This Week in the News

NATO: No Help for Israel

WallStreet Online wrote on June 2:

“In light of growing tension in the Middle East due to Trump’s cancellation of the Iran deal, NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg made clear that Israel could not rely on protection from NATO in case of an Iranian attack. ‘Israel is our partner, but not a member of NATO. The guarantee for protection of Article 5 does not apply to Israel,’ Stoltenberg said to Der Spiegel.”

The New Jerusalem Post added on June 2:

“In response to Stoltenberg’s announcement, Volker Beck – the German Green Party politician and former head of the German-Israel parliamentary group in the Bundestag – asked on Twitter: ‘That raises the question: What does this clarification mean for the security dialogue between NATO, EU, Germany and Israel?’”

Good question. NATO becomes more and more irrelevant for Israel and Europe, but would the EU intervene on behalf of Israel? View our new StandingWatch program, titled, “NATO: No Protection for Israel.”

Iran Vows Tenfold Response to Any Attack

The Times of Israel wrote on June 4:

“Iran’s top leader said Monday that anyone who fires one missile at his country ‘will be hit by 10’ in response… In a speech, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also said he had ordered atomic authorities to increase the country’s nuclear enrichment capacity. The increase he detailed in his speech would not exceed limits set by the nuclear accord, which European countries have said they hope to salvage.

“In a series of tweets on Sunday, [he called] the Jewish state the ‘cancerous tumor’ of the region that must be ‘removed and eradicated.’”

According to some news outlets, Netanyahu responded to Iran’s announcement to increase nuclear enrichment activities that Israel was prepared to strike Iran. Further, news emerged this week that in 2011, Netanyahu had already ordered an attack on Iran within 15 days, but had later withdrawn the order.

Significant Differences between Germany and Israel

Deutsche Welle wrote on June 4:

“Israeli PM Netanyahu’s upcoming visit to Germany comes at a politically turbulent time. Israel expert Peter Lintl sums up the divide between Europe and Israel: ‘Europeans have a hard time understanding Israelis… There are indeed significant differences. Germany believes that the nuclear agreement with Iran was a step in the right direction. Israel, on the other hand, says that the agreement offers Iran the opportunity to develop a nuclear bomb…

“‘Germany has rejected any suggestion of relocating embassies to Jerusalem based on the historical background that Israel annexed East Jerusalem in 1980 declaring it the unified capital…’”

Deutsche Welle added on June 4:

“[In their meeting in Berlin on Monday, the] Israeli and German leaders may have stressed commonalities, but on Iran’s nuclear potential they’re miles apart… The two close allies are on diametrically opposite sides of this particular issue… Israel opposes the deal… It wants to see Germany cease doing business with Tehran…

“Fielding questions from reporters, Merkel said that Germany and Israel shared the goal of preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons but disagreed on the means to that end. Merkel said that before the UN-sponsored deal Iran had been close to developing such weapons and that the deal would guarantee ‘more transparency.’ Netanyahu countered that the deal would give Iran permission to develop ‘unlimited’ amounts of enriched uranium in the future in return for not enriching uranium now. He said that was unacceptable.

“Netanyahu… was keen to stress that ‘radical Islam’ was the greatest danger faced by the world today and said that Iran continued to call for Israel’s destruction. He also claimed that Tehran intended to start a ‘religious war’ within the Islamic world, which he warned would lead to further masses of refugees who would try to flee to Europe — a pointed reference to the issue that is widely regarded as Merkel’s Achilles heel…”

Even though the article states that Germany and Israel are “close allies,” this manifests itself as a misconception when digging deeper. And the relationship between Israel and Germany, as well as Europe, will further deteriorate.

EU, Mexico and Canada Retaliate Against Trump’s Steel and Aluminum Tariffs

Reuters reported on June 1:

“Canada, Mexico and the European Union retaliated against U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum with levies on billions of dollars of U.S. goods from orange juice and whiskey to blue jeans and Harley-Davidson motorcycles. The EU took the United States to the World Trade Organization to challenge the legality of the new tariffs and the Trump administration’s national-security justification…

“President Donald Trump’s tariffs on Washington’s closest allies drew condemnation at home from Republican lawmakers and the country’s main business lobbying group and sent a chill through financial markets…

Canada and Mexico, embroiled in talks with the United States to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), responded swiftly. Canada, the largest supplier of steel to the United States, will impose tariffs covering C$16.6 billion ($12.8 billion) on U.S. imports… ‘The American administration has made a decision today that we deplore, and obviously is going to lead to retaliatory measures, as it must,’ Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said…

“For the EU, a decision on just how far to push back will require agreement among the 28 member states that make up the world’s biggest trade bloc. Germany, by far the biggest exporter to the United States, is keen to avoid a wider trade war, especially as the Trump administration has floated the prospect of tariffs on cars. Other countries such as France favor more forceful retaliation against what they see as American bullying. EU members have so far given broad support to a European Commission plan to set duties on 2.8 billion euros ($3.4 billion) of U.S. exports. EU exports subject to U.S. duties are worth 6.4 billion euros ($7.5 billion)…

“French President Emmanuel Macron telephoned Trump to tell him he believed the tariffs were both a mistake and illegal, his office said. U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue warned in a letter to the body’s board that current trade policies could threaten economic progress and cause the loss of more than 2 million jobs, mostly in states that voted for Trump.”

The EU and Canada filed complaints with the WTO. But as Deutsche Welle wrote on June 1: “The European Commission is hopping mad, and it’s ready to fight back… [But] US President Donald Trump has already signaled his country would withdraw from the World Trade Organization, should it side with the EU in its ruling [which might take months to be rendered anyhow]. In other words, Europeans shouldn’t pin too much hope on the WTO.”

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated in an interview that he finds it “insulting and unacceptable” that Canada would be described by President Trump as a threat to or a security risk for the USA. “FRENCH President Emmanuel Macron has launched a furious attack on Donald Trump, warning his decision to impose trade tariffs on the EU is illegal and could lead to war” (Express, dated May 31).

“Trump Refuses to Back Down as EU and Canada Hit Back”

The Independent wrote on June 1:

“The decision by the Trump administration to finally impose the 25 per cent tariffs on steel imports and 10 per cent on aluminum weeks after they were announced has sparked outrage among some of Washington’s staunchest allies with Theresa May saying: ‘The EU and UK should be permanently exempted from tariffs’ and she is ‘deeply disappointed at the unjustified decision by the US.’…

“Germany’s Volkswagen, Europe’s largest automaker, warned that the decision could start a trade war that no side would win… The European Union and China have already said they will deepen ties on trade and investment as a result of the move to impose steel and aluminum tariffs…”

USA Being Attacked by G7 Finance Leaders

Reuters reported on June 1:

“The United States’ closest allies attacked the Trump administration on Friday for imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum imports and mounted challenges with the world’s top trade body, fouling the mood at a G7 finance leaders meeting…

Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso… called the U.S. action ‘deeply deplorable.’… Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said in a statement that the tariffs were ‘imposed under a false pretext of safeguarding U.S. national security.’…”

The media spoke about the G7 meeting as 6 vs. 1.

US Summit with North Korea Set Again for June 12

The Sun wrote on June 1:

“PRESIDENT Donald Trump’s historic summit with Kim Jong-un is back on after he met with a North Korean envoy at the White House [on Friday]. It comes after a letter from Kim Jong-un was today passed onto the US President, which he described as ‘very nice’ and ‘very interesting’ [even though he said later in the same press conference that he had not read the letter]…

“Despite the upbeat message in the US, Kim Jong-un, in a meeting with Russia’s foreign minister on Thursday, complained about the US trying to spread its influence in the region…

“Kim Yong Chol [was] the most senior North Korean visitor to the United States since Vice Marshal Jo Myong Rok visited Washington in 2000 to meet President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. That was the last time the two sides, which are technically at war, attempted to arrange a leadership summit. It was an effort that ultimately failed…

“Kim Yong Chol, [former North Korean spy chief and currently the] vice chairman of the North Korean ruling party’s central committee, was allowed into the United States despite being on a US sanctions list. And North Korean officials are not normally allowed to travel outside the New York area.”

Further, according to President Trump, North Korea’s atrocious human rights violations were not raised during the meeting, either.

More Nonsense from Giuliani and Trump’s Legal Team: “Trump Can Probably Pardon Himself”

 ABC wrote on June 3:

“In an interview Sunday with ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos on ‘This Week,’ Rudy Giuliani discussed special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of whether the president may have tried to obstruct justice in the probe of Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. When Stephanopoulos asked if the president has the power to pardon himself, Giuliani said he ‘probably does.’ ‘He has no intention of pardoning himself,’ said Giuliani… But it is a ‘really interesting constitutional argument: “Can the president pardon himself?”’

“Giuliani added, ‘I think the political ramifications of that would be tough…’

“Giuliani’s comments come on the heels of the publication of a 20-page letter sent to Mueller from Trump’s legal team earlier this year… The letter, dated Jan. 29, argues that, as president, Trump cannot be indicted, cannot be subpoenaed and could not be guilty of obstruction of justice due to his position as ‘chief law enforcement officer’…”

The Washington Post added on June 3:

“… while arguing that the president has the theoretical ability to pardon himself, Giuliani and other Trump allies on Sunday nonetheless rejected the reality of such a brash move — in part because of the political backlash they said could lead to Trump’s impeachment…

“The reality, however, is more nebulous. The Republican Party… has so far failed to assert any clear red line over which Trump could walk that would prompt them to take action against their party’s leader. And Republican lawmakers have remained largely silent as Trump has repeatedly gone to war with his Justice Department and the FBI, intentionally and routinely degrading public trust in the institutions tasked with holding him accountable for misbehavior

“The president and his allies have long privately played out the strategy that burst into public view this weekend. As early as last summer, for instance, as Mueller’s probe dragged on, the president began asking advisers about his power to pardon aides, family members and even himself. His lawyers at the time discussed his pardoning powers as well…”

The Huffington Post added on June 3:

“President Donald Trump’s lawyer says Trump could shoot the FBI director in the Oval Office and still not be prosecuted for it. ‘In no case can he be subpoenaed or indicted,’ Rudy Giuliani told HuffPost Sunday… Giuliani said impeachment was the initial remedy for a president’s illegal behavior ― even in the extreme hypothetical case of Trump having shot former FBI Director James Comey to end the Russia investigation rather than just firing him…”

CNN wrote on June 4:

“President Donald Trump asserted Monday that he has the right to pardon himself but suggested that he won’t use that power… ‘As has been stated by numerous legal scholars, I have the absolute right to PARDON myself, but why would I do that when I have done nothing wrong?…’ the President tweeted.”

IF the contentions of Giuliani’s and “numerous legal scholars” WERE even remotely correct, then we would have a totalitarian dictatorship in the USA unheard of and unparalleled in ANY democratic country.

How the Mighty Have Fallen

The Huffington Post wrote on June 2:

“Franklin Graham is on a crusade across California. But unlike his father [the late Billy Graham]… he’s looking for voters he can deliver to the Republican Party…

“Graham’s decision to focus on turning out evangelical voters in the Golden State… demonstrates how much today’s Religious Right has departed from its early history…

“… today’s Religious Right, led by [Franklin] Graham and other Trump supporters, takes a defensive position, angrily defending their sense of occupying a shrinking place in the nation as an oppressed minority. It’s that aggrieved identity that led evangelicals to abandon their formerly high character standards for politicians in order to embrace the thrice-married casino magnate Trump in the first place, a man who may not join them in the church pews on Sunday but promised to fight for them on America’s political battlefields… Graham has… distinguished himself from his father who, after an early flirtation, ultimately abandoned the political realm. Disgusted by his friend Richard Nixon’s vulgarity revealed in the White House tapes (plus embarrassed by how the recordings had also captured his own anti-Semitic statements), Billy Graham distanced himself from politics.

“In marked contrast, neither Trump’s own filthy language nor hateful rhetoric has diminished Franklin Graham’s support for the president. ‘I can’t think of anything mean he’s said,’ Graham told the Times in February. Even more tellingly, Graham has argued that Trump’s affair with the adult film actress Stormy Daniels was ‘nobody’s business.’ Such moral compromises for the sake of politics have long troubled some evangelical leaders, including Franklin’s father. Even in the heady days of the early Reagan years, Billy Graham refused to allow his evangelistic association to help the Religious Right…

“Manipulating religion in service of the Republican Party, and especially Trump, now appears to be exactly Franklin Graham’s project… white evangelicals’ support for Trump doesn’t expose their hypocrisy…”

True Christians are NOT to get involved in politics. And God most certainly requires a high moral standard of a leading politician. Please see our Q&A on this issue, asking and answering the question, “Does it matter what a political leader does in private as long as he does his ‘public’ job effectively?” We said: “The behavior of politicians really does matter. Sadly, in this world which is ruled by Satan, most politicians do not follow God’s Way of Life. Many citizens copy the bad behavior of their leaders.”

US Supreme Court Sides with Baker against Gay Couple

NBC News reported on June 4:

“The U.S. Supreme Court gave a boost to advocates of religious freedom on Monday, ruling that a Colorado baker cannot be forced to make a cake for a same-sex wedding, in a case that involved marriage equality and protection from discrimination.

“But the opinion was a narrow one, applying to the specific facts of this case only. It gave no hint as to how the court might decide future cases involving florists, bakers, photographers and other business owners who have cited religious and free-speech objections when refusing to serve gay and lesbian customers in the wake of the Supreme Court’s 2015 same-sex marriage decision.”

Proud to Be Gay… Supported by Trump

Breitbart wrote on June 4:

“Ambassador Richard Grenell expressed nothing but praise for President Trump, Mike Pence, and John Bolton, during an interview with Breitbart London, describing what it is like to be the most prominent [and high-powered] openly gay diplomat in the history of the United States…  ‘I’m certainly proud of it…’ Grenell… thanked both President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence…  ‘It’s never been an issue for President Trump. He communicated that very early’… Things were not the same before the coming of Trump, Grenell said, noting that he had been involved with the Republican Party since the re-election campaign of former President George H.W. Bush in 1992…

“In 2005, John Bolton spoke at the Log Cabin convention in San Diego as the U.S. ambassador to the UN…  He was for gay marriage. He was for gays serving in the military even back then, long before many of the Democrat politicians embraced it…

President Trump has also been a supporter of the Log Cabin Republicans, a group which represents LGBT Republicans, recently issuing an official statement congratulating the group on its 40-year anniversary.”

We feel these statements, and many like them, speak for themselves.

US Ambassador to Germany Under Fire

Deutsche Welle wrote on June 4:

“The German Foreign Ministry says it wants clarity about controversial comments made by the new US ambassador, Richard Grenell. In an interview with Breitbart News… he said he was excited by the rising wave of conservatism within Europe, adding that he saw his task as ‘empowering’ Europe’s right-wing governments and budding leaders…

“Adding fuel to the fire regarding Germany’s perceived lack of defense spending, Grenell said that Germany is losing credibility…”

The EUObserver wrote on June 6:

“US ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, rejected on Sunday as ‘ridiculous’ claims that he ‘endorses’ conservatives in Europe… he tweeted: ‘I stand by my comments that we are experiencing an awakening from the silent majority – those who reject the elites & their bubble. Led by Trump’.”

Even though Breitbart might have quoted Grenell incorrectly, his denial sounds more like a confirmation.

Expelling Grenell from Germany?

AFP wrote on June 5:

“Leading German politicians on Tuesday called for the US ambassador to be expelled, after the staunch ally of Donald Trump was accused of meddling in domestic politics and aggravating already tense ties. Richard Grenell had taken up his diplomatic posting in Berlin on May 8, and immediately irked Germany when he tweeted on the same day that German companies should stop doing business with Iran as Trump quit the nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic.

“He stoked further outrage over the weekend with reported comments to far-right website Breitbart of his ambition to ‘empower other conservatives throughout Europe, other leaders’. Grenell also raised eyebrows with his plan to host Austria’s arch-conservative Chancellor Sebastian Kurz — who the US envoy describes as a ‘rock star’, for lunch on June 13.

“‘What this man is doing is unheard of in international diplomacy,’ Martin Schulz, former chief of the Social Democratic Party and an ex-European Parliament president, told national news agency DPA. ‘If a German ambassador were to say in Washington that he is there to empower the Democrats, he would have been kicked out immediately. I hope that Kurz’s visit will lead Mr Grenell’s tenure as ambassador in Germany to be short,’ added Schulz, playing on the German word for short ‘kurz’. Schulz had earlier tweeted that the US envoy did not behave like a diplomat but like a ‘far-right colonial officer’.

“… the opposition far-left Linke party’s chief Sahra Wagenknecht said Grenell had disqualified himself as ambassador. ‘Someone like US ambassador Richard Grenell, who thinks he can lord over Europe and determine who is governing here, can no longer stay in Germany as a diplomat,’ Wagenknecht told Die Welt daily…

“Although Merkel herself belongs to the conservative camp, commentators said it was clear that Grenell was not seeking to bolster the chancellor’s party base, but rather its opponents from the far-right. ‘It is bad enough if that’s what he is thinking, let alone saying it,’ said the daily Berliner Zeitung…”

And so, all German parties, except for the AfD, have been condemning Grenell’s statements.

Germany’s AfD Causes Further Outrage

Note: The following article includes a strongly-worded quote from a German politician which might be offensive to some. In order to report correctly as to what was said exactly and the (in some cases exaggerated) reactions to it, we decided not to omit the quote.

AFP wrote on June 2:

“One of the leaders of Germany’s far-right AfD party sparked outrage Saturday by downplaying the crimes of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis, saying they were ‘just a speck of bird shit in over 1,000 years of successful German history.’ The Alternative for Germany (AfD) is the biggest opposition party in Germany’s lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, with more than 90 deputies…

“Gauland (77) has repeatedly attacked Islam, and argued that Germany should be proud of its veterans of two world wars. In 2016, he took aim at star footballer Jerome Boateng, who was born in Berlin to a German mother and a Ghanaian father. ‘People find him good as a footballer, but they don’t want to have a Boateng as a neighbour,’ Gauland said.

“The head of Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrat Union party quickly hit out at Gauland’s latest remarks on Saturday, saying that the AfD was revealing its true face. ‘50 million war victims, the Holocaust and the total war are nothing more than “bird shit” for the AfD,’ she tweeted…

“Set up in 2013 as an anti-euro party, the AfD recorded a surge in support after it began capitalising on unease in Germany over the arrival of more than a million asylum seekers since 2015.”

Die Welt commented: “Gauland means exactly what he says. And that makes it so dangerous.”

Handelsblatt Global wrote on June 4: “Alexander Gauland, co-leader of the AfD party, said he never meant to “trivialize or deride the victims” of Nazi rule, and that he chose the word Vogelschiss or ‘bird poop’ out of contempt for Nazis.”

Deutsche Welle added on June 4:

“Moderates in the Alternative for Germany have rejected Alexander Gauland’s trivializing characterization of the Third Reich. But hardliners blame the media and say the party chairman’s words were taken out of context… most AfD members defended Gauland, claiming that he had merely misspoken… One of those who is defending Gauland is the AfD’s leader in the state of Thuringia, Björn Höcke. He accused the media of distorting Gauland’s words. ‘Alexander Gauland has once again been quoted out of context by journalists… Before the quote in question, Alexander Gauland spent four or five sentences explaining in detail how he as an AfD member and as AfD chairman accepted Germany’s historical responsibility for the Nazi era.’”

Deutsche Welle wrote on June 6:

“The co-chairman of Germany’s far-right AfD could face legal action for appearing to trivialize the Nazi era. A complaint has been filed with a public prosecutor, accusing Alexander Gauland of inciting hatred… [and describing] Gauland’s remarks as ‘scandalous’ and an ‘intolerable mockery of the victims of the Holocaust.’ Gülegen went on to accuse Gauland of seeking to ‘deliberately downplay’ the crimes committed during the Nazi era.”

In all fairness, it is hard to understand why Gauland’s comments received the kind of condemnation which they did, given the fact that he clearly condemned and distanced himself from Nazism. The terms he used (however one wants to translate them into English) do not in any way support or even belittle the atrocities by Nazi Germany. But such overreaction is typical for German politicians and the mainstream media.

The Future of Europe according to Merkel

Politico wrote on June 3:

“German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Sunday she supports the idea of a joint European defense force… Merkel’s French counterpart Emmanuel Macron has been pushing for the creation of a combined EU military force that could be deployed to trouble spots around the world…

“Merkel also called for the creation of an EU-wide asylum agency ‘that processes all asylum claims at the external borders, based on unified EU asylum law.’…

“Asked about her goals for the EU in the next five to ten years, Merkel said: ‘My goal is that the world knows: In foreign policy, Europe speaks with one voice.’”

Express added on June 3:

“ANGELA Merkel has backed key planks of Emmanuel Macron’s vision for an ever-closer European Union for the first time, including a joint EU army…”

The Telegraph added on June 3:

“The structural integration of the European Union’s armed forces has been a long-standing strategic ambition of the EU, with the latest initiative being based on the 2009 Lisbon Treaty… The United Kingdom, Europe’s pre-eminent military power, blocked this, fearing the creation of a Europe-wide army. However, [after] Brexit [the UK has] no say in the matter and the EU has pushed ahead with plans.

“A resurgent Russia and the election of Donald Trump, on a platform attacking Nato, may have lent a sense of urgency to the process. The Permanent Structured Cooperation (Pesco) was initiated in 2017… The UK is exempted, Denmark and Malta have opted out. All 25 other European Union members are committed. Initial plans envisaged countries such as France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Poland creating permanent military structures to act on behalf of the EU and for the deployment of the EU’s battle groups and 18 national battalions. It could also comprise an EU military planning and operations headquarters in Brussels that would parallel Nato.”

So, it should be clear that a European army IS coming very soon.

Time to Fight

Martin Schulz, former European Parliament president, wrote in Der Spiegel Online on June 5:

“It is time to fight…. We are in the middle of a global fight between systems… It is a matter of survival of a free democracy… With Donald Trump, we have a president who scoffs at Western values… In our immediate neighboring countries, the enemies of the free world grow… they all propagate the spirit of Trumpism… All these phenomena have also reached our own country…

“Those who want to destroy the EU attack a model which has guaranteed freedom and democracy for more than seven decades… We have to fight stronger and more passionately than ever before for this Europe… We have to make sure that Germany will take the leading role in the strengthening of Europe…”

Austria for Lifting of Russian Sanctions because of Ukraine

Deutsche Welle wrote on June 3:

“[Heinz-Christian Strache, the] leader of Austria’s Freedom Party says he wants to end EU sanctions imposed on Russia in response to the Ukraine crisis. [He] says the measures have damaged the Austrian economy. ‘It is high time to put an end to these exasperating sanctions and normalize political and economic relations with Russia,’ he said. The EU sanctions against Russia were imposed in an effort to return Crimea to Ukraine and end an ongoing conflict in the east of Ukraine.

“The remarks by Strache, leader of Austria’s Freedom Party (FPÖ), come amid a European diplomatic push to resolve the situation in Ukraine. The vice chancellor is due to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Vienna during the week…

“Strache, whose pro-Moscow Freedom Party (FPÖ) is junior partner to Chancellor Sebastian Kurz’s conservatives, has previously spoken out against the sanctions and warned against pushing Russia into the arms of China. Austria’s coalition government says it wants to act as a bridge between east and west, while Kurz has stressed its pro-EU stance is secure.

Top-ranking FPÖ party members went to Moscow in 2016 to sign a five-year cooperation agreement with Putin’s United Russia party. According to press reports, one of the points described the ‘raising of younger generations in the spirit of patriotism and work enjoyment.’ Sergei Zheleznyak, deputy speaker of Russia’s lower house — who signed the agreement and who is on the EU sanctions list — praised the party for opposing the EU sanctions. “Austria will take over the EU’s rotating presidency for six months in July.”

In addition to Vice-Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache, Austria’s Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has the reputation of a hardliner as well. He is very popular in Germany. The German magazine Focus published an article WARNING against the grave dangers stemming from Kurz’s politics.  

Italy’s New Government… For Now!

Deutsche Welle wrote on June 1:

“Giuseppe Conte… was sworn in as Italy’s 58th prime minister on Friday, ending weeks of political turmoil that rocked financial markets and prompted concerns from the country’s European Union partners. Italy has been without a government since elections on March 4 failed to produce a clear winner. The far-right Lega (League)… and the anti-establishment, populist Five Star Movement (M5S), despite being diametrically opposed on some issues, have been trying to cobble together a government…

“President Sergio Mattarella… initially refused to approve Conte’s government last weekend. He rejected the inclusion of the ardently anti-euro Paolo Savona as economy minister. With Savona replaced by Giovanni Tria, an economics professor who has never advocated leaving the eurozone, Mattarella finally gave his approval on Thursday…”

In a related article, Deutsche Welle wrote on June 1:

“It would be a miracle if the new prime minister… turned out to be anything more than a puppet controlled by the two party leaders. After all, this unknown law professor has no ties to either M5S or The League… Conte is destined to become a weak figure, a head of government who must call The League and M5S headquarters before making promises to foreign counterparts like German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron.

“And that goes for the whole cabinet, which also consists of novices — few have ever done more than work at city hall… But inexperience can be problematic…”

Daily Mail added on June 1:

“Italy swears in its new PM at the head of anti-EU populist government that is set to launch an immigrant crackdown, cut taxes but STAY in the Euro.”

Spain’s New Government… for Now!

The Guardian wrote on June 1:

“Mariano Rajoy, once viewed as the great survivor of Spanish politics, has been ousted as prime minister in a vote of no confidence after several former members of his party were convicted of corruption in a case that proved a scandal too far. He will be replaced by Pedro Sánchez, the leader of Spain’s opposition socialist PSOE party…

“It cements a remarkable comeback for Sánchez, who regained his leadership a year ago after a PSOE coup saw him deposed over his steadfast refusal to let Rajoy back into office following two inconclusive general elections…

“Rajoy, who served as premier for seven years, had managed to weather a string of corruption scandals within his People’s party (PP) but was unable to withstand political anger after Spain’s highest criminal court found the party had benefited from an enormous and illegal kickbacks-for-contracts scheme, known as the Gürtel case. The 63-year-old’s fate was sealed on Thursday afternoon when the Basque Nationalist party (PNV) joined the anti-austerity Podemos party and the two biggest Catalan pro-independence parties in backing the PSOE motion.

“Sánchez, 46, has promised to call elections but has said his minority government will spend a few months focusing on social and educational reforms before taking Spain to the polls. His time in office is unlikely to yield profound changes and he will have to heed the demands of the parties who backed his motion… [He] also held out his hand to the Catalan independence parties, saying he was willing to engage in dialogue over the long-running territorial and political crisis.

“The leader of the centre-right Ciudadanos, Albert Rivera, who had not voted to remove Rajoy, said his party would be ‘very attentive to the concessions’ made to Basque and Catalan nationalists. He also called for early elections…”

“Re-Elected” Egyptian President Sworn In

Deutsche Welle wrote on June 2:

“Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi (63) was sworn in for a second term on Saturday, little more than two months after winning an election that critics have widely regarded as a sham… El-Sissi was re-elected to a four-year term after winning 97 percent of the vote with voter turnout at 41 percent in a March election that featured no serious opposition… The top challenger was arrested and his campaign manager beaten up. Other legitimate contenders soon withdrew from the race, citing intimidation.

“El-Sissi, a former intelligence chief and defense minister, led the military coup in 2013 of Egypt’s first freely elected president, Islamist Mohammed Morsi, amid widespread protests against his divisive rule. Under el-Sissi, security forces have waged a widespread crackdown on dissent, jailing thousands of Islamists as well as secular activists.

“Unauthorized protests have been outlawed and hundreds of websites, including those of independent media and human rights groups, have been blocked.”

This sounds like a Hitler-type dictatorship, as we know it from Turkey as well.

Canada’s Supreme Court: Courts Cannot Second-Guess Church Decisions

LifeSiteNews wrote on June 1:

“Canada’s top court has affirmed the right of religious groups to govern their own affairs. It ruled yesterday that an Alberta court had no jurisdiction to review a decision by a Jehovah’s Witness congregation to expel a member for alleged drunkenness and domestic verbal abuse… all nine Supreme Court justices agreed the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench had no authority to rule on [a] civil action against Jehovah’s Witness brought by [a] former member [who] had argued that his expulsion from the church affected his property and civil rights.

“Courts have neither the ‘legitimacy nor institutional capacity to deal with contentious matters of religious doctrine,’ wrote Justice Malcolm Rowe. ‘In the end, religious groups are free to determine their own membership and rules,’ Rowe concluded…”

This has also been the law in the USA for many years, even though lower courts might try time and again to ignore or circumvent it.

 Acknowledgement and Disclaimer

These Current Events are compiled and commented on by Norbert Link. We gratefully acknowledge the many contributions of news articles from our readership. The publication of articles in this section is not to be viewed as an endorsement or approval as to contents or accuracy of the selected articles, but they are published for the purpose of pointing at worldwide developments in the light of biblical end-time prophecy and godly instruction. Our own comments are provided in italics.

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