Current Events

Relationship Between USA and Germany DETERIORATING!!!

Der Spiegel Online published a remarkable article on December 7, 2005, pointing out the TRUE current relationship between the USA and Germany–all hopeful and wishful thinking notwithstanding. This development is, of course, in line with Biblical prophecy, even though some might have chosen to forget or ignore what the Bible clearly reveals. As the comments in the magazine are of such tremendous importance, we are quoting extensively from the article, as follows:

“If US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s visit to Berlin for talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel was meant to herald a new era of trans-Atlantic harmony, IT HAS FAILED. Merkel ANGERED US officials with her public statement that Washington admitted it had made a ‘mistake’ by kidnapping a German national… Monday’s meeting between the TWO MOST POWERFUL WOMEN IN THE WORLD resulted in a DIPLOMATIC SPAT and HIGHLIGHTED A GROWING RIFT BETWEEN EUROPE AND AMERICA over whether the end always justifies the means in the war on terror. Rice’s trip was meant to signal a new start for trans-Atlantic ties, but if anything, RELATIONS ARE WORSE NOW.

“Merkel irritated US officials by telling journalists after their meeting that Washington had admitted making a mistake in the case of Khaled al-Masri, a Lebanese-born German citizen who was abducted by the CIA and claims that he was tortured while held in secret custody. ‘We discussed the one case which was accepted as a mistake by the government of the United States,’ MERKEL TOLD A JOINT NEWS CONFERENCE WITH RICE AFTER THEIR MEETING on Tuesday. US officials later told journalists that Rice had done nothing of the sort. ‘We are not quite sure what was in her head,’ the Reuters news agency quoted a senior American official as saying. The US government has informed the German government about al-Masri’s case but has not admitted making mistakes. Rice has merely given assurances that any errors made by the CIA would be corrected as and when they arose, officials said.

“The US irritation may stem from concern that any admission of an error would hurt the US government’s position in US lawsuits against it. Al-Masri, 42, was abducted while on holiday in Macedonia in late 2003 after being mistakenly identified as a suspect in the 9/11 attacks. He was then taken to Afghanistan, where he alleges he was drugged and beaten while being held captive in a secret CIA prison. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit on his behalf in the US Federal Court in Virginia on Tuesday.

“Merkel, who supported President George W. Bush over the Iraq war and has pledged to repair the damage her predecessor Gerhard Schröder did to relations with the US government, may have SURPRISED RICE WITH HER ROBUST COMMENTS on allegations that the US runs a network of ‘ghost flights’ and secret prisons around the world where terror suspects can be interrogated with little concern for international law… Rice’s comment that the US does not torture terrorism suspects met with skepticism in Berlin. Karsten Voigt, the German government’s coordinator on German-US relations, said: ‘The question remains whether she means the same thing by torture as we do.’…

The article also pointed out:

“For commentators in Germany, the US practice of ‘extraordinary rendition,’ or secretly transferring suspects to third countries, including some outside Europe that routinely use torture, reveals HOW FAR EUROPE AND THE UNITED STATES HAVE DRIFTED APART since Sept. 11 on how much leeway secret services should have in pursuing terrorists. ‘Condoleezza Rice gave the best example of this by adopting what almost seemed like a blackmailing tone in saying that whoever discloses the work of their intelligence services would have to live with a higher threat of terror,’ stated an editorial in the liberal daily Süddeutsche Zeitung. ‘Rice came to Germany TO BEGIN A NEW ERA. SHE HAS RESOUNDINGLY FAILED TO DO SO’… In a swipe at the Bush administration, [former Interior Minister Otto] Schily said he had urged the Americans to give full assistance to the German prosecutor investigating al-Masri’s case. ‘Unfortunately that didn’t happen in an appropriate fashion,’ Schily told the paper [Die Zeit].”

HIV in Sub-Saharan Africa

As Terrence Higgins Trust reported in November, “Sub-Saharan Africa continues to be the worst affected region, with 25.4 million people living with HIV at the end of 2004, up from 24.4 million in 2002… Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for nearly two-thirds (64 per cent) of all HIV infections worldwide. Three-quarters (76 per cent) of all the women living with HIV live there.”

Catholics in Limbo?

The Scotsman reported on November 30, 2005: “The Catholic Church is preparing to abandon the idea of limbo, the theological belief that children who die before being baptised are suspended in a space between heaven and hell… The idea of limbo was developed as a response to the harshness of early Church teachings which insisted that any child who died before he or she was baptised would still be stained by Original Sin and so would be condemned to hell… the new belief is expected to be that unbaptised babies [who have died] will go directly to heaven.”

Zenit reported on November 30, 2005, that “Whoever seeks peace and the good of the community with a pure conscience, and keeps alive the desire for the transcendent, will be saved even if he lacks biblical faith, says Benedict XVI.”

These two reports seem to indicate a FUNDAMENTAL CHANGE in Pope Benedict’s theological understanding. As Cardinal Ratzinger, he insisted that one must be or become a member of the Roman Catholic Church in order to be saved. The future will show how this new representation of the Catholic faith will play out.

The Bible neither teaches the concept of limbo, nor, that we go to heaven when we die, nor, that unbelievers will be thrown into an ever-burning hellfire, to be tortured and punished for all eternity. The Holy Scriptures clearly teach, however, that the belief in and the acceptance of Jesus Christ is absolutely necessary for salvation. For a better understanding of these VITAL issues, please read our free booklets, “Do We Have an Immortal Soul?” and “God’s Commanded Holy Days.”

Turks Esteem Benedict XVI

On December 1, 2005, Zenit reported: “Benedict XVI will be ‘more than welcome’ in Turkey, says a Turkish professor of the history of Islam. Nahide Bozkurt… explained that for many Turkish Muslims, the Pope is ‘a spiritual man, holy.’  The [pope] plans to visit Turkey next year. ‘Many people believe in the Pope; he has spiritual power,’ Bozkurt told Zenit. ‘If he comes to Turkey, he will be much appreciated.'”

Russia Helps Iran

WorldNetDaily reported on December 2, 2005, that “Russia has signed a deal with Iran to sell 29 of its… anti-missile systems, a development that will complicate any planned pre-emptive attack on the… nation’s nuclear facilities… The system would theoretically permit Iran to intercept some cruise missiles as well as airborne missiles that U.S., Israeli or other western countries might use in an effort to keep the terrorist-supporting nation from developing nuclear weapons or using them.”

Israel on the Offensive

The Associated Press reported on December 6, 2005: “Israel clamped an open-ended closure on the West Bank and Gaza Tuesday, BANNING VIRTUALLY ALL PALESTINIANS FROM ISRAEL, and arrested 15 Palestinian militants in a first response to a suicide bombing that killed five Israelis outside a shopping mall. Israeli officials also said the army would target Islamic Jihad operatives in the West Bank, both through arrest raids and targeted killings of operatives, and renew airstrikes in the Gaza Strip in response to any Palestinian rocket attacks.”

Dangerous US Spending and Borrowing

Britain’s The Times reported on December 3, 2005, that “Alan Greenspan last night issued a stern, renewed warning over threats to the global economy… The Fed Chairman [who is resigning in January] said that, so far, the US had avoided any serious pressure in financing its vast $668 billion (£385 billion) current account deficit… he emphasised that the US reliance on ever- rising inflows of foreign capital could not go on [forever]… If policymakers failed to rein in spending and borrowing, he said that ‘in the end, the consequences for the US economy of doing nothing could be severe.'”

Joerg Haider’s Solutions

Austria’s NetWorld reported on December 3, 2005, that Austria’s unemployment figures have reached an all-time high. Joerg Haider blames foreigners living in Austria for this problem. He demanded not to give any further work permits to foreigners. He also insisted on deporting foreigners who are legally residing in Austria, but who have been without work for more than six months. He also demanded to refuse giving public work to companies in Austria which only employ foreigners.

It’s Christmas Time… Again!

The Christmas Season is upon us. True Christians refuse to keep Christmas, due to its blatantly pagan origin. Surprisingly, perhaps, some well-known public figures expressed their misgivings about Christmas over the years. Bild Online gave the following examples in their edition, dated December 3, 2005:

Otto von Bismarck exclaimed: “Whatever you may give as a [Christmas] present, you will be accused for it.” Friedrich Nietzsche said: “Those peoples are to be envied who do not know Christmas.” And German poet Theodor Storm wrote: “And now it’s Christmas once again. Please, help me, God, that I may endure it.”

Sadly, Zenit reported enthusiastically on December 5, that Christmas is making a comeback. The Catholic paper also admitted the heavy influence of Catholics in the United States in this regard, pointing out:

“The regular battle over Christmas decorations, carols and terminology started in early November, in a number of countries. The controversy got off to a start in the United States when Wal-Mart defended its practice of greeting people with ‘Happy Holidays’ instead of ‘Happy Christmas.’ The company came in for strong criticism from Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights. In a press release dated Nov. 9 Donohue also criticized a Wal-Mart statement which claimed that Christmas was a composite of ancient traditions, made up of elements such as Siberian shamanism, Celt and Goth customs, and the worship of Baal. Donohue called for a boycott of the retail giant. The dispute quickly finished. Donohue announced two days later that Wal-Mart was withdrawing its statement about the origins of Christmas, as well as making some changes to its Web site…”

On December 5, 2005, Bild Online explored the origin of Santa Claus and his servant, “Knecht Ruprecht.” While the paper gave the usual, albeit wrong explanation that the concept of Santa Claus goes back to a Catholic priest who allegedly gave presents to children in December, it sets forth an interesting thought regarding the servant Ruprecht: “He became the symbol of the dark side. He punishes bad kids and puts them in his sack–the pit of hell.”

For more information on the REAL origins of Santa Claus and his servant, “Knecht Ruprecht,” please read pages 6-8 of our free booklet, “Don’t Keep Christmas.”

The United States of Europe

The EUobserver reported on December 1, 2005: “Belgian prime minister Guy Verhofstadt has pleaded for the creation of a federal ‘United States of Europe.'” According to the proposal, “The EU should … have its own president, foreign minister, army and prosecutor… Mr Verhofstadt calls a federal EU ‘the only option.'”

The article continued: “Again reverting to older ideas, Mr Verhofstadt proposes a two-speed Europe as a way out of the dilemma, with a core of integrationist states, surrounded by a circle of states that favour a looser European construction. The nucleus, with the prestigious ‘United States of Europe’ title, could consist of the 12 EU states that have adopted the euro…”

Being aware of resistance from some European countries to such a model, Verhofstadt pointed to “the fact that in the history of the United States of America, not all states immediately adopted the federalist constitution drafted in 1787, but today, ‘it is clear…that the choice for the federal model was the right one.’… Mr Verhofstadt says he is confident Europeans would ‘by an overwhelming majority’ approve his federal Europe in a Europe-wide referendum.”

USA Loses “European Popularity Contest”

On December 5, 2005, Der Spiegel Online stated: “Research by the Washington Post, Spiegel and other media show that neither the previous [German] government nor the new administration under Angela Merkel should have been surprised about the reports in recent weeks about secret prisoner transports, secret prisons and CIA kidnappings.”

In an accompanying article, the magazine wrote: “For weeks, concern has grown about the use of airports in Germany by the CIA for its controversial ‘extraordinary renditions’ program. Now, it looks like there were hundreds of such suspected flights. At least 437 according to a new list provided by German air traffic controllers. As much as new German Chancellor Angela Merkel may want to improve relations between the United States and Germany, events in the skies over Europe are making it INCREASINGLY DIFFICULT.”

On December 6, 2005, the German press reported again in no uncertain terms about the alleged CIA violations, as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was visiting Germany and had a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Bild reported that Merkel demanded of Rice that the USA apply DEMOCRATIC AND LEGAL RULES in their fight against terrorism. Der Spiegel Online added, after recapturing Europe’s OUTCRY about alleged CIA violations:

“In total, European countries may have been used for a total of some 600 secret CIA flights since the autumn of 2001. The European Union has said it would suspend the voting rights of those members found to be illegally holding terror suspects or hosting clandestine US prisoners.”

The magazine concluded with this telling statement: “All of which means that the US, ONCE AGAIN, IS LOSING THE EUROPEAN POPULARITY CONTEST…”

Tragedies in Malawi

CNN reported on December 3, 2005, about Malawi, “a landlocked central African nation nestled between Tanzania, Zambia and Mozambique.” The article explained: “This is one of the world’s 10 poorest countries; life expectancy is a mere 37 years; two-thirds of the population live on less than a dollar a day; one in six adults is HIV positive, and nearly half the population of 12 million faces starvation in coming months if help doesn’t arrive soon. That’s 5 million people, which is half the population of London or New York City.”

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