Current Events

Food Rationing in the USA–and Around the World

The New York Sun reported on April 21:

“Many parts of America, long considered the breadbasket of the world, are now confronting a once unthinkable phenomenon: food rationing. Major retailers in New York, in areas of New England, and on the West Coast are limiting purchases of flour, rice, and cooking oil as demand outstrips supply. There are also anecdotal reports that some consumers are hoarding grain stocks…

“Spiking food prices have led to riots in recent weeks in Haiti, Indonesia, and several African nations. India recently banned export of all but the highest quality rice, and Vietnam blocked the signing of a new contract for foreign rice sales… For now, rice is available at Asian markets in California, though consumers have fewer choices when buying the largest bags…”

The Washington Times wrote on April 23:

“Farmers and food executives appealed fruitlessly to federal officials yesterday for regulatory steps to limit speculative buying that is helping to drive food prices higher. Meanwhile, some Americans are stocking up on staples such as rice, flour and oil in anticipation of high prices and shortages spreading from overseas. Their pleas did not find a sympathetic audience at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), where regulators said high prices are mostly the result of soaring world demand for grains combined with high fuel prices and drought-induced shortages in many countries… Costco and other grocery stores in California reported a run on rice, which has forced them to set limits on how many sacks of rice each customer can buy. Filipinos in Canada are scooping up all the rice they can find and shipping it to relatives in the Philippines, which is suffering a severe shortage that is leaving many people hungry…

“Food economists testifying at a daylong hearing of the commission said the doubling of rice and wheat prices in the past year is a result of strong income growth in China, India and other Asian countries, where people entering the middle class are buying more food and eating more meat. Farm animals consume a substantial share of the world’s grain… In addition, the diversion of one-third of the U.S. corn crop into making ethanol for vehicles has increased prices for corn and other staples such as soybeans and cotton as more acreage is set aside for ethanol production… “

Der Spiegel Online wrote on April 23:

“Vast amounts of money are flooding the world’s commodities markets, driving up prices of staple foods like wheat and rice. Biofuels and droughts can’t fully explain the recent food crisis — hedge funds and small investors bear some responsibility for global hunger…

“Jim Rogers, the former business partner of legendary financier and philanthropist George Soros, is perhaps the best-known investor in broad-based commodity funds… now Rogers… is warning: ‘Unless something happens soon, we will see people not getting any food at all, at any price. This is the sort of thing we read about in history books, but now I’m afraid that it could happen again.'”

CNN added on April 24:

“Retail chain Sam’s Club will limit the sale of large quantities of rice amid a dramatic increase in the global price of rice…  Sam’s Club — a division of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. — has 593 wholesale locations in the United States and more than 100 abroad, in countries such as Brazil, Canada, China and Mexico. Food prices have soared worldwide in recent months, leading to violence in some developing countries. ‘In just two months,’ World Bank President Robert Zoellick said this month, ‘rice prices have skyrocketed to near historical levels, rising by around 75 percent globally and more in some markets, with more likely to come.'”

The Los Angeles Times stated on April 24:

“This week, Costco said it had seen sales of flour, rice and some cooking oils leap. Some Costco stores already have held customers to just two bags of rice a day, but the chain doesn’t plan to limit sales nationwide. By midafternoon Wednesday, the Costco in Alhambra — which had not placed limits on purchases — said it had run out of rice… Prices for many foods, including beer, bread, coffee, pizza and rice, are rising rapidly as the nation contends with its worst bout of food inflation since 1990. The cost of groceries is climbing at an annual rate of about 5% this year.”

“Japan’s Hunger Becomes a Dire Warning for Other Nations”

The wrote on April 21:

“Japan’s acute butter shortage, which has confounded bakeries, restaurants and now families across the country, is the latest unforeseen result of the global agricultural commodities crisis… A 130% rise in the global cost of wheat in the past year… has forced the Government to hit flour millers with three rounds of stiff mark-ups. The latest — a 30% increase this month — has given rise to speculation that Japan, which relies on imports for 90% of its annual wheat consumption, is no longer on the brink of a food crisis, but has fallen off the cliff. According to one government poll, 80% of Japanese are frightened about what the future holds for their food supply. Last week, as the prices of wheat and barley continued their relentless climb, the Japanese Government discovered it had exhausted its ¥230 billion ($A2.37 billion) budget for the grains with two months remaining. It was forced to call on an emergency ¥55 billion reserve to ensure it could continue feeding the nation.”

Effect of Weak U.S. Dollar on Europe

The Telegraph wrote on April 19:

“Jean-Claude Juncker, the EU’s ‘Mr Euro’, has given the clearest warning to date that the world authorities may take action to halt the collapse of the dollar… Mr Juncker, who doubles as Luxembourg premier and chair of eurozone financiers, told the Luxembourg press that he had been invited to the White House last week just before the G7 at the urgent request of President George Bush. The two leaders discussed the dangers of rising ‘protectionism’ in Europe. Mr Juncker warned that matters could get out of hand unless America took steps to halt the slide in the dollar…

“David Woo, currency chief at Barclays Capital, said the Europeans and Americans are talking past each other… Washington is happy to watch the dollar slide… While Germany and Holland have prospered under the strong euro, most of southern Europe and Ireland is in trouble… The European Commission’s economists fear that the loss of competitiveness against Germany over the last decade may have passed the point of no return.”

German Viewpoint on American Presidential Election

Der Spiegel Online reported on April 23 about the elections in Pennsylvania, as follows:

“Democratic voters just can’t make up their minds between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. In Pennsylvania, they denied him victory but spared her defeat. It will be the job of the superdelegates to commit political murder — but will it mean suicide for the party? After the confetti has been shaken out of the hair and the party balloons have deflated, what is left from Tuesday’s election night is a disturbing message: There is nothing to celebrate.

“The winner is the loser. But the loser is not the winner. Clinton’s victory was not big enough to snatch the nomination from Obama. But neither was his star power enough to woo the voters in the center… He was handed a defeat when he needed a victory, and she secured a victory when only an improbable triumph would have helped her. Barring a miracle, Clinton’s role at the Democratic Party convention in Denver in August will be limited to guest speaker. But Obama will go into the actual presidential election badly damaged…

“Obama’s chances of a successful run for the White House are anything but rosy… The party seems to be cursed in this primary season, as if Obama’s supporters and Clinton’s fans had sealed a diabolical pact. They refuse him victory but spare her defeat. But this game is approaching its terrible end. The superdelegates, who are independent from the party base, will have to commit a political murder in the coming months. Will it be Obama or Clinton? For the party, the decision could amount to political suicide.”

Flu Vaccines Rarely Effective reported on April 20:

“If you got [a] flu shot and still came down with the flu symptoms like fever, cough and running nose, you should not be alone. A study released last week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the effectiveness of this year’s vaccine was estimated at only 44 percent, The New York Times reported. What’s gone wrong with the vaccine then?  According to the Times, what makes it so hard for a vaccine to effectively prevent the flu is that the virus changes from year to year and experts would have to GUESS what forms of virus will be circulating for the next flu season based on the current year… this year they guessed it wrong and made many recipients miserable…

“In an article published in 2004 by the Center for Medical Consumers, which is a not-for-profit organization that does not accept any funding from the drug industry, Maryann Napoli, the staff writer for the Center, explains why flu vaccine is rarely effective. It is commonly known that flu viruses change from year to year… But what is not as commonly known is that the vaccine is more likely to be effective against the type that causes fewer than 15 percent of all flu cases…

“Flu vaccine has proved to be a controversial issue.  Critics said that the recommendation for the vaccine is not justified based on both the severity of the flu and the efficacy of the vaccine. Official reports project that deaths from the flu can be as many as 36,000 a year.  But critics said that the death toll includes both deaths from the flu and pneumonia. The actual number of [deaths] for any given year may not exceed 300.”

Pope: “Hold Fast to Scripture… and Tradition!”

On April 19, USA Today published an article with the headline, “Pope urges all Christians to ‘hold fast’ to scripture.” However, the article itself clarified that the pope did not just refer to “scripture.” It was stated:

“Pope Benedict XVI met with leaders of other Christian faiths on Friday evening, telling them that only by ‘holding fast’ to sound doctrinal teaching can they confront secular ideology and the individualism that ‘undermines or even rejects transcendent truth.’… the pope talked about… unity in belief in the Holy Trinity — God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit… Benedict warned of the damage done when people give up on the fractured voices of Christianity and turn instead to beliefs that are not always based on scripture and tradition. The pope also criticized Christian communities that bypass unified action ‘choosing instead to function according to the idea of “local options'”— a phrase often invoked by those who want to reform church teachings even if the wider church won’t follow. He warned against actions that are ‘not always consonant with … Scripture and Tradition,’…”

The Austrian Internet publication, News Online, reported that the pope challenged interpretations especially in Protestant churches, stating that individual belief systems and interpretations “must not be allowed” to sabotage the gospel.

Orthodox and Catholic Churches Are Allies

The Catholic News Agency, CNA, reported on April 24:

“Bishop Hilarion, the Russian Orthodox Bishop of Vienna and Austria, has said in an interview that the Orthodox and Catholic Churches are allies who could form a strategic alliance to defend Christian values… The bishop said that ‘romantic ecumenism,’ which he said characterizes the World Council of Churches and the Conference of European Churches, is not viable.  He said that many Protestants have created a ‘light version of Christianity, without apostolic succession, without sacraments, without strict dogmatic teaching and what is also important they don’t require sticking to Christian moral norms.’… He said this version of Christianity had stopped recognizing centuries-old sins, and now even promotes them.

“Bishop Hilarion’s statement comes just days after Pope Benedict addressed an ecumenical gathering in New York where he also denounced versions of Christianity that contradict apostolic teachings. At the gathering of about 300 people, the Pope said that Christian churches which change their beliefs by so-called ‘prophetic actions,’ often use a method of interpretation that is inconsistent with Scripture and Tradition…

“[He] added that this causes those interested in Christianity to become ‘understandably confused about the Gospel message itself’ because they see Christians splintering and disagreeing about the beliefs of the faith…  Bishop Hilarion said a joint Orthodox-Catholic ‘front’ is necessary to oppose both the challenges of secularism and dialogue with other world religions.  Bilateral, strategic partnerships between the two Churches, he thought, would be the best way to achieve this. ‘I don’t mean union, administrative merger or compromise in theological teaching, I mean strategical partnership,’ said Bishop Hilarion, who is also the Russian Orthodox Church Representative to European International Organizations.”

Pope Backs U.S. Catholic Clergy

Even though he showed sympathy for sexual abuse victims of Catholic priests, Pope Benedict XVI “has offered support to America’s clergy during his visit,” according to an article in The Associated Press of April 19. The article continued:

“He said priests who had done nothing wrong had been unfairly tarred by the crisis. More than 4,000 clergy have been accused of molesting minors in the U.S. since 1950. Abuse-related costs have surpassed $2 billion in that period, with much of the payouts in just the last six years. But most of the recent claims concern wrongdoing that occurred decades ago. At the height of the scandal, which erupted in 2002 with the case of one predator in the Archdiocese of Boston, the shame was so intense that some priests took off their clergy collars before going out in public. Benedict compared their suffering to ‘Christ in his Passion.'”

Strange “Image” Appears in Florida Hospital

Coinciding with the Pope’s visit in the USA, a bizarre report emerged about an unexplained image in a hospital in Florida. stated on April 15:

“A crowd inside the Florida Hospital Medical Complex in Orlando snapped photos of the image apparently showing the profile of Jesus Christ crying… Cruzada, who was one of several viewers to send an e-mail about the image to, said his ex-wife was recently diagnosed with stage-3 cancer. ‘This was just a sign for me to not worry about what is going on in my life and that everything else is under control,’ Cruzada said. ‘It was an enlightening experience.’… A viewer said the image caused ‘a commotion’ in the hallway near the prayer garden. The hospital is calling it an unexplained image. An official said as long as the image makes people feel good, that is all that matters… Witnesses said after a few hours, the image vanished.”


If the above picture is not just a hoax, but “real,” then it most certainly would not portray the face of Christ, but might be described as a “lying wonder.” We can expect more and more of such “manifestations” or better “apparitions” to occur in the near future. For more information, please read our free booklet, “The Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord.”

“Sarkozy Has Lost All Credibility on Human Rights”

Der Spiegel Online reported on April 23 about German reactions to French President Sarkozy’s latest course of conduct towards China. The magazine stated:

“The left-wing Die Tageszeitung writes: ‘A few calls for a boycott of a French supermarket in China were enough to cause President Nicolas Sarkozy’s commitment to human rights to falter badly. … Naturally it’s easy to talk about freedom when there are no important economic interests at stake. But if it is about civil rights in the giant market that is China, then it is considerably more difficult to stick to big principles.’…  The left-leaning Berliner Zeitung writes: ‘… Sarkozy has maneuvered himself into a position of weakness, where it is now possible to blackmail him… Money matters more than the Olympic honor. What an abysmal overture to France’s leadership of Europe.'”

New EU Treaty Good for Europe?

Der Spiegel Online reported on April 24:

“The German parliament has voted by a large majority in favor of the European Union Reform Treaty… The ratification process in Germany will not be complete until the upper house of parliament, the Bundesrat, passes it on May 23. Then President Horst Köhler will have to sign it.

“During the two-hour debate before the vote, German Chancellor Angela Merkel described the Reform Treaty as a ‘great project.’ She said that the agreement was a ‘solid basis’ for overcoming stalemate and blockades. ‘The new treaty is good for Europe.’ The treaty in its current form was negotiated during Germany’s EU presidency last year, and was agreed to by all EU nations last October in Lisbon.

“It is due to come into force on January 1, 2009 after formal ratification by all 27 member states. Ireland is the only country that is holding a referendum on the treaty.”

California’s Battle With Spanking

CNSNews reported on April 18:

“The issue of spanking has again surfaced in California, where members of the California Assembly’s Public Safety Committee voted 5-2 on Tuesday to advance a bill that would define the use of switches or paddles to be child abuse and subject anyone convicted under the statute to face a possible year in jail. The bill, AB 2943, is sponsored by Assemblywoman Sally Lieber (D-Mountain View), the same lawmaker who made national headlines last year for her proposal to totally ban spanking in California, even in people’s homes…

“This year, however, Lieber is quietly proposing a bill that would continue to allow spanking with the hand for children older than three but would ban parents from using ‘implements’ to punish children. Lieber defines ‘implements’ as ‘sticks, rods, switches, electrical cords, belts, brooms, or shoes.’

“Pro-family conservative groups are up in arms, saying the bill would criminalize wooden spoons and rolled-up newspapers. ‘AB 2943 will result in good parents being arrested, handcuffed, and charged with criminal child abuse,’ said Randy Thomasson, president of the Campaign for Children and Families (CCF), a California-based pro-family conservative organization.

“Outraged parents, like Sacramento-area mom Sarah Berke, gave lawmakers an earful at a public hearing held Tuesday before the vote. ‘As someone dead-set against the evil of child abuse, I also have a strong faith that calls on me to correct misbehavior and rebellion when it occurs,’ Berke said. ‘This means a spanking once in a while. My faith and moral beliefs teach me to “train up a child in the way he should go”‘… Using a wooden spoon in a medicinal, loving manner to discipline, she said, is not child abuse…

“The nation’s leading researchers who have studied spanking – professors Robert Larzelere and Murray Straus – are split on the question of whether all corporal punishment should be banned. But both… agree on one thing: Spanking in itself is not child abuse.”

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