Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Earthquakes

6.5 magnitude earthquate in Indonesia kills at least 25 - UPI.com
UPI reports: "At least 25 people died in an earthquake in Aceh province in Indonesia, with officials reporting many buildings are damaged and there may be many people trapped in the remaining rubble. The 6.5 magnitude earthquake hit undersea off Sumatra Island Wednesday morning, about 12 miles from the town of Sigli, but no tsunami warning was issued by meteorological officials in Indonesia."

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Persecution

Ransomed: The freeing of 226 Christians from Islamic State
AP reports: "The Assyrian Christians were seized from the Khabur River valley in northern Syria, among the last holdouts of a dwindling minority that had been chased across the Mideast for generations. They trace their heritage to the earliest days of Christianity, their Church of the East founded by the apostle known as Doubting Thomas. To this day, they speak a dialect of Aramaic, believed to be the native language of Jesus. But most also speak Arabic and some Kurdish, the languages of the neighbors who have long outnumbered them. In a single night of horror on Feb. 23, 2015, IS fighters attacked the Christian towns simultaneously, sweeping up scores of people and sending everyone from 35 towns and villages fleeing for their lives. [...] How much was ultimately paid to free the Khabur Christians remains a mystery. The bishop, the only person with a full accounting, declined to speak to The Associated Press. Those involved give him credit for saving the lives not just of the hostages but those of hundreds of other Assyrians who have left in hopes of building a better life outside the war zone. The Khabur valley has been all but emptied of its Christians."

Comment: What an incredible story. Please join me in praying for all those Christians still being held by the Islamic State. The broadcast media probably will not report this story, it goes against the approved narrative, but thank you to the reporters of the Associated Press for their coverage of this story and the larger story of the plight of Christians throughout the Middle East. 

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Monday, December 05, 2016

Mark of the Beast

Amazon planning app-based 'Go' stores in U.S. next year - UPI.com
UPI reports: "E-commerce giant Amazon.com on Monday unveiled plans to open brick and mortar app-based grocery stores in the United States -- a venture the company hopes will fill an enduring need for millions of Americans. The company announced Amazon Go, which will feature a no-checkout process called "Just Walk Out Shopping" -- in which shoppers can enter the convenience-style store, take what they need and walk out. Advanced retail technology automatically detects what items were taken and bills customers' Amazon accounts."

Comment: It's been a while since we've had a good MOTB update so I'll repeat my usual caveat: no, I'm not saying this is the MOTB, just an interesting tech trend to keep an eye on. After all, the implications of this are huge. Amazon has a technology that will do two very important things at the same time: it validates your identity and it processes the transaction.  If this process is seamless it could revolutionize retail. It's not a stretch to say the same kind of process could be used down the road to implement the mark.

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Saturday, December 03, 2016

War - Doomed Damascus

Assad's forces retake half of rebel-held Aleppo - UPI.com
UPI reports: "Syrian government forces have taken about half of the rebel-held portion of Aleppo, military leaders said, bringing an end in sight to the bloody six-year stalemate in the city. Forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have held the gains made in the week since they took control of a key housing district at the center of the eastern portion of the war-torn city. A top Syrian general told the BBC that government forces have reduced by half the amount of territory in the city under rebel control."

Comment: The battle for Aleppo is almost over. Somehow I suspect that Damascus will never again know peace. 

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Friday, December 02, 2016

Rumors of War - King of the North

Ukraine tests missiles in Black Sea, drawing Russia's anger - UPI.com
UPI reports: "Ukraine began surface-to-air missile tests Thursday over the Black Sea, after Russia threatened to shoot the projectiles down. The Ukrainian military declared the tests of the S-300 medium-range missiles a success. [...] Although the missiles came within 18 miles of Crimean airspace, Ukraine moved the perimeter of the test area, apparently to calm Russian concerns [...] Crimea, formerly Ukrainian territory, was annexed in 2014 by Russia."

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Persecution

Yahoo News Digest — Indonesia protest draws 200K Muslims angry over Christian governor
Yahoo News reports: "At least 200,000 conservative Muslims rallied peacefully in the Indonesian capital Jakarta on Friday in the second major protest against Indonesia’s minority Christian governor, Basuki 'Ahok' Tjahaja, who is being prosecuted for alleged blasphemy."

Comment: The real offense is that he is a Christian in a Muslim majority country.

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Thursday, December 01, 2016

Pestilence

U.N. apologizes to Haiti for role in cholera outbreak, offers new plan to help - UPI.com
UPI reports: "The leader of the United Nations apologized to the people of Haiti Thursday for the organizations' failure to help the island nation deal with a six-year-long cholera outbreak, offering a multi-year plan to solve the problem and take action to prevent a recurrence in the future. [...] The outbreak, which has affected more than three-quarters of a million people, was made even worse earlier this year when Hurricane Matthew shredded the island."

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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Gog Alliance

Russia gets permission to use Iran's Hamadan air base for Syria airstrikes - UPI.com
UPI reports: "Russia is considering using Iran's Hamadan airbase to launch airstrikes on insurgents in Syria if its aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov, leaves Syria's coastline on the Mediterranean for a new mission, Russian and Iranian officials said. [...] Iran allowed Russia to operate from the base in mid-August. The jets returned to Russia after completing their anti-terror mission one week later. Iran became uneasy about the situation because the Iranian constitution prohibits the presence of any foreign forces on Iranian soil."

Comment: An alliance of prophetic importance is growing stronger. This is noteworthy. 

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Rumors of War - Kings of the East

Experts divided on impact of new U.N. North Korea sanctions - UPI.com
UPI reports: "The United Nations Security Council adopted a new sanctions resolution that will target North Korea's nuclear weapons program by tightening restrictions on coal exports. But some experts are skeptical sanctions Resolution 2321 is enough to alter Pyongyang's ability to proliferate weapons of mass destruction, Yonhap reported. The latest sanctions also ban exports of copper, nickel, silver, zinc and even the sale of statues, the BBC reported Wednesday."

Comment: Quick question: Have the previous sanctions worked? 

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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Covenant With Many

AIMonitor - Will Trump's win prompt EU to adopt independent Mideast policy?
The AIMonitor reports: "The European states, as expressed by many of their leaders in the past months, are concerned about Trump’s lack of experience in foreign and security matters, by his pro-Russian stance and his various expressions against the EU, NATO and free trade deals. He is viewed in most EU capitals as an American nationalist and isolationist who intends to bolster the US military. [...] Therefore, EU policy planners have been requested to focus on developing independent EU policy engagements on a two-state solution. Such engagements will express EU goals in this context. [...] the EU will propose that, within a two-state solution, both Israel and Palestine will be offered the highest nonmember status, namely membership in the European Economic Area. The EU will also use its economic clout to encourage the parties to advance toward a two-state solution, both by economic and scientific incentives and, possibly, by punitive measures."

Comment: According to this report, one possible result of the "Trump effect"  in international affairs would be to bolster the EU role in negotiating a Middle East peace deal. As you know, more EU involvement is something many Bible prophecy commentators have been expecting for many years. We don't yet know what a Trump foreign policy will look like, but we should watch carefully for any hints as to what his Mideast policy will be. If the U.S. stands down, the EU is waiting in the wings to take over the search for peace in the volatile region.

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Monday, November 28, 2016

War

Syrian military captures part of rebel-held Aleppo as civilians flee - UPI.com
UPI reports: "The Syrian military continued its progress to retake Aleppo, scene of some of the worst fighting in the four-year-old civil war in Syria, capturing several districts in the city on Sunday and driving out rebel militants. Government sources say Syria has retaken about one-third of the area controlled by rebels in eastern Aleppo, moving neighborhood by neighborhood. Thousands of civilians have fled the city to safer ground as the battle there intensifies."

Comment: How's the civil war in Syria going? Pretty good for the government, not so good for the rebels.  Would it be fair to say that the U.S. and allies have pretty much signed off on a government victory? Well played Vlad, well played.

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Future Fear - Roaring Waves

Scientists: Unchecked Arctic melting may bring irreversible change - UPI.com
UPI reports: "In the Arctic Resilience Report, released Friday, the team of scientists said Arctic ice is melting faster than ever before and it will probably only get worse. In fact, the ecological change currently happening in the Arctic region is unprecedented, they say, and could one day become irreversible. [...] If the Greenland sheet melted away completely, global sea levels would rise by about 25 feet, the report warns."

Comment: Everyone knows that climate change is a myth, right? Nothing to see here folks, move along, move along. 

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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Pestilence

Zika babies may look fine at birth, display defects later: CDC - UPI.com
UPI reports: "Babies exposed to the Zika virus in the womb can look normal at birth but later show signs of the devastating birth defect microcephaly and other brain abnormalities, researchers reported Tuesday."

Comment: That there can be delayed symptoms is pretty scary. I wonder how they are doing on that Zika vaccine? 

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