Thursday, August 15, 2019

Rumors of War - Kings of the East

Chinese military buildup near Hong Kong stokes fears of intrusion
UPI reports: "China has moved armored personnel carriers to a stadium in Shenzhen, near the border with Hong Kong. Troops were seen carrying riot shields, batons and other weapons as they gathered around the city's Bay Sports Center and satellite imagery showed military vehicles on the sidelines."

Comment: I respect the Hong Kong protesters but I also feel sorry for them. The fate of Hong Kong was sealed when Great Britain ended colonial rule in 1997. Hong Kong is part of China now and it was only a matter of time before China began chipping away at the special status long enjoyed by the former British colony. The protestors began in opposition to the extradition law, which is now shelved, but they continued to protest and in hindsight, I think we will see that was a major miscalculation. By rioting and destroying property, they are forcing China to intervene. I suspect that once PLA troops patrol the streets of Hong Kong, they will never leave.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Pestilence

Health officials say Ebola cure near with 2 new Congo treatments - UPI.com
UPI reports: "Medical officials believe they're so close to a cure for Ebola that they've stopped a random drug trial to give patients in the Congo two new treatments, which they say have so far shown remarkable effectiveness killing the virus. Researchers began trials with four treatments last fall. Monday, they said two had worked remarkably well for 500 patients who'd received them. [...] Nearly 2,000 people in the Congo have died of Ebola in the past year."

Comment: They are getting close to curing Ebola, this is very good news to share! 

Monday, August 12, 2019

Temple Mount

Seven Muslims arrested, 61 injured amid tensions at Temple Mount - UPI.com
UPI reports: "Officials initially barred non-Muslims from entering Temple Mount, but allowed a group of about 150 Jewish worshipers to enter after a subsequent security assessment. Police said Muslim worshipers began to riot, including throwing chairs and other objects at the Jewish visitors who entered with a police escort, and officers responded by firing tear gas and rubber bullets to 'break up the rioters in order to restore public order.'"

Comment: As we know, the Temple Mount is both a political and spiritual flashpoint and we should take note when events take place there. In this case, there was a riot, an emotional and violent reaction by Islamics to the mere presence of Jews on the Temple Mount.  Their own behavior is not respectful of their own "holy place" but no doubt their bad actions will be blamed on Israel.

I commend UPI for using the term "Temple Mount" rather than the politically correct "holy place." Archeologist and historians have validated the existence of the two Jewish temples that predate the present mosque, and so "Temple Mount" remains an accurate description of the site, even if it is not popular with those who seek to minimize or erase the Jewish presence in the land.

Thursday, August 08, 2019

Famine

UN climate report: Change land use to avoid a hungry future
AP reports: “Human-caused climate change is dramatically degrading the Earth’s land and the way people use the land is making global warming worse, a new United Nations scientific report says. [...] 'The stability of food supply is projected to decrease as the magnitude and frequency of extreme weather events that disrupt food chains increases,' the report said. In the worst-case scenario, food security problems change from moderate to high risk with just a few more tenths of a degree of warming from now. They go from high to 'very high' risk with just another 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit (1 degree Celsius) of warming from now."

Comment: A UN scientific panel is warning that climate change heightens the risk of famine.  The good news is that there are things that we can do to minimize the risk. The report highlights better farming practices, diet changes and reducing food waste as some things we can do to avoid the worst outcomes of climate change.

Wednesday, August 07, 2019

Rumors of War - Kings of the East

China, Pakistan slam India's move to change Kashmir's special status - Reuters
Reuters reports: "In a move to tighten its grip on Jammu and Kashmir, parts of which are claimed by Pakistan and China, India dropped a constitutional provision that allowed the country’s only Muslim-majority state to make its own laws. The changes imposed by Modi’s Hindu nationalist-led government are the most sweeping in the nearly 30 years that India has been battling a revolt in Kashmir. The government also broke up the state into two federally administered territories."

Comment: This is one of the most significant developments in quite some time. Kashmir is a flashpoint for conflict between nuclear powers and that kind of thing should always be on our radar. 

Tuesday, August 06, 2019

Gog Alliance

Iran announces upcoming joint military drills with Russia - UPI.com
UPI reports: "Iran and Russia will hold joint military drills in the Persian Gulf later this year as part of a classified agreement to expand cooperation between the two nations. Iranian Navy Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi said Sunday the agreement with the Russian Defense Ministry was signed last week in Moscow, Iran's state-run PressTV reported."

Comment: According to this report, Russia and Iran have entered into a formal agreement for military cooperation, this is significant and very noteworthy. 

Sunday, August 04, 2019

Wickedness Increases

2 mass shootings in less than 24 hours shock US
The AP reports: "Two mass shootings at crowded public places in Texas and Ohio claimed at least 29 lives in less than 24 hours and left scores of people wounded, a shocking carnage even in a country accustomed to gun violence. In the Texas border city of El Paso, a gunman opened fire Saturday morning in a shopping area packed with thousands of people during the busy back-to-school season. The attack killed 20 and wounded more than two dozen, many of them critically. Hours later in Dayton, Ohio, a gunman wearing body armor and carrying extra magazines opened fire in a popular nightlife area, killing nine and injuring at least 26 people. The suspected shooter was shot to death by responding officers."

Comment: When I went to sleep last night the El Paso shooting was on my mind. When I woke up this morning and checked my news feed I saw alerts about the shooting. I'm not a "morning person" and so I was not quick to realize the shooting they were talking about was a different shooting, one that happened overnight...another shooting.  I've come to the conclusion that gun laws will not change the evil and wickedness in the human heart (only God can do that), but they can change who has access to guns, and that may be a good place to start.

Saturday, August 03, 2019

Wickedness Increases

At least 24 people shot, multiple dead at El Paso Walmart; suspect held
UPI reports: "At least 24 people were shot, several of them fatally, and one suspect was arrested at a Walmart Supercenter in El Paso, Texas, Saturday afternoon, authorities said. Police arrested a while male in his early 20s in connection with the mass shooting, spokesman Sgt. Robert Gomez said. Several media sources confirmed that the suspect lives in Allen, Texas, about 650 miles from El Paso."

Comment: Another mass shooting has occurred, this time in Texas.  People going about their business, enjoying the weekend and shopping at a local Walmart and then some crazy person starts shooting. Perilous times indeed (2 Timothy 3).

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Persecution

Xi Jinping Ramps Up Religious Persecution - National Review 
The National Review reports: "Over the past decade, rash optimism that China was finally moving past the era of former Communist dictator Mao Tse-tung’s influence has given way to president Xi Jinping’s reconsolidating his power. One of the major ways he’s done that: persecuting religious believers. [...] Chinese policy dictates that anyone holding religious activities outside of a church will be arrested. That means no church camps, no Bible studies, no youth groups, no orphanages, no Church-run health clinics, and since 2017, police have begun disrupting funerals for any faith, including native Taoists, Catholic News Agency reported."

Comment: It's very hard to grasp the scale of repression that is possible in China. Modern technology has created the tools for massive surveillance and enforcement of a police state that we in the West can scarcely imagine.  Our notions of privacy, personal rights and freedom of religion simply don't exist. Please join me in praying for the persecuted church in China, that they will endure persecution with perseverance, faith and the kind of love that wins over their oppressors.