Current Events

Gulf Oil Spill Spells Disaster for Great Britain

Der Spiegel Online wrote on July 13:

“With the oil continuing to flow into the Gulf of Mexico, BP is facing ever greater challenges. Already, the company has lost half its market value. Should it be unable to cap the leaking well soon, the British oil giant may be forced to sell [off] assets. That could spell disaster for Great Britain.

“Such a crash has never before been seen. Fewer than 12 weeks ago, the multinational oil giant BP still held an uncontested fourth place on the list of the world’s largest companies. Its impressive balance sheet boasted annual sales of roughly $246 billion (€195 billion), a market value of more than $190 billion and after-tax profits of almost $17 billion. Indeed, insurance companies, retirement funds and pension funds worldwide viewed BP as a safe haven, an almost risk-free investment in an otherwise turbulent market. The company, many believed, would have no trouble weathering even the severest of crises. BP’s global earnings appeared safe, its cash and petroleum reserves seemed impervious.

“But April 20, the day that the company’s Deepwater Horizon oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico exploded, marked an end to the once unshakable faith the financial markets had in the oil giant. The company has made several attempts to staunch the ensuing leak, all of which have failed… Few are holding their breaths. Experts estimate that more than 60,000 barrels of crude oil are surging out of the well and into the Gulf of Mexico each day. Already, the accident is one of the largest environmental catastrophes in US history — one that will have immeasurable effects on wildlife, eco-systems and the economy. Experts have estimated that it will cost more than €60 billion to repair the damages.

“With every extra day that goes by without a solution to the gushing oil, the threat facing the environment, and BP itself, increases. Bankruptcy is no longer seen as an impossibility… For Great Britain, the crash of its largest company has been a disaster, particularly given the timing — concurrent with Prime Minister David Cameron’s deep spending cuts in an effort to bring down the country’s substantial budget deficit and sovereign debt… The 10,000 British jobs BP provides isn’t the only issue. BP pays out nearly €7 billion each year in taxes and fees to the British state. Likewise, the company owns large segments of the country’s energy infrastructure…

“Even more ominous, however, is the fact that a significant chunk of British pensions depend on BP’s well-being. Whether directly or via large private-equity funds, many Britons own a piece of the company. Their pension funds have taken a serious hit from the company’s precipitous drop in value and missed dividend payments. London Mayor Boris Johnson has warned that the oil giant’s financial problems have become an issue of ‘national concern’…

“Just how far BP’s reputation has fallen among Americans can be seen from a recent survey jointly conducted by the Wall Street Journal and the television broadcaster NBC. BP landed just three percentages points higher than ex-Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein on a scale measuring public approval. The reasons for BP’s unpopularity are not difficult to find: disregard of safety measures mandated for deep-sea drilling; insufficient emergency response plans; and repeatedly unfulfilled promises by Tony Hayward that the leak would be rapidly staunched…

“The company estimates the oil will be stopped by late July or, at the latest, early August… Chances are, however, that the [new] effort [the so-called complicated “bottom-kill” method] won’t succeed on the first try — and the operation could also fail completely. That, of course, would be the worst-possible scenario for the environment. It would also mean that BP would likely be forced to sell off lucrative oil fields and gas station chains, such as Aral, at discount prices. Such a scenario may also include a bankruptcy declaration for the company’s US subsidiary or even a partial nationalization in Great Britain.”

The Associated Press reported on July 15:

“The oil has stopped. For now. After 85 days and up to 184 million gallons, BP finally gained control over one of America’s biggest environmental catastrophes Thursday by placing a carefully fitted cap over a runaway geyser that has been gushing crude into the Gulf of Mexico since early spring.

“Though a temporary fix, the accomplishment was greeted with hope, high expectations — and, in many cases along the beleaguered coastline, disbelief…

“If the cap holds, if the sea floor doesn’t crack and if the relief wells being prepared are completed successfully, this could be the beginning of the end for the spill. But that’s a lot of ifs, and no one was declaring any sort of victory beyond the moment…”

The Bible prophesies that the USA and Britain will fall together. Please read our free booklet, “The Fall and Rise of Britain and America.”

Church of England Faces Turmoil

BBC wrote on July 12:

“The Church of England’s ruling body [the General Synod] has decided that women bishops should be allowed, but there are further steps to take before they can be ordained… The law must now receive approval from a majority of the Church’s 44 diocesan synods, before returning to the General Synod. It must then receive a two-thirds majority at the General Synod before receiving parliamentary approval and the Royal Assent… Although the proposal gained a majority of votes in the synod as a whole, it failed because clergy – who vote separately from lay people and bishops – defeated it by just five votes…

“Campaigner Christina Rees, a member of the General Synod and chairwoman of Women in the Church, told the Press Association the synod’s decision on Monday was ‘a wonderful outcome’… But traditionalists have warned that the decision could result in many of them leaving the Church of England… David Houlding, a leading member of the Catholic Group on the General Synod, said he was concerned and he felt as if traditionalists were running out of options… ‘The scope for remaining in the Church of England is getting more and more narrow and the options are rapidly closing.'”

CNN added on July 12:

“The Church of England first began ordaining women as priests in 1994 and has been debating whether they should become bishops since 2005. But the issue, along with the debate over the ordination of gay priests, has put a serious strain on the 77-million-member Anglican Communion worldwide.

“The Catholic Church has reached out to disaffected Anglicans, raising the possibility that conservatives could leave en masse. The General Synod rejected a compromise backed by the nominal head of the church, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, over the weekend, with priests rejecting the measure despite the support of bishops and lay leaders.”

More and more of the clergy of the Church of England will migrate to and be embraced by the Roman Catholic Church. Recently, a married Protestant pastor with children converted to Catholicism and was permitted by the Catholic Church in Germany to continue in his office as (now) Catholic pastor, without having to separate from his wife and family.

“Monk Did Nothing Wrong…”

The Local wrote on July 13:

“A German Benedictine Abbot who resigned in February amid the Catholic child abuse scandal for failing to properly report abuse accusations is already set to return to his former post… Barnabas Bögle, 53, has been elected by the 45 voting monks of the Ettal Abbey in Bavaria, which was rocked by allegations of abuse, to return… The decision must still be approved by the Vatican.

“In recent weeks, Church authorities in Rome decreed there was no reason not to hold a re-election for Bögle, as well as for the head of the Ettal school and priory, Maurus Kraß, who also resigned in February. A Vatican committee had come to the conclusion that the former leaders of the abbey had done nothing wrong in their statements regarding the abuse scandal, the paper reported.

“The abbey is seeking approval from the Bavarian Education Ministry to have Kraß reinstated as head of the school. The two men resigned under pressure from the Archbishop of Munich and Freising after it emerged that there had been sexual, physical and psychological abuse happening at the abbey’s boarding school for decades. At the time, both admitted that regulations on reporting accusations of abuse had not been followed. At least 20 former and current students at Ettal made accusations of abuse.”

Even though they admitted to wrongdoing, the Vatican concluded that they did nothing wrong.

New Catholic Church Law Does “Not Go Far Enough”

The New York Times reported on July 15:

“In its most significant revision to church law since a sex abuse crisis hit the United States a decade ago and roared back from remission in Europe this spring, the Vatican on Thursday issued new internal rules making it easier to discipline priests who have sexually abused minors. But in a move that infuriated victims’ groups and put United States bishops on the defensive, it also codified ‘the attempted ordination of women’ to the priesthood as one of the church’s most grave crimes, along with heresy, schism and pedophilia.

“In its revision, the Vatican doubled the statute of limitations in abuse cases from 10 to 20 years from the victim’s 18th birthday and added possession of child pornography and the sexual abuse of mentally disabled adults to the list of crimes handled by the Vatican’s doctrinal office, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith… But the revision fell short of the hopes of many advocates for victims of priestly abuse: It does not contain measures to hold bishops accountable for abuse by priests on their watch, nor does it require mandatory reporting of sex abuse to civil authorities even in countries where it is not required by civil law…

“Critics immediately said the revisions announced on Thursday did not go far enough. ‘History has shown that church abuse policies are rarely followed. But even if these new guidelines are obeyed, their impact on the ongoing crisis is likely to be insignificant. Defrocking a predator, by definition, is too late,’ SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said in a statement.

“, which tracks cases of sex abuse by priests cases worldwide, said the changes ‘amount to administrative tinkering of a secretive internal process. Given his authority, Benedict could implement meaningful change,’ the group said in a statement.

“‘He could direct bishops to report every allegation of child sexual abuse to the police, regardless of whether civil law requires them to do so. He could threaten punishment of any bishop or church official who enables or fails to stop a child-molesting priest.’ It added, ‘It’s disturbing that the new rules merely will extend the statutes of limitations rather than eliminate them altogether.’”

Argentina Legalizes Same-Sex Marriages

The Los Angeles Times reported on July 15:

“Argentina legalized same-sex marriage Thursday, becoming the first country in Latin America to declare that gays and lesbians have all the legal rights, responsibilities and protections that marriage brings to heterosexual couples… The law is sure to bring a wave of marriages by gays and lesbians who have found Buenos Aires to be a welcoming place to live…

“The approval came despite a concerted campaign by the Roman Catholic Church and evangelical groups, which drew 60,000 people to march on Congress and urged parents in churches and schools to work against passage…

“Same-sex civil unions have been legalized in Uruguay and some states in Mexico and Brazil. Colombia’s Constitutional Court granted same-sex couples inheritance rights and allowed them to add their partners to health insurance plans. Mexico City went further, legalizing gay marriage and launching tourism campaigns to encourage foreigners to come and wed.

“Argentina now becomes the first country in Latin America to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide, granting gays and lesbians all the same rights and responsibilities that heterosexuals have. These include many more rights than civil unions, including adopting children and inheriting wealth.

“Gay rights advocates said Argentina’s historic step adds momentum to similar efforts around the world… But many Argentines remain firmly opposed to the idea of gay marriage…

“The president, who helped the law’s chances by bringing two senators opposed to gay marriage with her on a state visit to China, spoke out from there against the Catholic Church’s campaign and the tone she said some religious groups have taken. ‘It’s very worrisome to hear words like “God’s war” or “the devil’s project,” things that recall the times of the Inquisition,’ she said…”

US Debt–“Cancer Which Destroys from Within”…

The Associated Press reported on July 12:

“The heads of President Barack Obama’s national debt commission painted a gloomy picture as the United States struggles to get its spending under control… The nation’s total federal debt next year is expected to exceed $14 trillion — about $47,000 for every U.S. resident.

“‘This debt is like a cancer,’ Bowles [Democrat Erskine Bowles, former White House chief of staff under Bill Clinton] said Sunday in a sober presentation… ‘It is truly going to destroy the country from within.’

“Simpson [former Republican Senator from Wyoming, Alan Simpson] said the entirety of the nation’s current discretionary spending is consumed by the Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security programs. ‘The rest of the federal government, including fighting two wars, homeland security, education, art, culture, you name it, veterans, the whole rest of the discretionary budget, is being financed by China and other countries,’ said Simpson. China alone currently holds $920 billion in U.S. IOUs.

“Bowles said if the U.S. makes no changes it will be spending $2 trillion by 2020 just for interest on the national debt.”

The Silent Doctors…

NPR wrote on July 14:

“If a doctor consistently prescribes the wrong meds or arrives drunk to work, you’d hope that his peers would pipe up… But the responses of nearly 2,000 doctors to a recent national survey show the professional watchdog system is nowhere near perfect. More than a third of docs don’t think they’re responsible for reporting those who aren’t fit to practice… And only 69 percent of the docs who knew about an impaired or incompetent colleague reported them…

“What holds doctors back? The most common reason — given 19 percent of the time by doctors who said they were aware of a problem doctor — is that they thought someone else was on top of it. After that 15 percent of the respondents figured nothing would happen anyway. Fear of retribution was also a factor, cited by 12 percent of these doctors…

“In smaller practices, doctors are very dependent on referrals, so they may worry that if they report a colleague they’ll face some kind of retribution. Their number of referrals or professional reputation might suffer… states vary widely on how they deal with incompetent physicians. Only some states mandate reporting requirements.”

Lame Excuse–NASA Spokesman Must Have “Misspoken”

Fox News reported on July 12:

“White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Monday that NASA Administrator Charles Bolden must have misspoken when he told Al Jazeera last month that one of his top priorities is to reach out to Muslim countries. ‘That was not his task and that’s not the task of NASA,’ Gibbs said. Bolden, though, said last month in the interview that it was President Obama who gave him that task. He made a similar claim in February.

“The White House also backed up Bolden last week when his remarks first stirred controversy. A White House spokesman last Tuesday said Obama wants NASA to engage with the world’s best scientists and that to meet that challenge, NASA must ‘partner with countries around the world like Russia and Japan, as well as collaboration with Israel and with many Muslim-majority countries’…

“The Muslim comments were met with a wall of criticism last week from conservatives and former NASA officials who said that while Muslim-nation outreach is laudable, it should not be a NASA priority.”

Robert Gibb’s statements sound rather hollow in light of Charles Bolden’s repeated assertions to the contrary…

France’s Fight Against Burqa

USA Today reported on July 13:

“France’s lower house of parliament has approved a ban on burqa-like Islamic veils, a move that is popular among French voters despite serious concerns from Muslim groups and human rights advocates. There were 336 votes for the bill and just one against at the National Assembly. Most members of the main opposition group, the Socialist Party, refused to participate in the vote.

“Following Tuesday’s vote, the ban on face-covering veils will go in September to the Senate, where it also is likely to pass. Its biggest hurdle will likely come after that, when France’s constitutional watchdog scrutinizes it…

“The issue is potent in Europe: Several other countries have similar proposals in the works, including Belgium and Spain, and they are closely watching the bill’s progress in France. France has Europe’s largest Muslim population, estimated to be about 5 million of the country’s 64 million people…

“The legislation would forbid face-covering Muslim veils in all public places in France — even in the street. It calls for —150 ($185) fines or citizenship classes, or both. The bill is also aimed at husbands and fathers — anyone convicted of forcing someone else to wear the garb risks a year of prison and a —30,000 ($38,000) fine, with both penalties doubled if the victim is a minor.”

A clash between Europe and the Muslim world is slowly developing, which is prophesied to occur and which will end up in war, in accordance with Daniel 11:42-43.

Polanski Free–Obama Has Egg on His Face

BBC News reported on July 12:

“Authorities in Switzerland have decided not to extradite film director Roman Polanski to the US to face sentencing for a case dating back to 1977. Polanski, aged 76, has been under house arrest in his Swiss chalet since December 2009 pending the decision. The filmmaker is wanted in California over a conviction for unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl. The US was ‘deeply disappointed’ with the decision, a senior justice department official said… The justice ministry said that the US authorities had failed to provide confidential testimony about Polanski’s original sentencing procedure…

“In 1978, he pleaded guilty to unlawful sex following a plea bargain. He served 42 days in a US prison. He has always maintained he was promised a short sentence, but he fled the US after hearing rumours that the judge was about to re-sentence him for a much longer term. He has never returned to the US… The [Swiss] justice ministry added that… national interests were taken into consideration in the decision. A Swiss official said the US cannot appeal the decision…

“Polanski’s wife, French actress Emmanuelle Seigner, said she was overjoyed at the decision. She said: ‘It is with great pleasure that I have just learned of my husband’s release. For me and for my children it is the end of a nightmare that has lasted more than nine months…’

“Polanski’s release was also welcomed by French politicians and artists. ‘The great Franco-Polish director will from now on be able to rejoin his friends and family and work fully on his artistic projects,’ French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said. The Polish foreign ministry also welcomed the Swiss decision.”

German Reaction to Polanski’s Freedom

Der Spiegel Online wrote on July 13:

“Should the Swiss have freed famed director Roman Polanski from house arrest and denied a US extradition request? Many in the US are outraged by Monday’s decision. But some German commentators think it was the right thing to do… The surprise Swiss decision has left US officials fuming…

“The center-left Süddeutsche Zeitung writes: ‘The Swiss… were under enormous pressure. The US insisted on co-operation — they had another fight with Bern too: A tax evasion dispute involving Swiss banking giant UBS, and they could apply the thumbscrews if need be. Meanwhile France, the chosen home of the director, has always asked why the Swiss were the executors of American justice…

“‘The Swiss had been searching for some judicial lever in the conflict that would allow them to reject the extradition order. They found it in the form of documents that had not been turned over by the US. Also contributing to the decision was the length of time Polanski had already been in custody, both now and when he was originally arrested, as well as doubts about the correctness of the original US trial. And last but not least, there was the question of whom the resurrection of the 33-year-old criminal procedure would really benefit’…

“The left-leaning Berliner Zeitung writes: ‘The situation with Polanski is more than just awkward. It is tragic. … The fact remains that Roman Polanski sexually abused a 13-year-old girl in Los Angeles in 1977 and escaped punishment by fleeing to Europe. Therefore he is an offender — even if he is an offender that the victim has long since, publicly, forgiven. But Polanski is also a victim. He only escaped the Nazi persecution of the Jews because he went into hiding: His mother died in Auschwitz. In the US in 1969, his pregnant wife, Sharon Tate, was murdered by followers of Charles Manson’s cult.”

“‘Racism will only be overcome when one’s ethnic origins no longer play a part. But that will never happen. So in order to assess any situation we must also consider biographical information in context. Yesterday the Swiss decided to release Polanski from house arrest and not to extradite him to the US. A good decision — particularly when one considers how many Jews fleeing from the Nazis were turned away at the Swiss borders and how many Jewish assets were never revealed because of Swiss banking secrecy…'”

The most interesting aspect of this tragedy is that Europe is willing to stand up to America, and America must grudgingly concede defeat…

EU-USA Disagreements

Fox News reported on July 15:

“Europe’s disappointment with President Barack Obama’s presidency was laid bare Thursday as the EU’s most senior figure called for a dramatic effort to revive transatlantic relations. The President of the European Commission said the new era at the White House was in danger of becoming a ‘missed opportunity’ for Europe. José Manuel Barroso said the EU-U.S. relationship was not living up to its potential. The criticism follows a series of fundamental disagreements on how to deal with the economic crisis, climate change and trad reform.

“The feelings of a deepening rift are mutual. Senior U.S. figures said Obama could never live up to Europe’s sky-high expectations. Barroso revealed his frustrations with Washington during a wideranging interview in which he also admitted that the euro had acted like a ‘sleeping pill,’ luring some countries to the edge of economic disaster with an ‘illusion of prosperity.’ It has been a fractious few months for EU-U.S. relations, culminating in a fundamental clash of ideas at the G20 summit between Europe’s austerity strategy for ending the economic crisis and Obama’s call to maintain fiscal stimulus…

“The U.S. defended itself forcefully against claims that it had neglected Europe… The view from Washington is that communication with Europe on a range of crucial issues is difficult because the EU still lacks ‘a clear foreign policy apparatus.’”

Soon, the USA might not have that kind of an excuse again for its deteriorating relationship with the EU, as the next article shows.

Soon–EU’s New Powers at the UN

The EUObserrver reported on July 15:

“European Council President Herman Van Rompuy will in future be able to address the UN chamber no differently from US President Barack Obama or Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmedinejad under draft reforms agreed by member states… An EU diplomat said the idea behind the changes is to boost the profile of the EU as an entity in itself at the international level…

“Britain’s EU minister, David Lidington, in the UK ministerial letter said however that the move should not be interpreted as undermining Britain’s permanent seat on the UN Security Council… The new rights flow from changes established by the EU’s Lisbon Treaty, which entered into force last December. ‘The Lisbon Treaty established new structures for the management of the EU’s external relations,’ Mr Lidington explained.”

Gaza Raid–Israel Partially to Be Blamed

BBC reported on July 13:

“An Israeli military inquiry into the naval raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla says commandos were under-prepared and mistakes were made at a senior level. The report says the operation suffered from flawed intelligence-gathering and inadequate planning. But it also praised the commandos involved and found the use of force had been the only way to stop the flotilla. Eight Turks and one Turkish-American died in the naval raid in international waters, which provoked a major outcry.

“The report criticised the operation’s planners for not having a back-up plan in the event of violence. But it also said the mission had not been a failure and did not recommend any dismissals. It said there had been a lack of co-ordination between military and intelligence bodies, and preparations for the 31 May takeover of the ships had been inadequate… its findings that serious mistakes were made confirm that questions also need to be asked of Israel’s political leaders, who approved the operation…

“The operation prompted an international backlash and has severely strained Israel’s relations with its once-close Muslim ally Turkey. Amid the criticism, Israel eased its land blockade on the Gaza Strip, allowing most civilian goods through. The naval blockade remains in place. Israel says it is necessary to keep weapons from reaching the Islamist Hamas movement, which controls Gaza.”

Bomb Attack Directed Against Ethiopia

BBC reported on July 12:

“The Somali Islamist group al-Shabab has said it was behind twin blasts which hit the Ugandan capital Kampala on Sunday, killing 74 people. In a statement in Mogadishu, spokesman for the group Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage threatened more attacks. Police said the bombings targeted football fans watching the World Cup final…

“The explosions, which also injured about 70 people, ripped through a rugby club and an Ethiopian restaurant… at least 60 Ugandans were killed in the explosions… an Irish woman was among those who died at the restaurant. California-based aid group Invisible Children, which helps child soldiers, said one of its workers, Nate Henn, 25, was among those killed at the rugby club. Officials said the dead and wounded also included Ethiopian, Eritrean, Indian and Congolese nationals…

“The attack on the Ethiopian restaurant also fits in with al-Shabab’s regional policy. Addis Ababa backs Somalia’s government against the rebels. And Ethiopian troops invaded Somalia in 2006 to oust an Islamist movement, stoking an insurgency that still rages. BBC East Africa correspondent Peter Greste says security services across the region will now be reassessing how they can protect themselves from a force that has proven itself willing and capable of striking outside Somalia’s borders.

“Many – if not most – of those killed and injured in the Kampala blasts were foreign nationals… At least three Americans, members of a Church group from Pennsylvania, were wounded at the Ethiopian restaurant… US President Barack Obama said the explosions were ‘deplorable and cowardly’. The African Union has said the attacks will not affect its summit, which is due to be held in Kampala later this month.”

Again and again, Ethiopia is somehow making the news. And as it is being pushed, it might very well react by pushing…

What the “Smartest Man on Earth” Thinks…

On July 13, Bild Online reported the following:

“They hunt using poisonous stings, make their own light through bioluminescence and can transform lightning into energy for their bodies: This is what astrophysicist Stephen Hawking (68), the smartest man in the world, thinks aliens would look like! He developed the research for a documentary film for the Discovery Channel… Hawking determined shape and behaviour of the theoretically possible creatures by combining conditions on different planets, including their geology, climates and atmosphere…

Alien creature with huge trunk by Stephen Hawking

“This creature uses its massive trunk to cling to steep rock faces while it eats moss and grass.

Bioluminescent octo alien

“This bioluminescent ‘octo alien’ would be capable of living in a salt sea on Jupiter.

Predator aliens with poisonous stings

“These small predators leap from rocks and numb their prey with their poisonous stings… An extendable skin fold allows them to sail through the air towards their victims.”

This is of course all based on the ungodly theory of the evolution idea. What does the Bible say? “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God” (1 Corinthians 3:19). For more information, please read our free booklet, “The Theory of Evolution–a Fairy Tale for Adults.”

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