Current Events

Most Americans in the Dark

On August 22, AFP published the following shocking article:

“Two-thirds of US adults admit to being in the dark about political issues outside the United States, and only a third are well-versed in US politics, the results of a poll published Tuesday showed… Global political knowledge was miniscule, with just three percent of women and 14 percent of men saying they are extremely knowledgeable on world politics.

“One reason for the knowledge gap is lack of interest, according to the poll. Well over half (57 percent) say they do not like learning about political issues in other countries…”

No wonder that the Bible predicts that the development of earthshaking political events, involving and caused by foreign powers, will take the vast majority of Americans, as well as the entire world, by utter surprise. Almost 2,000 years ago, Jesus Christ warned of the following, in Matthew 24:38-39, pertaining to our time:

“For as in the days before the flood [at the time of Noah, verse 37], they were eating and drinking, marrying and given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and DID NOT KNOW until the flood came and took them all away, so ALSO will the coming of the Son of Man be.”

Paul echoed Christ’s warning for us today, in 1 Thessalonians 5:1-4:

“But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, ‘Peace and safety!’ then SUDDEN DESTRUCTION comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they SHALL NOT ESCAPE. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief.”

For more information, please view regularly our Internet-video programs, titled, “StandingWatch,” and please read our free booklets, “The Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord,” and “Europe in Prophecy.”

Iraq in the News–Like Vietnam?

CNN reported on August 17:

“The number of coalition military deaths in the war in Iraq has reached 4,000… Most of the fatalities throughout the Iraq war have been U.S. military service members, with 3,705 deaths. That number also includes seven civilians working for the Pentagon.The nearly 300 others hail from countries, such as Italy, Poland and Ukraine, that have supported the U.S. effort, which began in March 2003.”

AFP reported on August 21:

“Iraqi political progress has been ‘extremely disappointing,’ the US ambassador in Baghdad said on Tuesday, two weeks before he and the top American military commander in Iraq are to report to Congress. Ryan Crocker warned that US support for the crumbling government of Shiite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki was not ‘a blank cheque,’ delivering his most outspoken criticism to date. His comments came as Maliki held talks in Syria, one of Washington’s arch foes, in a bid to win support from Iraq’s neighbours to try to end the deadly violence engulfing the country.”

AFP added on August 22:

“US President George W. Bush in a speech on Wednesday will warn that a US withdrawal from Iraq could produce a catastrophe similar to what occurred in Southeast Asia after US forces left Vietnam… Bush’s speech ties anti-war forces in the Vietnam era to the hundreds of thousands of people killed in the aftermath of the US pull-out, and hints at a parallel disaster in Iraq if US forces leave too soon.

“‘Many argued that if we pulled out, there would be no consequences for the Vietnamese people,’ he said according to the advance transcript. ‘The world would learn just how costly these misimpressions would be. In Cambodia, the Khmer Rouge began a murderous rule in which hundreds of thousands of Cambodians died by starvation, torture, or execution. In Vietnam, former American allies, government workers, intellectuals, and businessmen were sent off to prison camps, where tens of thousands perished. Hundreds of thousands more fled the country on rickety boats, many of them going to their graves in the South China Sea,’ Bush said, pleading for patience with the US-led security crackdown in Iraq…

“‘There was another price to our withdrawal from Vietnam, and we can hear it in the words of the enemy we face in today’s struggle — Al-Qaeda,’ Bush said, pointing to speeches by Osama bin Laden and his number two Ayman al-Zawahiri in which they mention Vietnam in connection with US government weakness. ‘Whatever your position in that debate, one unmistakable legacy of Vietnam is that the price of America’s withdrawal was paid by millions of innocent citizens whose agonies would add to our vocabulary new terms like “boat people,” “re-education camps,” and “killing fields.”‘”

President Bush’s comparison prompted sharp criticism from politicians, newscasters and historians. In NBC’s Today Show, Tim Russert stated on August 23 that President Bush’s equation was very risky as in the public mind, Vietnam was wrong and a lost war. He continued that historians point out that it was the Vietnam war–and not the US withdrawal–which CREATED the problems.

USA Today wrote on August 23:

“The president is drawing ‘the wrong lesson from history,’ said Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass. The United States lost in Vietnam, he said, ‘because our troops were trapped in a distant country we did not understand, supporting a government that lacked sufficient legitimacy with its people.’

“Military gains in Iraq are being wasted because Iraq’s government ‘is failing miserably,’ said Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, a Missouri Democrat. The U.S. military, he said, can only do so much, and if the Iraqis want democracy, ‘they must fight for it.'”

Military and/or political solutions will not end our problems in and with Iraq–simply because God has begun to withdraw His blessings from the USA. The reasons for this development are clearly described in our free booklet, “The Fall and Rise of Britain and America.”

America’s Grim Economic Future

The International Herald Tribune wrote on August 17:

“The U.S. economy, once the envy of the world, is now viewed across the globe with suspicion. America has become shackled by an immovable mountain of debt that endangers its prosperity and threatens to bring the rest of the world economy crashing down with it.

“The ongoing sub-prime mortgage crisis, a result of irresponsible lending policies designed to generate commissions for unscrupulous brokers, presages far deeper problems in a U.S. economy…

“As a banker working in the heart of the Muslim world, I have been amazed by the depth and breadth of anti-Americanism, even among U.S. allies, manifested in reactions ranging from fierce anger to stoic fatalism. Muslims outside the United States interpret America’s policies in the Middle East not as an effort to spread democracy but as a blatant neocolonialist attempt to solve its economic problems by force. Arabs and Persians alike argue that America’s fiscal irresponsibility has forced the nation to seek solutions through military aggression. Many believe that America’s misguided adventure in Iraq was a desperate attempt to capture both a reliable source of cheap oil and a major export market for the United States…

“… the Chinese… have threatened to retaliate against proposed U.S. trade sanctions by reducing their $1.3 trillion in dollar holdings. The U.S. debt situation is so grave that the Chinese would not even need to ‘dump dollars’ to precipitate a meltdown but could simply refuse to extend further credit… China has the far stronger hand… American economic decadence has become a source of Russian strength.

“What have Americans gained from their nation’s mountain of debt? A crumbling infrastructure, a manufacturing base that has declined 60 percent since World War II, a rise in the wealth gap, the lowest consumer-savings rate since the depths of the Great Depression, 50 million Americans without health insurance, an educational system in decline and a shrinking dollar that makes foreign travel a luxury…

“Current tensions between the United States and the rest of the world will continue as long as America’s military bark is louder than its economic bite… LET US HOPE AMERICA HEEDS THE WARNINGS…”

Terrible Weather Conditions in Mexico and the USA

The New York Times wrote on August 22:

“After hammering Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula with blistering winds and heavy rain on Tuesday, a weakened Hurricane Dean was moving to strike again this afternoon as it rolled across the Bay of Campeche toward Mexico’s Gulf coast…

“On Tuesday, on its path across the Yucatán, it was rated as the ninth-strongest hurricane on record in the Atlantic. As a Category 5 storm, with winds in excess of 165 miles per hour, it ripped roofs off homes, flooded streets, downed power lines and snapped trees. It missed the prime tourist spots of the Mayan Riviera but caused damage in Chetumal, the state capital… [which] took the brunt of the storm. Streets were inundated and debris was everywhere. Hundreds of trees lay strewn along major thoroughfares, and thousands of people were without power and running water.”

The Associated Press reported on August 23:

“Dean hit the mainland as a Category 2 storm after regaining some of the force it unleashed on the Yucatan. Its first strike on the peninsula Tuesday as a Category 5 tempest with 165 mph winds was the THIRD MOST INTENSE Atlantic hurricane ever to make landfall.”

It added:

“Dean slammed into Mexico for the second time… Wednesday with top sustained winds of 100 mph. Its center hit the tourism and fishing town of Tecolutla. The wide storm’s hurricane-force winds lashed at a 60-mile stretch of the Mexican coast in Veracruz state.”

It also said that “The remnants of Hurricane Dean dumped heavy rain across central Mexico on Thursday, drenching mudslide-prone mountains as it pushed its way inland…”

In a related article, The New York Times reported on August 22:

“The death toll from two storm systems — one in the Upper Midwest and the remnants of Tropical Storm Erin in Texas and Oklahoma — reached 22 on Tuesday… In Wisconsin and Minnesota, thousands of homes were damaged… Flooding remained a problem Wednesday in parts of Ohio… In northern Iowa, widespread flooding continued as thunderstorms dumped more heavy rain across the already water-logged region Wednesday. Strong wind damaged buildings, and some roads and homes were underwater.”

The Associated Press added on August 23:

“More than 1,000 people were flooded out of their homes Thursday after heavy rain that swamped communities across the Midwest sent Ohio’s rivers spilling over their banks… A powerful thunderstorm hit Chicago with 50 mph wind late Wednesday, and another storm system was moving over Iowa and southern Minnesota on Thursday.”

Two Years and One Billion Dollars Later, New Orleans Still at Great Risk

Der Spiegel Online wrote on August 17:

“New Orleans remains a very risky place to live… The entire flood system still provides much less protection than New Orleans needs, and the pre-Katrina patchwork of levees, floodwalls and gates that a Corps of Engineers investigation called ‘a system in name only’ is still just that.

“… the city still lacks a system that can stand up to that 1-in-100 storm, let alone one like Hurricane Katrina, which the corps calls a 1-in-396 storm. The work that could build the more robust system – originally estimated at $7 billion, and now at least twice that – will not be completed until 2011 at the earliest, and experts agree that even that level of protection will be less than the city needs.”

“There Will Be an Attack on Iran!”

Time wrote on August 18:

“Reports that the Bush Administration will put Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps on the terrorism list can be read in one of two ways: it’s either more bluster or, ominously, a wind-up for a strike on Iran. Officials I talk to in Washington vote for a hit on the IRGC, maybe within the next six months. And they think that as long as we have bombers and missiles in the air, we will hit Iran’s nuclear facilities…

“As with Saddam and his imagined WMD, the Administration’s case against the IRGC is circumstantial. The U.S. military suspects but cannot prove that the IRGC is the main supplier of sophisticated improvised explosive devices to insurgents killing our forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. The most sophisticated version, explosive formed projectiles or shape charges, are capable of penetrating the armor of an Abrams tank, disabling the tank and killing the crew…

“A second part of the Administration’s case against the IRGC is that the IRGC has had a long, established history of killing Americans, starting with the attack on the Marines in Beirut in 1983. And that’s not to mention it was the IRGC that backed Hizballah in its thirty-four day war against Israel last year. The feeling in the Administration is that we should have taken care of the IRGC a long, long time ago…

“And what do we do if… a strike on Iran unifies Iranians behind the regime? An Administration official told me it’s not even a consideration. ‘… There will be an attack on Iran.'”

Russia Continues to Threaten the West

The Los Angeles Times wrote on August 18:

“Russian President Vladimir V. Putin on Friday announced reinstatement of the Soviet-era practice of having nuclear bombers routinely make long-distance flights that bring them within striking distance of the United States and its allies.

“‘Today just after midnight, 14 strategic missile aircraft, with support and fuel planes, took off from seven airfields across Russia,’ Putin said in televised remarks. ‘Combat duty began in which a total of 20 planes are taking part. From today, combat duty of this kind will be carried out on a regular basis.’… Putin’s announcement came at the end of a joint military exercise conducted by about 6,000 troops from Russia, China and four Central Asian states. Analysts said the exercise was meant to send a signal to the West that it should not try to interfere in the affairs of the participating countries.

“The resumption of regular strategic bomber flights… reflected Russia’s growing economic strength, with high oil prices boosting the country’s ability to spend money on its military. Routine bomber flights were discontinued in 1992… Russian strategic bombers can carry nuclear cruise missiles with ranges of at least 1,800 miles.”

The Daily Mail added on August 18, under its headline, “Return to the Cold War”:

“Vladimir Putin has sent a series of potent political signals to Gordon Brown and other Western leaders that he is determined to restore Russia’s global clout. The Kremlin leader ordered his troops to stage a massive show of force through unprecedented joint operations with the Chinese military. He also revived the Soviet-era practice of sending bomber aircraft on long-range flights far beyond his country’s own territory. And finally Mr Putin ordered that the BBC World Service be blocked from FM radio in Russia. All three steps are chilling echoes of the Cold War and come as relations between the Kremlin and the West are at their lowest since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.

“The symbolic decision to remove the BBC World Service from FM radio… came as a shock… The BBC will still be available in Russia on other wavelengths, but most listeners prefer to tune in to the higher-quality FM transmission… Critics accuse the Putin government of stifling the media as part of a broader effort to increase the Kremlin’s control over Russian politics. The authorities last year dramatically curtailed the number of stations broadcasting Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and Voice of America news programmes.”

AFP continued to report on August 21:

“President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday pushed Russia’s military aviation industry as a global leader, just days after announcing the resumption of Cold War-era strategic bomber flights. ‘Russia has the task of retaining its leadership in fighting, military technology,” Putin said at the opening of the Maks 2007 airshow… [Russia has] already signed contracts worth 2.5 billion dollars this year for military aircraft and… it [is] supplying the air forces of China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Venezuela.

“Russian arms exports have surged since the industrial slump that followed the Soviet collapse in 1991. Russia’s moves to regain Soviet-era markets in Asia, the Middle East and South America have raised hackles in Washington. But William Hobbins, commander of US air forces in Europe, who also attended the airshow on Tuesday, praised Russia’s military aircraft production and said air force cooperation between the two countries was strong.”

The Horrors of this World… Female Circumcision

Reuters reported on August 20:

“It was a routine procedure undertaken by thousands of Egyptian girls every year, but something went wrong and Budour Ahmed Shaker died while having her genitals cut in a rite known locally as ‘purification’. The death of the 11-year-old schoolgirl at a private clinic in the Egyptian village Mughagha in June prompted the government to outlaw the custom of female genital mutilation, which is so widespread in Egypt that 95 percent of the country’s women are estimated to have undergone the procedure. But the ban may be hard to enforce and activists fear the practice may go underground as the vast majority of Egyptian families still view circumcision as necessary to protect girls’ chastity. Most girls are cut by the time they reach puberty.

“Even in Mughagha, a village of low rise houses hemming the Nile, many women and girls say they want the procedure to be allowed but under more stringent medical supervision… The only girl who spoke against the practice was shouted down by her classmates until she conceded that genital cutting was a necessity. ‘No one can get married without it,’ said the girl…

“In Egypt, the cutting is done on both Muslim and Christian girls… Outside of Egypt and Sudan to the south, the practice is extremely rare elsewhere in most of the Arab world but is common in Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia.”

WHO Warns the World

AFP wrote on August 23:

“The World Health Organisation on Thursday warned that a new deadly infectious disease like AIDS or Ebola is bound to appear in the 21st century… Since the 1970s, new diseases have been identified at the ‘unprecedented’ rate of one or more per year… Other centuries-old threats such as influenza, malaria and tuberculosis, were also thriving due to a combination of biological mutations, rising resistance to antibiotics and weak health systems…

“The report stressed that health threats were no longer easily confined within a country but could spread around the world swiftly, partly due to the expansion in passenger air travel over the past half century and to trade. It also underlined the threat from food-borne diseases, chemical, biological or nuclear accidents or attacks and industrial pollution…”

Jesus Christ clearly predicted that in these end times, there will be worldwide “pestilences” or disease epidemics (cp. Matthew 24:7; Luke 21:11; see also Revelation 6:7-8).

Seif al-Islam Qaddafi Warns Europe

Sofia News Agency wrote on August 22:

“Seif al-Islam Qaddafi, the Libyan leader’s son, has warned European countries with military engagements in Iraq and Afghanistan of the inevitable risk of more Islamic extremists terror attacks. ‘The only solution to contain radicalism is the rapid departure of Western troops from Iraq as well as Afghanistan, and a solution to the Palestinian question,’ Seif al-Islam said, as quoted by the Austria Press Agency.

“Talking in Austria, where he is paying a visit at the invitation of Joerg Haider, former leader of the rightist Freedom Party, he said that even offers of economic or humanitarian assistance could subject Western nations to strikes by extremists. According to him radical Islam is invading Europe by recruiting young Muslims who are open to the message of militancy.”

Austria Warns the USA

The Associated Press reported on August 23:

“Austria’s defense minister said a planned U.S. missile shield defense system in eastern Europe was a ‘provocation,’ and called on Washington to abandon the project… Norbert Darabos told Die Presse that U.S. officials should instead seek a compromise with those who oppose the system, including Russia and some in Europe… He reportedly accused Washington of ‘unnecessarily reviving old Cold War debates.’

“The United States argues that the system, which would include 10 interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar based in the Czech Republic, would help guard against a potential threat from Iran. Russia has voiced outrage at the plans and warned it could spark a new arms race. Opposition also remains high in the two former Soviet satellites, both of which are now members of NATO and the European Union.”

EU vs. USA

The EUObserver reported on August 22:

“The European Union has strongly criticised death penalties carried out in Texas, calling on its authorities to halt the 400th execution in the US state. But Texas officials indicated that Europeans should mind their own business.”

The article continued:

“‘We believe that elimination of the death penalty is fundamental to the protection of human dignity, and to the progressive development of human rights. We further consider this punishment to be cruel and inhumane,’ Lisbon stated on behalf of the EU…

“Commenting on the EU’s appeal to call off [Ray Conner’s] death sentence [for killing a grocery store clerk in 1998], Governor Perry replied that it would be a ‘just and appropriate’ punishment for the murderer… ‘Two hundred and thirty years ago, our forefathers fought a war to throw off the yoke of a European monarch and gain the freedom of self-determination,’ he pointed out, adding ‘While we respect our friends in Europe, Texans are doing just fine governing Texas.’

“Texas has carried out about a third of around 1,100 executions that have taken place in the US since the country’s Supreme Court lifted a ban on death penalty in 1976… For its part, the EU has abolished capital punishment throughout its 27 member states. The same principle is also applied across the wider Council of Europe organisation which links together 47 countries across the European continent.

“In February, the EU’s legislature adopted a resolution calling for a global moratorium on the death penalty, with several member states – particularly Italy – lobbying for the same initiative through the United Nations General Assembly. The death penalty is currently legal in 68 countries, although 30 of them have not used it for at least ten years.”

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