January 14, 2012

The Week in Review

January 13, 2012 | From theTrumpet.com
Islamists dominate Egyptian elections, Greek funds to to German weapons-makers, praise for the Vatican intelligence service, a fatal stampede in South Africa, and Scotland weighs a breakup with Britain.

Middle East


Islamists win crushing victory in Egyptian elections: Egypt’s two main Islamist parties have won an overwhelming victory with the completion of the second-round run-off election this week. After three rounds of staggered elections to vote in a new Egyptian parliament, the Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party, has won the most votes, with the ultra-conservative Salifists a close second. Though final results have not yet been publicized, Egypt’s Islamists have won two thirds of seats in the lower house of parliament. The Freedom and Justice Party is claiming 41 percent of seats, and the Salafi Al-Nour party 27 percent. The liberal Egyptian Bloc has won just 9 percent of seats. Elections for the upper house of parliament will begin at the end of this month.
Israel and Cyprus increase defense cooperation: Two agreements were signed by Israel and Cyprus on Monday, one on defense cooperation, and the other on the protection and exchange of classified information. “Signing the two agreements sets the basis for the further development of relations in the area of defense cooperation,” Cypriot Defense Minister Demetris Eliades, who was in Israel for the signing of the pacts, said on Tuesday. The Cyprus Mail reports that relations between the two countries have improved rapidly and significantly of late. “The visit was described by everyone as historic and very important for the development of the two countries’ relations,” Eliades said. The Trumpet has long predicted that Cyprus would be used by Europe as a stepping stone to penetrate the State of Israel. “Cyprus is an important linchpin as Europe expands toward the Middle East, particularly to sustain its entrenched interests in Jerusalem and Israel as it has previously done in the Crusades,” we wrote in the February 2003 edition of the Trumpet. Watch for the EU to take advantage of Cyprus’s proximity to Israel.
Catholic bishops express anti-Jewish bias: Catholic bishops visiting the Gaza Strip have described Gaza as “the largest prison in Europe.” In reporting on the visit by the Vatican’s high-profile delegation of eight bishops from Europe and North America, News.va, the Roman Catholic Church news agency, described Israeli air strikes but made no mention of continuing rocket attacks on Israeli civilians, or the Islamic persecution of Gaza’s small Christian community. “The bishops’ official visit in Gaza is part of a recent Vatican course of action with the Palestinian Authority,” reports IsraelNationalNews.com. The Vatican has shown support for the Palestinian Authority’s bid for statehood, and last month a Vatican ecumenical center based in Bethlehem organized a conference on “How to live together in a future Palestinian state.” The Catholic bishops’ recent comments reveal an anti-Jewish stance that is destined to be felt in full by Israelis in the future.

Europe
German arms industry profits at Greek expense: Even as the Greek economy continues its agonizing collapse, with the nation struggling to submit to extreme austerity measures being enforced by its masters in Berlin, the nation’s unelected technocratic government is overseeing a giant fiddle of the books involving the channeling of bailout money into the coffers of Germany’s armaments industry. According to the recently publish 2010 Arms Export Report for Germany, Greece is the second-biggest buyer of German armaments, after Portugal. Greece lives under a permanent military threat from Turkey. Tensions are made worse by continuing disputes over Greek sovereignty attached to certain islands in the Aegean. To counter Turkey’s aggression, Greece has spent huge amounts on defense budgets—as much as 4.3 percent of gross domestic product, proportionately the highest among the EU nations. Who has been the greatest beneficiary of this defense expenditure? The major supplier of defense equipment to Greece: the German armaments industry. How much have EU elites actually manipulated ongoing Greek-Turkish tensions for the advantage of the European Union’s thriving defense industries? The facts are that Greece’s coffers have been substantially drained into huge profits for German defense industry barons. When the EU was threatened with the collapse of the Greek economy, German defense industry chiefs held the Greeks’ feet to the fire. Rather than cancel out on existing contracts, permitting the release of funds to support basic services within the ailing Greek economy, the German government defense contractors enforced Greece’s contract obligations. The effect of this scenario has been that Greece is treating as a priority the payment of its obligations to the German armaments industry using the very bailout funds received to ostensibly revive its dying economy.
Pope condemns Christian persecution: Pope Benedict xvi spoke up for persecuted Christians around the world in a speech to ambassadors to the Vatican on January 9. The theme of his speech was young people—how the world’s troubles affect them, and how to help them. He forcefully condemned the global persecution of Christians, saying: “In many countries Christians are deprived of fundamental rights and sidelined from public life; in other countries they endure violent attacks against their churches and their homes.” He praised former Pakistani Minister for Minorities Affairs Shahbaz Bhatti, who was shot after speaking out for persecuted Christians. He also condemned religiously motivated terrorism. But he did not only speak about violent persecution. “In other parts of the world,” he said, “we see policies aimed at marginalizing the role of religion in the life of society ….” He made it clear that he believed Catholicism should play a public role in Europe, saying, “I am proud to recall … that the Christian vision of man was the true inspiration for the framers of Germany’s Basic Law, as indeed it was for the founders of a united Europe.” He praised the European Court of Human Right’s decision to allow Italy’s state schools to display crosses. Indeed, he praised Italy’s relationship between church and state as a model for other nations. The speech shows the Catholic Church’s ambition to be the defender of Christians around the world. It also shows its desire for power—especially in Europe.
Australian ambassador praises Vatican’s diplomatic and intelligence gathering skills: The outgoing Australian ambassador to the Vatican, Tim Fischer, praised the Vatican’s diplomatic links and intelligence gathering, according to an article published by the Catholic News Agency on January 12. “It is the oldest organization in the world, and it does have a huge network,” he said. He added: “As recently as the Balkans war some of the best information as to what was really happening on the ground was not held by the cia or the kgb but, in fact, right here in Rome by the Holy See.”
Italy: Attempts to quash tax evasion lead to draconian rules: Italy is restricting how much people can pay in cash and monitoring those crossing the border, in order to fight tax evasion. Since December 4, Italians have not been allowed to pay more than €1,000 in cash to anyone. Previously, the largest allowed cash payment was €2,500. Credit card companies and banks must report any card transactions of more than €3,000 made by their customers to Italy’s Revenue Agency. Italy is even trying to stop people driving out of the country with their money. It’s recently posted dogs trained to smell bank notes at its border crossings. Cameras and computer systems keep track of those crossing into Switzerland. Italy does need to solve its tax evasion problems. But an unelected government introducing draconian rules should get people worried—even if it seems to have a legitimate excuse. Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi warned last year: “There’s a real danger of crossing over into a fiscal police state.”
Muslims angle for ownership of German Catholic churches: The Catholic Church is planning to close five or six churches in Duisburg, Germany, because of diminishing patronage, and local Muslims wish to buy the churches to use as Islamic worship locations, the German daily Der Westen reported January 1. Mohammed Al, the association chairman of Duisburg’s Merkez Mosque, doesn’t want the churches to sit empty or be demolished. He is among the Muslims striving to convince Catholic officials to allow Merkez, the largest mosque in Germany, to buy the churches after the Catholics vacate them, to use them for Islamic worship. Al explained the apparent incongruity, saying, “Regardless of whether it’s a church or mosque—it’s about a house of God.” Germany’s Catholics have protested the planned closings and possible Muslim ownership with vigils and letters, and they have planned demonstrations if the sales go through. The Catholic Church is aware of its declining membership, and is determined to reverse it. Last month, the church launched a global advertizing crusade to convince “lost souls” to return to its ranks. A church spokesman said it is “the first time ever in the 2,000-year history of the Catholic Church” that the church has run such a campaign. A few days after the ad campaign was launched, Pope Benedict xvi told the Roman Catholic clergy that the economic crisis besieging Europe is the result of a continent-wide ethicalbreakdown. The pope essentially asked where the spiritual, political and motivational power is that could remedy Europe’s crisis in ethics. His tacit answer was that this force lies within the Catholic Church.
Pope Benedict appoints conservative cardinals: Pope Benedict xvishowed his focus on Europe as he announced 22 new cardinals on January 7. Many of the appointments went to Vatican personnel—who tend to be more conservative and in closer contact with the pope. After the new nominations, 35 percent of cardinals under the age of 80 (cardinal electors—those eligible to elect another pope) will be Vatican officials. Benedict’s appointments especially focused on Europe. Sixty-seven out of the 125 cardinal electors will now be European. Latin America, the next most represented continent, has only 22. “The pope is a conservative on matters of faith and sexual morals such as birth control, homosexuality and the ban on women priests,” wrote Philip Pullella for Reuters. “Each time he names cardinals he puts his stamp on Roman Catholicism’s future by choosing men who share his views.” “Since Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected pope in April 2005, his three batches of new cardinals have favored Europeans and those who work with him in Rome over bishops from other countries,” writes David Gibson for the Religion News Service. One “major factor” in this is “that Benedict is at heart an Old World, old-fashioned Bavarian Catholic, and both he and the cardinals who elected him believe that Europe remains the birthplace of Catholic culture,” writes Gibson.
Episcopalians invited into Catholic Church: A year after a similar initiative in Britain, at the start of this year the Catholic Church took a major step forward to garner back parishioners from the church’s Protestant daughters in the U.S. The pope announced Jeffrey Steenson would lead a new ordinariate—or Catholic subgroup—for Episcopalians in America that want to join with the Catholic Church. Over 100 Episcopal priests have asked to move into the ordinariate. The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, as the group will be called, will allow Episcopalians to keep many of their traditions and yet be part of the Catholic Church. Last January an ordinariate was established for a similar purpose in Britain. Watch for the pope to continue to make the Catholic Church’s influence in Europe the highest of priorities, while at the same time working to garner back both priests and parishioners from the church’s Protestant daughters.
Investors pay to lend money to Germany: For the first time ever, the German government borrowed money at a negative interest rate on January 9. The government borrowed €3.9 billion for six months at an average rate of –0.0122 percent. Germany is not alone. Switzerland, Denmark and the Netherlands have also been paid to borrow money recently. For the second time ever, Britain sold bonds, or gilts, as British bonds are known as, at a negative rate, when adjusted to inflation. With the euro in turmoil and the global economy uncertain, investors are desperate to invest their money somewhere they perceive as safe. But bargain-basement interest rates aren’t the only way Germany is benefiting from the euro crisis. “It has become a rule of the euro crisis: While a number of eurozone countries suffer, Germany profits,” wrote the Spiegel Online January 10 in an article titled “Europe’s Crisis Is Germany’s Blessing.” “The crisis may slow economic growth in Germany, but there are also a raft of crisis-related mechanisms that help the country profit at the expense of other nations,” it continues. “As long as a big eurozone crash doesn’t materialize, this cushions the effects of the downturn for Germany.” While the economies of many Southern European nations, including France, are expected to shrink, Germany’s is forecast to grow, slowly. In 2011, German unemployment sank to 7.1 percent, while the average for the eurozone is 10.3 percent. The weak euro has boosted demand for Germany’s exports, with total German exports in 2011 passing €1 trillion—the highest value of exports in one year, ever. The euro project has long been of benefit to the German economy. Germany is the great benefactor of the euro, and this will become even more obvious as time goes on.
German elites—repeat of history: German-Foreign-Policy.com reported January 5 that former professor at the Foreign Service Institute of the U.S. government Tony Corn has warned of sinister parallels between the efforts of German elites today and those of an earlier German era—with the prospect of similar results. Tony Corn had a significant role in training personnel for the U.S. Foreign Ministry. He noted how the current configuration of the German-dominated European Union bears uncanny resemblance to the state of German politics immediately prior to World Wari. He described how German elites have created an “unofficial economic imperium in Middle Europe,” and are gaining powerful dominance in Europe. In an uncanny comparison between today’s Europe in crisis and the German dominance of Europe previous to World War i, Professor Corn observed that Berlin is striving “to make out of the 27 members of the European Union a modern counterpart to the 27 federal states of the German Kaiserreichs.” This he maintains will meet with a corresponding resistance, noting that in this respect the “political leadership in Germany” demonstrates today “the same lack of statesmanship as on the eve of World War i.”
Asia
Russia and Iran ditch dollar for bilateral trade: Russia and Iran have replaced the American dollar with their own national currencies in bilateral trade, Iran’s state-run Fars news agency reported Saturday. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev initiated the proposal to switch from the dollar to the ruble and rial at a recent meeting with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. “I think it’s relatively positive for the Russian currency,” saidEvgeniy Nadorshin, head of economics at jsfc Sistema. “This was expected taking into account that the United States can no longer support the stability of its own currency. That’s the major problem …. Many countries are switching to more stable currencies, to make it more comfortable for them to fulfill trade obligations. And this trend will continue.” In recent months, agreements have also been made to bypass the dollar in bilateral trade between Russia and China, China and Japan, China and Iran, and Japan and India. Expect the greenback to continue to weaken as more nations move away from the dollar.
China and Kazakhstan vow to enhance cooperation: Chinese and Kazakh officials pledged on Monday to deepen cooperation between the two nations. In June 2011, Chinese President Hu Jintao and Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev began building a comprehensive strategic partnership between Beijing and Astana, which has lifted their bilateral relations to unprecedented heights. Now the two sides plan to harness the momentum to further increase their economic and trade cooperation, and to enhance coordination in international and regional affairs. At Monday’s meeting, the two countries also traded views on the development of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Beijing’s overtures to its neighboring nations will intensify as it seeks to undermine the U.S.’s presence in Asia, and establish China as the region’s primary powerhouse.
Africa/ Latin America
Fatal stampede in South Africa points to unemployment crisis: As the gates to the University of Johannesburg opened last Tuesday morning, one woman was trampled to death as thousands of desperate applicants surged forward, desperate to win one of several hundred last-chance student openings. With the scourge of joblessness affecting more than a third of the nation, South Africans are more desperate than ever for educational opportunities. However, the country’s already overstretched higher education system has to turn away more than half of its applicants. Things are not much better even for applicants who do get accepted. A recent report by temporary staffing firm Adcorp states that there were 600,000 unemployed college graduates across South Africa. No amount of this world’s higher education will solve such an insurmountable problem. Only God’s true education, as outlined in the Bible, will solve South Africa’s unemployment woes.
Iranian president meets with leaders across Latin America: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad began a four-day tour of Latin America on Sunday, in a bid to provide moral support to anti-American leaders across the region. InVenezuela, Ahmadinejad joked with dictator Hugo Chávez, sarcastically referring to the two of them as “devils” whose love for one another would fuel an atomic weapon. In Cuba, Ahmadinejad acted more somber as he delivered a speech at the University of Havana, in which he described the relationship between the two countries as “solidarity between two revolutionary peoples.” The reality it, the Iranian president’s Latin American alliances give him an effective base to destabilize American society. Just last year, the Iranians hired a Mexican hit man to try to assassinate a Saudi Arabian ambassador visiting the U.S.
Anglo-America
Scotland heads toward referendum to break up Britain: Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond is preparing Scotland to hold a referendum on Scottish independence. Salmond clashed with British politicians this week over the timing of the referendum. Salmond wants to boost his chances of winning the referendum by holding it in 2014 while nationalist emotions are high as Scotland celebrates the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn. British Prime Minister David Cameron wants the referendum to be held within 18 months, be legally binding and contain two clear choices. According to recent polls, the majority of Scottish people don’t want independence. Still, months, if not years, of campaigning and arguing isn’t going to help the unity of the United Kingdom.
75 percent of European Court of Human Rights votes go against Britain: Research by backbench Conservative MPs shows that the British government has lost three quarters of rulings in the European Court of Human Rights since Britain joined the system in 1966. The court allows judges, many of which have no experience in judging, to overrule the government. This loss of control over British sovereignty often stirs angry headlines in the conservative press.
U.S. Navy fears Chinese power grab on shipping: Naval officer Adm. Jonathan Greenert warned on Tuesday that an emerging China might try to “limit access” to the South China Sea and Western Pacific region. Over half of America’s deployed Navy ships are now in the Western Pacific in an attempt to counter this possibility, but Greenert has suggested that China may already be targeting these ships with cyberattacks. While an outright military confrontation is unlikely, China’s rising naval power may soon give Beijing de facto control over most of the Pacific Ocean’s major shipping routes. The Bible prophesies of a time in the not-too-distant future when the Anglo-Saxon nations will be locked out of all trade with other nations. With Iranian-backed Islamists gaining control over the Suez Canal and Strait of Hormuz, and Chinese Communists gaining control over the Western Pacific, such a situation is looking increasingly realistic.
Ballooning U.S. national debt could drain your savings: The national debt stood at $15.23 trillion at the close of 2011, according to government figures. Since the national gross domestic product for 2011 was only $15.18 trillion, the national debt is now bigger than American’s annual economy. With this being the case, it is only a matter of time until the American public suffers the consequence of losing most of its savings to inflation, warns David Zeiler of the Business Insider. As the Trumpet has long predicted, out-of-control spending will soon send America the way of Weimar Germany and modern-day Zimbabwe. 

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