Europe, Israel sign security agreement
Europol signed a working agreement with Israeli police on July 17, the first such agreement between the European Union and a non-EU country. Europol, the EU’s law enforcement agency, said in a press release that the agreement will facilitate the cooperation and transfer of knowledge to fight terrorism, fraud and cybercrime.
“It is a major step forward in enhancing the relationship between Europol and Israel,” said Europol Executive Director Catherine De Bolle. “The arrangement will multiply contacts at all levels and open doors to closer cooperation, making the European Union and Israel safer.”
Israel is turning to Europe for help with its security. However, this relationship will provide security only temporarily.
The Bible prophesies that the Jews will turn to Germany because of their “wound” (Hosea 5:13). Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry has explained that the wound in this verse is actually the peace process that Israel has pursued with the Palestinians. Rather than trusting in God, the Israelis repeatedly turn to foreign powers for protection. The Bible says this will lead to their catastrophic defeat and captivity. Europe, led by Germany, will betray Israel.
Mr. Flurry writes in his booklet Jerusalem in Prophecy: “The friendship between Germany and Israel will lead to one of the biggest double crosses in the history of man!” This security agreement is a step toward that double cross.
Iran attempts terror attack in Europe
An Iranian diplomat has been charged with plotting a bombing at a June 30 political rally in Paris. The rally was for the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (mek), an Iranian opposition party. Belgian police arrested an Iran-linked Belgian couple as they were transporting explosives and a detonator in their car.
Police believe that the man who organized the attack and provided the bomb-making supplies was Assadollah Assadi, an Iranian diplomat and Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps officer stationed in Vienna and known to be the head of Iran’s European intelligence network.
Iran rejects the accusations against “terrorist diplomat” Assadi, calling them “baseless.” However, the mek report about the incident alleges that all levels of the Iranian government were involved.
Iranian leaders claim that the bomb plot was a “false flag” operation, instigated by the mek itself. But the U.S. has openly blamed Iran for the foiled attack.
The bomb plot comes at a complex time in Iran’s relations with the rest of the world. President Donald Trump announced in May that the United States was withdrawing from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear agreement. The U.S. administration has used the foiled bomb plot in Paris as motivation for America’s allies to take a harder stance against Iran, instead of pandering to it in an effort to keep the nuclear deal alive.
The foiled bomb plot clearly shows that Iran has an organized terrorist network established in Europe. The three people arrested in connection with the plot lived and worked in Germany, Austria, Belgium and France.
Whether or not Iran was behind this foiled bomb plot, prophecy indicates that it will soon step up its terrorist operations in Europe. Iran is already the world’s foremost sponsor of terrorism. The Bible indicates that Iran’s “pushy” foreign policy will threaten Europe, causing Europe to strike back “like a whirlwind” (Daniel 11:40). Events like the alleged Iranian bomb plot are pushing Europe—and will soon push it too far.
Iran attacks Saudi tankers
Iranian-backed, Yemeni-based Houthi fighters attacked two Saudi tankers carrying 2 million barrels of crude oil on July 25, just after the ships sailed through the Bab el-Mandeb strait into the Red Sea. One ship was lightly damaged, and Saudi Arabia subsequently suspended its oil exports through the Bab el-Mandeb for three days.
Iran publicly claimed responsibility for the attacks initially, but later denied that it was responsible.
Iran controls the Strait of Hormuz, and it has repeatedly threatened to close the passage. Through its control over the Houthis in Yemen, Iran is now threatening trade in the Bab el-Mandeb as well.
“Yemen is one of the most strategically important countries in the world,” wrote Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry in 2015. “We need to understand the gravity of this new situation in Yemen! … The Houthis’ takeover of Yemen was not just an organic revolution. It was part of a deliberate and calculated Iranian strategy to conquer the Red Sea. This strategy is revealed in a powerful prophecy in the biblical book of Daniel.” Mr. Flurry explains this in detail in his free booklet The King of the South.
Venezuela’s inflation rate approaches 1 million percent
The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is suffering one of the worst hyperinflation crises in history. The country’s annual inflation rate hit 46,305 percent in June as food prices doubled every 16 days. According to the International Monetary Fund, Venezuela’s annual inflation rate is projected to top 1 million percent by the end of the year, making it as bad as Germany’s in 1923 or Zimbabwe’s in the late 2000s.
Government socialist policies, including price and wage controls, and the printing of money without economic resources to back it, have left Venezuela in economic ruin.
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro’s failed economic policies are bringing him into conflict with the Roman Catholic Church.
The Venezuelan bishops’ conference released a statement in April listing a series of grave problems afflicting the people and condemning the indifference of government officials. In a nation that is 70 percent Roman Catholic, the conference wields considerable political power.
After Venezuela implodes, the Vatican will be instrumental in shaping its new regime. After working to open U.S.-Cuba diplomatic relations in 2014, Pope Francis helped to end a conflict between Colombia’s government and Marxist militant rebels from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia last year. Many leaders are calling for him to be more involved in Mexican and Venezuelan affairs.
Using Bible prophecy, Herbert W. Armstrong predicted that the alliance between Vatican-influenced Europe and South America would grow extremely strong. This union, however, will not be a union of equals: The Latin American countries will again become vassal states to the Holy Roman Empire.
To understand the deep significance of the Vatican’s involvement in Venezuela and the entire South American region, read the chapter “Europe’s Inroads Into Latin America” in He Was Right.
EU and Japan negotiate ‘historic’ trade agreement
The European Union and Japan signed a historic free-trade deal on July 17 that will remove or reduce all tariffs on exports between EU nations and Japan. When it comes into effect in 2019, this agreement will create the world’s largest open economic area, covering about a third of the global economy and 600 million people.
The EU and Japan also negotiated a data protection agreement on July 16, which the European Commission said will establish “the world’s largest area of safe data flows.”
These agreements have been under negotiation for several years. However, the EU and Japan pushed the trade agreement forward in response to recent U.S. tariffs on steel, aluminum and other goods. U.S. tariffs have contributed to pushing nations like Japan and China to develop their economic relationships with Europe.
Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry writes in Isaiah’s End-Time Vision that a coming trade bloc consisting of Europe and Asia will not only create wealth for them but will also be used to besiege America and Britain by cutting them out of world trade. Today, we are watching Isaiah’s “mart of nations” develop before our eyes.
Putin creates Soviet-style political wing for Red Army
Russian President Vladimir Putin established a new political wing within the Russian Army on July 30, designed to instill patriotism in soldiers during a time of rising tensions with the West. The move is a chilling echo of a Soviet policy that once indoctrinated troops in the principles of communism to ensure loyalty to the party.
“The role of the moral and political unity of the Army and society is increasing immensely at the time of global informational and psychological confrontation (with the West),” said Alexander Kanshin of the Public Council at the Russian Ministry of Defense earlier this year.
Some fear that the establishment of the new political wing could mark the beginning of a broader revival of ideological education that could seep into schools and universities, and that the program could be used to target individuals viewed as too pro-Western. “All of this is reminiscent of a gradual return to the ussr,” wrote Dmitry Drize, deputy editor of the Kommersant daily.
In 2005, Putin famously said the Soviet Union’s demise was “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century.” He has been working to restore Russian power to its Soviet levels, weaponizing energy exports, silencing critics, building up the military, invading Georgia in 2008 and Ukraine in 2014, restoring the Soviet Hero of Socialist Labor award, a Stalin-era public physical fitness program, the Soviet anthem and a Soviet-style law against dissent.
In his booklet The Prophesied ‘Prince of Russia,’ Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry explains that Putin is mentioned personally in ancient Bible prophecies and his rule indicates that “[w]e are entering into the worst crisis ever in man’s history.” But Mr. Flurry adds that these prophecies are “super-inspiring at the same time.” To understand the details of Putin’s role in Bible prophecy, and what it means for your life, order a free copy of Mr. Flurry’s landmark booklet The Prophesied ‘Prince of Russia.’
U.S. airlines bow to China over Taiwan
The three United States legacy airlines—American, Delta and United—ignored advice from the White House and buckled on July 25 to Chinese pressure to change the way they name Taiwan.
In late April, the Civil Aviation Administration of China instructed dozens of international airlines to amend their websites to refer to Taiwan not as an independent country but instead as “Taiwan, China.”
In 1949, a Chinese civil war ended with Communist forces pushing nationalist forces off the mainland. However, the nationalists were able to control the island of Taiwan and remain independent of Communist rule. Both the nationalists in Taiwan and the far more powerful Communists on the mainland claim to be the rightful rulers over all of China. The Communists continue to view Taiwan as a rogue territory that needs to be reunited, by force if necessary, with the rest of China under Communist rule.
The airlines were allotted 30 days to make the change or suffer disruption of their operations throughout China, the world’s second-largest aviation market.
Numerous airlines, including British Airways, Deutsche Lufthansa AG and Philippine Airlines, wholly and swiftly obeyed China. Japanese and South Korean carriers slowly and begrudgingly followed suit.
But the White House denounced the demand as “Orwellian nonsense” and urged U.S. airlines to ignore it.
U.S. airlines asked China for an extension, and were given until July 25. For two months they held out, hopeful that the governments of the U.S. and China would reach a resolution before the deadline arrived. But in the absence of such a resolution, on the final day before punitive measures would take force, American, United and Delta made the change demanded by the Chinese.
For decades, the people of Taiwan have lived in fear of military invasion from Chinese forces. But the island has managed to remain independent thanks to military equipment, political support and security assurances from its primary ally, the United States.
In recent decades, however, America’s support for Taiwanese independence has weakened. In 1998, Bill Clinton became the first American president to publicly oppose Taiwanese independence. Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry said at the time that Clinton’s statements meant it was only a matter of time before Taiwan would come under China’s rule. “The Chinese leaders pressured the president and America to speak against our freedom-loving friends [in Taiwan],” Mr. Flurry wrote in our August 1998 issue. “How could anyone fail to see that Taiwan is destined to become a part of mainland China? … [I]t is going to happen for one reason: because of a pitifully weak-willed America.”
To understand the significance of the rise of China in the context of Bible prophecy and to know what to expect for the future, request a copy of our free booklet Russia and China in Prophecy.
U.S. deficit to exceed $1 trillion in 2019
The United States federal budget deficit will exceed $1 trillion next year for the first time since the end of the 2008 financial crisis, the Wall Street Journal reported on July 18. That is a year sooner than the Congressional Budget Office predicted in February. This report was based on the office’s annual statement to Congress on federal spending, which was updated in July. A $1 trillion deficit is more than 5 percent of America’s gross domestic product.
Since America’s gdp is $20.1 trillion and the federal debt is $21.2 trillion, the U.S. government owes considerably more than it produces in a year.
America is going into debt at an unprecedented rate, yet its leaders do not acknowledge that this is even a problem. The nation is addicted to debt, and no one is serious about conquering this nation-destroying addiction, so the problem continually grows worse. People can pretend this can continue indefinitely, but there will come a day of reckoning. “The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender” (Proverbs 22:7).
Wildfires scorch California, including biggest in its history
California has suffered major wildfire damage over the past two years. This year’s blazes—including the largest one in state history—continue to rage with no immediate end in sight.
In 2017, wildfires scorched approximately 32,000 homes and 4,300 businesses across the state and killed 43 people.
Now, as the areas charred by last year’s blazes continue to recover, new swaths of the state are burning. At least 15 major fires have torched California so far this year, with the Mendocino Complex Fire, the largest in state history, having scorched more than 384,000 acres. The Carr Fire near Redding has burned more than 227,000 acres, destroying more than 1,200 homes and buildings, and resulting in the deaths of eight people.
“We are seeing more destructive, larger fires burning at rates that we have historically never seen,” said Cal Fire regional battalion chief Jonathan Cox.
Our booklet Why ‘Natural’ Disasters? explains what the Bible reveals about God’s hand in weather calamities. The booklet states: “Weather disasters, as they increase in frequency and intensity, are actually fulfilling Bible prophecy.” To understand this vital truth, request a free copy of Why ‘Natural’ Disasters?