Current Events

Emptying the U.S. Bread Basket

The Washington Post wrote on April 28:

“Across America, turmoil in the world wheat markets has sent prices of bread, pasta, noodles, pizza, pastry and bagels skittering upward, bringing protests from consumers. But underlying this food inflation are changes that are transforming U.S. agriculture and making a return to the long era of cheap wheat products doubtful at best.

“… in… North Dakota… many farmers are cutting back on growing wheat in favor of more profitable, less disease-prone corn and soybeans for ethanol refineries and Asian consumers… Wheat’s fall from favor, little noticed when it was cheap, has been long coming. Though still an iconic symbol of American abundance — engraved on currency and praised in song — the nation’s amber waves of wheat have been increasingly shoved aside by other crops. The ‘breadbasket of the world,’ which had alleviated hunger and famine since World War I, now generally supplies only a quarter of world wheat exports.

“U.S. farmers are expected to plant about 64 million acres of wheat this year, down from a high of 88 million in 1981. In Kansas, wheat acreage has declined by a third since the mid-1980s, and nationwide, there is now less wheat in grain bins than at any time since World War II — only about enough to supply the world for four days. This occurs as developing countries with some of the poorest populations are rapidly increasing their wheat imports… That poses serious concerns for countries that historically have counted on the United States to have inexpensive wheat on hand to cushion shocks…”

America No Longer Leads

On May 3, Newsweek published an incredibly naive article about a man-made prosperous and wealthy future of America. These concepts are unbiblical–of course, we concede that the writer of the article probably does not understand biblical prophecies. (For you to understand what is prophesied, please read our free booklets, “The Fall and Rise of Britain and America,” and “Europe in Prophecy.”) However, Newsweek does make some interesting comments about the present situation–although the overall picture which it paints is also far too optimistic and unrealistic. Nevertheless, we do agree with the following excerpts:

“In April, a new poll revealed that 81 percent of the American people believe that the country is on the ‘wrong track.’ In the 25 years that pollsters have asked this question, last month’s response was by far the most negative. Other polls, asking similar questions, found levels of gloom that were even more alarming, often at 30- and 40-year highs. There are reasons to be pessimistic—a financial panic and looming recession, a seemingly endless war in Iraq, and the ongoing threat of terrorism… And—for the first time in living memory—the United States does not seem to be leading the charge. Americans see that a new world is coming into being, but fear it is one being shaped in distant lands and by foreign people… The world has shifted from anti-Americanism to post-Americanism…

“For the last 20 years, America’s superpower status in every realm has been largely unchallenged—something that’s never happened before in history, at least since the Roman Empire dominated the known world 2,000 years ago. During this Pax Americana, the global economy has accelerated dramatically… At the military and political level, we still live in a unipolar world. But along every other dimension—industrial, financial, social, cultural—the distribution of power is shifting, moving away from American dominance. In terms of war and peace, economics and business, ideas and art, this will produce a landscape that is quite different from the one we have lived in until now—one defined and directed from many places and by many peoples.”

The Future of the American Dollar

On May 5, Der Spiegel Online wrote the following, somewhat speculative article about the perceived future of the American Dollar. The magazine stated:

“There’s a growing sense among currency traders that the US dollar might finally stop its long slide against other major currencies. The euro almost hit $1.60, a record high against the dollar, on Apr. 22… But since then, the buck has been on a modest upswing. The euro traded at $1.54 on May 2.

“… recent lifts for the dollar have come from hopes for a second-half recovery for the US economy, and worries that other countries’ economies are slowing, which could force their central bankers to cut rates. For some politicians and popular commentators, the weak dollar can be a sore spot. Listed alongside economic ills such as financial market turmoil, high oil prices, falling home prices, and weak consumer spending, the falling dollar is seen as a symbol of declining American prestige…

“High oil and commodity prices can already be partly blamed on the dollar’s weakness, which points to a big disadvantage of a weak currency… The price of oil is up almost 17 percent since the beginning of the year when priced in dollars, but it’s still up 11.6 percent in euros…

“The future direction of the dollar depends on a wide, complex array of variables, currency experts say. Factors that could weaken the dollar further include more financial instability in US markets, more interest rate cuts from the Fed, and evidence of slower-than-expected US growth… Even if the dollar stops its slide, it will remain quite cheap by historic standards. Against the dollar, the euro has jumped 37 percent from five years ago, when it was trading at $1.12. As any American tourist in Europe will tell you, the dollar’s purchasing power has also fallen to what seem like artificially low levels… Whether or not the buck regains its bang, that’s a tall order.”

Cyclone May Have Killed More Than 100,000 People

Times on Line wrote on May 5:

“As many as ten thousand people could have died in the catastrophic storm which ripped across Burma on Saturday, and the number is likely to rise [by now it is estimated that more than 100,000 people have died, see below]… Apart from the loss of life… the disaster may have far reaching secondary effects. The flooding and destruction of sanitation systems increases the risk of epidemics, including malaria and typhoid, and adds to pressure on villages where many people subsist [on] less than a dollar a day.

“The stricken area is Burma’s richest agricultural region, and the cyclone must have wrought terrible damage on the rice crop. World rice prices are at a record high already, provoking food riots in more than 30 countries. Burma is a net exporter of rice, and the destruction of crops in the Irrawaddy Delta will only add to upward pressure on international prices. Burma may be unable to keep its promise to sell rice stocks to other more needy countries such as Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, where a cyclone last year destroyed crops.”

The Associated Press added on May 7 that “The Rome-based U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that five states hit hardest by Saturday’s cyclone produce 65 percent of the Southeast Asian country’s rice. The region also is home to 80 percent of its aquaculture, 50 percent of its poultry and 40 percent of its pork production.”

Reuters reported on May 8:

“Desperate survivors cried out for aid on Thursday nearly a week after 100,000 people were feared killed by Cyclone Nargis, as pressure piled up on Myanmar [formerly known as Burma] to throw its doors open to an international relief operation. The United States was awaiting approval from the ruling junta to start military aid flights, but the U.N. food agency and Red Cross/Red Crescent said they have finally started flying in emergency relief supplies after foot-dragging by the generals…

“Approval for such a flight would be significant, given the huge distrust and acrimony between the former Burma’s generals and Washington, which has imposed tough sanctions to try to end 46 years of unbroken military rule. Aid has barely trickled into one of the world’s most impoverished countries, although experts feared it would be too little and too late to cope with the aftermath of Nargis, which also left one million homeless. Witnesses have seen little evidence of a relief effort under way… The storm pulverized the delta on Saturday with 190 km (120 mph) winds followed by a massive 12 ft wave that caused most of the casualties and damage, virtually destroying some villages. It was the worst cyclone in Asia since 1991, when 143,000 people were killed in neighboring Bangladesh.”

Der Spiegel wrote on May 5:

“… the only thing the military junta [in Burma] appears to care about is keeping its hold on power… Burma, already the poorest country in Southeast Asia, shows all the signs of total collapse… But the government… doesn’t appear to have the situation in hand or be able to coordinate disaster relief… many deaths could have been prevented in Burma if the government had warned its people about the impending disaster. But nothing of the kind happened…”

Erupting Volcano in Southern Chile

Reuters reported on May 8:

“Chile evacuated the last military personnel from the vicinity of an erupting volcano in its remote Patagonian region before dawn on Thursday, after it spat a surge of fiery material. But a few civilians refused to leave two villages near the Chaiten volcano in southern Chile which began erupting last week for the first time in thousands of years… The military and a few journalists drove around 50 miles south of the volcano to the village of Santa Lucia after earth tremors and an electric storm at its peak around midnight… A strong smell of sulfur hung in the air…

“Chaiten volcano lies 760 miles south of the capital Santiago and has showered ash on towns as far away as in neighboring Argentina… The long dormant 3,280-foot (1,000-metre) Chaiten volcano began erupting on Friday and the huge plume of volcanic ash is clearly visible on satellite images cutting a swathe across South America’s southern tip. Experts say the volcano could continue belching out vast clouds of ash for months and could rumble on for years.

“Chile has the world’s second most active string of volcanoes behind Indonesia. It is home to 2,000 volcanoes, 500 of which experts say are potentially active. Around 60 have erupted over the past 450 years.”

China’s Secret Nuclear Submarine Base

The Telegraph reported on May 2:

“China has secretly built a major underground nuclear submarine base that could threaten Asian countries and challenge American power in the region… Satellite imagery… shows that a substantial harbour has been built which could house a score of nuclear ballistic missile submarines and a host of aircraft carriers. In what will be a significant challenge to US Navy dominance and to countries ringing the South China Sea, one photograph shows China’s latest 094 nuclear submarine at the base just a few hundred miles from its neighbours. Other images show numerous warships moored to long jettys and a network of underground tunnels at the Sanya base on the southern tip of Hainan island.

“Of even greater concern to the Pentagon are massive tunnel entrances, estimated to be 60ft high, built into hillsides around the base. Sources fear they could lead to caverns capable of hiding up to 20 nuclear submarines from spy satellites. The US Department of Defence has estimated that China will have five 094 nuclear submarines operational by 2010 with each capable of carrying 12 JL-2 nuclear missiles… The location of the base off Hainan will also give the submarines access to very deep water exceeding 5,000 metres within a few miles, making them even harder to detect.”

Don’t Attack the Roman Church!!!

The New York Times published a telling article on May 4, which is interesting in light of the debate pertaining to Barak Obama’s former pastor, Jeremiah Wright. Especially the left-leaning press is trying to attack John McCain for his refusal to distance himself from “televangelist John Hague.” What’s the discussion about? Hagee is perceived as being anti-Catholic for commenting on the 17th chapter of the book of Revelation. Notice the following excerpts from the New York Times’ article:

“… a white televangelist… John Hagee… pokes at the image of a woman… her hand raising a golden chalice. The woman is ‘the Great Whore,’ Mr. Hagee explains, and she is drinking ‘the blood of the Jewish people.’ That’s because the Great Whore represents ‘the Roman Church,’ which, in his view, has thirsted for Jewish blood throughout history, from the Crusades to the Holocaust… On Feb. 27, he stood with John McCain and endorsed him… Mr. Hagee, it’s true, did not blame the American government for concocting AIDS. But he did say that God created Hurricane Katrina to punish New Orleans for its sins, particularly a scheduled ‘homosexual parade there on the Monday that Katrina came.’… Even after Mr. Hagee’s Catholic bashing bubbled up in the mainstream media, Mr. McCain still did not reject and denounce him…”

How Russia Suppresses Religious Liberty and Freedom

The New York Times wrote on April 24:

“Just as the government has tightened control over political life, so, too, has it intruded in matters of faith. The Kremlin’s surrogates in many areas have turned the Russian Orthodox Church into a de facto official religion, warding off other Christian denominations that seem to offer the most significant competition for worshipers… This close alliance between the government and the Russian Orthodox Church has become a defining characteristic of Mr. Putin’s tenure…

“The [Russian Orthodox] church’s hostility toward Protestant groups, many of which are based in the United States or have large followings there, is tinged with the same anti-Western sentiment often voiced by Mr. Putin and other senior officials… On local television last month, the city’s chief Russian Orthodox priest, who is a confidant of the region’s most powerful politicians, gave a sermon that was repeated every few hours. His theme: Protestant heretics…

“Protestants here must receive official permission before doing anything remotely like proselytizing… Vladimir Kotenyov, a Baptist minister, said his church had given up asking. ‘Naturally, it will be perceived as propaganda directed at our population,’ Mr. Kotenyov said. ‘”What kind of propaganda are you preaching?” they would ask. “An American faith?” This is how they think: If you are a Russian person, it means that you have to be Russian Orthodox.'”

Putin Stays in Power

The Associated Press reported on May 8:

“Vladimir Putin was named prime minister of Russia Thursday after a fervent speech full of ambitious plans that overshadowed his low-key successor and suggested that he will keep a strong hand in ruling the country. Putin promised to build on Russia’s economic recovery and work to satisfy its people’s dreams of comfort and prosperity… Putin’s unprecedented move from the Kremlin to the No. 2 post will keep him politically prominent for the foreseeable future and could serve as a springboard back to the presidency. It has Russians wondering who will really hold the country’s reins…

“[Putin] said Russia’s economy could surpass Britain’s this year and become the world’s sixth-largest… Critics say the show of solidarity by mentor and protege masks fears that Putin has navigated Russia into a dangerous period of political uncertainty… Putin, 55, a longtime KGB officer, served as prime minister for five months in 1999 under Boris Yeltsin, who stepped down on Dec. 31 of that year and handed him the presidency. Putin was elected to his first term three months later.”

European Superstate in the Making

The Telegraph wrote on May 3:

“The European Union will open its own embassies under a plan critics fear represents a ‘power grab’ by Brussels officials pushing for a federal superstate… The ‘Embassies of the Union’ would be controlled by a new EU diplomatic service created by the Lisbon Treaty… Working papers circulating in Brussels suggest that more than 160 EU offices around the world, including in member states, would become embassies… Equally controversial is a proposal for EU ambassadors who would be accountable to the European Parliament.”

Far-Reaching New Powers for Brussels?

Der Spiegel Online reported on May 5:

“The EU’s monetary affairs commissioner has called for far-reaching new powers for the European Commission. He would like Brussels to have greater control over economic policy in euro zone countries — and even wants its members to speak with one voice on the international stage…

“Opponents of the European Union claim that Brussels already has too much influence over the internal affairs of the EU’s 27 member states. They are unlikely to be thrilled by the news that a leading EU official is calling for far-reaching new powers for the EU’s executive branch when it comes to member states’ economic affairs — and even foreign policy… The euro zone currently consists of 15 EU member states, including Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Slovenia and Finland, who have adopted the euro as their currency.”

“Most Germans Feel No Responsibility for Israel”

Der Spiegel Online wrote on May 5:

“A new survey reveals that most Germans [53 percent] feel their country has no special responsibility for Israel, despite Germany’s official foreign policy of support for Israel. And only 13 percent of Germans are in favor of providing military support to Israel if the country came under attack [while 81 percent responded in the negative].

“Israel is celebrating its 60th anniversary this Thursday [May 8,which marks the 60th anniversary according to the Hebrew calendar. This is] an event which will be marked with particular attention in Germany. Six decades after the Holocaust, Germany is very aware of its historical obligations to the Jewish state, and the country’s right to exist is a cornerstone of German foreign policy… The attitudes revealed in the survey contrast with German government doctrine that the country has a special responsibility to the state of Israel.”

As we have warned earlier, this official German foreign policy–as well as the vast majority of blind-sighted reporting in the German press–is backfiring. The average German is getting tired of being told how much supportive he must be toward Israel. Sadly, biblical prophecy reveals that within a few years from now, German and European policy toward Israel will drastically change for the worse.

Israel Marks 60th Birthday Amidst Conflict

AFP reported on May 8:

“Israel on Thursday celebrated its 60th anniversary with displays of military might… Military air shows were among the crowd-pleasers with warplanes going through their paces in sunny skies even as a dark cloud hung over the political future of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who is under a corruption investigation. Crowds also thronged military bases which opened their gates to the public to show off some of the mighty arsenal used by an army well tested in six decades of conflicts…

“Sixty turbulent years after its creation in the aftermath of the Nazi Holocaust, Israel remains mired in a seemingly intractable conflict with neighbours still technically at war and with the Palestinians still struggling for their own state… The Jewish state enjoys a stable economy on a par with most Western states, a powerful military, a booming high-tech sector and what is thought to be the region’s sole if undisclosed nuclear arsenal. Israel also enjoys strong support from the United States…

“Palestinians stayed away from the celebrations and marked the anniversary with commemorations of the ‘Naqba’ — Arabic for catastrophe. The term refers to the creation of some 760,000 Palestinian refugees after the shock defeat of the Arab armies which invaded immediately after Israel was established.”

A German Missile Shield for Europe?

Der Spiegel Online reported on May 5:

“The party of German Chancellor Angela Merkel is expected to unveil a new foreign policy platform this week that would have as its centerpiece the goal of creating a missile shield to protect Europe from a nuclear attack, as well as provisions for extended missions by the German military abroad.

“The controversial plan by the conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) would seek to consolidate more foreign policy authority within the Chancellery, the German equivalent of the White House, by creating a National Security Council within the chancellor’s office, which would have ‘its own staff’ with the capacity to coordinate security policy…

“The plan is already coming up against resistance from the SPD. The party opposes a missile shield, and resistance within the SPD to foreign military deployments is growing… Meanwhile, the deputy chair of the Green Party group in parliament, Jürgen Trittin, lambasted the plan… Guido Westerwelle, leader of the business-friendly Free Democratic Party, told the Flensburger Tageblatt: ‘We are very alarmed because we fear that the axis of our foreign policy is being shifted massively. What could be most dangerous is if this is preparing the way for regular deployments of the German military on domestic soil.’…

“CDU foreign policy specialist Willy Wimmer [said:] ‘It is unworthy of a democratic party’… to release a paper that would fundamentally change the country’s security policy coordination ‘without a cautious internal discussion.’ He said it would provide the German armed forces, the Bundeswehr, with a ‘totally changed role in the country.’ He added that it created the impression that the report’s authors wanted to pick up where Weimar Republic President Paul von Hindenburg left off in the early part of the 20th century. ‘For people like Hindenburg, the army was a state within a state,’ he said.”

Whether or not the plan will be adopted this week, it shows the THINKING of the German Chancellor and others within the German government. As biblical prophecy clearly shows, sooner or later, that thinking will prevail.

German Reaction to Gordon Brown’s Debacle

Der Spiegel Online reported on May 5:

“Britain’s Labour Party suffered a devastating defeat in last week’s local elections and then lost the mayoral race in London… The opposition Conservative Party made strong gains across the whole country, beating Labour even in its strong holds in parts of the north. The Conservatives also wrested the coveted London mayoral position from Labour, which the eccentric Boris Johnson won.

“British newspaper commentators spoke of a ‘blood bath for Labour’ and a ‘massacre.’ Media commentators in Germany lay the election defeat squarely at Brown’s feet, pointing in particular to his economic policies as chancellor…

“Spiegel Online writes: ‘Last [fall], boosted by a short grace period Brown, who was seen as a modest, serious anti-Blair, considered holding an early election… But after the Conservatives … improved their standing in the polls, he drew back, and then did not have the courage to admit he did so out of caution. The British do not like that kind of behavior. They like people who — when it gets tough — demonstrate courage and succeed. People who hesitate have a tough time on the island, where the stiff upper lip resistance to Hitler is seen as the nation’s “finest hour”‘…

“The financial daily Handelsblatt writes: ‘With hidden taxes he took with one hand and gave with the other through tax credits and other special programs… Companies are threatening to move abroad, because they are fed up with ever more complex taxes. And Labour’s core supporters are rebelling against the abolishment of a low tax rate, which Brown himself introduced a few years ago. Once Britain had a simple tax system, light regulation and a slim state. Brown’s micro-management has turned these into a bureaucratic apparatus, which creates a new problem every time it tries to solve one.'”

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