This Week in the News

Germany Rejects US Call for Syria Troops

AFP wrote on July 7:

“Discord broke out in German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling coalition Sunday, after the United States urged the country to send ground troops to Syria as Washington looks to withdraw from the region. ‘We want ground troops from Germany to partly replace our soldiers’ in the area as part of the anti-Islamic State coalition, US special representative on Syria James Jeffrey had told German media…. Jeffrey, who was visiting Berlin for Syria talks, added that he expects an answer this month

“A clear rejection of the American request came from Merkel’s junior coalition partners, the Social Democrats (SPD)… But deputy conservative parliamentary leader Johann Wadephul told news agency DPA that Germany should ‘not reflexively reject’ the US call for troops… Wadephul [is] seen as a candidate to succeed Ursula von der Leyen as defence minister if she is confirmed as European Commission chief…

“The US appeal comes after Trump has repeatedly urged Berlin to increase its defence spending, last month calling Germany ‘delinquent’ over its contributions to NATO’s budget… Former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder (SPD) told business newspaper Handelsblatt on Saturday that Trump wanted ‘vassals’ rather than allies. ‘I’d have liked the federal government to tell him once or twice that it’s none of his business’ how much Germany spends on defence, Schroeder said. ‘This isn’t a banana republic here!’”

Deutsche Welle reported on July 8:

“German government spokesperson Steffen Seibert said on Monday that Germany would not increase its military presence [in Syria]… ‘[This] means no ground troops,’ Seibert said… [However] CDU party leader and possible Angela Merkel successor Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer is prepared to negotiate Germany’s contribution in Syria…”

As the media reports, Germany’s current official stance, if maintained, is likely to anger President Donald Trump.

Iran Announces Second Breach of 2015 Nuclear Deal

Deutsche Welle wrote on July 7:

“The Iranian government on Sunday said it would once again breach the 2015 nuclear deal by raising its enrichment of uranium beyond limits agreed with several world powers. [The permitted enrichment level is 3.67%]… Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said the move was a countermeasure to ‘US economic terrorism.’… The decision comes less than a week after Iran acknowledged breaking the deal’s 300-kilogram (661-pound) limit on its low-enriched uranium stockpile.

“Sunday’s announcement was immediately condemned internationally, with Germany saying they were ‘extremely concerned’ at the news…

“Israel accused Tehran of starting a ‘march’ towards nuclear weaponry. ‘The enrichment of uranium is made for one reason and for one reason only: it’s for the creation of atomic bombs,’ said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. ‘The leaders of the P5+1 [the United States, Germany, France, Britain, China, and Russia] … committed themselves to snap back sanctions the minute Iran did that. It just did. Where are you?’…

“Germany and other EU countries have sought to keep the accord alive by developing a money transaction system known as INSTEX that allows Iran to circumvent US sanctions and continue doing business internationally. But Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has dismissed the mechanism because it does not include Iran’s oil sector.”

Deutsche Welle added on July 8:

“Iran’s Foreign Ministry on Monday gave the other signatories to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal a final 60 days to find ways to counter United States sanctions against Tehran or it would implement its third deliberate violation of the accord… Kremlin spokesman Dimitry Peskov said… Sunday’s announcement by Iran was one of the ‘consequences’ of the US abandoning the deal. China was another signatory to put blame on the US, saying that ‘unilateral bullying’ by the Americans was the cause behind the escalating Iran nuclear crisis.”

Tehran has also said that it would keep reducing its commitments every 60 days unless the other signatories protect Iran from US sanctions.

Newsmax added on July 8:

“Iran threatened on Monday to restart deactivated centrifuges and ramp up its enrichment of uranium to 20 percent purity as its next potential big moves… Enriching uranium up to 20% purity would be a dramatic move, since that was the level Iran had achieved before the deal was put in place… It is considered an important intermediate stage on the path to obtaining the 90% pure fissile uranium needed to make a bomb.”

According to Der Spiegel, dated July 8, experts felt that before the deal was made, Iran could produce a bomb within weeks or months. Since then, Iran claimed that they destroyed the enriched and purified fissile uranium needed to produce the bomb. Whether this is really true is anybody’s guess, as foreign inspectors were not allowed to visit all the different Iran sites, and Iran is now referring to “deactivated” centrifuges which they are willing to restart.

Gibraltar Detains Syrian Oil Tanker

AFP wrote on July 6:

“Iran demanded Friday that Britain immediately release an oil tanker it has detained in Gibraltar, accusing it of acting at the bidding of the United States… Authorities in Gibraltar, a British overseas territory on Spain’s southern tip at the western entrance to the Mediterranean, said they suspected the tanker was carrying crude to Syria in violation of EU sanctions…

“The Grace 1 was halted in the early hours of Thursday by police and customs agencies in Gibraltar, aided by a detachment of British Royal Marines. Gibraltar’s Supreme Court ruled Friday that the vessel can be held for 14 more days, the territory’s attorney general said…

“In a statement, Britain’s Foreign Office said it welcomed Gibraltarian authorities ‘acting to enforce the EU Syria sanctions regime’… Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell told reporters the vessel was detained at the request of the United States. But Gibraltar insisted it acted of its own accord… Russia said the tanker’s detention was a ‘targeted action aimed at further complicating the situation around Iran and Syria’…

“White House National Security Advisor John Bolton, a champion of the hawkish policy towards Tehran, tweeted the interception of the supertanker was ‘excellent news’. According to specialised shipping trade publication Lloyd’s List, which analyses vessel-tracking data, the 1997-built ship is laden with Iranian oil.”

The Church of God has believed and proclaimed for a long time that ultimately, Gibraltar will end up belonging to Spain.

Ukraine Wants to Talk to Russia

Deutsche Welle wrote on July 8:

“Volodymyr Zelenskiy, the recently elected president of Ukraine, invited Russian President Vladimir Putin to resume peace talks to solve the ongoing conflict between their respective countries on Monday… Zelenskiy proposed: ‘I suggest the following lineup for talks: me, you, US President Donald Trump, British Prime Minister Theresa May, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and French President Emmanuel Macron.’

“Zelenskiy was also clear about the topic of the meeting: ‘Let’s discuss who Crimea belongs to and who isn’t in the Donbass region.’ Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov… said the proposal would be reviewed…

“Zelenskiy and Putin have never met, but during his inaugural address in May, the Ukrainian president vowed that resolving his country’s conflict with Russia would be his top priority. The conflict began in March 2014, when pro-Russian separatists staged an uprising in eastern Ukraine’s Donbass region after pro-Kremlin President Viktor Yanukovich was forced to flee the country in February 2014. The actions took place shortly after Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula in February and March 2014, sparking international condemnation.

“Since then, some 13,000 people have been killed in eastern Ukraine. Russia has strongly denied any involvement in the region, despite ample evidence that it has continually shipped arms and troops into the area. Though peace talks involving Ukraine, Russia, France, and Germany resulted in the so-called Minsk Agreements in 2014 and early 2015, both sides have violated the terms of the ceasefire agreement, and the situation remains at an impasse… The EU has been unapologetically supportive of Ukraine, issuing sanctions against Russia in an effort to force its hand. [European Council President Donald] Tusk underscored the deteriorating state of the situation, saying ‘The tragedy in eastern Ukraine continues with disastrous humanitarian consequences for local people trapped by Russia’s war.’”

Finally, Ukraine will become part of Russia.

“Pope” Putin Meets with Pope Francis

The New York Times wrote on July 4:

“Pope Francis is viewed by many European liberals as the greatest moral voice against the resurgence in populism and the demonization of migrants. But for many European nationalists, anti-migration politicians and opponents of gay rights, the real spiritual strongman of their movement is the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin, their alternate pope. So when Mr. Putin visited the Vatican on Thursday, it was more than a mere meeting — their third — between the two men. Rather it was a tête-à-tête between the standard bearers of competing views of Christianity on the European continent as ideological polarization between nationalists and liberals cleaves the West…

“Mr. Putin has many fans in Italy, including the country’s de facto leader, Mr. Salvini, who has publicly professed admiration for the Russian leader… The most devout Putin followers talk of the Russian leader in mystical terms, comparing him to the Katechon, a Greek word referring to a force that keeps the Antichrist at bay… Amid this backdrop, Francis has been careful not to antagonize Russia by taking sides in the conflict in Ukraine, or between the Ukrainian Orthodox churches…”

Church Militant wrote on July 8:

“For Putin, the meeting… represented a way to reify his stature as a global leader. For Francis, the meeting represented a way to gain leverage in his relationship with populist, anti-migration Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini and in negotiating better relations with the Russian Orthodox Church — as well as the Ukrainian Orthodox Church…

“In January, Ukraine broke from the Russian Orthodox Church it had been tied to for more than four centuries and started its own independent Orthodox Church… Bartholomew I, the ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople, to which Ukraine had been loyal until 1686, recognized the independence of [the] Ukrainian Orthodox Church. In response, the Russian Orthodox Church… said it would no longer recognize the Istanbul-based patriarch. Putin sided with Cyril, patriarch of Moscow and the Russian Orthodox Church…”

Potential Nuclear Planetary Catastrophe Averted?

Bloomberg wrote on July 9:

“The 14 sailors who died during a fire last week on a nuclear-powered Russian military submarine prevented a ‘planetary catastrophe,’ a top naval officer said at their funeral… Russia broke three days of secrecy July 4 and confirmed that the stricken underwater research vessel was nuclear-powered… Russian authorities had previously refused to say whether the country’s worst naval incident in more than a decade involved a nuclear-powered vessel. They have also refused to say what type of craft was involved, with the Kremlin calling the information ‘absolutely classified.’…

“The vessel is linked to a secret nuclear-submarine project known as Losharik…The fire was Russia’s most serious naval incident since 20 people died on a Nerpa nuclear submarine in 2008… Russia’s worst post-Soviet naval disaster occurred early in Putin’s presidency, in August 2000, when 118 crew died on the Kursk nuclear submarine that sank in the Barents Sea after an explosion. The authorities were also accused of a cover-up.”

This shows how quickly our planet can be threatened by nuclear catastrophes.

Merkel’s Health Cause for Concern?

The Associated Press wrote on July 10:

“German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s body shook visibly at a public event for the third time in less than a month on Wednesday… Merkel shook as she stood at a military honors ceremony alongside Finnish Prime Minister Antti Rinne outside the chancellery in Berlin, listening to the two countries’ national anthems. It followed similar episodes on June 18 and June 27. As in both those cases, the incident started as she stood still without talking…

“Merkel, who has been German leader since 2005, turns 65 on July 17. She suggested that the psychological impact of the first incident was responsible for the subsequent episodes… Public figures’ health is generally regarded as a private matter in Germany and the country’s privacy laws are very strict on that type of information. It is not publicly known if Merkel has any health problems…

“A spokeswoman for Merkel… declined to comment on whether there had been any other shaking episodes beyond the three publicly known ones. Merkel said last year that she won’t seek a fifth term as chancellor and won’t seek any other political job after her current term ends in 2021.

“She gave up the leadership of her center-right party after a pair of poor state election performances that followed a rocky start to her fourth-term government. She has shown no sign since of wanting to give up the chancellorship before her term is up.”

Greece Has a New Leader

The Associated Press wrote on July 8:

“Conservative party leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis was being sworn in as Greece’s new prime minister Monday, a day after his resounding win over left-wing Alexis Tsipras, who led the country through the tumultuous final years of its international bailouts. Mitsotakis’ New Democracy party won 39.8% of the vote, giving him 158 seats in the 300-member parliament, a comfortable governing majority. Tsipras’ Coalition of the Radical Left, or Syriza, garnered 31.5%. The extremist right-wing Golden Dawn, Greece’s third largest party during the height of the financial crisis, failed to make the 3% threshold to enter parliament.

“Mitsotakis will have to move fast to deal with the myriad of problems still plaguing the economy… Greece’s economy shrank by a quarter and poverty and unemployment levels soared during the country’s nearly decade-long financial crisis… The country’s debt stands at about 181% of annual GDP…

“‘New Democracy’s clear victory in Greece’s parliamentary elections yesterday will be welcomed by investors,’ said economics consultancy Capital Economics in a research note. ‘But it will not be a game changer for the economy, not least because the government will still be constrained by its membership of the single currency and its “surveillance” agreement with the EU… [The] enhanced surveillance’… bears a striking resemblance to a bail-out program… the government will get further relief on the cost of servicing its public debt only if it sticks to tight fiscal policy.’”

It is not clear at all whether Greece will be part of the final ten European nations or groups of nations resurrecting the ancient Roman Empire.

America’s and Europe’s Outrageous Immigration Policy

Der Spiegel Online wrote on July 4:

It’s easy to criticize Washington’s migration policies as inhumane, but the approach taken by the European Union is even more outrageous. Politicians in the EU outsource the horrors and wash their hands of any guilt…

“A father and his daughter lie dead on the bank of the Rio Grande, entwined in an embrace, after drowning in their attempt to reach the United States… They came from El Salvador and had attempted to swim across the border and the image of their bodies went around the world last week. It is absolutely heart-breaking… In the United States, the photo triggered a response similar to the one in Germany in 2015, when pictures of the deceased three-year-old Alan Kurdi, whose body washed up on the beach in Turkey, made the rounds…

“In addition came the revelations last week that U.S. authorities in Texas exposed around 300 children to inhuman conditions in cells with open toilets in the middle of the room and a lack of soap, clothing and food… Trump’s pick as the next director to lead the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency once said that when he looks into the eyes of detained migrant children, he sees future gang members… Without a doubt, America is no longer the country that was once proud to offer a new home to immigrants from around the world….

“Today’s migration policies in the European Union are even more brutal than those pursued by Donald Trump… the Europeans have entered into pacts with Libyan militias that operate horrific camps where torture and rape are commonplace, and they work together with the so-called Libyan coast guard, which is little more than a militia at sea. Sea rescue operations in the Mediterranean have practically been shut down, and Italian hardliner Matteo Salvini is no longer allowing private rescue ships to come ashore in the country.

“… This year alone, just under 600 migrants have drowned in the Mediterranean, a figure that is far greater than the number who have died along the U.S.-Mexican border. The horrors of the EU’s migration policies aren’t playing out in front of the cameras — they are unfolding in North Africa and on the high seas…

“Despite the suffering, the situation in the Mediterranean Sea is quite convenient for countries in northern Europe… the EU is selling its soul… the EU member states, the German government included, aren’t making any serious efforts to deal with the issue. Instead, they’ve outsourced the horrors and washed their hands of any guilt. Which is why it is only a matter of time before the next iconic image of dead immigrants will shock people around the world — without changing anything.”

A change to these horrible developments will only happen after Jesus Christ has returned to this earth.

Strains in Special Relationship between USA and UK

The Hill wrote on July 8:

“President Trump on Monday said he would ‘no longer deal with’ the U.K.’s ambassador to the U.S. [Sir Kim Darroch] after leaked cables revealed the diplomat’s blunt assessment of the Trump administration. Even as Trump bristled at being criticized in secret diplomatic notes, he went after outgoing British Prime Minister Theresa May, who expressed ‘full faith’ in Darroch, over her handling of Brexit. ‘What a mess she and her representatives have created. I told her how it should be done, but she decided to go another way,’ Trump wrote, adding that ‘the good news for the wonderful United Kingdom is that they will soon have a new Prime Minister.’

“Darroch wrote in secret cables to top officials in London that Trump is viewed as ‘insecure’ and ‘incompetent.’ He said there are doubts in Washington about whether the White House ‘is going to become substantially more normal; less dysfunctional, less unpredictable, less faction-riven, less diplomatically clumsy and inept.’ The British government has expressed regret to Trump administration officials for the leak…

“The cables were published by U.K. newspaper The Mail on Sunday, providing fresh evidence of strains in the so-called ‘special relationship’ between the U.S. and U.K. during Trump’s presidency.”

The Associated Press wrote on July 8:

“British officials said they were hunting for the culprit behind the leak, which was both an embarrassment to Prime Minister Theresa May’s government and a major breach of diplomatic security… The documents were intended for senior U.K. ministers and civil servants. Government officials think the mole will be found among British politicians or officials, not in foreign governments or among people who aren’t British…”

Axios wrote on July 8:

“As the ambassador to a top U.S. ally, Darroch meets regularly with senior officials in the Trump administration. May will be replaced later this month, probably by the Trump-friendly Boris Johnson. If this is more than a passing dispute, Johnson will have to decide between standing by Darroch and the British diplomatic service, or making an early goodwill gesture to Trump by choosing a favorable replacement…

“Darroch, a highly regarded career civil servant, was due to leave Washington at the end of this year… The real surprise here isn’t the contents of the private messages Darroch sent back to London, but the fact that they leaked to the Mail on Sunday tabloid in the first place. There has been frantic speculation about the motives behind the leak.”

It will have to be seen whether this is only a temporary impasse between the USA and the UK or the sign of an ongoing phenomenon. Note the next article.

Britain’s Ambassador to the US Sir Kim Darroch Quits after Boris Johnson Refused to Support Him

The Sun wrote on July 10:

“BRITAIN’S ambassador to the US Sir Kim Darroch has sensationally quit today after being embroiled in a Donald Trump leak storm… Sir Kim wrote: ‘The current situation is making it impossible for me to carry out my role as I would like. I am grateful to all those in the UK and the US, who have offered their support during this difficult few days. This has brought home to me the depth of friendship and close ties between our two countries…’

MPs have… come forward to support Sir Kim – including Theresa May, who said it is a ‘matter of deep regret’ that Sir Kim felt it necessary to stand down. It is understood the PM did not want him to resign and had urged him to stay – but he made it clear to her his mind was made up as he thought his position had become untenable following Trump’s decisions to bar him from attending key events and working together. She even sent a written note supporting him this week, her spokesperson said earlier.

“Foreign Secretary and leadership candidate Jeremy Hunt, who had stood by Sir Kim, said he was ‘deeply saddened’ by his decision. In a statement, he added: ‘For 42 years, Sir Kim served his country with the utmost dedication and distinction. I profoundly regret how this episode has led Sir Kim to decide to resign. He deserves to look back upon his career as a servant of Britain with the greatest satisfaction and pride.’

“Mr McDonald [Simon McDonald, the most senior official at the Foreign Office] said this lunchtime that it was the first time a friendly government has refused to deal with a British envoy – after Donald Trump said he’d no longer work with the ambassador following the leaks. He told MPs this afternoon: ‘It was his judgement that as long as he remained in Washington he would remain a target and his family with him … Nothing like this has ever happened before.’…

“Friends say Sir Kim decided the game was up last night after watching Boris Johnson [refuse] to back him during a live TV debate last night. The Tory leadership candidate refused several times to say he would keep Sir Kim in his post if he became prime minister…

“Labour MP Ben Bradshaw said on Twitter: ‘The shameful forcing out of Kim Darroch after Johnson failed to back him shows Johnson as PM would be nothing more than Trump’s lap dog. What a humiliating prospect for our United Kingdom.’… But Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage, a friend of Mr Trump, said it was ‘the right decision’.”

The Guardian added on July 10:

“Darroch’s decision will put pressure on Johnson, who was criticised by some Conservatives after the leadership debate for refusing to give Darroch his support even as his rival, Jeremy Hunt, said he would expect the ambassador to stay in post until his planned retirement. When pressed on the point, Johnson gave only mild criticism of Trump and said a good relationship with the US was ‘of fantastic importance’. Sir Alan Duncan, a Foreign Office minister, said Johnson had thrown Darroch ‘under the bus to serve his own personal interests’ and accused him of ‘contemptible negligence’.”

British Airways Fined

Deutsche Welle wrote on July 8:

“British Airways has been fined 183.4 million pounds ($230 million, €205 million) by the United Kingdom’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) [under the new UK Data Protection Act] after computer hackers stole customer data last year… The ICO said the penalty was the biggest it had ever handed out and the fine was the first to be made public under new rules.

“British Airways revealed in September 2018 that computer hackers had carried out a ‘sophisticated, malicious criminal attack’ on the airline’s website and app, and obtained the credit card details of some 380,000 customers. The airline promised to ‘fully reimburse’ affected customers…

“Airlines have become frequent targets for cyberattacks in recent years, due to their hyperconnected service models, which allow passengers to easily book and pay for flights. Passengers also have to include passport data and credit card information when booking a flight online. There were about 1,000 cyberattacks per month reported by airlines in 2016…”

The penalty imposed on British Airways, which the airline has vowed to fight, seems to be unduly harsh, given the fact that unscrupulous evil hackers have been committing crimes on the airline and its customers.

US Courts vs. Trump

npr wrote on July 9:

“A federal appeals court in Manhattan says President Trump cannot block critics from his Twitter account, calling it ‘unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination.’ In a 29-page ruling on Tuesday, a three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously upheld a lower court’s decision that found that Trump violated the First Amendment when he blocked certain Twitter users, because he uses his Twitter account ‘to conduct official business and to interact with the public.’ By preventing critics from accessing his feed, the president is barring them from participating in what the judges deemed a public forum.”

The Washington Post wrote on July 9:

“A federal judge in New York on Tuesday denied a bid from the Justice Department to replace the team of lawyers on the case about the census citizenship question…

“U.S. District Judge Jesse M. Furman denied the formal, legal bid to do so. ‘Defendants provide no reasons, let alone “satisfactory reasons,” for the substitution of counsel,’ Furman wrote. He also noted that a filing in the case was due from the department in just three days, and that the department had previously pushed for the matter to be moved along quickly.”

Subsequently, Trump abandoned his “effort to have a citizenship question added to the 2020 census, instead instructing federal agencies to provide the Commerce Department with records on citizenship… The Supreme Court last month ruled that the administration could not add the citizenship question to the census for now…” (The Week, July 11, 2019). The Independent wrote that Trump has “capitulated” and has suffered “a major defeat” in the matter.

npr added on July 11:

President Trump announced Thursday he would sign an executive order to obtain data about the U.S. citizenship and noncitizenship status of everyone living in the United States… his executive order will direct all U.S. agencies to provide the Department of Commerce all information they have on U.S. citizenship, noncitizenship and immigration status…

“Trump appears to be doing what the Census Bureau encouraged over a year ago… Some of the steps Trump outlined are already underway. The Social Security Administration and Department of Homeland Security… had already entered into agreements with the Census Bureau to provide the bureau with information on noncitizens.”

This is a somewhat frightening development. Why and for what purpose is information needed about LEGAL noncitizens?

The Associated Press wrote on July 8:

“An appeals court on July 3 upheld a freeze on Pentagon money to build a border wall with Mexico, casting doubt on President Donald Trump’s ability to make good on a signature campaign promise before the 2020 election.

“A divided three-judge panel of the ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco agreed with a lower court ruling that prevented the government from tapping Defence Department counterdrug money to build high-priority sections of [a] wall in Arizona, California and New Mexico.”

Trump’s Top Officials to Speak to pro-Israel Evangelicals Conference

JTA wrote on July 8:

“Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton are set to address the annual Christians United for Israel conference, a sign of how much President Donald Trump values pro-Israel evangelicals.

“Pence, Pompeo, Bolton as well as ambassador to Israel David Friedman and Jason Greenblatt, the top U.S. Middle East negotiator, will speak Monday and Tuesday at the conference taking place in Washington D.C. Such a broad array of top senior foreign policy and security officials is rare for pro-Israel groups.

“Trump has on multiple occasions noted that the pro-Israel evangelical community has shown the most appreciation for his Israel-related actions, including moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, defunding the Palestinians, pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal, and recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights

“Other notable speakers [are] an array of Republicans from the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate. No Democrats appear on the schedule.”

The article also published a picture of Pastor John Hagee shaking hands with Vice President Mike Pence at the Christians United for Israel annual conference on July 17, 2017. Hagee and other evangelicals believe strongly that an end-time third temple will be built in Jerusalem prior to Christ’s return, and they seem to suggest that Trump will be instrumental in some way in helping to build that temple.

Biblical City of Ziklag Found

The Jerusalem Post wrote on July 8:

“Researchers from a joint expedition including the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the Israel Antiquities Authority and Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, believe that they have discovered the famous biblical city of Ziklag, a Philistine city where a young David sought refuge from King Saul…

“About a thousand square meters were excavated; the find revealed evidence of Philistine settlement dating from the 11th-12th century BCE. Large stone structures were uncovered, including finds characteristic of Philistine culture. Stone vessels and metal vessels found on the site are similar to finds from this period, discovered in the past in excavations of Ashdod, Ashkelon, Ekron and Gat, all ancient Philistine cities…

“A rural settlement from the time of King David, dating to the beginning of the 10th century BCE, was discovered above the remains of the Philistine settlement, which was destroyed by a fire. There were dozens of complete pottery vessels found in the remains of buildings, identical to those found in the fortified Jewish city of Khirbet Qeiyafa…

“The name Ziklag gives clues as to the origin of its inhabitants. It is not a local Semitic name but a Philistine name, further proof that the Philistines were not native to the area but migrated to the land of Israel from Europe. [Based on DNA testing, some believe that the ancient Philistines came to the Middle East from southern Europe more than 3,000 years ago].

“Ziklag is mentioned several times in the Bible, most famously in the Book of Samuel, when the young David is granted refuge from King Saul by the Philistine King Achish of Gat. David appears to have been awarded Ziklag as a vassal state, under the protection of Achish, and he used it as a base for raids against the Geshurites, the Girzites, and the Amalekites. According to the Book of Samuel, the city was destroyed by the Amalekites and the population was enslaved.

“After King Saul is killed in battle with the Philistines, David leaves Ziklag, traveling to Hebron to be anointed King of Israel.”

More historical proof that the Bible is accurate in everything.

Dumping 1.5 Tons of Rat Poison on the Farallon Islands?

The Los Angeles Times wrote on July 7:

“For most humans, life on these jagged islands off the coast of San Francisco would be a nightmare: Waves lash the shore with treacherous force, the stench of guano fills the air, and the screech of seagulls is so loud that resident scientists wear earplugs to bed. But wildlife thrive on ‘the Devil’s Teeth’ – the name given to the Farallon Islands by sailors over a century ago. The islands boast one of the world’s largest breeding colonies for seabirds… and their beaches are covered with lolling sea lions and seals. The waters surrounding the islands teem with 18 species of whales and dolphins.

“The islands also host tens of thousands of house mice – an invasive species that is wreaking havoc on the native ecosystem… The explosive growth in mice has attracted burrowing owls, who not only eat the mice but also prey upon the storm-petrels, a rare bird with a declining population.

“The federal government contends that the only way to get rid of the mice is to drop 1.5 tons of rat poison pellets from a helicopter onto the islands. But Bay Area conservationists are worried that the poison, an increasingly controversial rodenticide called brodifacoum, will kill other species and make its way up the food chain… The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the agency that manages the Farallones, acknowledges that while some non-target species will likely be killed in the process, broadcasting poison over the islands is a tried-and-true method of tackling rodent infestations. Biologists say that the long-term benefits will far outweigh any collateral damage…

“Critics insist there is reason to be wary of brodifacoum, an anticoagulant that causes internal bleedingMountain lions in California have been found dead with the rodenticide in their systems after eating small prey that ingested the poison. California outlawed consumer use of the poison in 2014… Critics do not refute that the mice need to go. But they do not buy the federal government’s insistence that rodenticide is the best way to get the job done…

“Alison Hermance, director of communications at Wildcare, a wildlife hospital in San Rafael, has seen firsthand how rat poison has affected local species. The organization began testing livers of patients – hawks, owls, foxes, coyotes – about 10 years ago for brodifacoum. They found that 76% of the 600 animals had been exposed to the poison. ‘People don’t recognize that this is a much bigger issue,’ said Hermance, who called the Farallones poison plan ‘ludicrous’…”

It very well seems to be.

“The Asteroid Peril Isn’t Science Fiction”

The Wall Street Journal wrote on July 5:

“Even if we managed to spot a small but dangerous asteroid heading for Earth, we currently have no means to stop it

“Many scientists argue that the most effective way to deal with a threat from a small asteroid would be to send up an unmanned spacecraft armed with a nuclear explosive device (they hesitate to call it a bomb) to blow it up or nudge it off course. Nuking an incoming asteroid is also the preferred Hollywood method… but the nuclear option faces serious hurdles in the real world

“In December 2018… a 30-foot-wide asteroid exploded in the atmosphere over the Bering Sea with the explosive force of a dozen Hiroshima atomic bombs—but except for a few satellites and sensor systems, no one noticed…

“Hundreds of thousands of… near-Earth asteroids, both large and small, haven’t been identified. We have no idea where they are and where they are going. On Feb. 15, 2013, a relatively small, 60-foot-wide asteroid traveling at 43,000 mph exploded in the atmosphere near the Russian city of Chelyabinsk, sending out a blast wave that injured 1,500 people. No one had seen the asteroid coming

“Nor is it clear that we could deflect a small but dangerous asteroid heading our way even if we did spot it. No asteroid-deflection method has ever been tested in real-space conditions—and, as [a scientific] conference’s war game demonstrated, using untested technology always entails a risk that the mission could go terribly wrong

“Earth has been hit millions of times by powerful asteroids, and it will inevitably be hit again—whether two centuries from now or next Tuesday. So it isn’t a question of whether humankind will have to confront the prospect of a destructive asteroid hurtling our way; it is only a question of when.”

In the war game scenario, even though the asteroid was “blown up,” preventing it from hitting Denver, a piece hit New York and wiped out Manhattan.

Magnitude 7.1 Earthquake Strikes California

The Week wrote on July 5:

“ A magnitude 7.1 earthquake rocked Southern California on Friday evening, just one day after a 6.4-magnitude temblor struck the same area. Friday’s quake was reportedly felt as far north as Sacramento, as far east as Las Vegas, and as far south as Mexico. There are reports of damaged buildings and roads, fires, and several injuries.

“The seismic activity was the largest in Southern California [for] at least 20 years and was followed by multiple aftershocks, some of which surpassed magnitude 5.0. More aftershocks are expected and could reportedly occur for years… The fault causing the quakes appears to be growing, scientists said.”

The 6.4 quake is now considered a foreshock to Friday’s 7.1 earthquake. Also, the earthquakes had no effect on diminishing the magnitude of potential earthquakes along the San Andreas fault. If anything, their magnitude would have been increased. This means, it is still an ongoing concern with ever increasing likelihood that the long overdue “big one” with a potential magnitude of 9 or higher and causing waves up to at least 20 meters high will strike California’s West Coast residents in the near future. The last time there was a strong earthquake on the San Andreas fault was 1906 when a magnitude 7.8 earthquake hit the San Francisco area, causing widespread damage and thousands of deaths.

Why Comparatively Little Damage in Ridgecrest?

The Los Angeles Times wrote on July 10:

Ridgecrest suffered far less damage than cities hit by less powerful quakes in recent years, including Napa and Paso Robles, where older buildings in the downtown areas crumbled amid the shaking. Experts were quick to point out that last week’s quakes would have proved far more devastating had they been located near bigger cities filled with more susceptible buildings. ‘You take a 7.1 and put it into the Hollywood fault or Newport-Inglewood fault in Long Beach — we’re going to see substantially different levels of damage,’ said Ken O’Dell, president of the Structural Engineers Assn. of Southern California…

“Many cities in Riverside and San Bernardino counties haven’t required fixes to brick buildings, a vulnerability Californians have known about for a century… There are at least 1 million of… vulnerable homes in California, but Ridgecrest has very few… Some of the worst damage was to mobile homes, which often are not secured to their foundations…

“The happenstances of geology and geography also worked in the town’s favor. The magnitude 7.1 earthquake started at an epicenter 10 miles northeast of central Ridgecrest. But it occurred on a fault that focused the worst shaking waves away from Ridgecrest and Trona, to the northwest and southeast, respectively, of the epicenter, and into sparsely populated areas…”

German Catholics Storm out of Sermon Urging Forgiveness for Predator Priests

Deutsche Welle wrote on July 5:

“Retired [Roman Catholic] priest Ulrich Zurkuhlen caused consternation in the city of Münster, northwest Germany, when he dedicated his sermon to the concept of forgiving priests who had sexually abused minors. Zurkuhlen’s remarks come at a difficult time for the Roman Catholic Church, as it grapples with continued allegations, from various parts of the world, of priests’ predatory conduct and church attempts to cover it up.

“In 2018, the German Bishops’ Conference published a report revealing that 1,670 priests, roughly 4.4% of clerics, had abused 3,677 people between 1946 and 2014 in Germany.

“The controversial sermon took place in the Holy Spirit Church of Münster… parishioners were incensed, with some 70 members of the congregation walking out in protest. Several parishioners reportedly interrupted the 79-year-old Zurkuhlen and tried to argue with him… the situation became chaotic and the priest was not able to finish the sermon…

“Stefan Rau, a fellow priest of the Holy Spirit Church, regretted Zurkuhlen’s position…”

Rau said he believes forgiveness isn’t the duty of abuse victims. In addition, the bishop of Münster, Felix Genn, has reportedly asked Zurkuhlen to stop preaching. However, if there is genuine repentance on the part of the pedophile priest, a true Christian has the duty to forgive him. This is true for every sin which is sincerely repented of. Otherwise, God will not forgive us our sins either.

Ten-Year-Olds Tell the Teacher About LGBT Ideology

Life Site News reported on July 1:

“A 10-year-old [and her classmate were] suspended from school for a week after asking [their] teacher permission to be excused from participating in a ‘Pride Month’ LGBT lesson… Susan Papas… who banned the children from the school… has been reported to the local authorities for what amounts to an unlawful act…

“Kaysey… says she was kept in detention for five hours from 10am to 3pm. Kaysey’s and Farrell’s version of the story, which differs widely from what their teacher and the head of their school alleged, has been corroborated by their classmates.

“‘This is why parents are beginning to see the dangers of the imposition of the new sexual and gender ideology that does not permit dissent even from  innocent ten year old children,’ said Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, which is aiding the two students and their families in this matter. ‘This incident highlights again just how aggressive and intolerant the LGBT agenda can be… An ideology that has to resort to such heavy-handed tactics to force ten-year-old children to accept something that instinctively they do not, only highlights how life-crushing that ideology is… When bullies know that right is not on their side they resort to coercion and intimidation…’”

Out of the mouth of “babes”…

Some Potentially Good News from Australia

CNA wrote on July 6:

“Australia’s coalition government has proposed the introduction of legislation that would make it unlawful to discriminate against people on the ground of their religious belief or activity… It would be made clear that religious groups cannot be required to make their property available for same-sex marriage celebrations… The government wants to make religious belief and activity a protected class, like race or sex. It also hopes to ensure that groups rejecting same-sex marriage are not stripped of their charitable status

“When same-sex marriage was legalized in Australia in 2017, efforts to include amendments that would protect religious freedom failed during parliamentary debate… Archbishop Anthony Fisher of Sydney noted last year that ‘we cannot take the freedom to hold and practice our beliefs for granted, even here in Australia,’ and that ‘powerful interests now seek to… strip us of charitable status and protections.’”

It is even shocking to contemplate that a church might lose its charitable status for stating plainly what the Bible condemns.

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.