Thursday, August 16, 2018

Rumors of War

U.S. concerned Russian satellite could be space weapon - UPI.com
UPI reports: "Just days after the Trump administration proposed a Space Force as a new branch of the military, U.S. officials say they're concerned about 'very abnormal behavior' involving a Russian satellite. The satellite, launched in October, is displaying behavior 'inconsistent' with the kind of satellite Russia says it is, said Yleem D.S. Poblete, assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance ."

Comment: Welcome to a new arms race. Is it really so surprising? Humans take weapons with them everywhere we go, why would space be any different?

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Roaring Waves

Sea level to increase risk of deadly tsunamis - UPI.com
UPI reports: "New research suggests sea level rise caused by manmade global warming is likely to increase the risk of devastating tsunamis. Just 12 inches of sea level, scientists at Virginia Tech found, would put coastal communities in greater danger. Climate change isn't altering the planet's tectonics, so tsunami-generating earthquakes aren't likely to become more frequent. But rising global temperatures are melting Earth's glaciers, accelerating sea level rise, which amplifies the impact of extreme flooding events."

Comment: I'm entirely persuaded the sea level rise is consistent with BP and not something to be dismissed by the anti-climate changers.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Wars & Rumors of War

U.N.: Up to 30,000 Islamic State members remain in Iraq, Syria - UPI.com
UPI reports: "As many as 30,000 members of the Islamic State terrorist group remain in Iraq and Syria, a U.N. report indicates. The report released Monday states that a core of between 20,000 and 30,000 IS members, including leadership and other branches, remains intact and distributed roughly equally between the two countries. [...] U.N. experts said the group -- also identified as ISIS, ISIL and Daesh -- rallied in the early parts of 2018 after being militarily defeated in Iraq and most of Syria the year prior and will continue to survive as a 'covert network' in both countries with supporters spread throughout Libya, Southeast Asia and West Africa."

Comment: How's the war against the Islamic State going? Well, according to this report, they staging something of a comeback after having been defeated in Iraq and most of Syria. I'm wondering how they are funded? I distinctly remember the allied effort to defeat them going after their funding and then as they lost territory they found their options and ability to strike back had greatly diminished. I wonder what's changed?

Monday, August 13, 2018

Gog Alliance - Persecution

Turkish lira hits new low as U.S. conflict deepens - UPI.com
UPI reports: "Turkey accused the United States of a 'stab in back' Monday as its currency hit a new record low amid escalating tensions that have heightened an already dire economic crisis. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made the remarks Monday after weeks of a conflict over the detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson. [...] Russia said Monday it's planning to use national currencies in trade with Turkey, instead of dollars or euros, to aid the Turkish government."

Comment: This spat appears to be driving Turkey away from the U.S. and towards Russia. Of course, Russia is only too happy to welcome Turkey into their rebel alliance. 

Friday, August 10, 2018

War

Taliban launches attack in Afghanistan; U.S. forces respond - UPI.com
UPI reports: "The Taliban launched an attack Friday on one of Afghanistan's key cities, seizing buildings and exchanging fire with security forces during an air and ground battle that led to U.S. forces' assistance. [...] U.S. Forces Afghanistan spokesman Lt. Col. Martin O'Donnell said U.S. forces responded using attack helicopters and drones."

Comment: So in this unending Afghan War, the Taliban are once again staging a comeback? How many times have they been declared defeated only to return?  I wish this was more on the national agenda instead of the sensational issues we seem to be obsessed with. An aimless war that costs lives and treasure seems like it should be an issue up for discussion.

Pestilence

New Ebola outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo kills 37 in first week - UPI.com
UPI reports: "The strain of Ebola virus in Democratic Republic of Congo's latest outbreak has killed at least 37 people in its first week, the country's health ministry reported on Thursday. It is the 10th outbreak since 1976 for the central African country, and was discovered on Aug. 1 in North Kivu province, hours after the World Health Organization declared another outbreak, in Equateur province, over. The newer outbreak has no connection to the prior one, but involves the deadlier Zaire strain of the virus."

Comment: Hope they get that under control quickly. I thought they had a vaccine ready to go?

Thursday, August 09, 2018

Rumors of War - Jerusalem Security

AP - Hamas says Gaza cease-fire reached with Israel
The AP reports: "Gaza’s Hamas rulers said late Thursday that a truce had been reached with Israel, ending an intense two-day burst of violence that had pushed the region closer to war. But the deal did not appear to address the deeper issues that have prevented the bitter enemies from reaching a longer cease-fire arrangement. [...] the agreement merely ended the latest round of violence, in which Gaza militants fired some 200 rockets at Israel and the Israeli military carried out a similar number of airstrikes in Gaza. He said Egypt, which often serves as a mediator between the sides, would continue the more difficult task of brokering a long-term cease-fire. [...] Israel and Hamas have fought three wars since the Islamic militant group seized control of Gaza in 2007."

Comment: There is a very important difference between now and when the last three wars were fought between Israel and Hamas. Today we don't know what will happen in the north if Israel fights a war in the south. If Gaza erupts into a full fledged war, what will those Iranian troops and Islamic militias do just over the international border in Syria? Will they be tempted to open a second front and challenge Israel in the north to support Hamas? I know there are many who think that if Israel and Hamas have another war that's not a very big deal, but the situation has changed greatly and I think it will indeed be a very big deal.

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Rumors of War - Persia

AP - US braces for possible cyberattacks after Iran sanctions
The AP reports: "The U.S. is bracing for cyberattacks Iran could launch in retaliation for the re-imposition of sanctions this week by President Donald Trump, cybersecurity and intelligence experts say. Concern over that cyber threat has been rising since May, when Trump pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal, under which the U.S. and other world powers eased economic sanctions in exchange for curbs on Iran’s nuclear program. The experts say the threat would intensify following Washington’s move Tuesday to re-impose economic restrictions on Tehran."

Comment: Praying that this does not get out of hand. 

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Persecution

AP - For God or party? China's Christians face test of faith
The AP reports: "Under President Xi Jinping, China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong, believers are seeing their freedoms shrink dramatically even as the country undergoes a religious revival. Experts and activists say that as he consolidates his power, Xi is waging the most severe systematic suppression of Christianity in the country since religious freedom was written into the Chinese constitution in 1982. The crackdown on Christianity is part of a broader push by Xi to 'Sinicize' all the nation’s religions by infusing them with “Chinese characteristics” such as loyalty to the Communist Party."

Comment: China has a long and well established history of Christianity and it has been a positive force in Chinese life and culture. Watchman Nee would be very sad to see how the persecution he endured has not abated for his countrymen. The government of China should understand that they have nothing to fear from Christians who are instructed to be peaceful law-abiding citizens (see Romans 13:1).

Monday, August 06, 2018

Rumors of War - Persia

AP - Once-eased US economic sanctions against Iran back in effect
The AP reports: "The first set of U.S. sanctions against Iran that had been eased under the landmark nuclear accord went back into effect early Tuesday under an executive order signed by President Donald Trump, targeting financial transactions that involve U.S. dollars, Iran’s automotive sector, the purchase of commercial planes and metals including gold. U.S sanctions targeting Iran’s oil sector and central bank are to be reimposed in early November."

Comment: I wish Trump did a better job of explaining exactly why he is doing this. A very good argument can be made that Iran remains a rogue actor and a danger to the Middle East but so far this very good argument has not been well articulated by Trump or his team.  I would like to think that Iran will now decide to seek a better deal with Trump. Somehow though, I don't think that will happen. From everything I've read, the "moderates" are not in power in Iran and this kind of move only boosts the hard-liners who will allow no compromise with the Great Satan.