Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece Protest Austerity

Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece Protest Austerity


Hundreds of thousands of workers took to the streets as part of a “European day of action and solidarity,” organized by the European Trade Union Congress (etuc), on November 14. Unions in Spain and Portugal held a general strike. Eighty were arrested in Madrid as protests turned violent, and police used rubber bullets in Milan and Rome.

The etuc claimed it was the first time four European countries held coordinated strikes.

Headcounts at protests varied wildly. Organizers claimed that over a million protested in Barcelona. Authorities said it was 50,000. Unions claimed 350,000 in Madrid, but the government said it was 35,000. The official figures are usually more accurate.

“General strikes, in which labor leaders call on workers across industries to walk off their jobs, are relatively rare in most European countries, save for Greece, which has had 29 of them since the start of Europe’s economic crisis,” wrote the Wall Street Journal. “Portugal has had four and Spain three.”

In Spain, unions claimed that in some sectors over 85 percent of workers participated in the strikes. Around 800 flights were cancelled. Public transport was limited or stopped completely. Schools and hospitals scraped by with the minimum number of staff. Union membership in Spain is heavy in some sectors and light in others, meaning that while parts of the economy shut down completely, others kept going close to normal.

Greece held a 48-hour protest against austerity last week. This time Athens was relatively calm, with 10,000 protesting. But in Thessaloniki dozens of protesters broke into a conference center to protest the presence of German officials at a meeting of Greek and German mayors. The crowd chanted things like “Nazis out” and “This will not pass,” and threw coffee on a German diplomat.

In France, unions organized protests in over 100 cities, but did not call for strikes. In Belgium, strikes disrupted international rail services.

Battles between protesters and police broke out in several cities. Seventeen police officers were wounded in Italy. Twenty activists beat a police officer with baseball bats in Turin. A crowd of youths threw stones and bottles and smashed cars in Rome. Protesters outside Portugal’s parliament in Lisbon threw rocks at police.

The economic crisis is putting huge social pressures on southern Europe. In Spain and Greece, unemployment is above 25 percent. As the economic crisis worsens, this social pressure will get worse.

As Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote in 2009, “Social unrest and riots will eventually force Europeans to succumb to a strong united government of Europe, led ultimately not from Brussels, but from Berlin.”

Hamas Draws Israel Into Another War

How will Egypt respond to the conflict?

In Kiryat Malachi, Israel, a deadly Grad rocket attack killed three people and critically injured an 8-month-old baby on Thursday. This week Israel launched a wide-scale military operation in Gaza called “Pillar of Defense,” in response to the numerous rockets coming out of Gaza in recent days.

Germany Urges Churches to Find Common Ground

Germany Urges Churches to Find Common Ground


Increased cooperation is suggesting the possibility of a reconciliation between the Catholic Church and the Protestants in Europe.

Last week, Germany openly showed support for increasing ecumenical efforts between Catholicism and Protestant denominations in Europe. recently reported on the Anglo-Lutheran Catholic Church (alcc) reentering the Roman Catholic Church through the U.S. ordinariate originally created to bring Anglicans back into the Catholic faith. Since then, there has been even more cooperation between the Catholic Church and the Lutheran protesters.

German Protestants are busy preparing for the Luther Jubilee in 2017—the 500th anniversary of the start of the Protestant Reformation. They would like to make the commemoration extra special by involving the Catholics in the celebration as well. Their ecumenical intentions were made clear when plans were made for a joint Bible study in 2015, as well as the possibility of a reconciliation service, including Catholics and Lutherans, at the quincentennial. According to Germany’s Evangelical Church President Nikolaus Schneider, a joint service would recognize the injuries that both organizations have perpetrated against each other since the split in 1517.

Germany is appearing to show support for the prospect of unity and cooperation between the two churches, according to statements made by Chancellor Angela Merkel. “Especially in a very secular world, we should always stress what is common in the Christian religion,” Merkel stated at this year’s synod in Luebeck, Germany—the very place where the Luther Jubilee will take place. In the same speech, Merkel also called for German foreign policy to be more sensitive to Christian minorities. She asserted that Christianity is “the most persecuted religion worldwide.”

Protestantism and Catholicism each represent about 34 percent of the German population. If the Vatican can find common ground with the Protestants and bring them back under Rome’s influence, over two thirds of the German people would be allegiant to Rome. Germany could soon be majority Catholic.

In the last few years, the Catholic Church has suffered from a negative image, especially in the United States. The loss of converts has not been devastating, but with over 22 million ex-Catholics in the U.S., the Vatican could use some positive press to gain new converts. Mending fences with the Protestants could go a long way in helping its image. Finding “common ground” between the different religious dogmas could do even more to increase its influence in Europe.

Pope Benedict xvi is the driving force behind the reconciliation—and is making sure it is accomplished on Catholic terms. In 2000, when he was still Cardinal Ratzinger, he wrote a letter to all the bishops worldwide establishing that the Protestant churches were not to be referred to as “sisters,” but as daughters of the Catholic Church. Twelve years later, he finished a three-week synod at St. Basil’s Cathedral preaching a message of “new evangelization” on how to stop the tide of those leaving the church, and how to gain new converts.

The Vatican will be a firm proponent of ecumenism, as long as it’s the Protestants doing the compromising. Concerning the proposed cooperation at the 2017 Luther Jubilee, Catholic Bishop Gerhard Feige, the head bishop in charge of Catholic/Protestant relations, indicated that the Catholic Church’s level of cooperation would depend on the nature of the activities planned for the celebration.

The reunification of the Catholic Church and its rebel daughter churches is a key prophecy being fulfilled in this end time. For more prophetic analysis of this trend, read Stephen Flurry’s article “Returning to the Fold.

German Analyst: U.S. Wouldn’t Back Israeli Ground Offensive in Gaza

Israel’s defense minister said on Thursday that his nation would be prepared to launch a ground offensive in Gaza in response to militants in the area pounding Israel with rocket fire. “Israel was determined to bring deterrence back to where it should be” so as to bring peace to the south of the country, Ehud Barak said.

On Wednesday, Israel assassinated Hamas’ military chief in response to rocket fire. On Thursday, three Israeli citizens in the southern town of Kiryat Malachi were killed when a missile hit their apartment block.

Barak and other Israelis want to meet the Gazan aggression with force, but many wonder whether the United States would support Israel in such a move. Michael Lueders, a German political analyst specializing in the Middle East, believes that such an offensive move on Israel’s part would be without backing from Washington.

On Thursday, Lueders called Barak’s statement “saber-rattling” and said, “The U.S. government will make very clear to the Israeli government that there is no interest in an expansion of another war zone.”

Lueders’s assessment of Washington’s stance is likely correct since the broken-willed leaders in the U.S. are fatigued by America’s military involvement in other conflicts. As pressure on Israel intensifies, and as the U.S. continues to decline, the Jewish nation will turn to Lueders’s own nation of Germany for defense assistance.

But this decision will not end well for Israel. To understand more, read Jerusalem in Prophecy.

America, Britain Have a Self-Destructive View of Sex

America, Britain Have a Self-Destructive View of Sex


A lesson from the scandals

When it comes to sex and relationships, there is a general perception that Britain and America have got it right. While they have their issues, these nations are thought to be progressive and sophisticated, the cultural leaders in possession of the keys to sexual and familial freedom and happiness.

This is really quite astounding. Especially when you consider the pile of evidence showing that endemic in both nations is a deeply flawed, catastrophically self-destructive view of sex and family.

Right now the top news stories in both America and Britain revolve around high-profile sex scandals. That makes this an opportune time to investigate the question: Is our cultural view of sex and family correct?

First, some history. The origins of the current view of sex and relationships lie in post-war America, particularly the 1960s sexual revolution. Herbert Armstrong was on the scene during this time and evaluated the emergence of this “new morality.” This term describes the liberal, permissive, boundary-less approach to sex and marriage that was taking off in the ’60s and that underpins British and American culture today.

Right from the start of the sexual revolution, Mr. Armstrong warned that the “new morality”—which, he said, had already “completely ko’d Western civilization”—would ultimately have catastrophic consequences for America and Britain. His warning over the years was consistent: The new morality will destroy America and Britain!

Five decades have passed since Mr. Armstrong’s exposé of the “new morality.” The “new morality” has had 50 years to mature, to produce fruit, and to make good on its promise to lead the world to a better place. And advance it has. Today the “new morality” has moved way beyond demolishing prejudices against promiscuity, infidelity and divorce. Culturally, we’ve come to accept and even embrace virtually every form of sex, homosexuality, bisexuality, transgenderism and even same-sex “marriage.”

The shackles of tradition—sex only in marriage, monogamy, homosexuality is wrong—have been shed. America just elected its first lesbian senator. It already has multiple homosexual congressmen. And last week, for the first time ever, voters approved homosexual “marriage” at the ballot box.

Point is, both nations, for decades now, have embraced—boldly, proudly, wholeheartedly—the new morality.

So, what are the results? Has our embrace of this new liberal view of sex made us, made you—made our marriages, our families, our children, our societies, our governments—healthier, happier, stronger, more stable?

Here in Britain, the top news story for weeks now has revolved around grotesque sex scandals. First came the news that Jimmy Savile, a popular television personality, had been sexually abusing children for decades. Now dead, Saville had as many as 300 victims. The scandal has since engulfed the bbc after it emerged that a report exposing Saville had been buried. Since the story broke and investigations initiated, other high-profile figures have been arrested, suggesting the possible existence of a network of high-profile child abusers.

In addition to the Saville affair, the news over here has been dominated by reports of sexual abuse in nursing homes, in orphanages, in schools. The scandals are consuming the attention of the highest leaders in government. Last week, Prime Minister Cameron was presented on national television with a list of alleged high-profile child abusers and then asked if he was going to chase them down! I’ve been here for two weeks, and every time I’ve turned on the news radio there has been a discussion or announcement about some act of sexual abuse, and often the sexual abuse of children. It’s putrid, putrid stuff.

And it’s everywhere!

Meanwhile, the top story coming out of America over the past week has been an embarrassing and toxic sex scandal involving one of the nation’s top military generals, high-ranking government leaders and critical government agencies. The scandal is taking up the time and attention of America’s president, who, I’m sure we’d all agree, has more than enough other crises to address. There’s also the reports about secret service agents and U.S. congressmen partying with prostitutes.

What is going on? The world is crumbling around us, and America and Britain are consumed with crises precipitated by sexual impropriety!

More importantly, there is a larger lesson in all this that we just aren’t getting. Think about it. The essence of each of these crises is individuals’ rejection of traditional morality and selfishly pursuing personal gratification.

In other words, these crises are the result of men and women living the new morality.

While it’s true that sex scandals have long been a feature of politics, such incidents are more common and pervasive today. Moreover, we have not witnessed the level of cultural acceptance of these acts that we see today. Take the uproar surrounding General Petraeus’s incident. While the political angles of this story are significant, and need to be reported on, so is the act of adultery. Yet, who is condemning this man for his adulterous affair? Very few, because the negative stigma once attached to adultery no longer exists!

That’s the most tragic part of all this: Amid all the debate and politicking, both in America and Britain, have you heard anyone stop and consider that these incidents are the product of a nation with a perverted and wrong view of sex and family? How many have considered what is going on morally and culturally in America and Britain to create the conditions in which these horrible incidents occurred?

We haven’t even explored all the other national crises caused by the “new morality”: the hundreds of thousands of unwanted pregnancies, the staggering abortion rates, the millions of fatherless children and single mothers, the epidemics of sexually transmitted diseases, the pervasive child abuse, the divorce rate, the drug use among children and teens. Consider also, that each of these problems cause other problems, like crime, gangs, violence, depression, unemployment and welfare dependency.

These are the fruits of our cultural embrace of the new morality.

It’s not that people don’t see some of these problems. In fact, many sincere, well-meaning people are working hard (and spending a lot of money) trying to solve many of them. Our nations have all sorts of working groups, government programs, education programs, entitlement programs. But they don’t work—they’re not preventing sex scandals; they’re not stemming the rise of single mothers and fatherless children; nor are they preventing unwanted pregnancies and stds.

Here we are, gripped by sex scandals as our economies crumble and as the world turns against us. We are totally incapable of solving these problems. Why?

Because despite the mountain of evidence, America and Britain have yet to admit that their fundamental view of sex and family is wrong!

It’s astounding, really, the way the failure of the “new morality” parades before us daily, and we just don’t see it.

The Arab Spring Arrives in Israel

The Arab Spring Arrives in Israel

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Emboldened by the ascendency of radical Islam, Hamas draws Israel into another war.

As quiet as it was in Israel during the Arab Spring, you had to know it wouldn’t last. It was only a matter of time before the radical Islamists turned their wrath on Israel.

Over the past 24 hours, Israel has been bombarded by 200 rockets fired from Gaza. Three Israelis were killed in Kiryat Malachi, after a Grad rocket blasted the roof off the top of a four-story apartment building.

Of course, many will claim these attacks are in response to Israel’s “Pillar of Defense” operation, which began yesterday with the assassination of Hamas’s top military chief, Ahmed Jaabari. But operation “Pillar of Defense” only began after Hamas started a non-stop barrage of rocket fire into Israel.

In 2010, before the Arab Spring, Hamas fired 231 rockets into Israel. Last year, that number nearly tripled to 627. So far this year, the rocket attacks are somewhere around 900 and there is still more than a month to go.

Three weeks ago, on October 23, the emir of Qatar visited with Hamas representatives in Gaza. It marked the first time a national leader has landed in Gaza since the Hamas takeover in 2007. To mark the occasion, Hamas launched 79 rockets at Israel.

On the same day Hamas celebrated the emir’s visit by attacking Israel, the terrorist organization received another hearty endorsement from an Arab leader—Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi. “We cannot rest or relax if we see our Palestinian brothers and sisters attacked, blockaded and cornered,” Morsi said. “We are not declaring war on anyone. But we announce clearly that the Palestinian people will not be abandoned. We stand with them against any aggression.”

So leading up to Israel’s “Pillar of Defense” operation, Hamas was clearly feeling pretty good about itself. As Yaakov Lappin wrote this morning in the Jerusalem Post, “With Hamas feeling confident over the ascendancy of its fellow Islamists in the region, and the emergence of a new patron in Cairo, it and Islamic Jihad chipped away at Israeli deterrence, attempting to set new rules by preventing the idf from carrying out vital security missions on the Gaza border.”

Now that Israel has responded powerfully by pounding terrorist targets in Gaza, Lappin believes Hamas might have overplayed its hand—mistaking Israel’s restraint for weakness. That might be true. But the much bigger concern here, looking at it from Israel’s perspective, is how Egypt reacts to this conflict.

Yesterday, President Morsi recalled Egypt’s ambassador to Israel in protest against Israel’s military operation. According to a statement released by Morsi’s spokesman, “President Morsi has followed the Israeli brutal assault in which a number of martyrs and sons of the Palestinian people were killed. On this basis he has recalled the Egyptian ambassador from Israel; has ordered the Egyptian representative at the United Nations to call for an emergency meeting at the Security Council … and summoned the Israeli ambassador in Egypt in protest over the assault.”

Added to this, Egypt’s Freedom and Justice Party—the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood—has threatened to get involved in the conflict. According to a statement released by the Brotherhood, Egypt “will not allow the Palestinians to be subjected to Israeli aggression, as in the past” (emphasis added).

Now based on a prophecy in Psalm 83, we have been telling you that Hamas will eventually break away from the Iranian-Egyptian camp. And this latest escalation of fighting between Israel and Gaza may well lead to that. As Stratfor noted yesterday, the interests of Egypt and Hamas “are not fully aligned and could diverge further under the stresses emerging from this situation.” Additionally, Israel will do everything it can to emphasize those differences.

But this conflict will also drive a much bigger wedge between Egypt and Israel. Anti-Israeli sentiment runs deep in Egypt, Stratfor notes. Egyptians “largely view the state of Israel as illegitimate, unjust and unfairly backed by the world’s only superpower.”

When America helped push former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak out of power, it made the Middle East a much more dangerous place. Egypt’s new rulers abandoned the treaty with Israel that brought peace to the region for more than 30 years. They have remilitarized parts of the Sinai. And they have sought out a new alliance with Iran.

And so, irrespective of how operation “Pillar of Defense” plays out, there are much bigger battles ahead for Israel.