The Mediterranean is on fire
A weather system named “Lucifer” turned the Mediterranean region into a hothouse, bringing the region its hottest recorded temperature on August 11. Floridia, a town in Sicily, reported a temperature of 119.8 degrees Fahrenheit. Wildfires afflicted 47 Sicilian towns.
Wildfires also plagued Algeria, killing 90 people. Although much of the North African country is desert, much is also covered in forest. Neighboring Tunisia, meanwhile, recorded the hottest-ever temperature for its capital, Tunis: 120 degrees Fahrenheit on August 10. Wildfires also surged in Greece. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis called it the country’s worst heat wave in over three decades. Turkey was hit with both fires and floods. Al Jazeera reported on August 16 that at least 77 people had died in flooding in the Black Sea region, with 47 missing.
Is the answer to why disasters like this happen really climate change? Or is there a deeper cause?
The Bible reveals that God is in control of the weather. “[T]he Lord hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet. He rebuketh the sea, and maketh it dry, and drieth up all the rivers …. The mountains quake at him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at his presence …” (Nahum 1:3-5). To learn more about why, read our booklet Why ‘Natural’ Disasters?
France passes new law to control religions
France’s National Assembly passed a new law on July 23, placing heavy regulations on religious groups, particularly Islamic ones. It contains strict new requirements on how these groups must report to the government, and it seeks to reduce the wearing of religious symbols in public. Paradoxically, French President Emmanuel Macron, who supports the bill, has taken unprecedented steps to draw closer to the world’s largest religion.
Religious neutrality of society, the government and public institutions is legally enshrined in the French Constitution. The 1905 law on the Separation of the Churches and the State is the foundational document for this pillar of French society. Several additions have since been proposed and adopted.
Under the new law, the government can shut down religious gatherings it judges to be preaching incitement to hatred or violence. This can be done without a court order. The definition of hatred or incitement to violence is open to interpretation. While this type of teaching is a problem, the new law risks the abuse of governmental powers.
All religious groups are now required to obtain a permit from the government, which must be renewed every five years. If they receive funds from abroad, their accounts must be audited each year.
The law also regulates intimate family decisions. Parents who choose to homeschool their children must receive government authorization of the curriculum they will teach. Muslim men who refuse to allow their wives to be examined by male doctors face fines of up to $89,000 and up to five years in jail.
The Trumpet closely monitors the interactions of European leaders with the Catholic Church. Despite its tradition of separating church and state, the French government is now seeking power over religious groups. The Bible warns that church-state separation will ultimately disappear, leading to the seventh resurrection of the infamous Holy Roman Empire.
Italy follows France in mandating vaccine passports
The Italian government introduced a “Green Pass” coronavirus passport on August 6 and banned access to restaurants, gyms, music venues and many other aspects of public life for those who do not have it. The Green Pass app, used to provide proof of a COVID-19 vaccination certificate, was downloaded 20 million times in three days. The government has extended its ban to include long-distance public transport and working at schools.
Tens of thousands of Italians have protested the pass. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung quoted Giorgia Meloni, leader of the Brothers of Italy party, describing the regulations as “ghastly” and the “last step toward the realization of a George Orwellian society.” This, she said, is “unconstitutional madness. For us, individual freedom is sacred and unassailable.”
But the Vatican is siding largely with the government’s push. Pope Francis was immunized in January and requested his Green Pass as soon as it was introduced. “The head of the Catholic Church is thus explicitly and publicly supporting the Italian government’s vaccination campaign,” Germany’s Welt noted on August 10.
Only those who are vaccinated, recovered or tested can use the pass. Institutions that do not enforce the laws are subject to fines. In France, police are patrolling the streets and punishing people in outdoor cafés who are not carrying proper vaccine documentation.
Europeans are getting accustomed to authoritarian rule, police control and tactics of intimidation. Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry warned in the July 2020 issue: “European leaders are increasingly behaving like dictators and assuming dictatorial power. The people of Europe are being conditioned to accept more tyrannical leadership.”
New foreign minister, same radical agenda
Hossein Amir-Abdollahian has replaced Mohammed Javad Zarif as Iran’s foreign minister. Many in the West considered Zarif a “moderate ally” they could work with. Abdollahian is an anti-West hard-liner with ties to Iran’s most radical elements.
Abdollahian has served as ambassador to Bahrain, deputy foreign minister for Arab and African affairs, and adviser for international affairs for speakers of the Iranian parliament. As deputy foreign minister, he implemented foreign policy in Syria, Iraq and Yemen, working with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which the United States has officially designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.
He also worked closely with Gen. Qassem Suleimani, the infamous leader of the IRGC’s Quds Force. Abdollahian said he knew Suleimani “closely,” praised him as a “commander of peace,” and was once photographed kissing his forehead. When the U.S. assassinated Suleimani in January 2020, Abdollahian issued the first public vow of retaliation by the IRGC.
The new foreign minister is also very close with Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader. The Middle East Institute reports that at least 10 analytical articles on Khamenei’s own website are authored by Abdollahian, which is “unusual and noteworthy, as the publication of even a single exclusive analysis on this website is viewed as a significant privilege for an Iranian official.”
Abdollahian’s post came three weeks after Ebrahim Raisi was appointed president. Raisi is an Islamist hard-liner. He is infamous for ordering mass executions in the years after the 1979 Islamic Revolution and has been called “the butcher of Tehran.”
These appointments by Khamenei’s regime sends a clear, openly hostile message to the West: It is ready to push harder with its radical Islamic agenda and nuclear weapons program. In The King of the South, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry shows that radical Islam, led by Iran, will push the world toward World War III.
Rouhani’s parting gift: a key to lock Hormuz
Outgoing Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced on July 22 the opening of the export terminal for the Goreh-Jask oil pipeline. Iran exports most of its oil from the terminal at Kharg Island, deep in the Persian Gulf. But the Goreh-Jask terminal on the Gulf of Oman bypasses the Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz.
The Goreh-Jask pipeline can transport 1 million barrels of oil per day, increasing Iran’s export capacity by about 50 percent. It also enables Iran to continue significant exports even if it or another nation causes a conflict in the Strait of Hormuz.
Regarding a closure of the strait, Rouhani said earlier this year, “[C]ustomers who buy oil from us want to be confident that they can take our oil under any conditions …. [O]n a rainy day, it would be us who would be in trouble [if the Strait of Hormuz were to close]. We have got past this problem.”
The pipeline and export terminal give Iran greater control over one of the most important choke points in oil trade and a viable threat to cripple the oil-dependent economies of the West. And now the key is controlled by an even more openly radical regime led by Iran’s new president, Ebrahim Raisi.
Putin: Sovereign Ukraine does not exist
“There is no such thing as a separate Ukrainian people,” Russian President Vladimir Putin asserted in a 5,000-word manifesto in July, a political declaration of intent toward Ukraine.
The manifesto came in response to a law passed by the Ukrainian government stating its intent to protect Tatar, Karaite and Krymchak minority groups within the country. Most of these populations reside in Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, which Putin forcibly annexed in 2014 and claims Russian sovereignty over.
“They are one with the Russians,” he wrote, adding that the “state of Ukraine is an artificial creation” and a “fluke of history that should be grateful to Russia for allowing it to exist.”
As Anders Aslund, an adviser to Putin’s predecessor, Boris Yeltsin, put it: “Putin is setting the stage for war.”
Read The Prophesied ‘Prince’ of Russia, by Gerald Flurry.
China exports tyranny to Cuba
After Cubans staged the largest protests in six decades against the island’s Communist government, the regime shut them down with help from the Chinese Communist Party, according to an August 3 report in the Diplomat.
The protests broke out on July 11, coordinated through social media and mobile Internet, which has existed in Cuba for only three years. Protesters organized marches, warned each other of secret police, and broadcast their message to the world. The Communist Party of Cuba shut down Internet and mobile networks and selectively cut landline phone service.
Cuba’s only Internet provider is Etecsa. All of the company’s vendors are Chinese—ZTE, Huawei and TP-Link—and are therefore controlled by the Chinese Communist Party. Without the Chinese Communists’ approval, the Cuban Communists would have been hard-pressed or unable to shut down the Internet—and the people.
But with China’s help, Cuba killed the Internet and the protests. The Communist Party of Cuba is now identifying protest leaders and tightening its grip on the Cuban people.
Bible prophecy indicates that China’s role in Cuba could directly affect not only the Cuban people but also the United States and, indirectly, the world.
Read “Preparing to Storm America’s Castle” (theTrumpet.com/18555).
China multiplying its nuclear missile silos
China is building a new nuclear silo field near the city of Hami in Eastern Xinjiang, the Federation of American Scientists announced on July 26. The field is the second recently discovered by specialists examining satellite images of China.
Experts believe that, after its first nuclear weapons test in 1964, the Chinese regime maintained 200 to 300 nuclear weapons for decades, with only 20 operational silos for liquid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missiles.
But under Chinese leader Xi Jinping, this strategy is changing. On July 2, satellite imagery revealed about 120 new silos under construction near Yumen and another 25 across China. Another 110 are under construction in Hami, meaning that China will soon have 12 times as many silos: a total of about 250. That equates to more silos than Russia and more than half of the number operated by the United States. Depending on the missiles that are loaded, these silos could accommodate between 415 and 875 nuclear warheads.
The Chinese Communist Party’s nuclear arsenal also includes about 100 mobile launchers and six Type 094 Jin-class submarines, which carry up to 12 missiles each. In addition to existing shorter-range nuclear-capable missiles and bombs, it is also developing a new strategic stealth bomber.
China’s rapid expansion of nuclear firepower is occurring at the same time as advancements in Russian nuclear missiles, improvements in nuclear delivery systems in North Korea, increased vulnerability in Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, and a race in Iran to develop its own nuclear program. Meanwhile, training is increasing for German personnel to use American nuclear bombs deployed in Germany.
The United Nations and other organizations have failed to stop the global nuclear threat.
Read Nuclear Armageddon Is ‘At the Door,’ by Gerald Flurry.
Cyberattack on U.S. company triggers chain reaction
Up to 1,500 businesses were hit by a vast cyberattack over the July 4 weekend. The attack is considered by some to be the largest ransomware attack ever.
Florida technology firm Kaseya and its virtual system administrator software, which computer administrators worldwide use to manage systems remotely, was the target. Kaseya said the attackers encrypted data used by 800 to 1,500 companies worldwide and demanded a ransom of $70 million to decrypt it. Nations around the world witnessed major disturbances. Hundreds of Coop supermarkets in Sweden, for example, were forced to close. At least nine schools in New Zealand were also affected. A group called REvil claimed responsibility.
“America is the greatest superpower this world has ever known,” Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote in the January 1995 issue. “But we have a very vulnerable point in our military—our own Achilles’ heel. It is so dangerous that I am amazed it hasn’t received more publicity.” He identified this critical vulnerability as the heavy reliance of the military—and society—on technology.
“They have blown the trumpet, even to make all ready; but none goeth to the battle: for my wrath is upon all the multitude thereof” (Ezekiel 7:14). Regarding this prophecy, Mr. Flurry wrote that when everyone expects the military to act, a great tragedy occurs. “Will it be because of a computer terrorist?” he asked.
America has become so heavily reliant on computer systems that one major attack could throw society into turmoil and damage or destroy the nation’s war-fighting ability.
$1.2 trillion spending bill passes
The United States Senate passed a $1.2 trillion infrastructure deal on August 9. The 2,700-page bill was supported by Democrats and 19 Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Though no one has read the whole bill, Republican Sen. Kevin Cramer indicated that it allocates only $450 billion to roads, bridges and other actual infrastructure. The main $800 billion in spending goes to initiatives including climate change programs, clean energy research, massive government expansion into the energy network and sweeping government regulations on motor vehicles. The bill, still pending, constitutes a Trojan horse to force through the radical left’s agenda to transform America.
Donald Trump responded, “[T]his is not an infrastructure bill; this is the beginning of the Green New Deal.” The Green New Deal was radical legislation presented by radical leftist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in 2019 that aimed to tear down and remake the U.S. economy to become 100 percent reliant on so-called clean energy, as well as to supposedly eliminate poverty and to increase collective ownership of companies.
This agenda would cause the collapse of key industries that give the U.S. its economic power and force the nation to rely on weaker, unproven, unreliable technology that, ironically, still produces pollution.
God instructed the nation of Israel in Deuteronomy 28 and other chapters of the Bible that economic and other blessings result from obedience to His laws, and that curses come from disobedience. He warned that if the Israelites or their descendants, which include the Americans, disobeyed, they would suffer economic ruin. Guilty of economic and other sins, Americans’ economic dominance is now disappearing.