Cyprus in Prophecy

An event just happened in the little island of Cyprus in which Germany was very much involved. According to Bible prophecy, Cyprus is probably going to be the little island from which World War iii will be triggered.

China Stealing State Secrets

China Stealing State Secrets

TommL/iStockphoto

China successfully gains access to detailed U.S. military intelligence.

Benjamin Bishop, a defense contractor with top secret clearance, was arrested on March 15 for passing on state secrets to a 27-year-old Chinese spy. The severe breach in national security shows that beyond losing information via Chinese hackers, more traditional methods of espionage, such as the “honey pot,” are continuing to take their toll.

Mr. Bishop faces charges of communicating national defense information to a person not entitled to receive it and one count of unlawfully retaining national defense documents and plans. At 59 years old, Mr. Bishop was an Army Reserves lieutenant colonel and had been employed as a defense contractor, serving his country for 29 years.

Mr. Bishop was compromised when he met the young woman during a conference on international military defense issues. The name of the woman has not been released, but is referred to as “Person 1.” What is known is that Person 1 was living in Hawaii on a student visa, and was most likely at the military meeting to target people such as Mr. Bishop, who have access to classified information.

The two entered into a romantic relationship in June 2011, and Person 1 began systematically gleaning state secrets from Mr. Bishop. When investigators became aware of the relationship, they tapped Mr. Bishop’s phone and computer. According to official court documents, Mr. Bishop was found discussing “national defense information, regarding planned deployments of U.S. strategic nuclear systems, as well as the ability of the U.S. to detect low- and medium-range ballistic missiles of foreign governments to Person 1.”

When Mr. Bishop’s house was searched, numerous top secret files were found, including the “Fiscal Year 2014-2018 Defense Planning Guidance.” This document held direct plans for the deployment of U.S. forces.

At this time, Person 1 has neither been charged nor arrested for her part in passing on this information that jeopardizes the lives of U.S. citizens.

This latest breach of security is just one more of a recent string of breaches that have come through Chinese spies. The breaches come at a time when considerable attention is being placed on the hacking that is targeting U.S. corporations across the country. Disrupting and stealing secrets from U.S. businesses has become commonplace today. The problem of hackers from China has exposed America’s “Achilles heel.” Yet we can’t forget that there is more than one way China can steal U.S. secrets, destroy American competitive advantage, and reverse engineer America’s technology.

On Nov. 8, 2009, 58-year-old Ko-Suen Moo was arrested for attempting to purchase an F-16 jet engine and cruise missiles. Mr. Moo was a representative for Lockheed Martin in Taiwan for 10 years. Before his arrest he also attempted to buy 70 Blackhawk helicopter engines. He pleaded guilty to being a covert Chinese agent, conspiring to broker and export U.S. defense items, and attempting to pay a $500,000 bribe to be released from custody.

When China gets a hold on American technology, it is quick to try to reverse engineer it. This saves China the hassle of developing its own technology. It can just recreate what America has spent billions of dollars to design.

American weaponry is, for the most part, state of the art. China is quick to try to gain access to it, be it through hacking, or gaining the actual weapons. That is why Chinese scientists dashed down to Iran when the American drone was stolen, and that is why agents such as Mr. Moo will continue trying to ship parts out of the country.

The list of spy cases doesn’t stop there. For example, Noshir Gowadia, a U.S. engineer responsible for the development of the propulsion system for the B-2 bomber, was arrested for marketing valuable technology to foreign countries for personal gain.

Mr. Gowadia passed on information to the Chinese that helped them develop a stealth cruise missile. In return for breaking his oath of loyalty, Gowadia received $110,000 from the Chinese, which he used to pay off his mortgage on a luxury home in Hawaii.

These cases of espionage highlight how China is capable of getting information out of the United States.

While all these cases have been traced back to the People’s Republic of China, little changes in the relationship between the two nations. America still trades heavily with China. There is still open dialogue between the nations, and despite the odd verbal warning here and there, nothing has proven effective at stopping the Chinese.

The United States is losing its ability to defend itself against these attacks, and is simultaneously strengthening the Chinese as the Asians make use of U.S. military technology and information. This shift in power has long been prophesied to occur. Espionage is just one small part in bringing that shift into existence. Read The United States and Britain in Prophecy to see where the U.S. is ultimately heading. Read Russia and China in Prophecy to see what God has in store for the rising power in the East.

Are We Doomed to Raising Children ‘in a Wicked World’?

Are We Doomed to Raising Children ‘in a Wicked World’?

ozgurdonmaz/iStockphoto

Last week, two bloodcurdling and infuriating incidents made news headlines. A teen received a life sentence for mass murder on March 19. Then just three days later, two more teens were arrested for first-degree murder. In both incidents, the victims were children or youth.

The heartlessness and apparent lack of remorse exhibited by the perpetrators is enough to make people question the sanity of raising children in this present wicked world.

In February last year, T.J. Lane, now 18, killed three teen students and injured three others with a .22-caliber semiautomatic handgun in the Chardon High School cafeteria in Ohio. One of the injured is now paralyzed from the waist down.

After his arrest and initial hearings, Lane pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, but was later found competent enough to stand trial. Last month he pleaded guilty to all charges against him, and was sentenced on March 19 to three life sentences without eligibility for parole. While in court, he displayed complete remorselessness with his chuckles, smirks, profane gestures and remarks, and by revealing an undershirt with the word “Killer” scribbled across it.

Prosecutor James Flaiz said he was “totally disgusted” by Lane’s actions, saying, “What we’re dealing with is a disgusting human being. … He still refuses to offer any explanation for why he did this. The only explanation I can offer the court is he is an evil person.”

In the other incident in Georgia, 17-year-old De’Marquis Elkins and his too-young-to-be-named accomplice were arrested on March 22 for shooting and killing a 13-month-old baby in his stroller the previous day. The criminals wanted to extort money from the baby’s mother. The mother told the mugger that she didn’t have any money, to which the older juvenile threatened, “Do you want me to kill your baby?”

For the mother, this was her second child lost to violence. Her 18-year-old son was stabbed to death five years ago. She told cnn: “This is the second child that people have taken from me in a tragic way. I’m so afraid to have any more babies now. I tried to raise really good kids in a wicked world.”

In the U.S. alone, there has been an average of four school shootings every year since 1980. Youth violence is the second-leading cause of death for young people between ages 15 and 24, and the third leading cause of death for those aged 1 to 4, according to 2010 stats. If adults are not killing children, it’s the children killing children.

As depressing as it can be to watch society destroy itself, there is hope. We are not doomed to perpetually raising children in such a wicked world.

The Bible prophesies about a soon-coming world where children will be raised in peace, safety and prosperity. People will live abundant physical lives in a world that has all but forgotten this kind of senseless violence. If you want to be inspired by the great hope contained in the pages of your Bible, read our free booklet The Wonderful World Tomorrow—What It Will Be Like.

China and Brazil Agree to $30 Billion Currency Swap

China and Brazil met during the brics summit in South Africa on Tuesday and signed a major currency swap agreement. The People’s Bank of China traded 190 billion yuan for 60 billion Brazilian reals from the Central Bank of Brazil. The trade represents approximately us$30 billion.

Officials say they hope the exchange will ensure normal trade between the two nations despite instability in the global economy.

Brazil’s central bank president, Alexandre Tombini, said the deal represents “eight months of exports from Brazil to China and 10 months of imports to Brazil from China.”

The arrangement represents another push by China to give the yuan a greater international role. Since the 2008 financial crisis, China has signed 15 currency swap deals.

These types of deals reveal that the world is beginning to abandon the U.S. dollar as a global reserve currency. As confidence in the dollar evaporates and China works to undermine America’s economy, the dollar’s value will plummet. For more information read, “World Prepares to Dump the Dollar.”

Africa Feeds the Chinese Dragon

Africa Feeds the Chinese Dragon

JOHN LUKUWI/AFP/Getty Images

Days after being elected, Chinese President Xi Jinping travels to Africa.

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s first visit to Africa on March 24 highlights China’s increasing influence over African resources. Over the past decade, China has worked to strengthen ties across Africa through trade and infrastructure deals. And considering that Xi was officially sworn in as president a mere 10 days prior to the visit, the trip also shows where China’s economic focus lies.

Xi’s tour will send him from Tanzania to South Africa, then on to the Republic of Congo. The choice of nations is not coincidental. All three nations are serving to further China’s trade dominance of the African continent and thereby propel the Chinese economy to new levels.

Some African nations will advocate China’s actions as an effort to foster mutual economic growth and encourage independent and sustainable development for their growing nations. However, examining China’s involvement to this point will show that it is the one getting the better end of the deal. Any benefits to the Africans are coming as a side benefit to China’s purposes.

The first stop on the president’s tour was Tanzania. Xi spoke before Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete at a conference center in Dar es Salaam. The center was built with Chinese money and served as the perfect platform for Xi’s comments. Paying for conference centers is one of many generous “gifts” of the Chinese to the Tanzanians. Since the African country’s departure from British rule in 1961, China has invested in over 100 vital economic initiatives, many of which have been agriculture-based.

These initiatives have helped Tanzania build a more solid economic foundation. Why the acts of generosity from China? The truth is, Sino-Tanzania relations benefit Tanzania short-term, China long-term.

As far as infrastructure is concerned, China plays the “good Samaritan” card. It sees that Tanzania is poor and lacking in basic transportation needs, so the Chinese build roads and railways across the nation. This benefits Tanzania. But what do these roads and rails carry? The tracks are laid so that raw goods can flow straight to the docks, onto a ship, and off to China. “Today, China is reviving [a] partnership with Tanzania by investing heavily in its infrastructure,” said Jonathan Holslag, head of research at the Brussels Institute of Contemporary China Studies. These railways may then provide a link to Chinese-run mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

China is Tanzania’s largest trading partner and second-largest source of investment. Bilateral trade reached us$2.47 billion in 2012, up 15.2 percent from the year before. China has exploited Tanzania’s lack of basic consumer goods. China exports vehicles, machinery and the light industrial goods necessary for Tanzania’s day-to-day functioning in exchange for the nation’s valuable minerals.

Tanzania has reserves of coal, gold, iron, steel, phosphate and crude oil. So long as China can keep Tanzania reliant on the basic consumer goods and infrastructure it supplies, it can ensure itself access to the raw materials it wants.

“China will continue to offer, as always, necessary assistance to Africa with no political strings attached …. We get on well and treat each others as equals,” said Xi in his address on Monday. The statement was met with thunderous applause. Of course they really can’t be called equals. China’s aggressive consumption of African minerals has brought colonization back to Tanzania.

The African people were quick to throw off the “shackles” of European and British colonialism, and China was more than willing to lend a helping hand. China assisted many African nations in their transitions, which earned it its current “hero status” among the poor nations. China was, at the time, a small economic power itself. It was embraced as a friend, a nation that could replace the European influence. Most African nations have not awakened to the fact that China is no longer that small friend it once appeared to be. It is now the second-largest economy on Earth, capable of throwing its weight around and making demands.

One outspoken critic of the Chinese influence in Africa is the governor of Nigeria’s central bank, Lamido Sanusi. “This African love of China is founded on a vision of the country as a savior, a partner, a model. But working as governor of Nigeria’s central bank has given me pause for thought,” he said. “We cannot blame the Chinese, or any other foreign power, for our country’s problems. We must blame ourselves …. That said, it is a critical precondition for development in Nigeria and the rest of Africa that we remove the rose-tinted glasses through which we view China.”

Another Chinese economic policy also comes into play with regard to Africa. Many nations that assist with development projects in African nations do so under certain prerequisites. There must be assurances of proper administration by the ruling powers. Aid is withheld when conditions are broken. All the while, China undermines such policies by turning a blind eye to things like government corruption. The Chinese are far less scrupulous about who they deal with.

The second nation the Chinese president will visit is South Africa, meeting with President Jacob Zuma. Last year, trade between the two was some $59.9 billion. That equates to nearly a third of all Sino-African trade. It is not a partnership China wants to see dissolve any time soon.

While there has been a great degree of trade going on between China and South Africa, there has been resistance to Chinese advancements into the nation. According to the South African Institute of Internal Affairs, “Chinese investment in S.A. is smaller than S.A.’s into China. Despite the strong Chinese appetite for S.A. mining resources and the attractiveness of its open market, S.A.’s significantly more complex socio-economic structure … has largely constrained the expansion of Chinese interests in Africa’s largest economy” (Aug. 29, 2010). Xi’s arrival may be a sign that China has plans to increase its presence in the nation.

One nation that will undoubtedly be seeing more of China in the coming months is the Republic of Congo. The third and last stop on Xi’s African trip is one of the most underdeveloped nations in Africa. Many regions of the nation lack a proper road network.

China imported 5.4 billion tons of oil from the Republic of Congo last year. While this is a comparatively small amount—only 2 percent of China’s imports—there is room for expansion. The Republic of Congo has one of the largest and deepest ports in West Africa. Combine that with the fact that one of the nation’s two natural oil basins has never been tapped before, and the opportunity for growth in trade is obvious. All the underdeveloped nation needs is capital.

Xi may have alluded to a new-found interest in the Congo when he said, “China sincerely hopes to see faster development in African countries and a better life for African people.” If China steps up its work in the Republic of Congo, watch for it to employ the same tactics it used in Tanzania. Infrastructure and cheap goods will be exchanged for the raw materials that China is gobbling up across the continent.

The recently elected Chinese president’s visit to these three nations sheds light on the booming economic power’s broader strategy for Africa. Chinese imports from Africa are skyrocketing. 2012 saw China import an immense $113 billion worth of materials from Africa. It holds the title of Africa’s largest trading partner. According to Chinese Commerce Minister Chen Deming, 2011 saw trade between Africa and China reach $166 billion. China had invested $45 billion by June 2012 and $15 billion of that was direct investment.

China is growing. It consumes more raw materials than ever because of its industrial and economic boom. It is gazing hungrily at resource-rich Africa and planning its future expansion. But there’s more to the situation than just tapping African resources. China has an important role to play in the fulfillment of prophecy in the latter days. Read Russia and China in Prophecy and see for yourself what China is planning to do with the resources it is devouring.

What Next? Europe After Cyprus

What Next? Europe After Cyprus

GEORGES GOBET/AFP/Getty Images

How the events of last week have changed the euro crisis

The dust is still settling around the new Cyprus bailout. But already there are three significant developments that show us where Europe will go from here.

The first is that Jeroen Dijsselbloem has gone from being an unpronounceable name to one of the most hated men in Europe. Why? On March 25, Mr. Dijsselbloem, who chairs the group of eurozone finance ministers, said that the Cyprus bailout is a template that can be used in other countries.

Here’s the offending comment:

If there is a risk in a bank, our first question should be “Okay, what are you in the bank going to do about that? What can you do to recapitalize yourself?” If the bank can’t do it, then we’ll talk to the shareholders and the bondholders, we’ll ask them to contribute in recapitalizing the bank, and if necessary the uninsured deposit holders.

In our daily monitoring of the German press, we’ve sensed a hardening of tone and rhetoric throughout the crisis.
Open Europe
All eurozone countries guarantee the first €100,000 (us$128,290) in their nation’s bank accounts. Anything above that is “uninsured.” When Mr. Dijsselbloem says “we’ll ask” uninsured deposit holders to “contribute,” he’s saying that if Spain gets into trouble, those with more than €100,000 in the bank could lose their money.

Other European leaders have been doing all they can to get out the opposite message: Cyprus is a one-off. If Mr. Dijsselbloem is telling the truth, it would be madness to keep more than €100,000 in any bank in Southern Europe. But if people start taking their money out of Southern Europe even faster than they already are, as Dijsselbloem is encouraging them to, it could take the crisis to a whole new level.

As Business Insider put it: “Really, Dijsselbloem? Why would you say something like that?”

French President François Hollande and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy have already contradicted him. Dijsselbloem has put out a statement that says—kind of—that he didn’t really mean what he said earlier, but it’s a fudge that has left everyone confused. The bottom line seems to be this: Europe is planning on repeating Cyprus, but it doesn’t want to spark a panic by making that too clear.

The second new development is the introduction of capital controls in Cyprus. Draft proposals leaked online indicate that Cypriots face tough restrictions on how they can use their money. Those traveling abroad can take only €1,000 ($1,282) at a time. An exception has been made for students, who can take €5,000 out of the country per quarter. Within Cyprus, each individual is limited to €5,000 ($6,414) in credit or debit card transactions a month. People may deposit checks into bank accounts, but cannot cash them.

According to the draft, these controls will be in place for seven days. But Cyprus is clearly planning to keep at least some of them in place for the long haul. What’s the point in detailing the amount of money students can take out per quarter, if the controls are only in place for seven days?

These capital controls will also encourage people to get their money out of Southern Europe. If you see a crisis approaching Spain, would you leave your money there and risk only being able to get it out of your bank a trickle at a time?

Dijsselbloem’s statement and the capital controls increase the divide at the heart of the euro. A German euro in a German bank account is becoming much more desirable than a Cypriot, Greek or even Italian euro. The euro crisis will move even faster from now on.

But the most important change is the change of attitude within Germany.

Think tank Open Europe reports that “the Germans themselves are remarkably united over the agreement.”

“In fact, the feeling is that Germany, collectively, just got a fair bit more assertive over its eurozone policy,” it writes.

Germany’s Social Democrats and Greens will join the government in supporting the deal. “In our daily monitoring of the German press, we’ve sensed a hardening of tone and rhetoric throughout the crisis, not least in response to the overtly anti-German tone of many of the anti-austerity protests in the south,” writes Open Europe.

Thomas Straubhaar, director of the Hamburg Institute of International Economics, called the bailout deal a “turning point” in Die Welt. “Up until now, the bankrupt countries have been able to use fear of a domino effect to extort Europe,” he wrote. “That is now over because the strong eurozone countries have the better hand—and they should not be afraid to play it” (translation by Open Europe).

The think tank concludes: “The implications of a Germany more prepared to assert its viewpoint has huge implications for the future of the eurozone and the EU as a whole.”

It’s right. As a result of Cyprus, the eurozone is a lot more volatile, and Germany is more assertive.