Current Events

Americans Have Voted…

The Associated Press reported on November 3:

“Republicans scored the biggest party turnover in more than 70 years Tuesday with their win in the House and, in doing so, will dethrone Democratic Rep. Nancy Pelosi…

“Nevada Sen. Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, overcame a tea party challenge from Republican Sharron Angle in one of the election’s most brutally fought races. Sizing up the new order, Reid said he wants to preserve Obama’s sweeping health care law and let taxes rise on upper income Americans…

“Obama called Ohio Rep. John Boehner, the House speaker-in-waiting, to congratulate him late Tuesday. He also spoke with Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and top Democrats in a series of conversations that reflected the shifting balance of power…

“About four in 10 voters said they were worse off financially than two years ago, according to exit polls and pre-election surveys. More than one in three said their votes were an expression of opposition to Obama. More than half expressed negative views about both political parties. Roughly 40 percent of voters considered themselves supporters of the conservative tea party movement. Less than half said they wanted the government to do more to solve problems…

“A Republican takeover of the House ushers in a new era of divided government after two years in which Obama and fellow Democrats pushed through an economic stimulus bill, a landmark health care measure and legislation to rein in Wall Street after the near collapse of the economy in 2008…”

The Wall Street Journal added on November 3:

“Moving [Obama’s] agenda through Congress will be far more difficult with GOP leaders claiming control of the House and the Democrats’ Senate majority greatly eroded. At the same time, Mr. Obama’s party will need to move past assigning blame for the midterm lashing and settle on a strategy for regaining momentum and regrouping before the 2012 election. Some top Democrats resisted talk of compromise.

“‘We have taken the country in a new direction and we are not going back to the failed policies of the past,’ House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said… Republican leaders also have sent mixed signals about working with the White House.”

“Obama Is to Blame…”

Der Spiegel Online wrote on November 3:

“The Democrats suffered a debacle at the polls in the US on Tuesday — and President Barack Obama is to blame. Once celebrated as a great communicator, the president has lost touch with the mood in his country…

“To the right he is confronted by the stark hatred of the Tea Party movement. In the political center, voters abandoned Obama in droves. And on the left there are complaints that instead of Mr. Change, Obama has turned into Mr. Weakling. Young voters and African Americans are, of course, still behind Obama, but many of them didn’t even bother to cast their ballots on Tuesday.

“The debacle, the largest loss of seats for the president’s party in more than half a century, isn’t just a warning for Obama. It is a demolition…”

“Washington Big Loser”

The National Journal wrote on November 3:

“Who was the big loser Tuesday? The easy answer is President Obama and his fellow Democrats on this day of epic GOP victories in the House, the Senate, and U.S. statehouses. But there is a bigger loser: Washington.

“The wave of disappointment and disillusionment with Washington that swept Obama into office two years ago never went away. With the unemployment rate hovering near double digits, the president was unable to deliver the change that most Americans could believe in, so voters delivered a message of their own to the incumbent party: Get out.

“And so Republicans won the House and narrowed the Democratic majority in the Senate. But even Republicans acknowledged that the results were more of a referendum against Washington than a vote for the GOP.

“‘We make a great mistake if we believe that tonight these results are somehow an embrace of the Republican Party,’ said incoming Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida… Even as he claimed the Speaker’s gavel, Rep. John Boehner of Ohio said, ‘We’re witnessing a repudiation of Washington, a repudiation of big government, and a repudiation of politicians who refuse to listen to the American people’…

“‘I would absolutely advise Republicans to reach out to the president,’ said 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin… Palin pointed to the nation’s weak economy and declared, ‘We’ll have to be on [a] unified team here to get the economy roaring again.’

“Newt Gingrich… said Tuesday’s results created ‘a dramatically weaker Democratic Party and a severely repudiated President Obama.’ He’s right about that, of course. But does Gingrich really think Americans gave the GOP a full-throated mandate? He made that miscalculation a generation ago and overreached as the new House Speaker…

“Most tea party activists consider Obama a big-spending liberal. Some even question his eligibility to be president. Like a cowboy saddling a bucking stallion, Republican leaders tried to tame the tea party while riding it to victories. The new House majority must now try to govern while being ridden hard by tea party activists. The risk is that the GOP will be driven to positions that turn off the same independent voters who swung away from Democrats on Tuesday…

“‘We’ve come to take our government back,’ Sen.-elect Rand Paul of Kentucky told cheering supporters… He sounded, for a moment, like the Obama of just two years ago.”

And this may reflect a huge problem America will be facing. As Americans placed their unrealistic hope in President Obama and the Democrats, are they now making the same mistake in respect to the Republicans and some of their leaders? Many undoubtedly do, but as representatives of the Tea Party said: Republicans are on probation. The question is, will they be able to deliver? Or are commentators correct who prophesy a total stalemate and paralysis for the next two years?

Without God in the picture, America’s future does not look rosy. Americans have forgotten their Maker, and God has prophesied that in that case, He will withdraw His blessings. No political party or agenda will change this certain and sure fact.

For more information, please read our free booklet, “The Fall and Rise of Britain and America.”

Is the American Dream Over?

On November 1, Der Spiegel Online published an interesting article, titled, “A Superpower in Decline,” asking the question, “Is the American Dream Over?” Even though the left-wing article is overly sympathetic, defensive and optimistic towards President Obama and his policies and overly critical and condemnatory towards TV personalities like Glenn Beck, the following statements are worthwhile quoting:

“America has long been a country of limitless possibility. But the dream has now become a nightmare for many. The US is now realizing just how fragile its success has become — and how bitter its reality…

“Americans have lived beyond their means for decades… But at some point, everything comes to an end. The United States is a confused and fearful country in 2010… Some 47 percent of Americans don’t believe that the America Dream is still realistic… Now, 63 percent of Americans don’t believe that they will be able to maintain their current standard of living.

“And if America is indeed on the downward slope, it will have consequences for the global economy and the political world order.

“The fall of America doesn’t have to be a complete collapse — it is, after all, a country that has managed to reinvent itself many times before. But today it’s no longer certain — or even likely — that everything will turn out fine in the end. The United States of 2010 is dysfunctional, but in new ways. The entire interplay of taxes and investments is out of joint because a 16,000-page tax code allows for far too many loopholes and because solidarity is no longer part of the way Americans think. The political system, plagued by lobbyism and stark hatred, is incapable of reaching consistent or even quick decisions.

“The country is reacting strangely irrationally to the loss of its importance… Demagogues stir up hatred and rage on television stations… will the US wake up? Or is it already much too late?…

“When government debt reaches 90 percent of the gross domestic product, the country begins to feel sick. People [lose] confidence in a better future, investors stop investing, consumers stop buying and the economy stops growing…

“The unemployment rate in the United States is at about 10 percent. But when the people who have stopped looking for work and are not registered anywhere are included, the real number is likely to be closer to 20 percent. For the first time since the Great Depression, Americans have a problem with long-term unemployment.

“…once a decline has gotten underway, it isn’t easy to change direction… There is no easy way out of the debt crisis… Unemployment remains stuck at record high levels, a second collapse in the real estate market is not unthinkable, and the classic tools of fiscal policy, tax cuts or economic stimulus packages, are hitting a wall…

“Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz warns of the consequences of a flood of liquidity. ‘It’s doing nothing for the American economy, but it’s causing chaos over the rest of the world,’ he says.

“More money means that the value of the dollar falls relative to other currencies. This is an advantage at first, because it makes exports cheaper and imports more expensive, making the US economy more competitive. But does US industry even make enough products anymore to allow it to increase sales to the global market? And what happens if the world loses confidence in its reserve currency and unloads its dollar reserves onto the market? The resulting dollar crash could plunge the global economy into the next abyss. More money also means more inflation…

“It could certainly be a comfort to the Germans that the United States is no longer so powerful that it can foist its ideas on the rest of the world. Almost 45 million Americans are considered poor, with 4 million falling below the poverty line in 2009 alone. The Department of Agriculture warns of growing ‘food insecurity.’ One fourth of all children in the United States depend on government food stamps…”

The Origin of Modern Halloween?

CNN wrote on November 1:

“Halloween is a holiday with ancient pagan roots, but the modern extravaganza of candy, pumpkins and sexy nurse costumes is as American as the Fourth of July…

“The British grocery chain Tesco sold 1.4 million pumpkins on Sunday. The chain estimates that its Halloween sales have tripled since 2005. British parks sponsored free Halloween spectacles: ghost walks, pumpkin carving. Trick-or-treating is spreading through London neighborhoods.

“But in the United Kingdom as in the United States, the real money is found in the grownup aspects of the holiday: costumes, dance parties, club nights. The growth in adult Halloween dwarfs pumpkin sales…

“The holiday is catching [on] in Germany, too. Influenced by U.S. military personnel, the Germans used to acknowledge Halloween as a children’s holiday. But since 2000, Halloween has become an adult craze…

“The Japanese have taken Halloween to over-enthusiastic heart… Bizarre, horrifying and — above all — sexy costumes have become a national pastime…

“This year… Americans spent an estimated $800 million on costumes for children, $1 billion on costumes for adults. Where did that adult dress-up party begin? As best we can tell: in San Francisco’s Castro neighborhood… A local variety store had long sponsored a Halloween street festival for kids. In the 1970s, the street festival transitioned into an adult party of lavish costumed theatricality. The ‘Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence’ — a troupe of transvestite nuns — got their start here.

“The Castro Halloween party spread to other gay neighborhoods in the 1980s: Greenwich Village, West Hollywood, Key West, Florida. In 1994, University of Florida anthropologist Jerry Kugelmass published a book on the new trend, ‘Masked Culture,’ describing Halloween as an emerging gay ‘high holiday.’

“And after a while — the straights imitated… The ‘masked culture’ first developed by the gays of San Francisco has reached across the lines of orientation — and now jumped across the boundaries between nations and languages…”

For more information on the ancient origins of Halloween, please read our free booklet, “Is That in the Bible?–Man’s Holidays and God’s Holy Days.”

Mexico’s Fascination with the Dead Becomes Bitter Reality

The Los Angeles Times wrote on November 1:

“… this year, as Mexicans picnic at cemeteries and erect elaborate altars to mark the nation’s annual Day of the Dead observances, death is haunting in its abundance. Mexicans face the stark reality of a drug war that has plunged the country into its deadliest violence since the revolution 100 years ago. So many dead. Tens of thousands, in just a few years.

“In Mexico City’s central Zocalo plaza, the so-called Mega Ofrenda, an elaborate and enormous shrine with offerings of flowers, food, drink and artworks to the dead…

“In just the last 11 days, 48 mostly young people were killed in four separate massacres in different cities, including the capital, prompting some columnists and activists to speak of juvenicidio, or the systematic slaughter of youths…

“Tuesday is the official Day of the Dead holiday, originally an indigenous custom timed by Mexico’s Spanish conquerors to follow the Roman Catholic All Saints’ Day on Nov. 1. As much as the promoters of Halloween try to supplant Dia de los Muertos, the two here end up combining into a long period of festejo.

“Children who engage in Day of the Dead solicitations of sweets and money, similar to trick-or-treating, chant the phrase, ‘Give me my calaverita.’ The word literally means ‘little skull.'”

The Ongoing Threat of Terrorism

The Local reported on November 1:

“Germany has extended a ban on air freight from Yemen to passenger flights… The spokesman told a regular government briefing that Germany had stepped up its emergency measures when it emerged that one of the parcel bombs had been routed via the western German city of Cologne. Germany is the first country to announce a ban on all flights from Yemen.

“‘All Yemeni air companies that fly to Germany have received a flight ban,’ the ministry spokesman said. ‘The German air authorities have orders to turn back all direct and indirect flights from Yemen. That means that for the time being, there will be no flights to or over German territory allowed.’

“The German government said Saturday that it would outlaw all cargo from Yemen indefinitely. A spokesman said Monday that Berlin was now weighing whether to ban freight from other countries amid a major security review…

“Qatar Airways said a package containing explosives was flown from the Yemeni capital Sanaa to Doha and then on to Dubai Friday on one of its aircraft. A source said on condition of anonymity that the plane was a passenger flight. The bomb had PETN hidden inside a computer printer with a circuit board and mobile phone SIM card attached, officials said.

“The other parcel was found at East Midlands airport in central England and travelled through Cologne. British Prime Minister David Cameron said it appeared designed to blow up a plane.

“The two bombs contained 300 grammes (11 ounces) and 400 grammes of explosives respectively and could have caused ‘significant damage,’ a German official said Monday. The government official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed that the two bombs contained the explosive PETN…

“US officials have said the two intercepted packages originating from Yemen were addressed to synagogues in Chicago, President Barack Obama’s former power base. They have cited Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri, an alleged Al-Qaida bomb-maker born in Saudi Arabia but based in Yemen, as a ‘leading suspect’ in the case.”

The EUObserver added on November 2:

“The Netherlands, France, Canada and the US have also halted all incoming cargo consignments from Yemen, prompting an angry response from the country. Brandishing Germany’s flight ban a ‘collective and illogical punishment,’ a Yemeni official added that the measure was a ‘hasty and exaggerated reaction’ and ‘harms Yemen’s efforts in the fight against terrorism.’…

“Separately, Greek police said one of the four parcel bombs discovered in Athens on Monday was destined for French President Nicolas Sarkozy, while another addressed to the Mexican embassy in the Greek capital exploded in the offices of a private delivery company. The other two packages were addressed to the Dutch and Belgian embassies in the city…”

“It Could Stop World Trade…”

Der Spiegel Online wrote on November 2:

“The case has led to worldwide calls for tougher security checks on cargo freight but analysts have warned that introducing a global system for cargo screening would cost billions of dollars, plunge shipping firms and airlines into financial difficulties and even bring world trade to a standstill. ‘In a worst case, it would stop world trade,’ James Halstead, a consultant with the company Aviation Economics, told the Associated Press. ‘UPS and FedEx would probably go bust. We’d have a full-disaster scenario’…

“Germany is a major transit location for foreign deliveries that are then flown on to other countries… German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière… said international freight traffic would collapse if Germany were to impose security checks on all freight deliveries in transit…

“German security checks probably would not have detected the explosive hidden in ink toner cartridges. The freight papers showed both parcels were X-rayed in Sanaa as well as in Dubai. No one spotted the bombs. The BKA has received copies of the X-rays from Dubai and one BKA investigator admitted that German security staff would not have identified the explosive either.”

USA Today added on November 2:

“Billions of pounds of packages bound for the U.S. each year are delivered on passenger flights in which cargo is checked with an electronic system that does not screen for bombs… The Homeland Security Department uses computers to identify possibly dangerous cargo, usually after flights are already in the air and en route to the USA… About 20% of the 9 billion pounds of air cargo that comes from overseas each year is physically checked for bombs.”

It is a tragic conclusion that it seems that terrorism is winning, in one way or another, against our highly sophisticated technological “free world”… A strong response to the terrorist threat, especially from Europe, can be expected, and we are already seeing hasty and punitive decisions from some countries, such as Germany.

The Ghost of the Lisbon Treaty

Der Spiegel Online wrote on October 29:

“Why decide to revise the Lisbon Treaty, which only came into effect last year? The decision by the European Union’s 27 member states has left the European editorialists far from impressed. One paper asks why the EU must always satisfy Germany’s whims?

“After many hours of talks on Oct. 28, European Union leaders meeting at the European Council in Brussels agreed to impose financial sanctions on fiscally non-compliant member states. And perhaps even more critically, they approved a plan to revise the Lisbon Treaty to facilitate the creation of a permanent framework for ailing euro zone economies…

“‘Mrs. Chancellor Rules Europe,’ the Polish daily Rzeczpospolita states in its editorial… ‘Saving the common currency is, of course, a noble and praiseworthy cause, but more and more European politicians are asking why the EU has to satisfy Germany’s whims all the time.’

“Writing in the Spanish daily El País, José Ignacio Torreblanca remarks that ‘Franco-German entente has brought peace, stability and prosperity to Europe.’ However, he insists, we can no longer turn a blind eye to the current behavior of Paris and Berlin, who are ‘eager to cash in on every opportunity to safeguard their strategic interests, even when these are detrimental to other members of the EU.’ Dragging Europe’s 27 member states into a further round of ratification against the backdrop of economic and civic crisis ‘is worse than Russian roulette: It is a bet that could lead to the institutional suicide of the EU.’

“In Dublin, this prospect is a serious cause for concern. ‘Appropriately enough, as Halloween approaches, the ghost of the Lisbon Treaty walks again,’ laments the Irish Independent. ‘Surely we are not going to have to go through all that again. Surely, by voting for the treaty (albeit the second time around) we gave the European Union the power to make decisions without calling on the Irish to hold a referendum?… When the German chancellor proposes that if a country repeatedly breaches debt and deficit rules its EU voting rights should be suspended, she has Ireland firmly in her sights. And the gun is decidedly frontloaded.’

“The Prague daily Lidové noviny declares: ‘The Euro and War.’ The newspaper remarks that the euro and the bailout have poisoned relations between European countries. Once again, the Brussels summit has shown that there is no common denominator in the range of increasingly different ideas on how to manage the euro, while political, economic and social faultlines are opening up between member states. “Under increasing pressure, the German chancellor is obliged to prove to her skeptical fellow citizens that their country will not be forced to permanently foot the bill for the indebted countries.’… Of course, Berlin can always threaten to leave the euro… but there is no doubt that an initiative of this kind ‘would inevitably lead to the collapse of the European Union,’ warns Lidové noviny.”

New Referendums?

The EUObserver wrote on October 28:

“EU officials are working around the clock because all leaders… are absolutely agreed on one thing: There must be no referendums. One thing truly unites the Evasion Union and that is stopping the terrifying possibility that voters might get the chance to have a say in referendums that would very quickly become judgments on how Europe’s elites have handled the economic crisis.

“This is a frightening nightmare scenario for politicians who have premised their austerity measures and bank bailouts on keeping the public at arm’s length – or further… Only in the crooked world of the Evasion Union can no votes to the European Constitution be interpreted as a popular demand for ‘answers form the EU.'”

The EUObserver added on November 2:

“The nightmare scenario of another referendum on a change to the EU treaty in the Netherlands, five years after the country rejected the bloc’s proposed constitution, could return to haunt European leaders, with the hard-right Dutch Freedom Party (PVV) of Geert Wilders on Tuesday (2 November) announcing it is considering proposing just such a vote…

“Under the proposed new EU rules, Brussels will watch over the spending decisions of all EU states to make sure they are ‘competitive.’ Eurozone governments that get into debt too deeply will have stiff punishments meted out to them. Leaders were petrified that any major change to the EU treaties would set off a chain of referendums in the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands and possibly elsewhere, which they are convinced they would lose, as voters have their say on how leaders should have handled the economic crisis.

“The Dutch prime minister and the other leaders last Friday signed off on a treaty amendment only so long as the change envisaged was ‘small, small, small – the smallest possible,’ according to a Danish diplomat, ‘in order to ensure there is no possibility of referendums.’ EU President Herman Van Rompuy has been tasked to go away and come up with a ‘surgical’ – perhaps just two-line – incision to the EU treaty by December.

“One national diplomat described to this website the unwritten anti-referendum pact reached at the EU summit: ‘The move was specifically formulated to ensure that there is no possibility whatsoever that there can be any referendums. Whether this will work or not, I don’t know.'”

New Military Partnership Between Britain and France

Reuters reported on November 2:

“Britain and France will launch a broad defense partnership on Tuesday that includes setting up a joint force and sharing equipment and nuclear missile research centers, a French government source said. Treaties to be signed by French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister David Cameron at a meeting in London will pave the way for an unprecedented degree of military cooperation between the two neighbors.

“The NATO allies, western Europe’s biggest defense spenders and its only nuclear powers, have a centuries-old history of military rivalry and, more recently, have differed sharply over issues such as the Iraq war. Their new partnership is driven by the desire to maintain cutting-edge military capabilities while at the same time reducing defense spending to rein in big budget deficits.

“France and Britain will agree to set up a joint brigade-sized army contingent with air and sea support, which could assemble as needed to take part in NATO, European Union, United Nations or bilateral operations, the French source said. British Defense Secretary Liam Fox confirmed the outlines of the agreement…

“The two countries will agree to share nuclear warhead research and simulation centers, the source said. With nuclear missile tests banned, sophisticated laboratories permit both countries to test the safety of their warheads. ‘This signifies that we have reached an unprecedented level of trust,’ the French source said. ‘It’s this step taken in the nuclear domain that allows us to go further elsewhere’…

“Britain and France will work together in developing technology for future generations of nuclear submarines, missiles, aerial drones, maritime anti-mine systems and military communications satellites, the source said…”

BBC News added on November 2:

“David Cameron has said new treaties on defence and nuclear co-operation with France marked a ‘new chapter’ in a long history of defence co-operation. Speaking alongside French President Nicolas Sarkozy, the UK PM said it would make both countries’ citizens safer and would save money. A centre will be set up in the UK to develop nuclear testing technology and another in France to carry it out…

“The UK and France have also agreed to keep at least one aircraft carrier at sea between them at any one time. Each will be able to use the other’s carrier in some form, certainly for training and possibly operations… But Conservative MP Bernard Jenkin told the BBC that while he approved of the talks, Britain had to be ‘realistic’. He said there was ‘a long track record of duplicity’ by France in dealing with allies and questioned whether the French would make an aircraft carrier available for an operation like the Falklands…”

What will happen IF the “mutual trust” between these two countries will cease? We have long proclaimed that Britain will not be part of the final configuration of a revived core Europe, and that ultimately, war will ensue between Great Britain and the final European revival of the Roman Empire. 

A New Era for Europe?

Der Spiegel wrote on November 3:

“German commentators [say] the whole of Europe, like Britain and France, is strapped for cash and faces a decline in global importance. Europe, they argue, should draw lessons from the new cooperation between those two countries.

“Center-left Süddeutsche Zeitung writes: ‘Their partnership doesn’t come from the heart. But the French and British have been good friends to each other in times of crisis — from World War I to the recent battles in the Balkans. This time they are being forced into an alliance not by enemy soldiers, but by red figures. The British and French know that they can no longer fulfil their claims to be major powers on their own… this could usher in a new era of defense policy in Europe.

“‘The British are stressing that the new entente is taking place outside the European Union and that they aren’t thinking about an EU army. But the pact is good for the whole of Europe. France and Britain account for half of the defense spending of the entire 27-nation EU. If they get together, it will serve as a model. Further alliances will be formed as a result of budget pressures. That in itself won’t create an EU army. But such a European defense policy a la carte is definitely better than nothing’…

“Conservative Die Welt writes: ‘The agreement signed by France and Britain on Tuesday is revolutionary. There has never been such a close military cooperation even among allied states. The British and French have had a complex relationship in recent decades. The fact that they are now working together in the sacrosanct area of nuclear weapons is an astonishing development.

“‘This cooperation should serve as an example within NATO and the EU. Not just Paris and London but the whole of Europe is suffering from financial pressure and waning importance in the world. If Europe wants to prevent a rapid loss of influence — and the projection of military might in distant parts of the globe belongs to the classic categories of power — then the countries of the EU will have to bundle their military capabilities much more than they have done so far.'”

Europe will unite and create a powerful European army. For more information, please read our free booklet, “Europe in Prophecy.”

Britain’s Shameful Abortion Practices

The Daily Mail wrote on November 2:

“… for many, abortion appears to have become alarmingly casual, a form of birth control, a lifestyle choice, a minor medical procedure to be booked for a day off. The official UK figures for 2008 show that there were 195,300 abortions in England and Wales — more than 500 a day. A third of those were repeat ­terminations. A quarter of British pregnancies end in abortion.

“London has become the abortion capital of Europe. An estimated 7,000 women travel here from Ireland and Northern Ireland (where abortion is illegal) for terminations, either in ­private clinics or on the NHS. Women from countries such as Poland are encouraged by pro-choice poster campaigns to flock here on cheap flights for free abortions… It’s perhaps no wonder militant pro-life groups are springing up all over ­Britain.”

For more information on the terrible curse of abortion, please read our free booklet, “Are You Already Born Again?”

Germany’s Strong Performance

Reuters reported on October 28:

“German unemployment fell slightly in October, dropping to its lowest level in 18 years as the impact of persistently strong growth in Europe’s top economy continued to filter through to the jobs market…

“Data on Europe’s biggest economy over the past week has been bullish, signalling its unexpectedly strong recovery could hold up in the face of signs of fragility in the global economy. Consumer morale remains at its highest level since May 2008 going into November on expectations for a further rebound…”

… But Not Because of the Government…

The Local reported on October 31:

“An Emnid survey taken for the Bild am Sonntag newspaper found that 63 percent pointed to ‘the world economy in general’ as the main reason for Germany’s better-than-expected economic recovery. Only 28 percent said that government policy was to thank for the situation…

“The people surveyed also gave much more credit to Germany’s companies and employees than the government. Some 54 percent credited the workers, while 50 percent credited the companies.

“Only 22 percent gave any credit to the job market reforms known as ‘Agenda 2010’ introduced by former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder in the early part of the decade…”

Indonesia’s Ongoing Disasters

The Associated Press reported on November 1:

“Evacuees cringed and fled for cover Monday as an erupting volcano – one of 22 showing increased activity in Indonesia – let loose booming explosions of hot gas and debris, the latest blast in a deadly week… The new blast from Mount Merapi came as Indonesia also struggles to respond to an earthquake-generated tsunami that devastated remote islands. The twin disasters, unfolding simultaneously on opposite ends of the seismically volatile country, have killed nearly 500 people… One of 129 active volcanoes in Indonesia, Merapi has killed 38 people since it started erupting a week ago.

“Even in the crowded government camps miles (kilometers) away, people still instinctively ran for shelter at the power of Monday’s eruption, which was accompanied by several deafening explosions… About 69,000 people villagers have been evacuated from the area around its once-fertile slopes – now blanketed by gray ash – in central Java, 250 miles (400 kilometers) east of Jakarta, the capital…

“The fault line that caused last week’s 7.7-magnitude earthquake and killer wave that followed – and also the 2004 tsunami that killed 230,000 people in a dozen countries – is the meeting point of the Eurasian and Pacific tectonic plates that have been pushing against and under each other…

” Anak Krakatua, a volcano known as the ‘Child of Krakatoa’ also started shooting lava last week. Although the firebursts look spectacular, there were no immediate signs of major eruption… The mountain, about 80 miles (130 kilometers) west of Jakarta, was formed after the Krakatoa eruption of 1883, the largest volcanic eruption in recorded history that, along with a tsunami, killed at least 36,417 people.”

Haiti’s Fight with Cholera

Der Spiegel Online reported on November 2:

“Haiti, the battered Caribbean island, is fighting a new enemy: Thousands have fallen ill with cholera and hundreds have already died… Nine months after the earthquake, hygienic conditions are still catastrophic, and almost 1.3 million people are still living in makeshift huts made of plastic tarps… The first priority for the aid workers is to protect Port-au-Prince from the impending disaster.

“The situation is extremely serious, says Nigel Fisher, the United Nations representative in Haiti, and it would be irresponsible in light of experiences with epidemics in other places not to prepare for a major outbreak… Cholera, the disease of the poor, transmitted through contaminated drinking water and unclean food, would be very difficult to stop in Port-au-Prince.

“It seems absurd that aid workers from around the world have achieved so little by now. Until recently, they were quick to point out that at least they had prevented disease outbreaks. But even that tiny success has now been destroyed. For decades, Haiti has received international aid every time disaster struck, but no one ever managed to build a functioning community…

“The next hurricane, which normally strikes the island in the autumn, was long a topic of discussion in Haiti. When it didn’t arrive, people talked about the next earthquake, and when it didn’t happen, cholera struck. The question is not whether a catastrophe will ravage Haiti, but which one will do it first…”

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