Virtually No Conscientious Objection in Israel
The Telegraph reported on April 14:
“Israeli teenagers risk being sent to prison by refusing to join the army… Draft-age pupils in Israel have defied the law and Benjamin Netanyahu by telling him they will not join the army after leaving school… All men and women are obliged to join the Israeli Defence Forces at age 18, although exemptions exist for Arab citizens and ultra-Orthodox Jews engaged in religious studies.”
We can be thankful that the USA does not have similar restrictive laws, prohibiting religious freedom of sincerely held beliefs against fighting in war. Also, to compel women to fight in war is extremely troublesome.
American Companies Flee Overbearing Tax Liabilities
The Financial Tines wrote on April 13:
“Walgreen has come under pressure from an influential group of its shareholders, who want the US pharmacy chain to consider relocating to Europe, in what would be one of the largest tax inversions ever attempted. At a private meeting in Paris on Friday, investors owning close to 5 per cent of Walgreens’ shares lobbied the company’s management to use its $16bn takeover of Swiss-based Alliance Boots to re-domicile its tax base…
“Existing rules mean that a US company can forgo its domestic tax status through a deal that transfers more than 20 per cent of its shares to foreign owners. A tax inversion by Walgreens would be likely to face strong political resistance in the US, where the practice has become increasingly popular during the past two years…”
With ridiculous American tax laws, those practices should surprise no one. As usual, America is digging its own grave in so many different ways.
Ukraine Crisis Escalates
AFP wrote on April 13:
“The UN Security Council has held emergency talks after Ukraine declared a ‘full-scale’ military operation against pro-Russia forces, amid deadly clashes in its restive east. Russia and the West locked horns over the escalating crisis in Ukraine with Russian ambassador Vitaly Churkin saying ‘there has already been bloodshed and a further escalation must be swiftly stopped’…”
“Ukraine’s Interior Minister Arsen Avakov announced the launch of a counterstrike against the armed separatists in the eastern Donetsk region early on Sunday morning… US ambassador Power urged Russia to explain why 40,000 of its forces are massed on the Ukrainian border and find constructive ideas to stop armed attacks on government buildings in eastern Ukraine.”
This crisis will not end any time soon…
Russia’s Preparations For Ukrainian Occupation
AFP wrote on April 16:
“Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Tuesday said Ukraine was on the verge of civil war as Kiev authorities launched a military operation against pro-Kremlin militants in the separatist east. ‘I will be brief: Ukraine is on the brink of civil war, it’s frightening,’ the country’s former president was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies.”
The Local added on April 16:
“Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Chancellor Angela Merkel that Ukraine was on the verge of civil war after the Kiev government sent in the army against separatists in the east of the country, the Kremlin said on Wednesday.”
Apparently, Russia is preparing the occupation of Ukraine and providing the West with a “justification” for their anticipated actions. One should not be fooled by Russia’s promises to cooperate with the West in regard to Mr. Putin’s militant separatists.
Global Military Spending
Deutsche Welle reported on April 14:
“Global military spending totaled $1.7 trillion (1.23 trillion euros) in 2013, a decrease of nearly 2 percent from the previous year. However, the drop in overall investment in the armed forces was by no means a sign of countries across the globe of nations slowing down military development, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said on Monday… the major cause of the 2-percent drop stemmed from changes the United States’ military budget, the top spender in the world. Washington-approved budget cuts led to a 7.8 percent drop year-on-year, down to $640 billion. The withdrawal from Iraq and the winding down of operations in Afghanistan also contributed to the decrease in spending.
“Meanwhile, China, Russia and Saudi Arabia sharply increased their spending between 2012 and 2013. Beijing invested 7.4 percent more in its armed forces, bringing its total budget to $188 billion. Saudi Arabia rose from seventh to fourth in the world. In 2013, its military expenditures totaled $67 billion, an increase of 14 percent from the previous year…
“France, Britain, Germany, Japan, India and South Korea were among the top spenders. The SIPRI report also noted stark growth in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Middle East as the West spent less.
“SIPRI ranked Russia number three on its list, noting that it had invested a greater percentage of its GDP in its military in 2013, beating out the US for the first time in a decade. Moscow spent 4.1 percent of its GDP on its armed forces, barely overtaking Washington, which spent only 3.8 percent of its GDP on the same sector…
“Moscow’s deployment of troops along its southwestern border with Ukraine has worried Western leaders, who are trying to de-escalate tensions between Russian President Vladimir Putin and the transitional government in Kyiv. The SIPRI report noted that the perceived threat of Russian military aggression could also have an influence on EU military spending, which has dropped in the face of the eurozone crisis.”
These statistics are highly significant, in light of biblical prophecy, which predicts the military decline of the USA, and the rise of military spending in Russia, China and Europe.
Germany Warns of War in Europe
The Local wrote on April 14:
“Germany warned of war in Europe on Monday, with vice chancellor Sigmar Gabriel stating the continent was being ‘dragged’ into a ‘smoldering conflict’ with Russia over Ukraine… He said that good news several months ago from Ukraine – including an end to bloody violence against protesters – had since given way to ‘an ongoing military confrontation’ and the realization that ‘Russia is apparently willing to let tanks cross European borders. Suddenly, we are being dragged from the observer’s position into a long smoldering and incendiary conflict, which is also demanding a price from Europe in the form of sanctions against Russia,’ he said.
“Foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier meanwhile, called the danger of Europe splitting a ‘ dal one’…
“He told the paper that he believed Russia was testing the West through it’s handling of Crimea. ‘ [It] cannot be, seven decades after the end of the second world war and 25 years after the end of the cold war, that we start changing borders based on ethic, linguistic or religious factors.’ Berlin also said it saw indications Russia was supporting pro-Kremlin militias who seized government buildings in eastern Ukraine.
“Christiane Wirtz, spokeswoman for Chancellor Angela Merkel said: ‘There are many signs that the armed groups active in eastern Ukraine are receiving support from Russia,’ she said, adding that Merkel had discussed the crisis with British Prime Minister David Cameron by phone on Monday morning. ‘A look at the appearance, uniforms and weaponry of some of these groups hardly suggests that they are defense forces spontaneously formed by civilians,’ she said.”
NATO Reacts to Russia’s Threats
AP wrote on April 16:
“NATO is strengthening its military footprint along its eastern border immediately in response to Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, the alliance’s chief said Wednesday.
“Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said NATO’s air policing aircraft will fly more sorties over the Baltic region west of Ukraine, far from the tensions in the eastern part of the country. He said allied warships will also deploy to the Baltic Sea, the eastern Mediterranean and elsewhere if needed.
“NATO’s supreme commander in Europe told reporters that ground forces could also be involved at some point, but gave no details.
“NATO members Poland and the Baltic countries Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia have been wary following Russia’s annexation of the Ukrainian Crimean Peninsula, demanding a more robust military posture to counter neighboring Russia.’
“Rasmussen said the new NATO deployments are about ‘deterrence and de-escalation” in the face of Russia’s aggressive behavior in Ukraine, which is not a member of the 28-nation alliance…
“Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove said multiple nations have approached him with offers of ground forces that will be included in a plan of operations he will give to NATO later Wednesday or Thursday.
“Breedlove said the package of new military moves is designed to remain in place through Dec. 31.”
One certain outcome from Russia’s gamesmanship is the awakening in Europe to the fact that their military strength must increase! The US has proven itself to be weakened and can no longer be looked to as their first line of defense.
Signs in the Heavens?
The Daily Mail reported on April 14:
“Popular televangelist claims four blood moons are sign of ‘world-shaking event… Four complete lunar eclipses will appear in the sky starting on April 15. Pastor John Hagee, of Texas’ Cornerstone Church, believes God is trying to communicate with humans through these celestial signs….
“Bestselling author and televangelist Pastor John Hagee claims the four blood moons that will soon appear in the skies over America are evidence of a future ‘world-shaking event.’ The blood moons are part of a tetrad, a set of complete and consecutive lunar eclipses that will begin on April 15 and continue in roughly six-month intervals until October 2015…
“The April 15 event happens during Passover. On Oct. 8, the blood moon will occur during the Feast of Tabernacles. Another blood moon will occur during Passover on April 4, 2015. The last will happen on Sept. 28, 2015, another Feast of the Tabernacles.”
Technically, all the predictions don’t match the times of God’s Holy Days. In 2014, the Passover was already in the evening of April 12. It is true, however, that the Days of Unleavened Bread fall from the evening of April 14 until sunset of April 21. Further, the Feast of Tabernacles 2014 BEGINS at sunset—at the end of October 8. In 2015, Passover will be in the evening of April 2, and the Days of Unleavened Bread will begin with sunset of April 3. In 2015, the Feast of Tabernacles will be celebrated, according to the Hebrew calendar, from the evening of September 27 until October 5. Even though close, Hagee’s dates are not completely accurate.
In any event, we must be careful not to assign “heavenly signs” to events like the ones described by Hagee. The biblical heavenly signs will cause tremendous catastrophes… they involve much more than just inconsequential visible constellations or eclipses. Also, from a time sequence standpoint, the heavenly signs will occur AFTER the BEGINNING of the Great Tribulation. The Great Tribulation did not begin with Passover of 2014, and it is not to be expected that it will begin in 2015 either.