Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Rumors of War - King of the North

U.S. Army tanks being moved to Russian border - UPI.com
UPI reports: "The U.S. Army will send M1A2 Abrams main battle tanks to the Baltic states of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania along Russia's borders ahead of a NATO operation in the spring. The tanks participated in joint drills between U.S. and Polish forces but some are being moved to the Baltic states to await a deterrence operation set to reassure the United States' European allies that Washington, D.C., is committed to their defense, The Wall Street Journal reported."

Comment: I wonder how Russia will react to this? Perhaps they won't mind at all. It's just for show and I suppose they know that.

Labels: ,

Monday, January 30, 2017

Rumors of War - Persia

Iran test fires another ballistic missile, report says - UPI.com
UPI reports: "The Iranian government has test fired a ballistic missile for the first time during President Donald Trump's administration, Fox News reported Monday. Fox's report cited U.S. officials in reporting that the missile test was carried out Sunday at a site near Semnan, about 150 miles east of Tehran. The medium-range missile flew about 600 miles before it exploded."

Comment: Ok, so let's see, according to Iran, they are not working on a nuclear weapons program. They are, however, working on a ballistic missile program. Not to worry, because they don't have any nukes to put on those missiles. That makes sense, right? Also, note in this news report that the missile test is a violation of a UN resolution. Let's see how the UN reacts to this. I bet they will bring out the Strong Words of Condemnation.

Labels: ,

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Persecution

Trump says US will prioritize Christian refugees - CNNPolitics.com
CNN reports: "President Donald Trump said in a new interview Friday that persecuted Christians will be given priority over other refugees seeking to enter the United States, saying they have been 'horribly treated.' [...] According to a report by the non-partisan Pew Research Center, however, 99% of the nearly 12,600 Syrians granted refugee status last year were Muslims. Less than 1% were Christian. Syria's population is 87% Muslim and 10% Christian, according to the CIA World Fact Book."

Comment: This is very encouraging. Much has been written about the plight of Christians in the Middle East and it's encouraging that this issue is receiving attention at the highest levels. I'm sure that Americans will welcome Syrian Christians with open arms and that local churches and congregations will be the first to step up and offer their support to their brothers and sisters in Christ. Please join me in praying for all persecuted believers in the Middle East. 

Labels:

Friday, January 27, 2017

Rumors of War

South Korea completes deployment of 36 Apache helicopters - UPI.com
UP reports: "South Korea has finished deploying new Apache helicopters. The Boeing AH-64E, which features digital cockpit avionics and powerful engines, would be used to target incoming North Korea military tanks. A South Korean military official said on Friday all 36 new helicopters were acquired in early January, deployed and are ready for combat operations, Yonhap news agency reported on Friday."

Labels:

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Future Fear - Rumors of War

Doomsday Clock closer to end of world due to nukes, climate change, Trump - UPI.com UPI reports: "The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists on Thursday said the Doomsday Clock is now 30 seconds closer to midnight, or the end of the world, partly because of President Donald Trump. The clock is now 2 1/2 minutes to midnight, the closest since the nuclear arms race during the Cold War."

Comment: Personally, I think this is more liberal hand-ringing and it has everything to do with Trump and very little to do with fear about what is taking place in the world. Still, it's indicative of a mindset of fear over the problems we face now and those looming on the horizon.

Labels: ,

Pestilence

Brazil orders 11.5 million yellow fever vaccines after 40 dead - UPI.com
UPI reports: "Brazil's Ministry of Health said it ordered 11.5 million doses of yellow fever vaccine following an outbreak that killed at least 40 people. [...] The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said yellow fever, found in tropical and subtropical areas in Africa and South America, is transmitted to people through the bite of infected mosquitoes. [...] The CDC said illness ranges in severity from a self-limited febrile illness to severe liver disease with bleeding, adding that from 20 percent to 50 percent of people whose yellow fever infection becomes serious die."

Comment: I wonder if this is a threat to the Northern Hemisphere given how similar it is to Zika

Labels:

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Rumors of War - King of the North

NATO deploys troops from Germany, Belgium to Lithuania - UPI.com
UPI reports: "The first troops dispatched by NATO from Germany and Belgium to beef up its forces against Russia have arrived in Lithuania. On Tuesday, about a dozen German officers arrived in the capital city of Vilnius as part of a planned deployment of a 1,200-strong battalion from other NATO members, including from Norway, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Croatia and France. [...] Last year, NATO decided to station a multinational battalion in each of the three Baltic countries in response to Russia's intervention in Ukraine and military activity in the region."

Labels: ,

Pestilence

New drug reduces risk of 'superbug' re-infection by 40 percent - UPI.com
UPI reports: "A newly approved drug may help in the battle against Clostridium difficile -- a potentially fatal 'superbug' gut infection that has become a scourge in U.S. hospitals. In two clinical trials, researchers found that the drug, called bezlotoxumab, marketed as Zinplava, cut the risk of a recurrent C. difficile infection by almost 40 percent. [...] C. difficile sickened almost half a million Americans in 2011, according to the most recent numbers from the CDC. An estimated 29,000 of those patients died within a month. Most infections happen in the hospital, the CDC says."

Antibiotic overuse behind 'superbug' outbreak in U.K. hospitals - UPI.com
UPI reports: "Researchers analyzed hospital data related to the outbreak of Clostridium difficile, a "superbug" gut infection. The investigators concluded that reducing the use of fluoroquinolones -- antibiotics such as ciprofloxacin (Cipro) and levofloxacin (Levaquin) -- curbed the outbreak. "

Labels:

Roaring Waves

Can underwater sonar canons stop a tsunami in its tracks? - UPI.com:
UPI reports: "New research suggests acoustic-gravity waves, or AGWs, could be used as a defense against deadly tsunamis. [...] 'Within the last two decades, tsunamis have been responsible for the loss of almost half a million lives, widespread long-lasting destruction, profound environmental effects and global financial crisis,' Usama Kadri, a researcher at Cardiff University's School of Mathematics, said in a news release. 'Up until now, little attention has been paid to trying to mitigate tsunamis and the potential of acoustic-gravity waves remains largely unexplored.'"

Labels:

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Gog Alliance - War

Russia, Iran, Turkey to enforce Syria cease-fire through 'trilateral mechanism' - UPI.com UPI reports: "Russia, Iran and Turkey on Tuesday agreed to enforce a cease-fire in the Syrian civil war following peace negotiations in Kazakhstan. [...] The peace negotiations in Kazakhstan's capital of Astana were aimed at bringing an end to the nearly six-year Syrian civil war. The talks were brokered by Russia and Iran, which support Assad, as well as Turkey, which supports rebel forces."

Labels: , ,

Pestilence

Human cases of bird flu climb in China - UPI.com
UPI reports: "The World Health Organization's director-general warned of escalating cases of bird flu around the world, as human cases of viral infections continue to climb in rural China. [...] China has reported 16 human infections of the H7N9 avian flu virus, including five deaths, according to state-owned news agency Xinhua."

Labels:

Rumors of War - Kings of the East

Beijing responds to Sean Spicer's South China Sea remarks - UPI.com
UPI reports: "China responded immediately to remarks made by White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer regarding Beijing's interests in the South China Sea, claiming 'indisputable sovereignty' over artificial islands in the region. During his first official briefing on Monday, Spicer said the United States would defend its interests in the South China Sea, in the international waters where China has been building the islands to take control of shipping routes."

Labels: ,

Monday, January 23, 2017

Covenant With Many - Peace of Jerusalem

U.S. to move slowly on relocating embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem - UPI.com
UPI reports: "The United States will move cautiously on transferring its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, senior administration sources said. The symbolic move to Jerusalem remains a priority in the Trump administration, but it will not happen immediately, the source told CNN. [...] The U.S. Embassy is in Tel Aviv and not Jerusalem, on the premise that Jerusalem's future should be determined by a peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians, each of whom regard the city as its capital."

Comment: It will be interesting to see how this works out. There must be intense pressure on Trump to waive the U.S. law that requires the embassy be moved just as past presidents have done. Trump promised he would do it and he does seem to to the kind of leader who keeps his promises.

Labels: ,

Pestilence

Countries 'grossly underprepared' for disease outbreaks: Study - UPI.com
UPI reports: "An analysis of reports on the response to the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa has researchers sounding the alarm about worldwide infectious disease outbreak preparedness. [...] 'We found remarkable consensus on what went wrong with the Ebola response and what we need to do to address the deficiencies,' study authors said in a press release. 'Yet not nearly enough has been done. Ebola, and more recently Zika and yellow fever, have demonstrated that we do not yet have a reliable or robust global system for preventing, detecting and responding to disease outbreaks.'"

Comment: I wonder if the study mentioned the one area where they are well prepared: media hype. Seriously, didn't it seem that the level of media attention to Ebola and Zika far exceeded the actual threat to public health?  

Labels:

Friday, January 20, 2017

War

Denmark into Syria; country to join fight against Islamic State - UPI.com
UPI reports: "The mandate of Denmark's military forces in Iraq was extended Friday, allowing troops to venture into Syria to combat terrorists. The action was not unexpected. In 2015 Danish Defense Minister Peter Christiansen pledged to accelerate efforts of Denmark's special forces, working within NATO, against the Islamic State in the Middle East. The decision can also be seen as a response to U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, who has asked all NATO countries to become more engaged in the fight against IS. Denmark joined the international coalition in Iraq in 2014."

Comment: This is a good reminder of how many countries have troops engaged in military operations in Syria and why Syria remains a potential flashpoint for a wider war. 

Labels:

Thursday, January 19, 2017

War - Gog Alliance

Russia, Turkey carry out joint bombings in Syria against Islamic State - UPI.com
UPI reports: "Russia and Turkey have carried out their first joint coordinated airstrikes on Islamic State targets in Syria, Russian Lt. Gen. Sergei Rudskoy said. [...] Moscow and Ankara have worked together to target Islamic State militants though they support opposing sides in Syria's nearly six-year civil war. Russia backs Assad, while Turkey backs Syrian rebel groups such as the Free Syrian Army."

Comment: The slow drift of Turkey away from the West and towards Russia seems to be accelerating just a bit.  This is most likely an alliance of convenience at the moment but the operational and tactical links being forged in this cooperation in Syria may lay the groundwork for closer ties down the line.

Labels: ,

War

B-2 bombers flew from Missouri to Libya to kill Islamic State targets - UPI.com
UPI reports: "American B-2 bombers killed at least 85 Islamic State militants in Libya after dropping 108 precision-guided bombs in several locations, U.S. defense officials said. The stealth bombers targeted at least one Islamic State training camp on Wednesday. The bombings, authorized by President Barack Obama, occurred in the desert outside of Sirte. U.S. drones launched hellfire missiles at escaping Islamic State militants. [...] The decision to use the nuclear-capable B-2s instead of other fighter jets stationed in England was made to 'send a strategic message' to Russia and China, a source told Fox News."

Comment: I have to admit, this was unexpected. At first glance, the use of the B-2 stealth bomber against Islamic militants was overkill, but as this report makes clear, there was another purpose and another target in mind. 

Labels:

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Earthquakes

Earthquakes close schools, metro system in Central Italy - UPI.com
UPI reports: "Several powerful earthquakes measuring in magnitudes of 4.5 to 5.7 have struck central Italy, a region already scarred by tremors from last year, emergency officials said. [...] In Rome, some schools closed and the metro system was evacuated due to the strong earthquakes more than 50 miles away."

Labels:

Rumors of War - Persia

Departing U.S. ambassador Samantha Power warns of Iran weapons - UPI.com
UPI reports: "The United States' outgoing ambassador to the United Nations on Wednesday warned the Security Council about what she sees as a critical under-addressed danger lingering in Iran -- the nation's failure to abide by an arms embargo. During her last appearance at a meeting of the Security Council, Samantha Power urged the global panel to hold Tehran's feet to the fire for potentially violating a U.N. resolution that bars Iran from engaging in arms sales."

Comment: What happened to Obama's "snap back" sanctions? 

Labels: ,

Roaring Waves - Future Fear

NOAA: 2016 was hottest year in modern history - UPI.com
UPI reports: "For three consecutive years, the record for 'hottest year in modern history' has been broken. As NOAA and NASA declared this week, the average global temperature for 2016, 58.69 degrees Fahrenheit, bested the 2015 average by 0.07 degrees. The record for hottest year has now been broken five times during the 21st century -- 2005, 2010, 2014, 2015, and 2016. Scientists began tracking global temperatures in 1880."

Labels: ,

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Rumors of War - Persia

Israel steps up shadow war with Hezbollah - UPI.com
UPI reports: "Israel's Institute for National Security Studies stressed in its annual strategic assessment, released Jan. 2, that Hezbollah remains the most serious threat the Jewish state faces. It urged Israel's intelligence establishment to intensity efforts to block the transfer of advanced weapons systems to Hezbollah - a process that may already be under way with a spate of air and missiles strikes against Syria. [...] Iran and Hezbollah, which serves as the Islamic repub­lic's strategic arm in the Levant, present a comprehensive threat to Israel that far exceeds any other. [...] Israel seems to be step­ping up the shadowy conflict with Hezbollah, as Iran seeks to estab­lish a presence in the divided Go­lan, a red line for Israel."

Comment: This is the kind of conflict that percolates below the radar for most of us but could flare into a full war at a moments notice. 

Labels: , ,

Monday, January 16, 2017

Pestilence

'Superbug' widespread in hospitals, must be monitored, study says - UPI.com
UPI reports: "A type of potentially deadly drug-resistant bacteria is more widespread in U.S. hospitals than previously thought and needs to be more closely monitored, a new study suggests. Researchers checked for cases of illness caused by carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) in a sample of four U.S. hospitals and identified a wide variety of CRE species. Three hospitals are in the Boston area and one is in California. The CRE family of germs causes about 9,300 infections and 600 deaths in the United States each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those numbers are on the rise, the researchers said."

Comment: Well, that sounds bad but at least it's not Zika. 

Labels:

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Covenant With Many

France describes need for two-state solution at Israel, Palestinian conference - UPI.com UPI reports: "More than 70 nations' foreign ministers and senior diplomats convened Sunday in Paris for a conference to work out a peace plan between Israel and Palestinians. French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault opened the session, noting a two-state solution is the only way to achieve peace in the Middle East. [...] Israelis and Palestinians were not allowed to participate in the summit but have been invited to hear the conclusions of the meeting."

UK voices 'reservations' over Mideast summit, refuses to sign statement
AFP reports: "Britain cited 'reservations' over Sunday's Middle East peace conference and refused to sign a joint statement that called for a negotiated two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. A Foreign Office spokesman said the British had 'particular reservations' about the meeting in Paris taking place without Israeli or Palestinian representatives, 'just days before the transition to a new American president.' Britain had therefore attended the talks as an observer only, the spokesman said. "

Comment: Please join me in praying for God's blessing upon the UK for not participating in the latest attempt by the international community to define Israel as the primary obstacle to peace. The idea that all Israel needs do is give away more land to the Palestinians to secure peace is delusional. If you have any doubts about that, just look what the Palestinians did when Israel gave them Gaza. It's an object lesson in the reality of land-for-peace.

Labels: ,

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Covenant with Many

AP - In long-shot Mideast peace bid, France sees nothing to lose
The AP reports: "It sounds far-fetched at best: holding a Mideast peace conference without Israelis, Palestinians or the incoming U.S. government. But the French organizers say that's the whole point. They want Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President-elect Donald Trump to see that most of the world wants a two-state solution and is fed up with decades of conflict. With chances for a Mideast peace deal lower than in years — perhaps a generation — French President Francois Hollande figures there's nothing to lose. French diplomats fear that Trump will unleash new tensions in the region by condoning settlements on land claimed by the Palestinians and potentially moving the U.S. Embassy to contested Jerusalem. So more than 70 foreign ministers and other top envoys are gathering Sunday in Paris to urge the establishment of a Palestinian state."

Palestinians establish embassy at the Vatican - UPI.com
UPI reports: "The Palestinian Authority has opened an embassy at the Vatican on the eve of a peace conference meant to revive long-stalled talks with Israel. The embassy confers a new level of legitimacy on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who was granted an audience with Pope Francis on Saturday. While the Vatican has maintained close ties with Israel, Francis has increasingly spoken on behalf of the Palestinian people, encouraging both sides to reach a deal that creates a Palestinian state recognized by Israel."

Comment: There is some big news developing with the search for Mideast peace. France is holding an international conference tomorrow. The purpose of the event seems to be to gather the nations to decree that Israel is the problem and if only they would give more land to the Palestinians, all would be well.

It will be a good example of how the nations are eager to gang up on Israel and stand in rebellion to the God of Israel.

They also want to gang up on Trump to show him that the international community does not share his views and will not welcome moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.

Labels: ,

Friday, January 13, 2017

Pestilence

'Superbug' resistant to all antibiotics killed Nevada woman - UPI.com
UPI reports: "A Nevada woman in her 70s who'd recently returned from India died in September from a 'superbug' infection that resisted all antibiotics, according to a report released Friday. The case raises concern about the spread of such infections, which have become more common over past decades as germs have developed resistance to widely used antibiotics."

Labels:

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Pestilence

Scientists create mosquitoes resistant to dengue virus - UPI.com
UPI reports: "Scientists say they have created mosquitoes resistant to the dengue virus, which might eventually help control the spread of the disease in humans. The team at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore genetically modified Aedes aegypti mosquitoes to boost their natural ability to fight infection by the virus. Mosquitoes get infected when they feed on someone who has the disease. Then they pass dengue to healthy people by biting them. Each year, dengue sickens about 96 million people worldwide. The virus kills more than 20,000 people, mostly children, the researchers said."

Labels:

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

War

Pentagon: U.S. could keep anti-Islamic State presence in Iraq after Mosul falls - UPI.com UPI reports: "U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter said the United States could maintain a presence in Iraq after the Islamic State is defeated in the battle for Mosul. Speaking from the Pentagon during a press briefing, Carter said the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, Daesh and ISIL, could remain a threat to Iraqi and regional security even after it is removed from power in Iraq's second-largest city and the militant Islamist group's stronghold in Iraq: Mosul. Carter said the decision to keep a residual U.S. military presence in Iraq would be up to the Iraqi government and Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi."

Comment: I can't help wonder how long the U.S. will keep a military presence in Iraq? 

Labels:

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Earthquakes

7.3-magnitude earthquake rattles Philippines, Indonesia - UPI.com
UPI reports: "The U.S. Geological Survey said a 7.3-magnitude earthquake occurred in the Celebes Sea between the Philippines and Indonesia on Tuesday. The quake occurred at a depth of about 380 miles. Officials did not issue a tsunami warning, advisory, watch or threat, the U.S. National Tsunami Warning Center said."

Comment: At 7.3 magnitude, that's a very large earthquake and would have done a lot of damage if it struck a populated region. 

Labels:

Monday, January 09, 2017

Rumors of War - Persia

USS Mahan fires warning shots at Iranian vessels in Strait of Hormuz - UPI.com
UPI reports: "U.S. officials said the USS Mahan Navy destroyer fired several warning shots after four Iranian vessels closed in at a high speed in the Strait of Hormuz. The encounter occurred Sunday after the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard boats did not respond to the Mahan's radio request to stop. The Iranian ships sailed within a half-mile of the Mahan, which was escorting two U.S. ships, Fox News reported. The Iranian ships approached the vessel at a high rate of speed five separate times, CNN reported. The Mahan fired three warning flares, while a Navy helicopter also dropped a smoke float."

Comment: I wonder what the Iranians think of Trump?  Will they continue this reckless behavior or will they decide to test Trump just to see if he responds the same way Obama does?

Labels: ,

Peace of Jerusalem

Nine arrested after Jerusalem truck attacker kills four soldiers - UPI.com
UPI reports: "Police arrested nine suspects after a truck struck Israeli soldiers in Jerusalem, killing four and injuring 16, a police spokesman said. The truck plowed through a group of soldiers disembarking from a bus Sunday, then reversed and ran them down again. Three of the injured were in serious condition, including one, a woman, in a coma. Police shot at the truck until it stopped."

Labels: