Saturday, March 25, 2017

Final World Kingdom

EU leaders renew fraying Union's vows on 60th anniversary | Reuters
Reuters reports: "Europeans must contain their squabbling and carping about the EU if the Union is to survive, leaders warned on Saturday as they marked the 60th anniversary of its founding in Rome by signing a formal declaration of unity. Four days before Prime Minister Theresa May, absent from the ceremony in the Italian capital, delivers an unprecedented blow to the bloc's growth by filing Britain's formal exit papers, her fellow leaders hailed 60 years of peace and prosperity and pledged to deepen a unity frayed by regional and global crises. But days of wrangling about the wording of a 1,000-word Rome Declaration, May's impending Brexit confirmation and tens of thousands of protesters gathering beyond the tight police cordon around the Campidoglio Palace offered a more sober reminder of the challenges of holding the 27 nations to a common course."

Comment: Will the EU survive this year? Perhaps it will break up into smaller blocs or maybe remain united but with a small inner core forging ever greater unity as part of the "two speed" Europe so many have talked about. Stay tuned!

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Friday, March 24, 2017

Persecution

Indonesia police fire tear gas on Muslims protesting church - AP
The AP reports: "Indonesian police fired tear gas on Friday to disperse hard-line Muslims protesting against the construction of a Catholic church in a satellite city of the capital, Jakarta. [...] Witnesses said police fired tear gas as the protesters tried to force their way into the church, which has been under construction since November. Some also threw rocks and bottles into the site. [...] In April last year a Muslim group sealed off the church, tore down its sign and demanded that the mayor cancel the permit. [...] About 12,000 Catholics in the Bekasi region currently meet in store fronts or business premises that serve as informal places of worship."

Comment: Please join me in praying for the persecuted church in Indonesia. 

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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Wars and Rumors of War

Khalid Masood named as suspect in British Parliament attack - UPI.com
UPI reports: "Police on Thursday named the man they say carried out Britain's bloodiest attack in over a decade -- and in the process, killed four people and wounded nearly 30 others outside Westminster Palace in central London. Metropolitan Police identified the suspect as Khalid Masood, a British-born citizen who officials said lived in the West Midlands region of central Britain. [...] Wednesday's was the deadliest attack in Britain since the July 7, 2005, terrorist bombings in central London that killed 52 people and injured nearly 800."

Police in Antwerp, Belgium arrest attacker who drove into crowd - UPI.com
UPI reports: "Police in Antwerp arrested a French national from northern Africa for allegedly trying to run down shoppers on a busy thoroughfare Thursday morning. Police identified the suspect only as 'Mohamed R,' a 39-year-old living in France. Witnesses said he drove a small red car into a crowd on De Meir, the northern city's largest shopping street. Pedestrians were able to avoid being hit and police responding to the scene were able to stop the vehicle and arrest the driver, officials said. [...] The incident in Belgium came a day after the one-year anniversary of the bombings in Brussels that killed 32 people."

Comment: These are challenging times for the security services. Let's hope they develop some good strategies for dealing with lone-wolf attacks.

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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Wars and Rumors of War

London police treating Parliament attack as 'terrorist incident' - UPI.com
UPI reports: "What's being labeled a 'terrorist attack' rattled central London Wednesday, left four victims dead and preceded a hasty evacuation of Prime Minister Theresa May nearby at the central nerve center of Britain's legislative government."

Comment:  Praying for London and the people of the UK as they face this challenge.

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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Mark of the Beast

IBM, Visa Want Smart Devices, IoT Gadgets to Replace Themselves | Digital Trends
Digital Trends reports: "As technology grows, so do the options for making purchases. Already millions of people are able to buy things using PayPal or Apple Pay, but IBM and Visa want to expand that even further. Together, they want all connected devices to act as mobile payment systems. By collaborating with Visa, IBM will use its own Watson Internet of Things (IoT) platform to allow businesses to quickly add secure payment options to any device connected to the internet. These days, that means anything from a car, to a ring, or even a shoe."

Comment: That sounds great, but I would be concerned about privacy and security. They will really need to reassure consumers that these payment systems are safe before mass adoption.

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Monday, March 20, 2017

Rumors of War - King of the North

Russia enlarges military footprint in Libya - UPI.com
UPI reports: "Russia, 19 months after becoming a key player in the Syrian war, is increasing its military presence in Libya and is likely to back Libyan Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar in the tumultuous civil conflict. Haftar, a fiery commander in eastern Libya, has declared war against radical Islamists, including the Islamic State and al-Qaida, but is controversial for perceived iron-fist tactics."

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Saturday, March 18, 2017

Global Government

G20 leaders fail to reach agreements on free trade - UPI.com
UPI reports: "G20 financial leaders failed to reach an agreements on free trade during its annual meeting on Saturday. The meeting of 20 finance ministers from the world's largest economies ended after two days with no agreement supporting the group's decade-old tradition of promoting free trade and rejecting protectionism. [...] In their final statement the G20 leaders did agree to include pledges to fight tax avoidance, clamp down on terrorist financing and strengthen private investment in Africa."

Comment: It's worth remembering that this gathering is little more than a conference, a forum for issuing joint statements and pledges of action. It's not a governing body and announcements are not laws or treaties.  It's mostly designed to forge consensus on major issues so that problems can be avoided or minimized. Those looking for global government here will no doubt be disappointed. 

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Friday, March 17, 2017

Rumors of War

China: THAAD deployment violates national security - UPI.com
UPI reports: "China is remaining firmly opposed to the deployment of a U.S. missile defense system in South Korea, a day after Seoul confirmed THAAD's powerful X-Band radar arrived on the peninsula. [...] China has repeatedly voiced opposition to the THAAD radar, claiming the system could monitor military movements within Chinese borders, even as the United States tried to reassure Beijing THAAD would be used to deter North Korea missiles."

Rex Tillerson: U.S. not ruling out military action on North Korea - UPI.com
UPI reports: "U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Friday he is not ruling out military action against North Korea if a threat warrants it. Tillerson, who had described past U.S. North Korea policy as a 'failure,' told reporters in Seoul on Friday the Trump administration would not pursue President Barack Obama's principle of  'strategic patience' in the face of nuclear threats, South Korean news service Newsis reported."

Japan conducts evacuation drill for North Korea missiles - UPI.com
UPI reports: "Japan conducted an unprecedented evacuation drill to prepare for North Korea provocations. Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun reported the drill was carried out Friday in Oga City, Akita Prefecture, and involved the mobilization of local residents to safe shelters. [...] Tokyo is seriously concerned about North Korea's provocations, which have included dozens of ballistic missile tests and two nuclear tests in 2016. Japan has not been able to intercept projectiles that have fallen in its maritime exclusive economic zone."

Comment: Please join me in praying for the U.S. diplomatic mission to Asia that could do much to secure the peace or set the region on the path toward war.

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Thursday, March 16, 2017

Kings of the East

China, Saudi Arabia stress ties, sign $65 billion in deals - UPI.com
UPI reports: "China and Saudi Arabia signed more than a dozen agreements on economic cooperation worth $65 billion, according to Beijing's foreign ministry. [...] The meeting between the king and Xi comes at a time when China has reportedly been asked to play a bigger role in the Middle East, according to the South China Morning Post. While the two sides do not necessarily agree on a strategy to resolve the Syria conflict, Chinese diplomats who spoke to the Hong Kong-based newspaper said China is growing confident about its influential role in a multipolar world. Energy cooperation, which has been the foundation of China-Saudi Arabia relations, is at the center of Saudi Arabia's concerns, according to the report. Saudi Arabia is the top exporter of crude oil while China is the world's biggest importer."

Comment: It's been a BP puzzle for generations. Why would John's Kings of the East (Rev 16:12) march into the Middle East?  It's only in the modern era that the practical and material motive has been revealed and it's about energy. It's all about the oil. Now if we could only get that Silk Road development project going and upgrade those old roads!

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