance from downtown Beaumont… business analysts said damage from Rita could send gas prices as high as $4 A GALLON. Environmentalists warned of the risk of a toxic spill.”

Hurricanes Katrina and Rita have begun to severely damage the economy and infra-structure of the United States of America. Sadly, this is just the beginning of troubles, as our next article on New York will show.

New York Next?

On September 25, 2005, The Independent (UK) stated: “Experts are predicting still more hurricanes, in what could be the WORST YEAR for the storms since records began. The US government’s official National Hurricane Center and scientists at Colorado State University, who predicted both Katrina and Rita, expect several more named storms in the remaining two months of the hurricane season. And the World Meteorological Organisation believes that the record of 21, set in 1933, may be beaten.”

The article continued:

“Some of these storms could hit the US, and experts say New York could be the next city to be DEVASTATED. The area around the Big Apple is listed by the Center as the FIFTH most vulnerable in the country, after New Orleans, the Florida Keys, Tampa in Florida and Galveston in Texas, all targeted by hurricanes in the past two years… Local experts say that such a catastrophe is ‘INEVITABLE’, and the New York City authorities warn that it could bring a 30ft-high storm surge crashing into Manhattan. The city says at least a million New Yorkers are at risk, and has drawn up plans to evacuate those within 10 blocks of the water. But the city could have less warning than Texas or Louisiana, since hurricanes move faster as they head northwards.”

Iraq Coming Apart?

According to an article which was published by USA Today on September 22, 2005, “Iraq is moving toward disintegration, and war there could spread to its neighbors, Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal said Thursday. In part because of a new constitution that would give more power to various regions in Iraq, ‘there seems to be NO dynamic that is pulling the country together,’ Saud said. Iraqis are to vote on the constitution next month. Sunni Arab leaders are urging a ‘no’ vote, while majority Shiites urge approval. ‘All the dynamics there are pushing people away from each other,’ said Saud, whose nation is predominantly Sunni.”

The article continued: “The main problem, Saud told a small group of reporters here, is the split between Sunnis and Shiites in central and southern Iraq… ‘If things go the way they are… there will be a struggle… for natural resources,’ Saud said, and Iraq’s neighbors will be drawn into a WIDER WAR. He said IRAN, a predominantly Shiite but non-Arab nation, WOULD INTERVENE on the side of Iraqi Shiites. TURKEY, which has a big Kurdish minority, has repeatedly threatened to ENTER northern Iraq if Kurds there declare independence. If Iraq’s Sunni Arab minority appears to lose out, ‘I DON’T SEE HOW THE ARAB COUNTRIES WILL BE LEFT OUT OF THE CONFLICT IN ONE WAY OR ANOTHER.'”

This would mean outright WAR in the Middle East! It would be tragic to think that the Iraq war–which was supposed to bring democracy and peace to Iraq–would have, at least in part, CAUSED such an all-encompassing war in the Middle East!

Afghanistan–Far From Being A Democracy

On September 26, 2005, Der Spiegel Online published an eye-opening article about the situation in Afghanistan and the unwillingness of many countries, including Germany, to face reality and to act–or not to act–accordingly. The article explained:

“Afghanistan is still far from a hospitable place, but that hasn’t stopped German authorities from beginning the process of sending Afghan refugees back home. The first have already been deported, and tens of thousands are now fearing for their future.”

The article described the official position of the German state, which is shared by many of Germany’s allies, as follows:

“…officially, at least, the war is over. Even if warlords continue to rule over drug-infested fiefdoms throughout much of the country, Afghanistan held its first parliamentary election in 35 years last Sunday and parts of the country have been stable for years now. At a conference last November, German state interior ministers determined that Afghanistan was sufficiently stable for refugees to be sent home. Of the 58,000 Afghans currently living in Germany, up to a third suddenly faced expulsion.”

The paradox of this official position is highlighted by Der Spiegel Online, in this way:

“Even Germany’s own foreign ministry has a warning posted on its Web site that, ‘Government security forces are not in a position to secure law and order across the country.’ Furthermore, the Kabul government has little control over vast regions of the country and 70 percent of the population is undernourished.”

One MUST ask: Has the war in Afghanistan, praised by many as the most convincing recent example of bringing peace and prosperity through war, really done this? If so, how are we to explain the undeniable fact that peace, freedom, posterity and happiness seem to be far from many Afghan citizens? Will man EVER learn that his wars will NEVER produce the peace and tranquility that man desires to create?

Gerhard Schroeder a Roman Emperor?

The Telegraph (UK) wrote on September 29, 2005:

“Chancellor Gerhard Schröder stands accused of behaving like a Roman emperor for refusing to quit despite defeat in the German general election… [T]he mass-circulation [German tabloid] Bild portrayed him in a toga on its front page. ‘Just what is the matter with Gerhard Schröder?’, it asked. ‘Does he think he is Germany’s eternal leader–like Caesar?’… [Schroeder] angrily dismissed Mrs. Merkel’s right to lead Germany. ‘It is clear that nobody apart from myself is in a position to form a stable government. I am Chancellor and I intend to remain so,’ he said… Instead, his party tried to argue that the conservatives were really comprised of two parties–Mrs. Merkel’s CDU and its Bavarian sister, the Christian Social Union (CSU)–each of which, taken separately, had fewer seats than the Social Democrats and, thus, no claim on the Chancellery… With neither leader [Gerhard Schroeder or Angela Merkel] prepared to relinquish their claim to lead Germany, there is even talk of their sharing the post for two years each [Angela Merkel rejected this possibility.]. Failing that, both may have to step down.”

The final outcome of this internal German “fight” between the two major parties and their leaders, and the formation of the new German government, could be of important relevance for future developments in Europe and the entire world.

Tony Blair’s Poor Performance

The EUobserver reported on September 23, 2005: “London has drawn criticism for its performance at the helm of the EU, with French ex-president Valery Giscard d’Estaing suggesting the UK has achieved ‘very little’, and the EU budget commissioner questioning slow progress towards a deal on the bloc’s future spending. A debate has sparked in the British media over the last few days about the state of London’s EU presidency. The papers have been quoting EU diplomats’ complaints about the lack of leadership in the presidency while journalists criticised technical problems at events organised in the country. Yesterday Mr Giscard also waded in. ‘The chairmanship of the union is now British’, he told BBC Radio on Thursday (22 September). ‘We are at the end of September. What was the contribution of the British presidency up to now? Practically very little’… The British government has also been under fire for its weak role in the debate about the future of Europe, following the rejection of the constitutional treaty in France and the Netherlands.”

When Tony Blair became the rotating President of the European Parliament, not much leadership or drive toward European unification was expected from Britain–and this should not come as a surprise, since the Bible strongly indicates that Britain will not even be a part of the final configuration of a United States of Europe.

Powerful Earthquake in Peru

The Associated Press reported on September 26, 2005, that “A powerful earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 7 hit northern Peru late Sunday, causing power outages and cutting phone service throughout much of the region… Peru’s Geophysics Institute said the quake… was centered about 60 miles northeast of the jungle city Moyobamba, 420 miles north of the capital Lima. The earthquake was felt throughout Peru’s northern coast and as far away as Bogota in Colombia. It was the strongest quake to strike Peru since an 8.1-magnitude quake hit the Arequipa province in southern Peru in June 2001.”

The Bible predicts that the increase of powerful earthquake activities in diverse places, as well as devastating hurricanes and other natural disasters will signal the “beginning of sorrows.”

The EU in the Middle East?

Reuters reported on September 19, 2005, that “Israel has agreed in principle to a European Union role in policing Gaza’s volatile border crossing with Egypt, Israeli officials said on Monday, a turnabout after years of opposition to an EU security mission… Israeli officials said the pact had to be fleshed out and it remained unclear whether it would entail a full-scale European border guard mission. Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told Reuters his side had agreed in principle to an EU presence on the Gaza-Egypt border… The London-based Independent newspaper said a heightened EU role could range from provision of equipment, such as X-ray scanners for cargo, to an expanded police or border guard force.”

The EU agreed to such a role in the Middle East. If carried out, could this be a preliminary first step toward the ultimate fulfillment of Christ’s statements about end-time European armies surrounding Jerusalem (see Luke 21:20; compare Daniel 11:41)?

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