As WorldNetDaily reported on December 27, 2003, “Terrorists planned to observe the celebrated birth of Jesus Christ on Christmas Day with a 9-11-style attack on the Vatican, according to Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi. “‘A hijacked plane into the Vatican. … An attack from the sky, is that clear?’ Berlusconi is quoted as saying in the Milan newspaper Libero. ‘The threat of terrorism is very high in this instant. I passed Christmas Eve in Rome to deal with the situation. Now I feel calm. It will pass.’
According to the paper, the premier said news of the attack on Rome was ‘precise and verified.’ He offered no details about where the information came from… Reuters reports Berlusconi later denied making the statements attributed to him by the daily, and accused its reporter of making up the quotes.”
Other papers said that Berlusconi made the denials after he came under attack from colleagues who charged Berlusconi with breaching confidentiality. The Vatican did not comment.
EARTHQUAKE IN IRAN
WorldNetDaily reported on December 27, 2003: “International offers of aid poured in to Iran as rescue teams from all over the world joined a massive search for survivors in the wake of the 6.3-magnitude earthquake that flattened the historic city of Bam, killing as many as 40,000 people… While rescue workers have pulled hundreds out of the rubble — including an infant — thousands of others are feared still trapped alive…
“But as the death toll soars from the world’s most serious earthquake since 25,000 were killed in the western Indian state of Gujarat in 2001, Tehran continued its longstanding hostility toward Israel, declaring it would not accept its assistance.
“‘The Islamic Republic of Iran accepts all kinds of humanitarian aid from all countries and international organizations with the exception of the Zionist regime,’ Jahanbakhsh Khanjani, a spokesman for Iran’s Interior Ministry, said following word that unofficial Israeli sources were considering sending aid to Iran.”
A CORE EUROPE?
As NEWS-Networld reported, Austria’s Chancellor Schuessel is opposed to the concept of a “core Europe.” This concept had been proposed by Germany and France after the failed attempt in December to create a European Constitution for all European member states. Schuessel said, “This is not the kind of Europe that I want. We want to use all our strength to create a European Constitution for all 25 member states.” Nevertheless, he added: “If we should not be able to create a European Constitution…, and there should be a core Europe, then we will do everything that we will be a part of it.”
STRONG EURO — WEAK DOLLAR
As Der Spiegel Online and Reuters reported on December 31, 2003 and January 1,2004, “The euro broke above a $1.25 barrier FOR THE FIRST TIME on Monday.” While the euro “climbs and climbs,” traders “expect a further decline of the value of the U.S. dollar.” Amazingly, the Bush Administration sees no cause for concern, having, as one commentator put it, “an evident policy of benign neglect, if not outright approval of a cheaper dollar.” Reuters stated: “In just under a year since taking office last January, Treasury Secretary John Snow has toned down the former hard-line U.S. commitment to a ‘strong dollar,’ effectively endorsing the fall by saying that its value ‘reflects the fundamentals of the demand and supply for currencies.'”
EUROPE IN THE “NEW YEAR”
AFP reported on January 1, 2004: “Buoyed by a strong euro and mindful of EU expansion, Europe’s leaders used their New Year’s messages to urge their peoples to work hard to meet the challenge of ensuring economic renewal and stability, in an uncertain and increasingly interconnected world.” Quoting Germany’s Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, the paper wrote: “‘Germany, which has Europe’s biggest economy, ‘will not be the only country to benefit by us acting decisively to modernize. THE WHOLE OF EUROPE IS LOOKING AT OUR EFFORTS IN HOPE,’ the chancellor said.” Quoting British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the paper continued: “‘Boom and bust, economic uncertainty… used to be the British disease. We have cured that disease,’ Blair said.”
Whatever the British “disease,” the Bible makes it clear that it has not been cured. At the same time, the Bible predicts that Germany will be Europe’s leading power in the last days. Note this remarkable prophecy for our days, in Hosea 5:13: “When Ephraim [Great Britain and other Anglo-Saxon English-speaking nations] saw his sickness…, Then Ephraim went to Assyria [modern Germany and other German-speaking nations] And sent to King Jareb [the final leader of a United Europe, apparently a German or an Austrian]; Yet he cannot cure you… For I [God] will be like a lion to Ephraim…”
Also, note this prophecy for our time in Hosea 7:11: “Ephraim also is like a silly dove, without sense… They go to Assyria. Wherever they go, I will spread My net on them; I will bring them down like birds of the air; I will chastise them According to what their congregation has heard. Woe to them, for they have fled from Me! Destruction to them, Because they have transgressed against Me.”
To learn more about the future of continental
Europe and Great Britain, please read our free booklets, “Europe
in Prophecy” and “The
Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord.”
“U.S. DISTRACTED – AND THE WORLD CHANGED”
This was the headline of an article, published by UPI on December 26, 2003. The author, Martin Walker, continued:
“While the Bush administration focused relentlessly on the war in Iraq and its confused and bloody aftermath, the rest of the world has been busy reshaping the geopolitical map that has prevailed since the end of the Cold War. In Europe, Russia, China, India, the Middle East and South America, regional powers have been adjusting to the new realities of American military and strategic dominance, and to potential American weaknesses in the longer term.
“Some of those vulnerabilities, like the endemic U.S. trade deficit and the return of massive federal budget deficits, or the threat from militant Islam and the rise of China, are obvious. Others, like Europe’s slow withdrawal from its traditionally subordinate status, or Russia’s attempt to reassert control over the newly independent states who were once part of the Soviet Union, are less clear…
“With India, China and Pakistan all nuclear powers, Asia is now assuming the geopolitical importance and hair-trigger danger that Europe suffered in the Cold War. And the European Union itself remains a major player, even though its two nuclear powers, Britain and France, were on opposite sides of the argument over the Iraq war. Indeed, the growing cohesion of the EU, both as an economic actor through the euro currency, and as a strategic actor through its Common Foreign and Security Policy, is one of the striking features of the emerging new world order.
“Bickering over its budget and its draft new constitution, the EU is a quarrelsome work in progress, but the overall trend towards integration is clear. Even in the year when U.S. defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld spoke of a division between “Old” and “New” Europe over Iraq, the loyal British signed up with the French and Germans for a new EU defense structure, subtly independent from the U.S.-led NATO and able to mount military operations separately from the United States…
“But as the EU enlarges, with Cyprus joining on May 1, 2004 and Turkey now formally accepted as a candidate member, the EU is moving closer and closer to the Middle East. This is a region where European and American interests have traditionally been at odds, from the Suez crisis of 1956, the refusal of landing rights to U.S. aircraft resupplying Israel in the 1973 Yom Kippur war, to this year’s Iraq war.
“The EU and U.S. are the world’s two economic giants, each accounting for almost a quarter of global GDP, and their joint failure in 2003 to secure progress at the World Trade Organization summit at Cancun, Mexico, was an important warning sign…
“Brazil’s radical new President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva symbolizes the way that Latin America is increasingly determined to go its own way, despite the powerful tradition of U.S. influence. The EU now invests more in Latin America than the United States, and China is now Argentina’s largest market — signs of erosion in Washington’s role…
“The British, French and German foreign ministers crafted a deal this year to bring Iran’s nuclear ambitions back within the non-proliferation rules of the International Atomic Energy Authority, and China has become a key player in the North Korean negotiations… this is no longer the lonely American superpower running the show…
[Russian Vladimir] Putin’s… clampdown on the Russian media and the arrest of the oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, and the renewed centralization of authoritarian power in the Kremlin along with the ruthless repression in Chechnya, make Russia look more like the old Tsarist system. Putin’s recent bullying of former Soviet republics like Georgia and Moldova suggests that the old Russian imperial pretensions are far from dead…
“The question is whether the main players in the Middle East, whether Israel defying American advice against building more settlements on Palestinian land, or Saudis terrified that relaxing their hold will make an al-Qaida coup more feasible, see it quite Washington’s way.
“That has been the problem in the year 2003. For all America’s wealth and power, the world did not see matters Washington’s way, and began making their own, alternative arrangements. And with the United States about to become even more distracted by the introspection of a presidential election year, the world’s other major powers in Europe and Asia will have even more room to maneuver and craft a world in which America no longer rules the roost. Historians may yet look back [at this era]… when America’s moment of undisputed power began to give way to a new balance among a series of regional powers, each able to challenge American dominance in its own sphere of influence.”