Current Events

Robots for Warfare

AFP wrote on February 27:

“Increasingly autonomous, gun-totting robots developed for warfare could easily fall into the hands of terrorists and may one day unleash a robot arms race, a top expert on artificial intelligence told AFP. ‘They pose a threat to humanity,’ said University of Sheffield professor Noel Sharkey…

“Intelligent machines deployed on battlefields around the world — from mobile grenade launchers to rocket-firing drones — can already identify and lock onto targets without human help. There are more than 4,000 US military robots on the ground in Iraq, as well as unmanned aircraft that have clocked hundreds of thousands of flight hours. The first three armed combat robots fitted with large-caliber machine guns deployed to Iraq last summer, manufactured by US arms maker Foster-Miller, proved so successful that 80 more are on order, said Sharkey.
“But up to now, a human hand has always been required to push the button or pull the trigger. [If] we are not careful, he said, that could change. Military leaders ‘are quite clear that they want autonomous robots as soon as possible, because they are more cost-effective and give a risk-free war,’ he said…

“Washington plans to spend four billion dollars by 2010 on unmanned technology systems, with total spending expected [to] rise to 24 billion… James Canton, an expert on technology innovation and CEO of the Institute for Global Futures, predicts that deployment within a decade of detachments… will include 150 soldiers and 2,000 robots.

“The use of such devices by terrorists should be a serious concern, said Sharkey… worrisome, he continued, is the subtle progression from the semi-autonomous military robots deployed today to fully independent killing machines. ‘I have worked in artificial intelligence for decades, and the idea of a robot making decisions about human termination terrifies me,’ Sharkey said… the prospect of armies increasingly dependent on remotely-controlled or autonomous robots raises a host of ethical issues that have barely been addressed… For Sharkey, the best solution may be an outright ban on autonomous weapons systems. ‘We have to say where we want to draw the line and what we want to do — and then get an international agreement,’ he said.”

For more information on this topic as well as related issues, such as cloning and the creation of human-animal hybrids, please listen to or view Norbert Link’s recent video-taped sermon, titled, “Nothing Will Be Impossible for Them.” It is posted on Google Video, and can also be listened to on our Website.

Earthquake in Great Britain

The Times reported on February 27:

“Britain was shaken by a huge earth tremor at 12.56 am this morning which was felt by people from Yorkshire to the South Coast. Thousands of people reported their homes being shaken violently and furniture moving and hundreds more took to the streets for safety and to check for damage.

“The epicentre of the tremor, which measured 5.3 on the Richter scale according to the British Geological Survey, was [centered] on the village of Holton cum Beckering, about 15 miles northeast of Lincoln. According to the US Geological Survey, the epicentre was 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) from the Earth’s surface.

“The tremor is the biggest in Britain since 1984 when north Wales was hit by a quake which registered at 5.4 on the Richter scale… The largest earthquake recorded in Britain had a magnitude of 6.1 and struck offshore in the North Sea on June 7, 1931, about 75 miles northeast of Great Yarmouth. The country experiences a magnitude 5 earthquake on average every ten years. A magnitude 4 earthquake occurs on average every two to three years…”

The Derby Evening Telegraph added the following on February 27:

“An earthquake… rocked Derbyshire in the early hours of today… it was felt in Derbyshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Leicestershire, Manchester, Berkshire and the West Midlands.”

The Daily Mail wrote on February 27:

“England has been rocked by the biggest earthquake to hit the country in 25 years – and the cost of damage to homes and properties is expected to be a staggering £10million.”

Christ announced that ONE sign for His Second Coming would be increasingly powerful earthquakes in various places (compare Matthew 24:7). According to statistics, occurrences of earthquakes with a magnitude of 4 and higher on the Richter scale have been more frequent in 2007 than in any of the prior years in recent history.

Euro Scores All-Time High Against U.S. Dollar

The Associated Press reported on February 27:

“The euro climbed to a record high of $1.5057 in early European trading on Wednesday… Along with the rise in the British pound, which is nearing $2 again, the surging euro will not be kind to Americans visiting Europe… On the other hand, the stronger euro makes shopping trips to the U.S. more appealing to Europeans. A higher euro also makes goods from the euro-zone more expensive for customers abroad, or cuts into manufacturers’ profits…”

Does the Economic World Move Away from the U.S. Dollar?

Pravda reported on February 26:

“The dollar’s depreciation against major currencies, then against all world currencies, imposes a burden on the world economy… Expectations by the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, major central banks, and other economic analysts indicate that the American currency will continue to depreciate, at least until the end of the current year.

“So far, it still remains unclear whether the weakness of the greenback is attributed to the US subprime mortgage crisis along with the ensuing consequences and repercussions for the international financial markets… Regardless of the causes, it is impossible to overlook the cost of the US war in Iraq which has so far drained over three trillion dollars in financial resources spent on unproductive activities…

“The Central Bank of China has already started to cut its dollar reserves by turning to more stable currencies such as the Euro. Asian companies such as the South Korean Hyundai no longer accept contracts in dollars. The French company Arriva signed its contracts with China in Euro, and many Indian companies do not accept the American currency… Oil-exporting countries have become more inclined to end their dealings in dollars. Until now, however, they continue to price in dollars with the exception of Iran and Venezuela. Some of these states continue to maintain the peg to the dollar, suffering heavy losses in the value of their income and their citizens’ although part of these losses is compensated for by the rising oil price… “

The Bible predicts that the influence of the US dollar will gradually decrease, while the influence of the Euro will gradually increase. For more information, please read our free booklets, “The Fall and Rise of Britain and America” and “Europe in Prophecy.”

Highest German Judge Questions Democratic Innovations to EU Treaty

The EUObserver reported on February 27:

“Germany’s most senior judge has suggested that while democracy has been strengthened in the EU’s new treaty, a key innovation involving national parliaments does not go far enough and member states have no guarantee that EU powers will not continue to grow…

“Under the treaty rules, MPs are sent legislative proposals by the commission for examination. If they think the EU should not be acting in this area they have eight weeks to notify the commission, which is not bound to act. If one third of national parliaments get together to complain about an EU law, it must be reviewed and the commission must give reasons if it intends to keep the law. The European Court of Justice may also be called on by member states to look into whether the subsidiarity principle is being upheld.

“Professor Papier points out that the sheer number of laws coming from Brussels – there were 18,167 regulations and 750 directives between 1998 and 2004 – means that the MPs’ early warning system is ‘somewhat [impracticable].’ He also notes that the eight week deadline for delivering an opinion on an EU law… is likely to prove too short in practice, while the numerous parliament opinions needed to get a law reviewed would require ‘considerable international coordination’ in the two month timeframe…”

EU Fines Microsoft

The Wall Street Journal reported on February 27:

“The European Union fined Microsoft Corp. €899 million ($1.35 billion) for failing to comply with a 2004 antitrust order, tying up a remaining loose end in the EU’s landmark case. It won’t be the end of Microsoft’s saga in Europe. The EU regulator opened two new cases last month, and antitrust chief Neelie Kroes on Wednesday vowed to press ahead with those. The fine, which had been expected, is the largest the EU has ever imposed against a single company in an antitrust case. It is the third against Microsoft… The commission said that, until Oct. 22, 2007, Microsoft had charged ‘unreasonable prices for access to interface documentation for work group servers.'”

EU Angry with Czech Republic Over Unilateral Deal with USA

Reuters reported on February 27:

“The European Commission said on Wednesday it reserved the right to take legal action over the Czech Republic’s move to break ranks with EU partners and sign a bilateral air security and visa pact with the United States… The deal has split the bloc, as it touches on the EU’s competence over visa and border policies. The EU executive had urged governments not to sign individual pacts, so that talks with Washington would continue to take place at EU level…

“The EU executive and a number of old EU member states including the Netherlands, Spain, France and Portugal accuse Washington of trying to bypass the EU, and Prague of breaking ranks, diplomats said… But ambassadors from the Czech Republic, Hungary and Estonia said in a meeting on Wednesday that the bloc had not done enough to help them get into the U.S. visa waiver program… Most EU states are already part of the visa waiver program. But eight mostly ex-communist countries that joined the European Union in 2004, along with older member Greece, are pressing Washington to include them too.”

Better EU-US Relationship Under Next American President?

Deutsche Welle reported on February 24:

“Europeans think the next US president will be better. They hope a Democrat in the White House will reinvigorate trans-Atlantic ties. But the candidates aren’t necessarily much more in tune with Europe.

“Europeans’ interest in the US primaries and caucuses is immense… Many Europeans connect the election of a new US president with the hope for a new beginning in trans-Atlantic relations, which suffered setbacks due to numerous controversies, from George W. Bush’s uncompromising approach to climate change to his foray into the Iraqi desert. To many Europeans, everything will get better once there’s a new president. And if he or she is a Democrat, they believe, it’s guaranteed.

“Regardless of how passionately Europeans follow the duel between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, Europe plays a negligible role in the top Democratic contenders’ campaigns. Aside from a few sentences in speeches and essays, the two have hardly said a word about Europe. And according to some, European hopes will likely be dashed…

“On points of contention between the US and Europe, such as climate change or human rights, the Europeans could expect significantly more cooperation than in the past [according to some observers]… But whether under a President Obama or a President Clinton, the US would demand the leadership role in fighting climate change. It would also refuse to let the Europeans dictate what should be done… And it’s inconceivable that a new president would ratify the statutes of the International Criminal Court (ICC), an issue that looms large for Europeans…”

Angry Judge Intimidates Jurors

“The Wichita Eagle” reported on February 23:

“Sedgwick County District Judge Rebecca Pilshaw could face public censure for yelling at potential jurors during a murder trial four years ago. That’s the unanimous recommendation the state’s Commission of Judicial Qualifications gave the Kansas Supreme Court on Friday. It’s the first disciplinary action against a Kansas judge sent to the Supreme Court since 2005… Pilshaw lost her temper during the first day of jury selection for [a criminal] trial, after two women said they couldn’t serve. One said she couldn’t believe police officers’ testimony; the other cited religious reasons.

“Pilshaw ordered the first woman to observe the trial in lieu of jury service. The judge released the second woman and then turned to the remaining people on the panel. ‘I feel sorry for the next person that ends up going, because I’m going to hit the roof, I think,’ Pilshaw said in court transcripts… Pilshaw, who had apologized to the remaining jurors at the end of the first day… didn’t make the first woman sit through the trial.”

Sunday vs. Sabbath

The Associated Press reported on February 27:

“State senators have taken up the cause of a Jewish boys basketball team whose playoff run may be halted because its players can’t play on the Jewish Sabbath. The Herzl/Rocky Mountain Hebrew Academy team could be headed for a regional championship on Saturday, March 8, if it wins one more game. But the Denver team’s religious beliefs prohibit students from playing on the Jewish Sabbath between sundown Friday and sundown Saturday. If Herzl/RMHA makes it to the regional championship and refuses to play a Saturday game, another school would be chosen to take its place… Earlier this month, the Colorado High School Activities Association, which governs sports and other high school activities, rejected the team’s request for a schedule change.

“Senate President Peter Groff, D-Denver, said the CHSAA’s decision was ironic because it has a rule barring games from being played on Sunday for religious reasons. Sen. Tom Wiens, R-Sedalia, said there must be a way for the CHSAA to accommodate the team. ‘It just seems like the bureaucracy has run amok here,’ Wiens said.”

Cause of Power Outage in Florida Still a Mystery

The Associated Press reported on February 27:

“Power executives were still in the dark Wednesday about how a glitch at a substation triggered a blackout that cut power to millions across south Florida. The outage darkened traffic signals, forced hospitals to scramble for generators and cut off air conditioners in the afternoon heat…

“At about 1 p.m. an equipment malfunction happened at a facility that transmits power in Miami, starting a sequence of events that caused power to go off in areas around the state. A switch failed, like a short circuit, and a fire broke out at the facility, which in turn caused larger problems — disabling two power distribution lines between Miami and Daytona Beach, according to the power company. Systems monitoring the power grid saw took action, automatically shutting down two nuclear plants at the Turkey Point facility south of Miami…”

“More Should Publish Mohammed Cartoons”

Deutsche Welle reported on February 27:

“More European newspapers should publish the hotly disputed Mohammed cartoons, said German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble… The minister added that he ‘respected’ the decision of 17 Danish newspapers earlier this month to reprint a cartoon depicting the Prophet Mohammed with a turban that resembled a bomb with a lit fuse. The re-publication came a day after Danish authorities uncovered and foiled a plot to murder the cartoonist whose drawing first appeared in 2005…

“Schaeuble’s statement coincided with protests in Sudan over the reprinting. In a demonstration organized by numerous Islamist movements, some 10,000 people marched through Khartoum on Wednesday… The protestors demanded that diplomatic ties with Denmark be severed and expressed support for a boycott on Danish products declared by the Sudanese government on Monday… Since the cartoon was reprinted two weeks ago, similar protests have been held in Iran and Egypt.”

Germany’s Fight Against Scientology

Der Spiegel Online reported on February 26:

“Authorities have shut down a child-care facility in Munich, saying it was trying to indoctrinate young minds with Scientology. The war between the California ‘church’ and the German government continues.

“The name on the door in the Sendling district of Munich sounded innocent enough: ‘Kinderhäusl’ (Little House for Kids). Child-drawn art hung in the windows. On a normal day, the sounds of children playing would have come from inside. But the little house, which had been open as a day-care center since the summer of 2007, was shut down Monday by Munich officials, who say its teaching methods are illegal. An estimated 20 children will now have to find new day-care.

“‘The well-being of the children in the establishment was under threat,’ the Munich Education Department declared, ‘because the education process was based on the principles of Scientology.’ The organization’s principles threaten a child’s right to free growth and development, the statement continued.

“The German government has been locked for years in legal battles with the Church of Scientology, which it considers a cult and a threat to its democratic system. The idea of a day-care center run by Scientologists would have raised official hackles, and in fact the Kinderhäusl’s troubles started early. ‘A few weeks after the center opened we received a letter from the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution,’ Eva-Maria Volland from Munich’s Education Department told SPIEGEL ONLINE. All members of the Kinderhäusl’s board were Scientologists, according to the letter, and the children were being raised according to the cult’s ideology.

“Germany’s Office for the Protection of the Constitution was set up after World War II to pursue any group which the government deemed a specific threat to its democratic system. Neo-Nazis as well as radical Muslim groups have been watched and shut down by the office. A regional court in Germany recently ruled that Scientologists had enough ‘ambitions against the free, democratic basic order’ for the agency to go on watching them. ‘There are concrete indications that Scientology’s activities are to implement Scientology’s program in Germany,’ the court in North Rhine-Westphalia ruled on Feb. 12, ‘and to expand more and more Scientology’s principles in government, economy and society.’ Scientologists have consistently claimed that they do nothing against German law and say the government persecutes them.”

Putin and Medvedev

Der Spiegel Online wrote on February 28:

“Dmitry Medvedev is expected to become Russia’s new president on Sunday. A protege of current President Vladimir Putin, Medvedev is suddenly calling for a stronger emphasis on the rule of law, the market economy and freedom of the press. But many in Moscow have their doubts that the new president will become the country’s real leader…

“Two things remain unclear in Russia’s future power structure. One is the question of who will be leaning back in his chair at the small wooden table in the office of the president, and who will be sitting up straight to deliver his reports on television. The second is the question of what to do about the presidential portrait. Will Putin, as prime minister, keep a photograph of the new Kremlin boss hanging in his office, as is customary? Popular wisdom has it that he will, but under one condition: ‘The picture will have to show Medvedev standing in front of a portrait of Putin on the wall.”

Turkey Angers USA, Iraq and Europe

The Associated Press reported on February 27:

“Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Wednesday that Turkey should remove its troops from northern Iraq in the next few days, sending a strong message to Ankara that U.S. patience is running out on the operation targeting Kurdish insurgents… It was the first time that the Pentagon chief put any time limit on the Turkish incursion launched into Iraq last Thursday…

“A Turkish official insisted that the aim of a military incursion into northern Iraq ‘is clear and limited’ against Kurdish rebels and said no timetable will be set ‘until the terrorist bases are eliminated.’… The Iraqi government demanded for the first time that Turkey immediately withdraw from northern Iraq…”

“…And the Rivers Became Blood…” (Revelation 16:4)

The Associated Press reported on February 27:

“Pollution has turned part of a major river system in central China red and bubbly, forcing authorities to cut water supplies to 200,000 people and close schools… Tests showed the polluted waters contained elevated levels of ammonia, nitrogen, and permanganate, a chemical used in metal cleaning, tanning and bleaching… The source of the pollution had not been determined, and an investigation was ongoing.”

India Tests Submarine-Launched Missile

Reuters reported on February 27:

“India’s successful test-firing of a nuclear-capable, submarine-launched missile will trigger a new arms race in the region, Pakistan’s navy chief said on Wednesday… India, already capable of launches from land and air, tested the new missile on Tuesday from a surfaced submarine — a step closer to firing from under the sea and matching countries such as the United States, Russia, France and China.”

©2024 Church of the Eternal God