Thursday, March 31, 2016

Roaring Waves - Nations in Distress

Collapsing Antarctic ice sheet may double predicted sea level rise - UPI.com
UPI reports: "New research suggests previous sea level rise predictions err on the conservative side. In a paper published this week in the journal Nature, scientists argue that the continued collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet will accelerate sea level rise at nearly twice the rate predicted by the United Nations."

Comment: It may be time to sell the beach house.  The acceleration in sea level rise will take place over a considerable amount of time, but it would appear that the era of tranquil coastal communities is at an end. Unusually large coastal storms, massive property damage, flooding, and beach erosion are the new normal in the near-term. In the long-term, the contours of coastal areas will change dramatically in the next half-century and island nations that exist now will no longer exist.

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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Rumors of War - Persia

Khamenei: Iran's future needs missiles; treasonous to suggest only diplomacy - UPI.com UPI reports: "Supreme Leader of Iran Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Wednesday said missiles are necessary for the future of the Islamist republic. Khamenei's remarks follow comments by former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a moderate political leader who last week said Iran's 'future is in dialogue, not missiles.' Khamenei in October approved of the historic Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action U.S.-led nuclear agreement, but in September warned that no further negotiations would take place with the United States."

Comment: This is not an attitude one could describe as conciliatory. Didn't Obama just conclude an agreement to bring Iran out of the cold and into the family of nations? It's confusing, isn't it? Unless that agreement, received with such international fanfare, was simply smoke and mirrors and Iran's rogue personality has not changed at all?

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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Persecution

Hundreds detained in Pakistan Easter attack - UPI.com
UPI reports: "More than 200 people have been detained and thousands questioned in the deadly Easter attack in Pakistan's populous Punjab region over the weekend, government officials said Tuesday. Sunday's bombing at Gulshan-i-Iqbal park in Lahore killed at least 72 people, officials confirmed, and that toll is expected to rise in the coming days. [...]  Taliban offshoot Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, which claimed responsibility for the bombing, said it had targeted members of Pakistan's minority Christian community with the blast. Most of those killed, though, were Muslims, officials said."

Pakistan's Christians call for protection, unity after Easter bomb - Reuters
Reuters reports: "Two days after the attack, a sense of vulnerability is growing among members of the Christian community, who are calling on the government of Muslim-majority Pakistan to do more to protect them. Christians, who number around 2 million in a nation of 190 million people, have been the target of a series of attacks in recent years."

Comment: Please join me in praying for the persecuted church in Pakistan, that they will endure persecution with grace, faith and forgiveness.  Pray also for the security services, that they will bring the perpetrators to justice and for the government, for their resolve to finally deal with the Islamic militants that many officials have tolerated (and even actively supported) over the years.

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Rumors of War - Kings of the East

Earthquakes in Western Canada blamed on fracking - UPI.com
UPI reports: "North Korean drones continue to infiltrate South Korean airspace, and they're not easy to take down, a Seoul military official said. North Korea's military has been sending drones across central and western regions of the heavily fortified demilitarized zone, South Korean news service News 1 reported. Seoul is looking out for any escalation of tensions across the Military Demarcation Line that bisects the DMZ due to intruding North Korea drones."

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Earthquakes

Earthquakes in Western Canada blamed on fracking - UPI.com
UPI reports: "New research suggests hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is inducing earthquakes in Western Canada. Though alarming, the correlation isn't new. Several studies have linked gas and oil operations in the Plains states to a rise in the frequency of earthquakes."

Comment:  I wonder if this earthquake danger is decreasing due to the changing economics of the oil industry? The price of oil is so low now that fracking is quickly losing economic viability. 

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Pestilence

Many Americans misinformed about Zika virus - UPI.com
UPI reports: "Many Americans are woefully misinformed when it comes to understanding the risks of Zika virus, a new Harvard poll has found. [...] At this time, there has been no local transmission of Zika in the United States. But, about 273 residents have acquired Zika through travel to countries where the virus is active, primarily Latin America and the Caribbean [...] The virus, which generally doesn't cause serious illness in adults, has been associated with thousands of cases, mostly in Brazil, of a severe birth defect call microcephaly. Babies with microcephaly have abnormally small heads, and most wind up with stunted brain development, according to the CDC."

Comment: I'm sure we will be hearing more about this as the seasons change in North America. 

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Monday, March 28, 2016

Rumors of War - Kings of the East

North Korea’s foreign minister blames U.S. for tensions - UPI.com
UPI reports: "North Korea's foreign minister said joint military exercises were bringing the Korean peninsula to the brink of war. In an interview with TASS News Agency of Russia, Ri Su Yong criticized Washington and Seoul for raising tensions. North Korea is ready to launch a preemptive nuclear attack on the United States, Ri said, adding war on the peninsula would be brought about by the United States."

North Korea propaganda video depicts Washington, D.C., nuclear attack - UPI.com
UPI reports: "North Korea's newest propaganda video, "Last Chance," shows a nuclear strike on Washington, D.C., and warns the United States against provoking an attack. The four-minute video, uploaded Saturday to the North's propaganda website DPRK, includes a computer-generated scene of a submarine-launched nuclear missile striking the Capitol building in Washington, D.C. "

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Signs in the Stars

Scientist claims there's even more evidence of Planet Nine's existence - The Verge
The Verge reports: "More evidence is pointing toward a mysterious Neptune-sized planet lurking at the outer edges of our Solar System. One of the scientists who claimed in January to have found strong evidence for a ninth planet — temporarily named "Planet Nine" — now says there are even more clues that support the world's existence."

Comment: I know this news encourages the Nibiru fan club, but I'm not thinking of that, I'm thinking of this in terms of Luke 21:26 and Matthew 24:29. 

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Sunday, March 27, 2016

Persecution

Pakistan bombing: Taliban targets Christians, kills 69 - CNN.com
CNN reports: "A splinter group of the Pakistani Taliban has claimed responsibility for a deadly attack on Easter Sunday, saying it intentionally targeted Christians. The suicide blast in the eastern Pakistan city of Lahore killed at least 69 people, a local government spokesman told CNN. [...] In March last year, suicide bombers attacked a Christian community, also in Lahore, setting off two blasts that killed at least 14 people and wounded dozens more, officials said. The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for that attack too and warned of more to come."

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Gospel

Christians in Holy Land, across world celebrate Easter - Israel News, Ynetnews:
Ynetnews reports: "Christians in the Holy Land and across the world are celebrating Easter, commemorating the day followers believe Jesus was resurrected in Jerusalem 2,000 years ago. The cavernous Holy Sepulcher church in Jerusalem was packed with worshippers on Sunday. The site is where Christians believe Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected."

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Thursday, March 24, 2016

War

Paris police: Terror attack in 'advanced stages' foiled - UPI.com
UPI reports: "French authorities foiled a terrorist attack in the works by raiding a suspect's home in a Paris suburb, France's interior minister said Thursday. The raid was carried out Thursday morning in the suburb of Argenteuil, just 10 miles northwest of downtown Paris, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said during a news conference late in the day. Arrested was a suspect, he said, who was involved in the future plot that was in the 'advanced stages.'"

Six arrested in raids in Brussels - UPI.com
UPI reports: "Raids across Brussels on Thursday led to the arrests of six suspects thought to be connected to the airport and subway bombings that killed 31 people and injured more than 300, prosecutors said. Three of the arrests were made in front of the prosecutor's office in Brussels. None of the suspects were identified. Officials charges will be made on Friday. Police are still looking for one suspect from the airport bombing and another from the subway bombing. "

Comment: I hope the Brussels security services are taking notes and learning from their French counterparts.

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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

War

AP - IS trains 400 fighters to attack Europe in wave of bloodshed
The AP reports: "The Islamic State group has trained at least 400 fighters to target Europe in deadly waves of attacks, deploying interlocking terror cells like the ones that struck Brussels and Paris with orders to choose the time, place and method for maximum chaos, officials have told The Associated Press. The network of agile and semiautonomous cells shows the reach of the extremist group in Europe even as it loses ground in Syria and Iraq."

Comment: Let's hope Belgium and other European countries are training at least 400 new security personnel to foil these jihadi attackers.  

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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

War

Police seek suspect in Brussels bombings; Islamic State takes credit - UPI.com
UPI reports: "Police in Brussels are searching for a man seen in surveillance footage at an airport prior to blasts that killed 30 people there and at a subway station Tuesday. Two explosions killed at least 10 people at the Zaventem airport in Brussels' outskirts at about 8 a.m. local time. Another explosion an hour later killed at least 20 people at the Belgian capital's Maelbeek metro station. Reports indicate shots were fired and shouts in Arabic were heard before the explosions. The Islamic State militant group claimed responsibility for the attacks."

Islamic State claims Brussels suicide attacks, killing at least 30 | Reuters
Reuters reports: "Islamic State claimed responsibility for suicide bomb attacks on Brussels airport and a rush-hour metro train in the Belgian capital on Tuesday which killed at least 30 people, with police hunting a suspect who fled the air terminal. Police issued a wanted notice for a young man in a hat who was caught on CCTV pushing a laden luggage trolley at Zaventem airport alongside two others who, investigators said, had later blown themselves up in the terminal, killing at least 10 people. Officials said 20 died on the metro train close to European Union institutions."

Comment: Praying for the people of Brussels and for the diligence of the Belgian security services in preventing further attacks. 

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Monday, March 21, 2016

Rumors of War - Kings of the East

South Korea simulates strikes against ‘key’ North Korea facilities - UPI.com
UPI reports: "South Korea fighter jets simulated a precision strike against key North Korean facilities in a Seoul training exercise. The drill involved F-15K aircraft as well as the C-130H transport aircraft, Yonhap reported. [...] The jets were equipped with air-to-ground and air-to-air weapons, and drills included attacks on simulated North Korea combat planes, elimination of surface-to-air missiles, and scenarios where joint direct attack munitions would guide bombs to key North Korea military facilities."

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Saturday, March 19, 2016

Earthquakes

Threat of epic California quake far greater, report says - CNN.com
CNN reports: "The San Andreas Fault has an infamous reputation, but there are other fault lines lying around California that can trigger a powerful earthquake, especially if they rupture simultaneously, a new report says. [...] Through dynamic rupture modeling, it has been discovered that the San Jacinto fault is capable of rupturing along with the San Andreas in just a single earthquake, according to Julian C. Lozos, an assistant professor of Geological Sciences at the California State University, Northridge."

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Mark of the Beast

Amazon Files Patent to Let You Complete a Payment With a Selfie - ABC News
ABC News reports: "No need for a password -- the transaction of the future could be completed by simply taking a selfie. Amazon filed a patent application this month, spotted by Re/Code, for a system that would allow users to take a selfie or video of themselves to complete a transaction."

Comment: This is interesting as it suggests an advancement in image recognition software with a focus on faces as a means of completing transactions. 

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Friday, March 18, 2016

Nations in Distress - Gog Alliance

EU, Turkey agree on deal to return migrants to Turkey - UPI.com
UPI reports: "European Union and Turkish leaders reached a landmark agreement Friday to stop the flow of migrants and send thousands back to Turkey in a last-ditch effort to resolve the largest displacement of people in Europe since World War II."

Comment: Expect to see little mention of this in the mainstream news, but it's of huge prophetic significance. Huge. Turkey has skillfully leveraged it's geography to advance it's EU ambitions while the government of President Erdogan presses his vision of a new Ottoman Empire and abandons the modern secular state founded by Ataturk after the fall of the earlier empire. The seeds of the rift between Turkey and the West and it's eventual drift into the Gog Alliance are clear. Turkey will now be the return destination for thousands of refugees, many of whom are Muslim, and this will no doubt have an impact on the character of Turkey over time, something sure to alienate those in the EU already doubtful of Turkey's place in Europe. Turkey, eventually spurned by Europe, will find new partners in Russia and Iran. This process will no doubt take years to work out, but today was an historic day in Turkey's prophetic journey.

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Rumors of War - Kings of the East

U.N. Security Council condemns North Korea launches - UPI.com
UPI reports: "The United Nations Security Council strongly condemned North Korea's most recent launch of ballistic missiles. The U.N. body held an emergency meeting Friday regarding Pyongyang's provocations in response to the firing of at least one ballistic missile into waters off the eastern coast of the peninsula Friday. [...] In their press statement, the Security Council condemned both the Friday launch and Pyongyang's March 10 announcement of rocket tests, calling the actions violations of U.N. resolutions."

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Thursday, March 17, 2016

Persecution

Kerry: Islamic State committing genocide in Syria, Iraq - UPI.com
UPI reports: "Secretary of State John Kerry called the Islamic State's assault in Syria and Iraq "genocide" on Thursday. 'Daesh is genocidal by self-proclamation, by ideology and by actions,' Kerry said at the State Department, referring to IS by another common name in reference to IS slaughter of Christians, Yazidis and Shiite Muslims. [...] Designating IS actions as genocide could prompt a referral by the United States to the United Nations Security Council to establish a tribunal specifically for crimes committed by IS in Iraq and Syria."

Comment: The Islamic State's barbaric attacks on Christians have been well documented and have included beheadings and crucifixion as well as harsh imposition of sharia law, misuse of blasphemy laws and taxes on non-muslims. Christians have been deprived of life, liberty and livelihood under their harsh and repressive rule. Diplomacy often moves at a glacial pace and these offenses have been going on for some time, but it's nice to see these facts acknowledged on the record.

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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

War

Analysis: Islamic State has lost 22 percent of territory - UPI.com
UPI reports: "The Islamic State militant group has lost more than 20 percent of its territory in the last three months -- potentially turning the tide in the war against the terror group, a data analysis showed Wednesday.  [...] Several contributing factors also coincided with some of the territory loss, the report said, including financial struggles owing partly due to tax increases and substantial salary cuts to Islamic State fighters. U.S. and Russian military airstrikes against oil depots have further impacted the group's revenue."

Comment: The Russians are leaving now, I wonder what impact that will have on the war against IS? 

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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Temple Mount

Temple Mount cameras will be installed before Passover - Arutz Sheva
Israel National News reports: "Israel and Jordan agreed that cameras will be installed on Temple Mount before the holiday of Passover, Israel Hayom reports. A senior diplomatic source said that the move will be a 'Significant form of supervising and maintaining order on Temple Mount.' According to the deal between Israel and Jordan, the cameras will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Both sides will be able to access the broadcast and watch what is being recorded."

Comment: I'm not optimistic that an agreement to install, monitor and share the cameras will actually be reached in time for Passover. Still, I can't ignore the obvious prophetic implications if someday they do have constant surveillance of the Temple Mount with the video broadcast live on the internet. 

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Covenant With Many

Obama Seeks to Pave Way to Mideast Deal After He Leaves Office - NYT
The New York Times reports: "The White House is debating whether the president should lay down the outlines of an agreement, several officials said, perhaps through a resolution at the United Nations Security Council or in a presidential speech. The objective would not be to revive direct negotiations — almost nobody believes that is likely now — but to enshrine the proposals Secretary of State John Kerry made during his last failed effort at peacemaking in 2014."

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Monday, March 14, 2016

Rumors of War - King of the North

Russian President Vladimir Putin orders troops out of Syria - UPI.com
UPI reports: "Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday said he will begin withdrawing troops from Syria this week as the peace process moves forward in the war-torn nation. Putin had military forces in Syria for months, primarily to fight terrorist factions, to aid the regime of President Bashar Assad. Additionally, Moscow has pummeled parts of Syria with airstrikes for months."

Comment: I wonder how many Russian troops will stay in Syria? This report doesn't say, but I'm sure a good-sized contingent will remain to keep Russian control over the port facility in Tartus.

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Saturday, March 12, 2016

Earthquakes - Roaring Waves

Japan pauses for 5th anniversary of Fukushima tsunami, quake, meltdown - UPI.com
UPI reports: "Japan's emperor and prime minister led a solemn ceremony in Tokyo Friday marking the fifth anniversary of the tsunami and earthquake in Fukushima. The tidal wave and magnitude-9 earthquake killed nearly 20,000 people as it overwhelmed entire towns in northeastern Japan and triggered a partial meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant. Five years later more than 180,000 people remain displaced, and 100,000 people are still unable to return home because of local radiation leaks."

Comment: Has it been five years already? It's extraordinary that Japan is still recovering from this disaster, but remember, this was one of the largest earthquakes and tsunamis in recorded history. It makes sense that it would take some time to recover.  There also remains the hidden danger of the radiation still being released slowly into the ocean. 

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Friday, March 11, 2016

Rumors of War - Kings of the East

Report: North Korea's Kim Jong Un calls for more nuclear tests - UPI.com
UPI reports: "North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ordered more nuclear tests after watching a ballistic missile launch Friday, the state news agency reported. The report comes days after the United Nations approved sanctions on North Korea in response to its nuclear testing in January. [...] North Korea has threatened to launch attacks on the South and the United States as the countries continue their joint military drills."

Comment: I thought we might go at least one day without some new development with North Korea...apparently not. 

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Thursday, March 10, 2016

Rumors of War - Kings of the East

North Korea fires two short-range missiles - CNN.com
CNN reports: "North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles early Thursday, according to the South Korean military, as already heightened tensions on the peninsula continued to worsen. The two missiles were fired from North Hwanghae province, south of Pyongyang, toward the sea east of the Korean Peninsula, the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said. The South tracked the projectiles and is monitoring the situation, it said. The launch is the latest saber rattling on the peninsula that roils with tension."

Comment: It seems not a day goes by now without some new development with North Korea.  The potential for miscalculation is very high.

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Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Rumors of War - Persia

Reuters - Iran officer says missiles designed to reach Israel
Reuters reports: "Iran's medium-range ballistic missiles are designed to be able to hit Israel, the commander of the Revolutionary Guards' missile battery was quoted as saying on Wednesday as the Guards test-fired two missiles."

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Rumors of War - Kings of the North

UPI - North Korea releases photo of miniaturized nuclear warhead
UPI reports: "North Korean state media showed off a photo of what it says is leader Kim Jong Un with a nuclear warhead small enough to fit on a ballistic missile. [...] If true, this could pose a serious threat to North Korea's neighbors as well as to the United States. North Korea said it tested a nuclear bomb on Jan. 6, and has recently accelerated its belligerent rhetoric in response to recent additional sanctions imposed by the United Nations."

Reuters - North Korea fires missiles, liquidates Seoul's assets
Reuters reports: "North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea on Thursday, Seoul said, as South Korea and the United States conducted massive war games. The North also announced it has scrapped all agreements with the South on commercial exchange projects and would 'liquidate' South Korean assets left behind in its territory. North Korea has a large stockpile of short-range missiles and is developing long-range and intercontinental missiles as well. "

Comment: Well, that didn't take long. A day after China signaled a new willingness to enforce UN sanctions North Korea has reminded the world that not only to they have nuclear weapons, they now have warheads small enough to fit on a ballistic missile. This is a very dangerous situation.

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Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Roaring Waves - Nations in Distress

Scienmag - Sea level rise threatens larger number of people than earlier estimated
Science Magazine reports: "More people live close to sea coast than earlier estimated, assess researchers in a new study. These people are the most vulnerable to the rise of the sea level as well as to the increased number of floods and intensified storms. By using recent increased resolution datasets, Aalto University researchers estimate that 1.9 billion inhabitants, or 28% of the world's total population, live closer than 100 km from the coast in areas less than 100 meters above the present sea level."

Comment: Thinking of selling your beachfront property? Now's the time! 

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Rumors of War - Kings of the East

UPI - China to block North Korea ships from returning home
UPI reports: "China could soon be blocking the return of North Korean ships in Chinese ports from returning to their country of origin. After supporting the adoption of a sanctions resolution in early March at the United Nations Security Council, China is getting ready to enforce the new laws at its ports [...] any North Korean ships already docked at Chinese ports are to be banned from leaving for home, starting Thursday."

UPI - China signals interest in denuclearization talks
UPI reports: "China's foreign minister said Beijing would be 'open' to five-party talks that could work toward North Korea denuclearization. Wang Yi's statements Tuesday mark a change in position, Yonhap reported. South Korean President Park Geun-hye had proposed on Feb. 22 the resumption of five-party talks without the North, but Beijing had promptly declined the offer."

Comment: We are again left to wonder what crazy reaction will come from North Korea. In the past, the North could count on China to say all the right things at the UN but do nothing on the ground, that seems to be changing.  This could either signal the end of the long simmering crisis or cause it to flash anew.

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Monday, March 07, 2016

Rumors of War - Kings of the East

UPI - North Korea threatens 'nuclear strike
UPI reports: "U.S. and South Korean troops launched large-scale military exercises on Monday, a move that drew condemnations from North Korea. The exercises Key Resolve and Foal Eagle are to be held until April, CNN reported, and, according to The Washington Post, are to include rehearsals of surgical strikes on Pyongyang's weapons facilities. They are the largest-ever joint U.S.-South Korea military exercises. [...] Pyongyang also stated a 'preemptive and offensive nuclear strike' could be made in response to the joint drills."

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Saturday, March 05, 2016

Gog Alliance

Reuters - Rivals Turkey and Iran seek to 'manage differences'
Reuters reports: "Turkey and Iran, two countries on opposite sides of Syria's civil war, agreed they must cooperate to end sectarian strife, including support for a fragile ceasefire, in the region after their leaders met in Tehran on Saturday. Iran, along with Russia, has stood by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the five-year war, providing him with military and financial support, while Turkey is his most outspoken critic and has backed opposition forces. [...] Turkey will serve as a key transit route for Iranian energy supplies to Europe and wants to integrate high-speed rail projects to connect ports on its Mediterranean and Black Sea coasts with Iran, Davutoglu said."

Comment: Could the Syrian Civil War be responsible for driving Turkey into the prophetic Gog Alliance with Russia and Iran?  Turkey already has a president determined to destroy the secular republic and impose Islamic rule and the country becoming more authoritarian by the day.  And while it may seem counter-intuitive that a vital member of the NATO alliance would drift over time into an alliance with Russia and Iran, it's clear that many of their values and interests are now aligned.

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Friday, March 04, 2016

Rumors of War

UPI - Cold war prep: Canadian tests Army vehicles in the Arctic
UPI reports: "Canada is conducting trials with two types of vehicles to determine the specific features and capabilities needed for Army operations in Arctic terrain."

Comment: Are you ready for war in the Arctic? The major powers bordering the frozen region are now building up their capacity even as climate change puts more land and resources in play. 

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Thursday, March 03, 2016

Rumors of War - Kings of the East

UPI - Kim Jong Un orders use of nukes at moment’s notice
UPI reports: "Kim Jong Un has ordered his military to be ready to use nuclear weapons at a moment's notice, two days after the adoption of a tough sanctions resolution at the United Nations Security Council, and days away from a large-scale joint military exercise involving U.S. and South Korean troops."

Comment: Well, as tantrums go, that's pretty good. 

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Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Earthquakes

UPI - 7.8-magnitude earthquake off Indonesia triggers tsunami warnings
UPI reports: "A major 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of western Indonesia's Sumatra region on Wednesday, triggering a tsunami warning. [...] The earthquake struck at 6:49 p.m., local time (12:49 GMT), the U.S. Geological Survey said."

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Rumors of War - Kings of the East

UPI - U.N. Security Council passes sanctions on North Korea
UPI reports: "The United Nations Security Council adopted sweeping sanctions against North Korea on Wednesday, introducing the toughest measures against Pyongyang in a bid to bring an end to its controversial nuclear weapons development. The vote was unanimous, adopted by the council 15-0."

Comment: Given the North's history, the only real question know is, how will Kim act out his anger? 

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Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Rumors of War - Kings of the East

UPI - China expected to increase military budget
UPI reports: "China could soon announce a significant increase in its military budget in order to accommodate the army's reorganization and continue its defense of disputed territories in the East and South China Seas. The proposed budget, to be made public Saturday during the annual National People's Congress, could increase as much as 20 percent, according to an unidentified source who spoke to the South China Morning Post."

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