This Week In The News

Brexit Delay?

The Guardian wrote on January 13:

The EU is preparing to delay Brexit until at least July after concluding that Theresa May is doomed to fail in getting her deal through parliament… The country’s 29 March deadline for exiting the EU is now regarded by Brussels as highly unlikely to be met… A ‘technical’ extension until July is a probable first step to give May extra time to revise and ratify the current deal…

“Senior EU sources said that a further, lengthier extension could be offered at a later date… although the upcoming May elections for the European parliament would create complications… The first session of the parliament is in July. You would need UK MEPs there if the country is still a member state…”

Der Spiegel Online commented that it would be impossible to delay the exit until July, due to the EU parliamentary elections in May. In any event, if there were such a delay, it would only postpone the inevitable.

May Defeated in Parliament

Deutsche Welle wrote on January 15:

“The UK parliament on Tuesday voted to reject an agreement on Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union, in the biggest ever defeat of a modern government in the House of Commons. It was a major blow to Prime Minister Theresa May and her Brexit plans.

“Lawmakers in the parliament’s lower House of Commons voted by 432 to 202 to reject the withdrawal agreement. The loss by 230 votes far exceeds the previous record for a defeat which was held by the Labour government of Ramsay Macdonald, crushed by 166 votes in 1924…

“The European Union will intensify its preparations for a scenario in which Britain leaves the bloc without a withdrawal agreement, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said Tuesday. ‘The risk of a disorderly withdrawal of the United Kingdom has increased with this evening’s vote,’ Juncker said…”

Newsmax added on January 15:

“British lawmakers… [were] triggering political chaos… the United Kingdom is now ensnared in the deepest political crisis in half a century

“The humiliating loss, the first British parliamentary defeat of a treaty since 1864, appeared to catastrophically undermine May’s two-year strategy of forging an amicable divorce with close ties to the EU after the March 29 exit… Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said there would be no further renegotiation…”

The End of the British Empire

Deutsche Welle wrote on January 16:

“Britain needs a new prime minister, but opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn is plagued by the lack of unity within the Labour Party. And so far, there has been no one else in sight to take on the role… there’s no guarantee of a good outcome. But this shows Brexit’s unprecedented destructive power: It is not tearing apart the European Union as expected, but, rather, it is tearing Britain apart. Brexit will likely prove the country’s greatest disaster.”

The Week wrote on January 15:

“The drama of Brexit has both revealed and deepened cleavages between the nations that make up the United Kingdom…”

Bild Online wrote on January 16:

“It’s over… How can the island leave the European Union (EU) without sinking itself?…

“In the course of the negotiations with the very united EU (from Hungary to Germany and Italy), the British Prime Minister… was toppled by the expectations that she herself had fueled for far too long… The 48 percent of Brits who do NOT want Brexit have no audible political voice in parliament or among the parties. That’s why re-elections also wouldn’t help

“It is sad to witness the tarnishing of the future of the proud United Kingdom…  Of course, one can stop the clock and continue to negotiate. But what will talking achieve…?”

“Zombie May Shambles On”–Theresa May Barely Survives No-Confidence Vote

Breitbart wrote on January 16:

“Theresa May’s government has survived a vote of no confidence by 325 votes to 306… The Prime Minister would not have survived without the support of Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). The Brexit-supporting party has provided her minority government with its parliamentary majority through a confidence and supply arrangement, but helped the Opposition… hand the Withdrawal Agreement she negotiated with the EU a stunning defeat, believing some of its provisions would have undermined Northern Ireland’s place in the United Kingdom.

“Mrs May adopted a magnanimous stance after the vote confirmed her position, offering to hold talks with the leaders of rival parties on how to take the Brexit negotiations forward the same night. How fruitful these can be remains in doubt, however…”

 German-French Treaty

Euractiv wrote on January 10:

With their signature in 1963, German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and French President Charles de Gaulles laid the ground for the beginning of an unexpected friendship. The document, with just under six pages, did not define any political goals but was rather a blueprint for what became later the Franco-German engine on the European level.

“The extension to the Élysée Treaty approved by the German and French cabinets will be signed by Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron in the German border city of Aachen on 22 January – an ancient symbol of European concord… German government spokesman Steffen Seibert, called the decision ‘an issue of historical importance’

“The document… stipulates that a priority of German-French diplomacy will be for Germany to be accepted as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council.”

The treaty will also include a cooperation agreement in the area of defense… or collaboration of their militaries.

Breitbart wrote on January 10:

“There is profound significance to having chosen Aachen… the ancient Roman spa city… [that] was also the residence and burial place of the early medieval ruler Charlemagne, the first Holy Roman Emperor dubbed the ‘Father of Europe’ for having united the western part of the continent by the 9th century.”

We are witnessing Europe’s LAST revival of the ancient HOLY Roman Empire.

Europe Is Forming an Army

On January 10, Handelsblatt published this opinion piece by German Defense Minister, Ursula von der Leyen:

“Europe’s army is already taking shape. Reforms in recent past months and years have brought our armed forces closer together. We’re working quickly

“Among European nations, Germany and France are the driving forces in defense. But the German army’s close cooperation with other European partners, especially with Dutch forces, has also proven effective in many missions, and illustrates how to do integration properly.

“Now 25 countries have joined forces in a security initiative we call Pesco. And not because we’re following requirements from Brussels, but voluntarily, because we see the obvious benefits, and because it’s in Europe’s security interests.

“We’re moving even further ahead with our close partner France. The draft of ‘the new Elysèe Treaty’, agreed by the cabinet yesterday, shows that in future we want to address our security challenges together… Let’s note also that France and Germany, rivals and arch-enemies until 70 years ago, have now pledged mutual assistance and every conceivable kind of help to each other, in case of an armed attack on the territory on the partner country

 “I have therefore proposed forming a special committee at the European level, composed of members of national parliaments, which is to be informed early on about crisis scenarios as they take shape. That could speed up decision-making processes at the national level, as well as strengthen support for any military action… Europe must be able to defend itself.”

Breitbart wrote on January 12:

“On Friday, the bloc’s top military official Claudio Graziano said he had been working with other EU army chiefs to thrash out what can be done to enhance the bloc’s capabilities, saying there is ‘a lot of expectation’ about what the EU can undertake.”

German Ban on Homeschooling Upheld by European Court of “Human Rights”

CNA wrote on January 11:

“Two homeschooling German parents who said their parental rights were violated by the enforcement of compulsory school attendance laws did not prevail in the European Court of Human Rights, which unanimously rejected their claims Thursday…

“In August 2013, a group of at least 20 police officers and social workers raided the… home and took away their four children… they were eventually returned to their parents…

“In its Jan. 10 decision, the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights said that compulsory school attendance to ‘prevent social isolation’ and to ensure their integration in society are relevant justifications to intervene against parental authority. German officials were reasonable to assume that parents had ‘endangered their children by not sending them to school,’ the court said…

“The court acknowledged that the parents later submitted learning assessments showing that the children had ‘sufficient knowledge, social skills and a loving relationship with their parents’

“Homeschooling has been illegal in Germany since 1918, though in recent years the policy has raised questions and concerns with human rights groups who say it is an infringement on the right to family life

“Several German families who wish to homeschool, many of them Christian, have sought refuge in the United States to ensure their ability to educate their children at home. Others have moved to countries like France or Austria, which have less strict laws [at this point].

“In 2014, Germany’s Constitutional Court ruled that restrictions on homeschooling were justified on the grounds that the government has a compelling interest in preventing the formation of religious or ideological parallel societies. The court also argued that requiring children to attend school provides them the benefit of interacting with other children who might think differently.

“In 2006, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that there is no right to homeschool.”

This practice in Germany and other European countries and the decision by the European Court of Human Rights place an undue burden on religious parents—Jews and Christians alike—who are opposed to the German and Europe school courses on sex education and unbiblical religious activities. Homeschooling should be a decision which should be made by the parents—not by the government. However one may look at homeschooling, a ban on homeschooling clearly violates the parents’ right of free exercise of religion and other constitutional guarantees and should have been deemed to be illegal by the courts.

AfD Proposes DEXIT

Deutsche Welle wrote on January 13:

“The AfD blasted the ‘privileged’ members of the European Parliament while campaigning to join that very body… The final version of the manifesto passed on Sunday evening retained the threat of a ‘Dexit,’ [Germany’s departure from the EU] but jettisoned any concrete timeframe…

“The AfD was founded in 2013 as a euroskeptic party intent on having Germany leave the euro currency. But it has since been taken over by anti-immigrant and Islamophobic members and has risen in popularity to become the largest opposition party in the Bundestag… Their manifesto also opposes the EU having a joint defense and foreign policy.

With that stance, the AfD will have no future and unless it changes its position again, like the proverbial chameleon, it has signed its own death certificate, as the Bible clearly shows that Germany will not leave the EU and that there will be a European army.

US Ambassador to Germany Threatens German Companies

Deutsche Welle wrote on January 13:

“The US ambassador to Berlin, Richard Grenell, has sent threatening letters to German companies working on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline…

“German companies building the Nord Stream 2 pipeline between Germany and Russia received letters from US Ambassador Richard Grenell warning them of ‘a significant risk of sanctions’ if they did not pull out of the project, Germany’s mass-circulation Bild am Sonntag has reported. The large pipeline is set to deliver gas from northwestern Russia to northern Germany under the Baltic Sea and effectively double the amount of gas Germany imports from the country.

“The US opposes the project over fears that the gas link would tighten Russia’s control of Europe’s energy supply and diminish the importance of gas transit countries such as Ukraine. US companies are also keen to sell gas obtained by fracking to many European countries

“Grenell’s latest move remains highly unusual and is likely to prompt fresh tensions between Washington and Berlin…”

AFP added on January 13:

“German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas… weighed in on the transatlantic row last week, saying ‘European energy policy should be decided in Europe, not in the United States.’”

Did Trump Forsake Europe?

BBC News wrote on January 14:

“For generations, American presidents have saved some of their warmest words for their European colleagues.

“They came to the Berlin Wall and spoke of freedom – and, after it fell, they spoke of a new era of co-operation with a rebuilt Europe. But in the era of Donald Trump, leaders across the continent now know that those days have gone.

“John F Kennedy’s ‘Ich bin ein Berliner’ declaration, Ronald Reagan’s 1987 message to Moscow: ‘Mr Gorbachev tear down this wall,’ George HW Bush’s promises of collaboration after the Cold War and Barack Obama’s warm words about binding ties across the Atlantic are all now distant memories.

“With every visit to Europe and every White House tweet about the cost of Nato or EU tariffs, this president makes it clear that he believes Europe is more often an impediment than an ally.

“None of his predecessors would have dreamed of calling the EU a ‘foe’, as President Trump did in a recent interview about trade…

“With Europe embroiled in its Brexit difficulties, which leave so many questions unanswered, its leaders also find themselves scrambling to work out what it might mean if these old ties with the United States continue to unravel.”

Trump Rebuked by European Parliament and US Congressional Democrats

Deutsche Welle reported on January 17:

“The Trump administration’s recent downgrading of the EU ambassador’s status without prior notice… has led to parliamentary action on both sides of the Atlantic. In a strongly worded letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, 27 congressional Democrats denounced the diplomatic downgrade. ‘Disturbingly, this step, which appears to have taken place late last year, occurred without congressional consultation or apparent notification to the European Union,’ the lawmakers wrote in a letter published this week… Both the substance of this decision and the undiplomatic way in which it was carried out needlessly denigrate trans-Atlantic relations.’…

“US lawmakers demand answers by January 30 to four specific questions about the downgrade, among them why the decision was made, why Congress was not informed, and how it was reviewed and approved within the Trump administration. ‘We ought to support and strengthen our allies, not turn them into foes,’ the letter concludes. ‘Insulting them for no apparent reason does not typically encourage them to take a warmer view of the United States.’

“The missive echoes the sentiment expressed in a letter by members of the European Parliament. Addressed to members of the US Congress and published one day after the downgrade became public, the letter by the European Parliament’s 58-member Delegation for Relations With the United States slammed the White House’s ‘increasingly harmful approach’ to trans-Atlantic relations and urged Congress to help ‘strengthen and not undermine each other’.

“The MEPs criticized the demotion of the EU’s ambassador to the United States, David O’Sullivan, saying neither the ambassador nor the bloc’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, had been ‘formally notified of this change’ in advance. ‘This is no way to treat partners,’ they wrote.”

Killing NATO

The New York Times wrote on January 14:

“Last year, President Trump suggested a move tantamount to destroying NATO: the withdrawal of the United States… several times over the course of 2018, Mr. Trump privately said he wanted to withdraw from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization… Mr. Trump told his top national security officials that he did not see the point of the military alliance, which he presented as a drain on the United States…

‘American national security officials believe that Russia has largely focused on undermining solidarity between the United States and Europe after it annexed Crimea in 2014. Its goal was to upend NATO, which Moscow views as a threat…

“Russia’s meddling in American elections and its efforts to prevent former satellite states from joining the alliance have aimed to weaken what it views as an enemy next door, the American officials said. With a weakened NATO, they said, Mr. Putin would have more freedom to behave as he wishes, setting up Russia as a counterweight to Europe and the United States…

“Mr. Trump’s skepticism of NATO appears to be a core belief

“Allies feeling threatened by Russia already have extreme doubts about whether Mr. Trump would order troops to come to their aid…”

Especially now, in light of President Trump’s announcements regarding the withdrawal of American troops from Syria (note the articles below). President Trump responded to the article by saying that the US is “100% in support of NATO”… a dubious claim in light of recent developments.

In Light of Shutdown… US Constitution Outdated and Near Collapse?

The Week wrote on January 11:

“President Trump’s shutdown will stand alone… as the longest in American history…

“In most modern democracies, this kind of preposterous standoff is simply not possible. In Canada, for instance, failure to pass a budget is an automatic vote of no confidence that triggers new elections… In the meantime, the previous budget is basically rolled forward until the new government can get a chance to pass a fresh budget…

“By contrast, the American Constitution not only allows for this sort of thing, but encourages it… There is no democratic principle on the basis of which it can be resolved…

“Trump… starkly illustrated a weakness inherent to the American system… Every other country with an American-style constitution watched it collapse eventually, most of them over impasses very similar to the one we are experiencing now. It is not at all impossible that we are in the first stages of that same process. The U.S. Constitution was clearly outdated 100 years ago. It might be time to start thinking about how to replace it.

The shutdown is continuing, with no end in sight. In fact and quite incredibly, the childishly stupid divisions between Trump and the Republicans on the one hand, and the Democrats on the other hand, are even deepening.

National Emergency

President Trump has indicated that he might declare a national emergency if no deal can be reached regarding the building of a wall between Mexico and the USA.US News and World Report wrote on January 8:

“What actually constitutes an emergency… is up for debate and requires the president to use existing law to justify a declaration. Presidents in recent history have exercised their power to declare national emergencies under the National Emergencies Act of 1976 [However, it is up to the President to “define” what constitutes a national emergency.]

“… [Under a national emergency], the President may seize property, organize and control the means of production, seize commodities, assign military forces abroad, institute martial law, seize and control all transportation and communication, regulate the operation of private enterprise, restrict travel, and, in a variety of ways, control the lives of United States citizens.

“Congress, however, can check the executive branch and overrule the president’s use of the act by passing a joint resolution out of the House and Senate. Like a law, the resolution would require a simple majority in each chamber and require the president’s signature, or require Congress to override his veto” [by 2/3rd vote in both House and Senate].

US Begins Withdrawal from Syria

Deutsche Welle wrote on January 11:

“The United States has started the ‘deliberate withdrawal’ process of its forces from Syria, US military officials confirmed on Friday, but they refused to provide any details on exactly what troops and equipment were being moved… A Defense Department spokesperson later said that while equipment was being moved out of Syria, troops were not withdrawing.

“Separately, the head of the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights… confirmed that the US had started withdrawing troops from the airfield base near the town of Rmeilan in northeast Syria on Thursday evening. Some 150 soldiers and 10 armored vehicles, along with some trucks and heavy equipment, left the town and crossed the Iraqi border, he said…”

Newsmax wrote on January 13:

“President Donald Trump tweeted on Sunday that the United States has begun withdrawing from Syria. ‘Starting the long overdue pullout from Syria while hitting the little remaining ISIS territorial caliphate hard, and from many directions,’ Trump wrote. ‘Will attack again from existing nearby base if it reforms. Will devastate Turkey economically if they hit Kurds…’

“The president also warned the Kurds not to antagonize Turkey in a continuation of his tweet…

Strains in relations with Turkey have also increased over American demands that Kurds be protected…”

This will make neither side happy.

ISIS Kills American Troops in Syria

Newsmax wrote on January 16:

“A bomb attack claimed by Islamic State killed U.S. troops in northern Syria Wednesday, weeks after President Donald Trump said [the] group was defeated there and he would pull out all American forces… [Reportedly] four U.S. troops had been killed and three wounded in the blast, which an Islamic State-affiliated site said was the work of a suicide bomber…

“The attack, which took place in the town of Manbij, controlled by rebels opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, appears to be the deadliest on U.S. forces in Syria since they deployed on the ground there in 2015…

“A witness in the city said the attack had targeted a restaurant where U.S. personnel were meeting members of the local militia that Washington backs there. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said 16 people had been killed in all, including two Americans. A militia source in north Syria also said two U.S. troops had been killed.”

Ukraine Could Soon Cease to Be a Country

The Independent wrote on January 16:

“Ukraine could lose its statehood if the former Soviet republic continues to be divided by competing interests, Russia’s top security official has said. Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of Russia’s security council, accused Ukrainian authorities, including president Petro Poroshenko, of being ‘controlled’ by the US amid simmering tensions between Kiev and Moscow… He continued: ‘The Kiev authorities are doing everything to split Ukraine, implementing the West’s scenario to break Ukraine away from Russia, while ignoring the interests of its own people. As a result, the country has been de facto split.’

“Mr Patrushev’s comments come amid a crisis between the two countries following Russia’s 2014 invasion and subsequent annexation of Crimea, an autonomous region in Ukraine’s southeast with close historical and cultural ties to Russia. The standoff moved a step closer towards open conflict last year when three Ukrainian vessels and 24 Ukrainian sailors were fired at and captured by Russian coast guards in the Black Sea in November. A Moscow court on Wednesday extended the detention of eight of the seamen. Russia insists the men should be put on trial for violating its border. Ukraine calls them prisoners of war who were illegally captured…

“The US has provided more than $1bn to Kiev to help enhance its defensive military capabilities, and last year their militaries co-hosted a major exercise involving US Navy warships and hundreds of sailors and Marines…

“Mr Patrushev said [that] ‘anti-government sentiment in the [western] regions is mounting…”

Is Russia creating a scenario under which it will justify a coming annexation of Ukraine?

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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