Current Events

“What Will You Worship in 2014?”

The Huffington Post wrote on January 1, 2014:

“Today we can ask ourselves the ultimate question: To what will we devote our life in this very short span of time that we have in this world? What will captivate us, be the focus of our life’s energy, be what we care most about in the world. In short — what will we worship? I use the term ‘worship’ because we worship that which we value, that which holds the highest place in the pantheon of our lives.

“Much of what we worship is, as we all know, not worthy of our time. We succumb to the desire for luxury that is out of our reach, or the perfect body, that will never be ours, or the status of power and intelligence that is fleeting and fraudulent. We can be aware of these unworthy objects of devotion while still spending far too much time bowing down at their altars. Yet we can replace these false idols. The decision of what is worthy of devotion, and actually devoting ourselves to it, is ours to make this New Year’s and every day of our lives.”

The Bible says, We cannot serve God and mammon. And: Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and our physical needs will be satisfied.

Great!–Let The Spying Continue…

Fox News reported on December 27:

“A federal judge in New York has ruled the National Security Agency’s massive data collection program is legal, one week after another federal judge ruled the opposite. The conflicting rulings increase the likelihood that the challenges could someday end up before the Supreme Court. The ruling on Friday came from District Judge William H. Pauley III, in the case of the ACLU vs. James Clapper, the director of national intelligence. The judge agreed with the federal government’s request to dismiss the case. ‘No doubt, the bulky telephony metadata collection program vacuums up information about virtually every telephone call to, from, or within the United States,’ the judge wrote. But he added: ‘As the September 11th attacks demonstrate, the cost of missing such a thread can be horrific…’

“After the ruling, the ACLU said it would appeal to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. ‘We are extremely disappointed with this decision, which misinterprets the relevant statutes, understates the privacy implications of the government’s surveillance and misapplies a narrow and outdated precedent to read away core constitutional protections,’ Jameel Jaffer, ACLU deputy legal director, said in a statement.

“The Justice Department issued a brief statement: ‘We are pleased the court found the NSA’s bulk telephony metadata collection program to be lawful.’ The decision was a victory for the Obama administration after a string of setbacks. Last week, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon, in Washington, D.C., ruled that the NSA phone record collection program likely violates the Constitution… Leon, unlike Pauley, questioned the program’s effectiveness in helping officials conduct ‘time-sensitive investigations in cases involving imminent threats of terrorism.’ Leon called the program ‘almost-Orwellian technology,’ and said: ‘Surely such a program infringes on “that degree of privacy” that the founders enshrined in the Fourth Amendment.’”

The extremely problematic decision of Pauley and the sensible and convincing decision of Leon proves that a divided country cannot stand. When constitutional judges can’t even agree on the clear mandates of the Constitution, what hope in human direction is there?

NSA Hacking into Computer Deliveries

The Associated Press wrote on December 29:

“A German magazine lifted the lid on the operations of the National Security Agency’s hacking unit Sunday, reporting that American spies intercept computer deliveries, exploit hardware vulnerabilities, and even hijack Microsoft’s internal reporting system to spy on their targets. Der Spiegel’s revelations relate to a division of the NSA known as Tailored Access Operations, or TAO, which is painted as an elite team of hackers specializing in STEALING DATA from the toughest of targets…

“Der Spiegel said TAO had a catalog of high-tech gadgets for particularly hard-to-crack cases, including computer monitor cables specially modified to record what is being typed across the screen, USB sticks secretly fitted with radio transmitters to broadcast stolen data over the airwaves, and fake base stations intended to intercept mobile phone signals on the go… One of the most striking reported revelations concerned the NSA’s alleged ability to spy on Microsoft Corp.’s crash reports, familiar to many users of the Windows operating system as the dialogue box which pops up when a game freezes or a Word document dies…”

Bible-believing Christians would have thought that their government would abide by God’s command not to steal…

US Greatest Threat to Peace?

Breitbart reported on December 31:

“… the world now believes the U.S. is the world’s greatest threat to peace. Our image is so bad that the runner-up, Pakistan, only received 8% of the total aggregate vote for [the] world’s most dangerous country, far behind the 24% of respondents vilifying the United States. China was third at 6%, followed by North Korea, Iran and Israel which all got 5%.

“Islamic countries polled were vehement about the U.S. and Israel being the greatest threat… the anti-American sentiment was strong in traditional foes Russia, 54%, and China, 49%, but also in supposed allies such as NATO partners Greece and Turkey 45% apiece, and Pakistan, (which is the large recipient of American largesse) at 44% percent.

“The list continues with Bosnia, looking to join the EU, at 49% , Argentina, 46%,  Mexico, 37%, Brazil, 26%, and Peru, 24%… Even in the Ukraine, which saw pro-Europe/anti-Russian demonstrations in November, 33% of respondents chose the U.S. with only 5% choosing Russia. Germany? The U.S. topped the list at 17%, even ahead of Iran at 16%. Spain? The U.S. came in at 25%, while 11% voted for North Korea and 10% for Iran.

“How about Great Britain, whose national icon, Winston Churchill, was put in his place when Obama removed his bust from the White House? The U.S. tied Iran for the top spot at 15%.”

Fear of Nuclear Contamination reported on January 1:

“The Department of Health and Human Services has ordered 14 million doses of potassium iodide, the compound that protects the body from radioactive poisoning in the aftermath of severe nuclear accidents, to be delivered before the beginning of February… Potassium iodide helps block radioactive iodine from being absorbed by the thyroid gland and is used by victims of severe nuclear accidents or emergencies. Under current regulations, states with populations living within 10 miles of a nuclear plant are encouraged, but not required, to maintain a supply of potassium iodide.

“A search of the FedBizOpps website returns no other results regarding the purchase of potassium iodide from any government agency, suggesting that the DHHS bulk buy of the tablets is unprecedented in recent times. The ongoing crisis at the Fukushima nuclear power plant has prompted concerns that the purchase is connected to the threat posed by radioactive debris washing up on the shores of the west coast or the potential for another natural disaster occurring in Japan which could impact the U.S….

“Last month it was revealed that 71 U.S. sailors who helped during the initial Fukushima relief efforts are suing the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) after they returned with thyroid cancer, Leukemia, and brain tumors as a result of being exposed to radiation at 300 times the safe level. TEPCO has repeatedly been caught lying in their efforts to downplay the scale of the disaster…

“Top scientists have warned that if another major earthquake hits Fukushima, which is almost inevitable, it would mean ‘bye bye Japan’ and the complete evacuation of the west coast of North America. Now that radioactive debris is hitting the West Coast of North America, numerous different animals and sea life are suffering from  mysterious diseases, including 20 bald eagles that have died in Utah over the last few weeks alone.”

The Curse of a Failed Economic Policy

The US Congress rejected the plea to extend Unemployment Benefits for 1.3 million Americans. Right-wing websites like Breitbart applaud this incompetent decision with ridiculous arguments, refusing to recognize the personal misery of innocent individual victims of a failed economic direction. A country which does not take care of its needy citizens is condemned by God. It’s easy to take a position against unemployment benefits as long as one has a job, nice savings or rich relatives to support someone. It’s different when the shoe is on the other foot. We are bringing you some excerpts from real-life miseries and hope that the hardened hearts of some will be softened.

The Huffington Post wrote on December 28:

“David Torian is an Ivy League-educated lawyer and a onetime chief of staff to then-Rep. Michael McNulty (D-N.Y.). He has 23 years of experience in congressional and government relations, witnessed and practiced politics at the highest level, and has been well compensated along the way.  On Dec. 28, he will also be among the 1.3 million Americans who will lose their long-term federal unemployment insurance benefits.

“Unemployment is not just a blue collar problem. As Torian’s experience shows, it can affect even Beltway power players. And it comes without much, if any, warning. When the consulting firm that Torian worked for after his time on the Hill folded, there were few options available. He took time off to help his sister tend to their ailing mother, who died at the end of 2012. The Washington resident then went looking for work. While he found that his government affairs experience was a draw, his age, 49, was not. ‘I get interviews but lose out in the end because prospective employers tell me my experience makes me “over-qualified” and they do not feel I would stay long in the position if it was offered,’ Torian told The Huffington Post.

“For over a year now, he has been receiving unemployment benefits as he tries to find a job. The benefits, roughly $430 a week, were set to last another few months. But he has been informed that his last check came this past Wednesday… Already, he said, he’s moved to a cheaper home, maxed out credit cards, and gone through his savings and 401(k) accounts. He’s found some work on the side through a friend. But the income isn’t enough. He figures that he can pay rent for three more months without the unemployment insurance…

“Americans don’t qualify for unemployment insurance by being poor. In fact, you can only qualify for unemployment benefits if you had a solid work history prior to being laid off… Roughly 40 percent of Americans who’ve received long-term unemployment benefits since 2008 had previously earned between $30,000 and $75,000…”

The New York Times wrote on December 27:

“An emergency federal program that acts as a lifeline for 1.3 million jobless workers will end on Saturday, drastically curtailing government support for the long-term unemployed and setting the stage for a major political fight in the new year.  The program, in place since the recession started in 2008, provides up to 47 weeks of supplemental unemployment insurance payments to jobless people looking for work. Its expiration is expected to have far-reaching ramifications for the economy, cutting job growth by about 300,000 positions next year and pushing hundreds of thousands of households below the poverty line… When the federal program expires, just one in four unemployed Americans will receive jobless benefits — the smallest proportion in half a century…

“At one point, Mr. Davis, 68, made more than $100,000 a year as an information technology expert and web designer. He is now living on ramen noodles and $140 he counted out from his change jar. Since being laid off over the summer, he has missed mortgage payments, forcing him to take out a reverse mortgage on his home. He sold his car and got a late-1990s model Ford Taurus, and is looking to cut his utility and cellphone bills…

“The loss of benefits is expected to drain billions in consumer spending from the economy next year… The psychological toll is significant, too. ‘I get up. I check my messages. I go through my ritual,’ said Margie Bogash, 52, a laid-off medical laboratory manager in Pennsylvania, describing her job application process. ‘When I’m done cleaning up around my house, I sit down, I go on again. When I can’t sleep, I go on again. The past year has been very stressful — it’s still just very stressful.’…

“Extending the program for a year would cost an estimated $25 billion. But because recipients tend to immediately spend the money they receive in unemployment benefits, the effect on the economy will be amplified, economists said…

“Since her federal benefits expired, Jamie Young, a library scientist living in Portland, Ore., has accepted a part-time job, taking a large reduction in her income… But the unemployment rate will primarily drop as workers, especially older workers, drop out of the labor force… ‘The opportunities that were there for my brother and my parents, they don’t seem to be there,’ said Brett Ivey, a 29-year-old college graduate in Seattle, who lives on his $329-a-week unemployment insurance payment and about $15 a week in food stamps. ‘There’s hundreds of people fighting for the same job, just trying to get by.’”

This is part of the REAL story of an incompetent political leadership coupled with their failed economic policies. Of course, one who does not WANT to work should not receive unemployment benefits. And yes, there will be some, if not many, who might “play” the system. But there are also those who can’t find a job or who can’t work because of health reasons. A nation–any nation–which neglects to take care of those innocent victims of an increasingly corrupt system is cursed in the eyes of God. The Bible is very clear that our refusal to help those in need is an abomination in God’s eyes.

“It’s a Wonderful Life” Was Probed as Communist Propaganda

Newsmax wrote on December 29:

“The beloved… classic ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ was investigated as a vehicle for communist propaganda after its 1946 release, according to previously classified FBI documents. During the Red Scare following World War II, FBI informants asserted that the movie’s portrayal of wealthy banker Henry Potter as a greedy villain reflected the film’s communist sympathies.

“The recently published documents also show that investigators accused the film’s screenwriters, husband and wife duo Albert Hackett and Frances Goodrich, of associating with known communists, the Daily Mail reported… The film stars James Stewart as George Bailey, a small-town loan officer whose money is stolen by banker Potter. Bailey’s imminent suicide on Christmas Eve brings about the intervention of his guardian angel, who shows George all the lives he has touched and how different life in his community would be had he never been born.

“The movie was nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and has been ranked No. 11 on the American Film Institute’s list of top 100 American films. FBI informants also linked the movie to an earlier Russian film with a similar plotline.”

If you have never heard of the epitome of ridiculous nonsense, here it is… But it shows how far removed from reality and sound reasoning governmental agencies can drift in their pursuit of political agendas…

Holland’s Black Pete–How Culpable Were Dutch Jews in the Slave Trade?

JTA wrote on December 26:

“On a busy street near the Dutch Parliament, three white musicians in blackface regale passersby with holiday tunes about the Dutch Santa Claus, Sinterklaas, and his slave, Black Pete. Many native Dutchmen view dressing up as Black Pete in December as a venerable tradition, but others consider it a racist affront to victims of slavery. With Holland marking the 150th anniversary of abolition this year, the controversy over Black Pete has reached new heights. Hundreds demonstrated against the custom in Amsterdam last month, and more than 2 million signed a petition supporting it.

“Through it all, Dutch Jews — some of whom celebrate their own version of the Black Pete custom, called ‘Hanukklaas’ — have largely remained silent. But that changed in October, when Lody van de Kamp, an unconventional Orthodox rabbi, wrote a scathing critique about it on Republiek Allochtonie, a Dutch news-and-opinion website…

“Speaking out against Black Pete is part of what van de Kamp calls his social mission, an effort that extends to reminding Dutch Jews of their ancestors’ deep involvement in the slave trade. In April, he is set to publish a book about Dutch Jewish complicity in the slave trade, an effort he hopes will sensitize Jews to slavery in general and to the Black Pete issue in particular. ‘Money was earned by Jewish communities in South America, partly through slavery, and went to Holland, where Jewish bankers handled it,’ he said…

“Though he holds no official position in the Dutch Jewish community, van de Kamp, 65, is among the best-known Orthodox rabbis in the Netherlands…In one area of what used to be Dutch Guyana, 40 Jewish-owned plantations were home to a total population of at least 5,000 slaves, he says… On the Caribbean island of Curacao, Dutch Jews may have accounted for the resale of at least 15,000 slaves landed by Dutch transatlantic traders, according to Seymour Drescher, a historian at the University of Pittsburgh. At one point, Jews controlled about 17 percent of the Caribbean trade in Dutch colonies, Drescher said. Jews were so influential in those colonies that slave auctions scheduled to take place on Jewish holidays often were postponed, according to Marc Lee Raphael, a professor of Judaic studies at the College of William & Mary.

“In the United States, the Jewish role in the slave trade has been a matter of scholarly debate for nearly two decades… But in Holland, the issue of Jewish complicity is rarely discussed…”

The bottom line is: No nation in this world is without fault.

Israel’s Liberal Abortion Laws to Become Even More Liberal?

The website of published the following article on December 30:

“Beginning in 2014, Israel may cover the cost of elective abortions for women in between the ages of 20 and 33. Health officials in the country recommended the new policy… and indicated they eventually intend to expand it to offer abortion funding to women of all ages. It now heads to country’s Health Ministry for approval.

“In Israel, a health committee determines which treatments will be funded through government dollars by approving some medical services… Before the proposed update…, women under the age of 20 or over the age of 40 could receive subsidized abortion services for personal reasons — but women in between those age groups could only get abortion funding if they were suffering a medical emergency, or if their pregnancy resulted from rape or incest…

“In a press conference on Monday, the committee members explained that the rule change is necessary because not every women can afford the reproductive care she needs without state assistance. ‘It was brought to our attention that there is a large group of women between 20 and 40 who for various reasons — financial or reasons of secrecy — do not terminate pregnancies,’ Prof. Jonathan Halevy, who heads the panel that makes the final recommendations for the health basket, explained…

“State-subsidized contraceptives are not currently available because of limited funds…

“Abortion is  less of a hot-button issue in Israel than it is in the United States. Although ending a pregnancy is technically illegal in Israel, punishable by up to five years in prison, there are a wide range of exceptions under which abortion is permitted. Before obtaining state funding for abortion, women have to appear before a government panel of experts and explain why they need one — but approval is  practically automatic… minors don’t need consent from their parents. Women serving in the military have access to at least one state-funded abortion.”

This unbiblical development in Israel is very shocking and abominable in God’s eyes.

Gay Marriage During 2014 Rose Parade Float

Breitbart reported on December 30:

“Contrary to the claim of AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) President Michael Weinstein that the gay wedding of Danny LeClair and Aubrey Loots on a float in the Tournament of Roses parade is… intended as a political statement…

“Leclair and Loots, who own three LA hair salons together, had planned to wed after the Supreme Court in June allowed same-sex marriages to resume in California. But they sped up their plans once they realized the vast platform the Rose parade presents…

“One study revealed that 83% of the homosexual men in the study estimated having sex with 50 or more partners during their lives, 43% with 500 or more, and 28% with 1,000 or more. 78% of homosexual relationships intended to show commitment lasted less than 3 years.”

The “gay” agenda is being pushed more and more… now the famous “family-oriented” Rose Parade, which is being seen in hundreds of countries around the world,  is being used for that purpose.

Did Pope Francis Abolish Sin?

The Daily Mail wrote on December 31:

“The Vatican has said that Pope Francis has not ‘abolished sin’ despite a left-wing newspaper claiming he had done so through his words and gestures.

“In an article in La Repubblica newspaper, Eugenio Scalfari, an atheist columnist, argued that the Pope believed he had eradicated sin because God’s love was eternal… The article was based on a long interview Scalfari had with the Pope earlier in the year, though Scalfari admits that he did not take notes or use a recording device during the conversation…The Vatican had hosted a script of the conversation on its website, but has now removed sections of it claiming they were ‘inaccurate’.

“In his first year as pontiff following the resignation of Emeritus Pope Benedict earlier in 2013, Pope Francis has become a much-loved figure throughout the world. He won applause after he was photographed kissing the face and head of a man suffering from neurofibromatosis, a disease similar to that suffered by the ‘elephant man’ which causes growth to form all over his body.

“He also washed the feet of convicts in Rome, ate a meal with the city’s homeless just before Christmas, and sent handwritten notes to Catholics all over the world asking for his help. He famously appeared in the first Papal ‘selfie’ photograph, won Esquire’s Best Dressed award for 2013 and was named Time magazine’s Man Of The Year.”

Catholic Brazil Worship African Sea Goddess

Deutsche Welle reported on December 31:

“More than 2 million people are expected at Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana beach this New Year’s Eve to honor the African goddess, Yemanja… Brazil is the country with the highest black population outside of Africa. For them, as well as other Brazilians, the festival at Copacabana is a continuation of Brazil’s tradition of syncretism, whereby African gods and Catholic saints are honored at the same time.

“… the event also has a modern touch: Just after midnight, some 24 tons of fireworks will be fired into the air over a period of 15 minutes. Some 50 pyrotechnic experts will set off fireworks across the bay in front of Copacabana beach, as onlookers observe from the shore. This year the event is due to be broadcast across Latin America and the United States for the first time by the American television network Fox.

“But on New Year’s Eve, focus turns to the sea goddess Yemanja, from the Afro-brazilian religion Candomble. To please the goddess, who it is said decides over life and death, the locals throw white roses into the surf, light candles, and pray to the heavens. Then the good wishes will rise up into the sky, which is lit up with fireworks, and the live music and dancing can begin. 2014 is set to start – Brazilian-style.”

Syncretism within the Catholic Church is by no means limited to Brazil. For more information, please read our free booklets, “Don’t Keep Christmas” and “Man’s Holidays and God’s Holy Days.”

“Surprising Number Of Americans … Don’t Believe In Evolution”

The Huffington Post wrote on December 30:

“One in three Americans doesn’t believe in evolution, according to new survey results from the Pew Research Center… 33 percent of Americans think ‘humans and other living things have existed in their present form since the beginning of time.’ Among Americans who said they believe in evolution, a quarter said ‘a supreme being guided the evolution of living things for the purpose of creating humans and other life in the form it exists today.’

“While six-in-ten Americans said they believed that ‘humans and other living things have evolved over time’ and about half of them said processes such as natural selection — not God — that led to evolution, religion continues to play a significant role in how it’s viewed. White evangelical Protestants were most likely to not believe in evolution, with two-thirds saying humans have existed in their current form since the beginning of time. Half of black Protestants said the same. Only 15 percent of mainline Protestants agreed…

“Currently, 43 percent of Republicans and 67 percent of Democrats believe in human evolution, while in 2009, 54 percent of Republicans and 64 percent of Democrats held that view… A September HuffPost/YouGov survey also asked about views on evolution. That poll found that a quarter of Americans believe humans and other species evolved ‘without the guidance of God,’ while 14 percent didn’t believe in evolution. About 46 percent of respondents said evolution happened ‘over time with the guidance of God.’”

AT LEAST 1/3 of all Americans do not believe in any kind of evolution. That is the GOOD NEWS. But 2/3 believe in some kind of evolution, either by “chance” or by “godly design,” and that is the BAD NEWS. The TRUTH is that NO EVOLUTION took place. For more information on the SCIENTIFIC IMPOSSIBILITY of Evolution, please read or free booklet, “The Theory of Evolution—A Fairy Tale for Adults.” Please also view our recent StandingWatch program on the subject, titled, “Good News! Many Americans Don’t Believe in Evolution!”

What 2014 May Mean for Germany

The Local wrote on December 31:

“Next year [2014] could prove a crucial one in Germany’s relations with the United States. As fall-out from the NSA spying scandal continues to land, the German government is likely to come under great pressure to defend its people’s internet security from American eyes and ears. It could also prove to be a crucial year for the continuing trade talks between the European Union and the US…

“The centenary of World War I will be marked across Europe and the world from 2014 onwards. History students learn that Germany’s defeat, its unsteady embrace of republicanism and democracy, and the harsh conditions imposed by the victorious Allies set the country on the path to fascism and the world on the route to World War II…

“Once bitten, twice shy, the Social Democrats (SPD) are likely to prove trickier coalition partners for Merkel than in her first partnership with them from 2005 to 2009. In that coalition they were overshadowed by Merkel and will be kicking harder and screaming louder this time for their policies.

“The main arguments within the coalition government will be between Merkel’s Bavarian allies, the Christian Social Union (CSU) and the SPD’s more left of centre figures. CSU leader Horst Seehofer has already upset SPD ministers with his call for restrictions on Bulgarians and Romanians coming to Germany. Seehofer has also questioned the SPD’s flagship policy of introducing a nationwide minimum wage. Merkel will have to find a way to please both the left and right flanks of her coalition…

“Elections to the European Parliament in May are shaping up to be an unusually exciting affair. With the march of rightwing and anti-EU parties across the continent, Merkel will have to counter the threat from Germany’s first eurosceptic party, Alternative fur Deutschland (AfD), while staying on good terms with her centre-left coalition partners, the SPD…

“German troops will be among the thousands of NATO forces withdrawing from Afghanistan in 2014 after more than a decade of conflict. The intervention has been unpopular in Germany and has done nothing to suggest that the country has become more willing to send troops into foreign war zones. All eyes will also be on Germany’s new defence minister Ursula von der Leyen. The mother-of-seven has been tipped as a successor to Merkel in 2017 and if she can survive in the normally scandal-hit post of defence minister she will emerge as a front runner to be the country’s next chancellor…

“The German economy may be performing well but it is under fire from both the US and EU for building up a huge trade surplus…”

Latvia Becomes 18th Euro Zone Member

Quartz wrote on December 31:

“Today is the last day of the lat. Latvia’s national currency will go the way of the deutschemark, franc and lira tomorrow, to be replaced by the euro on Jan. 1. The tiny Baltic nation will become the euro zone’s 18th member… Although Latvia is now the fastest-growing economy in the EU, around half the country is against the switch to the euro… The euro zone is also a bit wary of its newest member, given many Latvian banks’ reliance on Russian deposits… Whatever these misgivings, the euro changeover is a done deal.”

BBC News added on January 1:

“The former Soviet republic on the Baltic Sea recently emerged from the financial crisis to become the EU’s fastest-growing economy… there is… hope that the euro will reduce dependency on Russia.

“EU commissioner Olli Rehn said joining the eurozone marked ‘the completion of Latvia’s journey back to the political and economic heart of our continent, and that is something for all of us to celebrate’. The government and most business owners also welcomed the single currency, saying it would improve Latvia’s credit rating and attract foreign investors.”

Greece In Charge of Europe?

Deutsche Welle reported on January 1, 2014:

“For the next six months, Greece holds the presidency of the European Union. The country is virtually bankrupt, and has been bailed out several times by the EU. Now it’s in charge of the EU’s daily agenda… On 1 January 2014 the recipient of Europe’s biggest bailout took over the EU presidency, following an order of rotation that was set down years ago. The Greek government will have to lead hundreds of meetings, conduct complex negotiations, and host 13 ministerial councils in Athens…

“Greece’s presidency will really last only three-and-a-half months, according to the calculations of its deputy EU representative, Andreas Papastavros. He reminded journalists in Brussels that elections for a new European parliament are due to be held at the end of May, meaning that all discussion of legal proposals must be concluded by the beginning of April…

“The upcoming European elections, as well as the election campaign, will prove decisive for the Greek presidency, says Papastavros. ‘Europe is at a crossroads,’ he announced in Brussels.”

Will Cameron’s Career End Over Europe?

The EUObserver wrote on December 27:

“David Cameron ended 2013 as he started it: harried by his own Conservative party over Europe and trying to persuade it not to vote for an early referendum on EU membership… the idea the other 27 EU leaders will agree to a tailor-made package of opt-outs to satisfy the most eurosceptic wing of the Conservative party is fanciful… a large proportion of Conservative supporters do not trust [Cameron] on Europe and want to leave the EU as quickly as possible.

“… the prospects of the UK holding an in/out vote are greater now than at any time since its last EU referendum in 1975… The Conservative party’s fixation with the EU has damaged its unity for more than 20 years.  It has ended the careers of some of its brightest politicians. It may yet claim Cameron.”

“Ukraine Above All”

The Associated Press reported on January 1:

“About 15,000 people marched through Kiev on Wednesday night to honor Stepan Bandera, glorified by some as a leader of Ukraine’s liberation movement and dismissed by others as a Nazi collaborator… Some wore the uniform of a Ukrainian division of the German army during World War II. Others chanted ‘Ukraine above all!’ and ‘Bandera, come and bring order!’…

“Bandera, who died 55 year ago, remains a deeply divisive figure in Ukraine, glorified by many in western Ukraine as a freedom fighter but dismissed by millions in eastern and southeastern Ukraine as a traitor to the Soviet Union’s struggle against the occupying German army.

“Bandera was a leader of Ukraine’s nationalist movement in the 1930s and 1940s, which included an insurgent army that fought alongside Nazi soldiers during part of the Second World War. Bandera’s supporters claim they sided with the Nazis against the Soviet army, believing that Adolf Hitler would grant Ukraine independence… Bandera did collaborate with the Nazis and receive German funding for subversive acts in the USSR as German forces advanced across Poland and into the Soviet Union at the start of the war.

“He fell out with the Nazis in 1941, after the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists declared Ukraine’s independence, and he was sent to a concentration camp. Bandera won back Germany’s support in 1944, and he was released. The German army was hoping the Ukrainian insurgents could stop the advance of the Soviet army, which had regained control over much of eastern Ukraine by then. Bandera set up a headquarters in Berlin and oversaw the training of Ukrainian insurgents by the German army.

“His group also was involved in the ethnic cleansing that killed tens of thousands of Poles in 1942-44. The Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists portrayed Russians, Poles, Hungarians and Jews — most of the minorities in western Ukraine — as aliens and encouraged locals to ‘destroy’ Poles and Jews. Bandera was assassinated in 1959 by the KGB in West Germany.

“In January 2010, less than a month before his term in office was to end, Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko posthumously decorated Bandera with the Hero of Ukraine award. That led to harsh criticism by Jewish and Russian groups. The award was annulled by a court in January 2011 under President Viktor Yanukovych.”

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood a Terrorist Organization

Deutsche Welle wrote on December 27:

“Former President Mohamed Morsi is in prison. His head of government Haschim Kandil was recently arrested: practically the entire leadership of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood is behind bars. They are accused of playing a role in the deaths of protesters, high treason and terrorism. Some of their trials are already under way, others are being prepared. Since September, the Brotherhood is de facto banned through a court decision.

“Now, the transitional government backed by the military has taken things further than even former dictator Hosni Mubarak ever did. The Brotherhood has been declared a terrorist organization… The organization was founded in 1928 and until recently was seen as the best organized political force of the country. With the election of their candidate Morsi as president, the Brotherhood seemed at the height of its power.

“The decision to list them as a terrorist organization comes in response to a bomb attack on Tuesday (24.12.2013) outside a police building in the town of Mansura at the Nile Delta. Sixteen people were killed and more than 100 were injured. Although an Islamist group operating from the Sinai called Ansar Beit al-Maqdis claimed responsibility for the blast, the government blamed the Muslim Brotherhood…

“Reports suggest that the desert area of Libya was used for several training camps where militant members of the Muslim Brotherhood as well as Salafists were being trained for terrorist attacks… There are said to be already as many as 1,000 members of the Brotherhood… There still is also substantial backing for the Muslim Brotherhood among ordinary Egyptians, so that there’s a large potential to find new recruits…”

The Washington Times reported on December 31:

“Interim governing authorities in Egypt ordered security forces on Tuesday to seize the assets of more than 500 Islamist leaders and Muslim Brotherhood members, the latest in a crackdown on the organization just slapped with the terrorist label.”

We have not heard the latest yet from the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and other radical Islamist organizations. Egypt’s turmoil will continue.

Turkey in Uproar

BBC News reported on December 28:

“Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he will not step down amid corruption allegations that have forced the resignations of three ministers. The ministers’ sons were among dozens of people detained as part of a wide-ranging corruption probe… Police are investigating allegations of illicit money transfers to Iran and bribery for construction projects.

“The scandal has caused Turkey’s lira to fall to a new low against the dollar… The country’s top administrative court has blocked a government decree, introduced last week, ordering police to inform their superiors before launching investigations. The Council of State’s ruling on Friday, blocking the regulation, is seen as the latest setback in Mr Erdogan’s efforts to stop the political fallout from the scandal… Numerous police and judicial officials have been removed from their posts since the first arrests 10 days ago…

“Commentators in Turkey believe the scandal stems from a power struggle between Mr Erdogan’s government and an influential US-based Muslim cleric, Fethullah Gulen, who is said to have many followers within Turkey’s police and judiciary. Supporters regard the Hizmet movement inspired by Mr Gulen as the benign, modern face of Islam, but critics question its motives.”

Turkey will end up supporting a military European power bloc against Israel. God will condemn Turkey for this.

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