Friday, June 30, 2006

Global News In Brief:
Israel To Try Captured Hamas
Friday, 30 June 2006, 11:58 am

Israel: Hamas Members Will Be Tried Israel intends to try the Hamas activists, government ministers and parliament members captured during an early-morning incursion into the Gaza Strip, the Israeli Defense Forces said June 29. The Palestinians will be tried for involvement with terrorist activities.
Israeli troops took 64 Hamas officials into custody during early morning raids in the Palestinian territories on wednesday. The detainees include seven members of the Hamas Cabinet and 20 parliamentarians. Israeli officials say the detainees will be questioned and eventually indicted on charges stemming from the June 25 abduction of Israeli Cpl. Gilad Shalit in Gaza.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

My Way News - Israel Hits Ministry; Hamas Offers Soldier
AP reports, "Israeli warplanes struck the Palestinian Interior Ministry early Friday, setting it ablaze as Arab leaders tried to forge a deal that would halt the Israeli offensive and free a 19-year-old soldier held by gunmen allied with the ruling Islamic Hamas."

Wed Jun 28, 2006 7:07 pm (PST)
<> Dangerous superbug taking off in Canada, moving beyond high-risk groups
18:51:59 EDT Jun 27, 2006
HELEN BRANSWELLTORONTO (CP) - A dangerous strain of a superbug that can be caught outside hospital settings has moved beyond the boundaries of the high-risk groups it first plagued in Canada, causing illness in healthy adults and children in a number of provinces across the country, researchers reported Tuesday. In a special series of articles, rushed to print by the Canadian Medical Association Journal, they reported on the spread of the strain ofmethicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus called USA300, which can cause severe illness and occasionally even death in previously healthy individuals. "It's sweeping across the nation, no doubt about it," said Dr. John Conly,senior author of one of the papers and a leading researcher on the scope of Canada's problem with community-acquired MRSA. "I think this is a pan-Canadian problem." Historically, antibiotic-resistant strains of Staph aureus were infections caught in hospitals, where the heavy use of antibiotics has allowed a variety of drug-resistant bacteria to flourish. But over the last decade or so, U.S. researchers have reported the troubling emergence of a couple of strains of MRSA that seem to have developed in the community, in people who hadn't been hospitalized. Often the superbugs cause only hard-to-treat skin and soft-tissue infections, weeping wounds that will not heal. But in some cases, the bugs invade the lungs, causing life-threatening pneumonias. Some groups in the community have been known to be at high risk - the homeless or residents of homeless shelters, intravenous drug users, crack cocaine smokers and prison inmates. But in the United States, where the problem is more advanced than it has been to date in Canada, infections have been cropping up in day-care centres and on sports teams, both professional and amateur. Conly, chair of the Canadian Committee on Antibiotic Resistance, said Calgary has already seen 300-plus cases of community-acquired MRSA,including four or five deaths. And while that city's outbreak seemed to predate others in the country,communities in southwestern British Columbia, Saskatchewan and beyond are seeing an upswing in cases, he said. But Conly worries Canadian physicians may still not recognize the problem,believing community-acquired MRSA is still rare in Canada. "I think it's under-recognized and hopefully this series of articles will actually help to bring it to the fore for all the 60,000-plus Canadian physicians," he said from Calgary, where he teaches medicine at theUniversity of Calgary. "It's here, it's upon us now and it's sweeping the country."

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

My Way News - Israeli Planes Buzz Home of Syria Leader
AP is reporting the latest developments in the latest Mideast crisis:
Israel said its warplanes buzzed the summer residence of President Bashar Assad Wednesday in a bold warning to the country that shelters the political leader of Hamas, the Islamic militant group holding an Israeli soldier captive in the Gaza Strip. [...] The United States accuses Damascus of harboring groups Washington labels "terrorist" including Hezbollah, Hamas and other radical Palestinian factions.
Israel appears to be taking a very restrained and calculated swipe at Syria in an effort to prod Assad into ordering the release of the hostage soldier. As host to the militant Palestinian factions, Assad is in a position to either end the hostage crisis or escalate tensions. Bible prophecy students see Damascus as a tripwire, it has the distinction of being the subject of one of the most explicit and yet to be fulfilled prophecies of the Bible (Isaiah 17:1). Those who doubt the accuracy of Bible prophecy should take careful note of the fate of Damascus. If you doubt, then doubt, but revisit your skepticism when Damascus is destroyed.
Yahoo News - Huge Asteroid to Fly Past Earth July 3
Space.Com reports, “An asteroid possibly as large as a half-mile or more in diameter is rapidly approaching the Earth. There is no need for concern, for no collision is in the offing, but the space rock will make an exceptionally close approach to our planet early on Monday, July 3, passing just beyond the Moon's average distance from Earth.” [Signs & Wonders in the Heavens, Luke 21:11]

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Breaking News - Israeli Planes Attack Two Gaza Bridges
MyWay News/AP is reporting:
Israeli planes attacked two bridges and a power station, knocking out electricity in most of the Gaza Strip early Wednesday and stepping up the pressure on Palestinian militants holding captive a 19-year-old Israeli soldier.
It's not clear if this is part of a rescue operation or a wider military operation to hit back at the terrorist leadership of Hamas. I also wonder if Israel will seek to punish the Palestinian militant leader who ordered the initial attack earlier in the week, he is currently under the protection of Syria and believed to be living in Damascus.
*Perilous Times, Witchcraft and The Occult
Couple held over human sacrifice
*From: Agence France-Presse From correspondents in New Delhi
June 25, 2006
A COUPLE have been arrested in southern India for sacrificing a seven-year-old boy on the advice of a mystic faith healer who said it would ensure the marriages of their five sons.The boy was strangled to death by the faith healer and the couple and their son in Tamil Nadu state, the Press Trust of India said quoting police officials. All four were arrested.The faith healer had recommended the human sacrifice to the couple to ward off "evil spirits" which were making it difficult for them to find marriage partners for their five sons, the news agency said.The pair found the boy alone at his house, put him in a steel box and took him to a temple where the healer joined them in killing him, the news agency said.The boy's blood was then sprinkled at their house, the news agency said.Human sacrifices are reported occasionally in rural India where many people put faith in occult practices to ward off evil or gain prosperity.
Robyn Cavalera

Monday, June 26, 2006

My Way News - N.Korea may have fuel for 13 nuclear weapons: study
AP reports, "During President George W. Bush's administration, North Korea has gone from having enough plutonium for one or two nuclear weapons to having enough for as many as 13, a study released on Monday said." [Rumors of War, Matthew 24:6]
My Way News - Israeli Leader Vows 'Broad' Gaza Offensive
AP reports, "With troops poised to invade Gaza, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Monday ruled out bargaining with the captors of an Israeli soldier and promised a 'broad and ongoing' military offensive."
SFGate - The Last Days of Privacy
The San Francisco Chronicle reports:
Within the next four months, a major Bay Area supermarket chain plans to introduce a payment system that uses biometric fingerprint authentication to verify customers' identities. Under this system, shoppers in checkout lines won't need to use cash, checks, debit cards or credit cards. Instead, they can place their fingers on scanners that read fingerprints, and once the device links to their bank or credit card accounts, they can buy groceries, get cash back and do everything else shoppers do.
This report is about a biometric payment technology called Pay By Touch and it also discusses ID theft and the trade-off between privacy and convenience. While this system is not the Biblical "mark of the beast" (Rev 13:16-18) it is a reflection of the wider trend in making payments and identity verification more secure.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

My Way News - Japan to Get U.S. PAC-3 Missiles
AP reports, "Japan has agreed to a U.S. deployment of advanced Patriot interceptor missiles on American bases by the end of the year, officials said Monday, amid concerns that North Korea may be about to test-fire a long-range ballistic missile." [Rumors of War, Matthew 24:6]
My Way News - Israel Blames Hamas in Deadly Sneak Attack
AP reports, "Palestinian militants sneaked into Israel underneath a Gaza border crossing Sunday, killed two Israeli soldiers and captured another, raising the threat of an all-out conflict in the Gaza Strip just a year after Israel's pullout."

Comment: This will be followed by the usual spectacle of the Palestinian leader deploring the attack perpetrated by other Palestinians and finding some way to blame Israel for the entire thing.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

My Way News - Slight Mutation Found in Bird Flu Virus
AP reports, "The World Health Organization has detailed the first evidence that a person likely caught the bird flu virus from a human, then passed a slightly mutated version to another person. But experts said Friday the genetic change does not increase the threat of a pandemic." [Pestilence, Luke 21:11]

Friday, June 23, 2006

My Way News - U.S., Japan Expand Missile-Defense Plan
AP reports, "The United States and Japan agreed Friday to strengthen cooperation on missile defense amid concerns of a possible long-range rocket launch by North Korea." [Rumors of War, Matthew 24:6]
Yahoo News - U.S. Finishes War Games in the Pacific
AP reports, "The largest U.S. military exercise in the Pacific in decades ended Friday after showing North Korea and other nations that the United States can swiftly muster a huge combat force in the region, officials said." [Rumors of War, Matthew 24:6]
LA Times - 'End Times' Religious Groups Want Apocalypse Soon
The LA TImes reports, "For thousands of years, prophets have predicted the end of the world. Today, various religious groups, using the latest technology, are trying to hasten it. Their endgame is to speed the promised arrival of a messiah."

Comment: This was an interesting article that mostly gets it right, except for focusing on the role of human agency in bringing about the Second Coming. God has a timetable and it will not be rushed by anything humans do. We are called to be watchful, but don't be under the impression that these future events are under our control.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

My Way News - Earth Hottest It's Been in 2,000 Years
AP reports, "The Earth is running a slight fever from greenhouse gases, after enjoying relatively stable temperatures for 2,000 years. The National Academy of Sciences, after reconstructing global average surface temperatures for the past two millennia, said Thursday the data are 'additional supporting evidence ... that human activities are responsible for much of the recent warming.'" [Fear for the Future, Luke 21:26]

Comment: The scientific community has reached a consensus that global warming caused or accelerated by human activities is indeed taking place. Consequences of global warming include rising sea levels, coastal flooding, and severe storms. Watch out for those roaring waves (Luke 21:11).
My Way News - Official: 7 Arrested in Sears Tower Plot
AP reports, "Seven people were arrested Thursday in connection with the early stages of a plot to attack Chicago's Sears Tower and other buildings in the U.S., including the FBI office here, a federal law enforcement official said." [Rumors of War, Matthew 24:6] - Facing biometrics' limits
CNET reports, "It may be championed as the highest level of security, but biometrics isn't ready for wide deployment as a consumer application, a new report says. According to Financial Insights, a subsidiary of research company IDC, biometric deployment will grow significantly over the coming years, but its upward climb will be limited for use within a bank's internal security network." [Mark of the Beast/ID tech news, Rev 13:16-18]

Comment: I'm the first to admit that I don't know what the mark of the beast will be, I only know on faith that at some point in the future there will be a mark that will be required for commerce. Many of us in the Bible prophecy community have focused on the rise of biometric identification technology as one possible fulfillment of the mark prophecy. The above report tells us that biometrics is not yet at the stage where it could be easily implemented on a national level, much less on a global level. Things could change, of course, so keep watching.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

CNN - Strong waves slam Central American coast
AP reports, "Big waves generated by a storm 2,000 miles away battered a long stretch of the Pacific coast, wrecking homes, hotels and restaurants from Peru to Central America, civil defense officials said Tuesday." [Roaring Waves, Luke 21:11]

Monday, June 19, 2006

Yahoo News - Norway to house seeds in doomsday vault
AP reports, "It sounds like something from a science fiction film — a doomsday vault carved into a frozen mountainside on a secluded Arctic island ready to serve as a Noah's Ark for seeds in case of a global catastrophe. But Norway's ambitious project is on its way to becoming reality Monday when construction begins on the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, designed to house as many as 3 million of the world's crop seeds." [Fear for the Future, Luke 21:26]

Comment: It has been said that every generation finds reason to fear the future, Bible prophecy says that one generation will have more reason that those that came before, they will fear for the fate of the entire planet. Luke 21:26 is a prophecy about such fear given in the context of cosmic signs, but the sentiment is that a future generation will look at the things that are happening in the world and in the heavens and fear for the future. This news report is interesting because it reflects a real fear that the world may suffer a major catastrophe and therefore steps are needed to prepare for such an eventuality.
New US church leader says homosexuality no sin

This new Presiding Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States of America is a woman--and a prime example of why Paul said that he "never allowed a woman to teach or to exercise un-gainsayable authority over a man." [I Timothy 2:12] As far as I can tell, she is not a homosexual herself. But her blithe dismissal of the clear text of the Bible against homosexuality bespeaks, at best, a profound ignorance of a subject on which she is supposed to be an expert; and at worst, a reprobate mind similar to that against which Jesus warned the Church in Thyatira [Revelation 2].

The message must now be quite clear: "Come out of her, My people!" [Revelation 18:4-5ff]

Sunday, June 18, 2006

USA Today reports ('Godcasting:' Love that new-time religion) on churches using the latest technology, including HD broadcasting and podcasting, to share the gospel. With the internet, the world is your pulpit. [Gospel Preached to All Nations, Matthew 24:14]

Saturday, June 17, 2006

My Way News - International Sponsors OK Palestinian Aid
AP reports, "International sponsors of a stalled Mideast peace plan agreed Saturday to channel aid to cash-starved Palestinians for health care, utilities and social services, while continuing a boycott of the militant-led Palestinian government."
Yahoo News - Report: N.Korea preparing for missile test
AP reports, "North Korea loaded booster rockets onto a launch pad and moved about 10 fuel tanks to a launch site in preparation to test-fire a long-range missile that could reach as far as the U.S. mainland, a newspaper reported Saturday." [Rumors of War, Matthew 24:6]

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Yahoo News - Protestant rally draws 3 million in Brazil
AP reports, "About 3 million evangelical Protestants staged a huge rally Thursday in the heart of Brazil's biggest city, demonstrating their growing influence in the world's largest Roman Catholic country. Crowding next to sound trucks blasting religious music, marchers wore T-shirts in the green and yellow colors of Brazil's flag advertising their annual 'March for Jesus.'" [Gospel Preached to All Nations, Matthew 24:14]
SPI - Ahmadinejad Seeks Chinese, Russian Support
AP reports, "Iran's hard-line president is doing more than just attending an Asian security summit in China: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad seeks to gain Russian and Chinese support at a critical moment for his country's nuclear program." [Gog Alliance, Ezekiel 38; Kings of the East, Rev 16:12]]

Comment: The alliance of Ezekiel 38 is taking shape, and it's all about securing energy resources. The U.S. and EU may think they are handing out carrots to Iran, but Iran is holding the black gold, and they are using that to win friends. Meanwhile, in Central Asia, the Great Game is once again afoot, energized by the new competition for energy and the influence it brings. As for Libya and North Africa, let's see how far north the fires of jihad spread. Libya recently resumed full diplomatic relations with the U.S. after abandoning plans to acquire weapons of mass destruction and helping America in the war against terrorism. The jihadists will probably consider Qaddafi an enemy now.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

WorldNetDaily: Al Aqsa official: Jewish temples existed

Well, any serious student of the Bible could have taught him that. And even when he makes this admission, this former official (who asked that his name be withheld) insists that Islam is the "third and last religion" and the truth path to revelation. But he is forced to admit that the preponderance of the evidence says that two Jewish temples (Solomon's Temple, 1015-586 BC, and Herod's Temple, 515 BC-70 AD) definitely existed and definitely were built under the very spot where the Dome of the Rock now stands.

Bear this in mind as you study Revelation 11:1-2]

MEMRI: Iranian Presidential Advisor Mohammad Ali Ramin: 'The Resolution of the Holocaust Issue Will End in the Destruction of Israel'

In fact, this so-called advisor repeats many historical canards against the Jews--including the old chestnut saying that they unleashed the Black Death on Europe. (The real reason why they were suspect is that their kasrut or "kosher" dietary practices made them partially immune to the plague, so that they suffered far fewer deaths.) And as the title says, he reiterates the premise that the Holocaust is a myth and says that when the Holocaust "myth" is thus exposed, those who support Israel will lose all moral basis for that support.

Sadly, stranger things have happened than that Americans and Europeans alike would forget why they fought such a bloody war that killed millions of their own people--fifty million Allied and twelve million Axis, counting military and civilian casualties. But I wouldn't count on Israel's destruction. God has something else to say about that [Ezekiel 38-39].

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Yahoo News - U.S. House Condemns China Over Religious Persecution Charges
AFP reports, "The US House of Representatives, in resolutions adopted overwhelmingly, has condemned China for what it called escalating levels of religious persecution and unauthorized ordination of Catholic bishops." [Believers Persecuted, Matthew 24:8]
NASA Science News reports that a meteoroid crashed into the Moon last month, and they have the video of the event. [Signs in the Moon, Luke 21:25]

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Yahoo News - Israel: Final peace talks unrealistic
AP reports, "Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said Sunday that Israel wants to negotiate with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas but insisted it's 'not realistic' to pursue a final peace deal with him while the Hamas militants controlling the Palestinian government refuse to moderate." [Covenant With Many, Daniel 9:27]
My Way News - Iran Accepts Parts of Western Nuke Offer
AP reports, "Iran said Sunday that it accepted some parts of a Western offer aimed at getting Tehran to drop its nuclear program, but it rejected others while calling the central point ambiguous."
Yahoo News - Strong quake shakes southern Japan
AP reports, "A strong earthquake rattled southern Japan early Monday followed by a milder temblor in the north, but there was no danger of a tsunami from either, the nation's meteorological agency said." [Quakes, Matthew 24:7]

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Yahoo News - KKK stages rally at Civil War battlefield
AP reports, "Members of the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacist groups rallied Saturday at the Antietam National Battlefield, believed to be the first time a group was given permission to demonstrate at the site of the bloodiest day of the Civil War." [Wickedness Increases, Matthew 24:12]
My Way News - China's Thirst for Oil Rattles Old Order
AP reports, "The shifting pattern of energy consumption is rattling Washington and aggravating an already intense rivalry with neighboring Japan over access to oil and gas supplies, adding to tensions in an already volatile region."
My Way News - Abbas Sets Date for Referendum on Israel
AP reports, "Moderate President Mahmoud Abbas, defying the Hamas militants who run the government, said Saturday that Palestinians would vote next month on whether to establish a state alongside Israel, effectively recognizing the Jewish nation."

Friday, June 09, 2006

Yahoo News - Hamas Military Wing Calls Off Israel Truce
AP reports, "Hamas militants called off a truce with Israel on Friday after a barrage of Israeli artillery shells tore into Palestinians at a beachside picnic in the Gaza Strip, killing seven dcivilians."

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Yahoo News - Banking on credit cards at the ballpark
AP reports, "The Texas Rangers hope to boost hot dog and beer sales this summer not only with a better team but with an innovation at the concession stands — swipe-free credit-card terminals." [Mark of the Beast/commerce tech, Rev 13:16-18]

Comment: No, not the mark, but we do follow commerce tech, and this is an innovative use of contactless card tech, let's see if it catches on.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Yahoo News - Curiosity, humor surround June 6, 2006
AP reports, "There's a devilishly odd nexus of theology, mathematics and commercialism on the sixth day of the sixth month of the sixth year." [Mark of the Beast, Rev 13:16-18]

Comment: This news report is noteworthy because it contains a helpful primer on the history and interpretations of the Biblical "mark of the beast." There is much that the report leaves out, so here are a few questions you may wish to consider in your study of this important prophecy: Who imposes the mark of the beast? What happens to people who do not accept the mark of the beast? What happens to people who do accept the mark?

Sunday, June 04, 2006

WorldNetDaily: Physicist: Cell-like structures could be microbes from space

The cells--if indeed that be what they are--are extremophiles, or microbes that thrive under extreme conditions--in this case, tremendous heat and pressure, or "superheating" (to 600 degrees Fahrenheit). Godfrey Louis, their putative discoverer, claims that they are not just extremophilic but are in fact extraterrestrial in origin. His main basis for that claim is that they have no DNA--a finding which itself is in dispute.

Of greater interest to prophecy students is that Dr. Louis has found a collaborator: Dr. Chandra Wickramasing, professor of astronomy at Cardiff University in Wales. He is a proponent of a theory called panspermia, the notion that life can be found all over the universe, that something (a comet's tail, perhaps?) somehow seeded the earth with life, and that something else might re-seed the earth from time to time. Dr. Wickramasing evidently believes that Dr. Louis' extremophiles are such a re-seed.

This is not the same as the theory of directed panspermia (that life was deposited on earth by a guided missile) proposed by Francis Crick and Leslie H. Orgel. But it's close. And it illustrates a trend: forced to abandon evolution as an untenable theory of life's origins, the enemies of God turn to ever-wilder theories, including some that would suggest that the salvation of mankind will come from a natural, physical entity beyond the earth. (Perhaps this would include the Star Trek concept of the "Progenitors"--begging the question of who "generated" that fictional race.)

What's next? Will the government itself tell people to watch the skies? After the Rapture occurs [I Thess. 4:16-18], it just might.