This Week: Five Events You Need to Know (May 14)

ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images, MUJAHID SAFODIEN/AFP/Getty Images, Sovfoto/UIG via Getty Images

This Week: Five Events You Need to Know (May 14)

Puerto Rico’s multibillion-dollar bankruptcy, Japanese militarism, right-wing extremism in the German military, and more

On May 3, Puerto Rico filed for bankruptcy protection for its $123 billion debt. It is the biggest bankruptcy in the history of the American public bond market. But a bigger bankruptcy is yet to come. Also, earlier this week, we learned more of some elements of right-wing extremism that are growing in Japan’s ruling party and in Germany’s army.

Here are the five most important news stories this week, as well as relevant links to the full articles and videos here on

Puerto Rico’s $123 billion bankruptcy will impact more than your wallet

Puerto Rico filed for bankruptcy protection on May 3 and triggered the biggest bankruptcy in the history of the American public bond market.

The poverty rate in the island territory is around 45 percent, and official unemployment is more than twice the U.S. average. Analysts say that some of the austerity measures Puerto Rico needs are so drastic that they could lead to dramatic civil unrest.

As bad as that is, the U.S. federal debt and social promises are on a trajectory eerily similar to Puerto Rico’s. The main difference is that America’s collective debts are so huge that not even the whole world put together could bail America out—even if it wanted to.

Japan’s steps to amend its pacifist constitution

On May 3, the 70th anniversary of Japan’s American-imposed pacifist constitution, Prime Minister Shinzō Abe declared his intent “to make 2020 the year that a new constitution comes into effect.” The 70th anniversary, he said, is a “ripe opportunity” for revision.

Abe’s ruling party has secured a two thirds majority in both houses of the Japanese Diet which is required in a parliamentary vote on a constitutional amendment. His party has also extended term limits for its prime minister, a move that could maintain the momentum behind the proposed amendments.

With North Korea and China throwing their weight around, Japanese leaders have warned that their nation faces a “deteriorating security situation” that requires “counterattack” abilities. Such abilities will have immense geopolitical ramifications.

Right-wing extremism in the Bundeswehr

A German right-wing extremist lieutenant was recently exposed for living a double life, posing as a Syrian refugee and intending to carry out a terrorist attack in Germany that he would blame on his fabricated Syrian alter ego.

His superiors, however, knew about his double life and extremist views since 2014.

“The German Army has a posture problem, and apparently a weak leadership on many levels,” Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said on April 30.

Foreign Policy commented: “Far-right-wing thought has long persisted in shadowy pockets of the Bundeswehr, fruit of a continued obsession with the Nazi-era Wehrmacht, sparking national controversy when it occasionally surfaces.”

There likely is more controversy on the horizon.

Germany looks to support Lebanon

In April, Lebanese Prime Minister Saud Hariri visited Europe to request up to $12 billion in investments for his impoverished, refugee-flooded nation and his beleaguered, Iranian/Hezbollah-dominated government.

“In Germany, Hariri seems to have found a receptive ear,” wrote notable commentator on Lebanese affairs Tony Badran on May 9.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said, “There shouldn’t be an impression [that] the international community only takes care of the refugees; we have to look at the whole of the country.”

Bible prophecy indicates an end-time Lebanon that is aligned more with Germany than with Iran. German support for Hariri could hasten the fulfillment of this prophecy.

Farm attacks on the rise in South Africa

An April 26 report from the AfriForum Research Institute estimates that 11,781 people have been attacked on South African farms since the end of apartheid in 1994.

Of those attacked, at least 1,683 were tortured and/or killed. Some human rights groups report that the full extent of this murder epidemic is far worse due to deliberate data suppression by a notoriously corrupt South African government.

AfriForum’s Ernst Roets has argued that hate speech from high-ranking politicians is encouraging black criminals to deliberately target white landowners.

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