Current Events

More Powerful Earthquakes!

The Japan Times Online reported on April 12, 2012:

“Two powerful earthquakes struck off the western coast of Indonesia’s Sumatra Island on Wednesday, triggering tsunami alerts around the Indian Ocean.

“But the waves observed as of Wednesday night were minor, and there were no immediate reports of casualties or serious damage.

“Nevertheless, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii said a tsunami watch was in effect around the entire Indian Ocean, including India, Pakistan, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, Somalia, Tanzania, Iran, the United Arab Emirates and South Africa.

“The center said that while it was not immediately known whether the strong temblor had generated massive waves, ‘earthquakes of this size have the potential to generate widespread destructive tsunami that can affect coastlines across the entire Indian Ocean basin’…

“Speaking to reporters soon after the first, 8.6-magnitude quake jolted Sumatra at 2:38 p.m., Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said the country remained on alert but was unlikely to experience massive tsunami.

“The second temblor, with an estimated magnitude of 8.2, rocked Sumatra at 5:43 p.m., and Indonesia’s government immediately issued tsunami warnings for the five provinces along the island’s western coast.

“Reporters in Banda Aceh and the city of Lhokseumawe in North Aceh Regency said the earthquakes caused panic among locals, many of whom were seen fleeing their homes screaming in terror.”

Following the earthquake activity near Indonesia, a strong earthquake was experienced in Mexico and a lesser quake occurred off the Oregon coast–all within a twenty-four hour period:

USA Today wrote on April 11, 2012:

“A strong earthquake struck a sparsely populated area in the mountains of western Mexico on Wednesday, and caused tall buildings to sway more than 200 miles away in Mexico City. People evacuated some buildings in the capital, but the city government said helicopter flights detected no signs of damage.

“Authorities in Michoacan state, where the tremor was centered, also had no immediate reports of damage.

“The U.S. Geological Survey initially reported a preliminary reading of 7.0 magnitude for the quake, but later downgraded it to 6.5.

“A quake of that magnitude is capable of producing severe damage in an urban area, but this one occurred about 41 miles below the surface and a tremor’s power to cause damage is often dissipated when it is so deep.

“The USGS said the tremor was centered in Michoacan state 238 miles west-southwest of Mexico City and 88 miles northwest of the Pacific resort of Zihuantanejo.

“Manuel Ortiz Rosete, the Michoacan state civil protection director, said no damage had been reported in major cities and coastal communities of the state.

“Wednesday’s tremor was the latest in a series of strong shakes to hit Mexico City since a powerful 7.4-magnitude quake hit southern Mexico three weeks ago, but this was not an aftershock of that one , USGS geophysicist Dale Grant said.

“‘It’s a different earthquake. We are calling it an individual earthquake,’ Grant said. ‘There’s a potential for aftershocks.'”

Reuters published this additional report on April 11, 2012:

“A magnitude 5.9 earthquake struck off the coast of Oregon on Wednesday and was followed a minute later by a smaller quake off the coast of central California, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

“The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said the quakes were unlikely to trigger a tsunami. The Oregon quake was initially reported as a magnitude 6.2 and the California one as a 5.3. Both were later downgraded.”

CNN reported on April 12, 2012:

“A pair of strong earthquakes rocked Mexico’s Gulf of California only minutes apart early Thursday, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.
“The quakes — magnitude 6.9 and 6.2 — were centered about 85 miles northeast of Guerrero Negro in the Mexican state of Baja California, or 325 miles south-southwest of Phoenix in the United States. Both epicenters were shallow, a little more than six miles underground.
“No tsunami warnings were issued and there were no immediate reports of damage, but people as far north as Tucson, Arizona, reported feeling them.”

While people all over the earth now can receive virtually instantaneous reports of major occurrences such as these, the fact remains that those who are experiencing these events are living in terror! In speaking of the time that would signal the end of this age of human government and His imminent return, Jesus said, “‘And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven'” (Luke 21:11). One must consider, are we just getting better reporting, or are events such as those prophesied to occur by Jesus actually taking place in our time?

A Worldview From the Muslim Brotherhood…

The Jerusalem Post wrote on April 10, 2012:

“The Muslim Brotherhood’s main presidential candidate seeks to fundamentally Islamicize Egyptian society if elected, according to newly uncovered footage of an extended address he gave supporters last year shortly after his release from prison.

“Egyptian activists have transcribed Khairat al-Shater’s 90- minute address into English, offering a rare glimpse into the worldview of the normally tight-lipped candidate who is a front-runner in upcoming elections to lead the Arab world’s most populous state.”

The article continues with these quotations from Khairat al-Shater:

“’Everywhere, the Brothers are working to restore Islam in its all-encompassing conception to the lives of people,’ Shater says in the address. ‘Thus the mission is clear: restoring Islam in its all-encompassing conception, subjugating people to God, instituting the religion of God, the Islamization of life, empowering of God’s religion, establishing the renaissance of the ummah [worldwide Muslim nation] on the basis of Islam… Every aspect of life is to be Islamicized.

“’We call upon God Almighty to make this transformation the beginning of a new renaissance for the ummah and the shaking off of the state of backwardness from which it has suffered for decades,” ‘Shater says in the clip.” ‘As Muslim Brothers, it is imperative that we, as well as the entirety of the ummah, God willing, take advantage of this revolution which took place in Egypt and continues in the countries surrounding us.’”

Does Syria Matter to the U.S.?

On April 10, 2012, CNN published the following:

“In between taking care of their families, working and trying to keep up with everyday life, many Americans have caught at least a couple of stories about Syria. Many probably know that clashes between government forces and protesters who want the country’s president to relinquish power have become increasingly bloody over the past several months. Much of that violence has been represented in online videos, ostensibly that Syrians have posted, suggesting the slaughter of children and families.
“It’s horrible. No one would argue anything else. But there is violence in many corners of the world. Why should what’s happening in Syria be especially important to Americans? It’s clear a lot of people think it’s not. Several readers reacted to Tuesday’s top story on CNN about Syria by commenting: ‘Zzzzzz not our problem’ and ‘Anyone surprised? *yawn*.'”

The reporter of this article adds several very key reasons why the upheaval in Syria should and does matter to the United States. However, this conflict may be just one revolt too many for the U.S. to take on! The seemingly endless involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan; the hard feelings with Pakistan; the unwelcomed extremist turn of the Arab Spring; and any number of other misadventures is causing Americans to–more and more–not want national involvement as peace keepers for the world!

Will Syria Boil Over?

Reported in the Washington Post, April 9, 2012:

“Conflict in Syria burst into neighboring Lebanon and Turkey on Monday, with one Lebanese cameraman killed and at least four people injured in fighting on the Syria-Turkey border.

“The attacks, on the eve of a deadline under a fading U.N.-backed deal for ­Syrian troops to withdraw from cities and cease hostilities amid a widespread uprising, risked bringing the Syrian conflict to what the Turkish government called a ‘new stage.’”

Will Europe and America be Attacked?

WND.COM posted the follow article on April 4, 2012:

“Terror cells have been placed on high alert to attack targets in the United States and Europe should Iran’s nuclear facilities be attacked, a source in the Revolutionary Guards says.

“The terror cells in the U.S. are being coordinated by Quds Force personnel operating out of the Iranian Interests Section in Washington, the source says. Because Iran and the U.S. have no diplomatic relations, Iran’s Interests Section operates under the umbrella of the Pakistani embassy.
“’These cells work out of safe houses where ammunition and explosives are stored, each with an operational commander who reports back to Iran,’ the source says.
“Analysts in Iran believe Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader, has provided two choices to the West: either accept a nuclear Iran or face all-out retaliation if its nuclear facilities are attacked.
“According to the source, who has served in the Guards’ intelligence apparatus, Iranian leaders have long prepared for an all-out confrontation with the West. The Guards’ commander, Hussein Babai, has openly stated that after the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war in Lebanon, Quds Force and Hezbollah terror cells began expanding in cities across Europe and America.”

The Bible Belt Takes a Stand… reported on April 4, 2012:

‘A Tennessee bill meant to protect teachers who allow students to question and criticize ‘controversial’ subjects such as evolution and climate change became law on Tuesday after Gov. Bill Haslam (R) declined to act.
“The state legislature had sent the bill to Haslam earlier this month. He had until Tuesday to veto it, sign it or allow it to pass without his signature.
“Critics of the legislation have dubbed it the ‘Monkey Bill’ and charge that it is anti-science, backdoor approval of the teaching of religion in schools that reminds of the state’s history with the Scopes Trial.
“‘It would open the door to creationism, it would open the door to climate change denial, and to other sorts of pseudosciences being introduced into Tennessee classrooms,’ Josh Rosenau of the National Center for Science Education told The Huffington Post last month.

Assessing the remarkable controversy this bill has aroused speaks to just how upside-down and far-removed people really are when it comes to biblical knowledge. The sad truth is that this bill would not pass in the legislature of almost all of the other states–it certainly would be soundly rejected on the federal level!

Russia Takes a Stand…

Reported in Spiegel Online on April 6, 2012:

“For the first time, police in St. Petersburg, Russia, have made arrests on the strength of a new law banning the dissemination of information on homo-, bi- and transsexuality. Two men were arrested in the city center on Thursday after holding up a sign reading ‘Homosexuality Is Normal,’ according to the newswire Interfax.

“Russia’s second-largest city passed the controversial law on Feb. 29. The two men now face a possible maximum fine of 500,000 rubles (€12,800/$17,000). The maximum penalty is more than the average annual income in Russia.

“The law bans films, music videos, books and newspapers that contain homosexual content as well as the rainbow flag, which is a common symbol of gay pride. And the ban may soon no longer be limited to just St. Petersburg and other cities in Russia. At the end of March, Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party introduced a bill in the country’s parliament, the Duma, which would impose the ban at the national level.

“”We are trying to protect our society from homosexual propaganda,’ Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Russian radio three weeks ago.

“German Green Party parliamentarian Volker Beck — who, like German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, is openly gay — said the bill is a “hate law” and that Russia is on the ‘path to the Dark Ages.’ In the past, Beck has attended anti-homophobia rallies in Russia.

“Homophobia remains widespread in Russia, and it is an open secret in the country that many public figures have sought to hide their sexual preferences by entering into marriages of convenience. The Russian Orthodox Church views homosexuality as a sin, and it was only in 1999 that homosexuality was stricken from the list of mental illnesses in the country.

“Vitaly Milonov, the United Russia politician who is one of the initiators of the proposal for a nationwide ban in the Duma, accused the German band Rammstein of ‘gay propaganda’ earlier this spring. He also warned the American singer Madonna against transgressing the law at a planned summer concert. Madonna, for her part, has said she plans on defying it.”

In considering the preceding two articles, this profound indictment from God comes to mind: “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20).

Pesticides and Bee Collapse

Wired Science wrote on April 4, 2012

“A controversial new study of honeybee deaths has deepened a bitter dispute over whether the developed world’s most popular pesticides are causing an ecological catastrophe.

“Researchers led by biologist Chensheng Lu of Harvard University report a direct link between hive health and dietary exposure to imidacloprid, a so-called neonicotinoid pesticide linked to colony collapse disorder, the mysterious and massive die-off of bees across North America and Europe.

“The study isn’t without critics, who say doses used in the study may be unrealistically high. But the level of a realistic dose is also a matter of controversy, and even critics say the findings are troubling.

“’Our result replicates colony collapse disorder as a result of pesticide exposures,’ said Lu, who specializes in environmental exposures to pesticides. “We need to look at our agriculture policy and see if what we’re doing now is sustainable.”

“Developed in the 1990s as a relatively less-toxic alternative to pesticides that seriously harmed human health, neonicotinoids soon became the world’s fastest-growing pesticide class and an integral part of industrial agricultural strategy. In the United States alone, neonicotinoid-treated corn now covers a total area slightly smaller than the state of Montana.

“Like earlier pesticides, neonicotinoids disrupt insects’ central nervous systems. But unlike earlier pesticides, which affected insects during and immediately after spraying, neonicotinoids spread through the vascular tissues of plants. They’re toxic through entire growing seasons, including flowering times when bees consume their pollen.

“The first reports of colony collapse disorder came in the mid-2000s from commercial beekeepers, who depending on region have experienced colony losses ranging from 30 to 90 percent. Commercial pollination costs have since skyrocketed, and as wild bees are also afflicted, even naturally occurring pollination is threatened.

“Measuring bee declines, however, proved much easier than explaining them. Among a lineup of potential culprits including fungus, mites, viruses, bacteria and pesticides, studies failed to find an obvious, smoking-gun cause — but, piece by piece, evidence against neonicotinoids has steadily accumulated…

“Some European countries, including France, Germany and Italy, have even banned neonicotinoids, though pesticide companies vehemently defend their ecological safety and say concerns are based on inconclusive and premature science.”

Continuing from the Wired Science article:

“Among Bayer’s (the chemical and pharmaceutical giant that manufactures imidacloprid) criticisms is that imidacloprid, a first-generation neonicotinoid, is little-used in the United States. It’s largely been replaced by newer formulations — but these, said pesticide expert Charles Benbrook of The Organic Center, an organic food research consultancy, are chemically similar to imidacloprid.’

“’Virtually all our corn seed has been treated with a very similar neonicotinoid,” said Benbrook. If the study had been conducted with clothianidin, another controversial neonicotinoid, ‘they’d almost certainly have found the same thing.’”

Our honey bees may just be the so-called “canary” in the mine shaft–for us! With mounting strange sicknesses and allergies, many people are beginning to question what they are eating and how their food is being prepared and brought to market.

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