Teenage ‘Flash Robs’ on the Rise

Teenage ‘Flash Robs’ on the Rise

EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/GettyImages

Flash mobs can be innocent enough. Sometimes the flash mobs are goofy—hundreds of people meeting in a bus, rail or subway station and then dancing together as a group. Sometimes they are sublime—like when the Copenhagen Philharmonic members met on a train and performed Peer Gynt for surprised passengers.

More often they are criminal. Groups of young teenagers have been planning and executing bold robberies—“flash robs”! The teens use social media outlets—mostly Twitter—to organize themselves.

Incidents are on the rise.

Foxnews.com reports that police say the suspects select a time and place and enter a store in droves, stealing what they want and then leaving before security or police can catch them.

Bold and brazen, some of these robberies take place in the light of day and on busy streets under the full view of security cameras and under the watchful eyes of workers.

Flash robs are taking place in all parts of the United States and other countries.

From January to March this year, seven flash robs took place in Minneapolis’s Nicollet Mall area. kare11.com reported that the flash robs started out in the shopping district as a big group of people, with a smaller group splintering off and spontaneously robbing, chasing or assaulting innocent passersby.

Minneapolis police witnessed a group of people attacking two cyclists. One of the victims suffered a broken jaw. The same group of people moved on to cause commotion at a local restaurant.

In early June, a group of 40 teens targeted a Troutdale, Oregon, Albertsons store just for fun. Investigators have not said exactly how many items were taken, reported kgw.com.

“Basically it look like they went in, just to cause chaos, which they accomplished,” said Sgt. Steve Bevens with the Troutdale Police Department.

From surveillance videos, it appears the teens ranged in age from 13 to 15. Customers in the store at the time said the store employees were overwhelmed and outnumbered. One witness said the teens bragged about how much “stuff” they stole and what they did to the store.

When caught, the teens face charges of rioting, disorderly conduct and criminal mischief.

On July 14, hundreds of teens took over a Jacksonville, Florida, Wal-Mart after police broke up a raucous house party. It is estimated that over 300 teens caused havoc and terrorized employees and customers. Several gunshots were heard outside of the store. Video of this flash rob has gone viral on YouTube.com. It is disturbing and terrifying to watch.

Wal-Mart spokeswoman Dianna Gee said, “The actions of these teenagers was deplorable and put at risk the safety of innocent bystanders, staff and customers. We are committed to assisting law enforcement in any way we can to identify the people responsible of the commotion, including acts of vandalism and thefts at the store.”

Not-so-recent flash robs have also hit convenience stores, clothing stores and gas stations. For the solution to stop this new-found form of teen rampage, read our article, “Drive the Flash Mobs Out of Your Home.”

12 Murdered at Batman Movie

A man wearing a gas mask and holding a gun opened fire at a suburban Denver movie theater early Friday, killing at least 12 people.

At about 12:30 a.m., 24-year-old James Holmes was standing at the front of a theater at the Aurora Mall, where the latest Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises, was playing.

Witnesses reported that the man entered through an emergency exit door and threw a gas canister at the audience before firing on them.

Emergency responders swarmed the scene, and police officers found Holmes near a car behind the theater. He surrendered without resistance.

This mass shooting is yet another unconscionable tragedy that should never have happened. But these types of violent acts are becoming more common.

If you are not content to keep ignoring these tragedies, read our article “The Real Cause of School Shootings.

German-Led Bailout Mechanism Should Become Eurozone Treasury, Says ECB Board Member

German-Led Bailout Mechanism Should Become Eurozone Treasury, Says ECB Board Member

JOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images

Joerg Asmussen suggests the ESM should have power over eurozone nations’ budgets—a week after control of the ESM was given to Germany.

The German-led European Stability Mechanism (esm) could form the basis of a new EU budgetary authority, German board member of the European Central Bank (ecb) Joerg Asmussen said July 17.

Reporting on Asmussen’s unscripted remarks at a briefing at the European Policy Center in Brussels, EUobserver.com states that Asmussen said the esm could be a “starting point” for a common budgetary authority.

“The esm is a fiscal authority by definition because it deals with taxpayers’ money,” he said, adding that the esm would have to be scrutinized by the European Parliament, or eurozone meps.

In his main speech, Asmussen outline his vision for the long-term future of the eurozone. “The core of the current debate about the future of economic union has a name: the further sharing of sovereignty,” he said.

“It means endowing the euro area with the power to effectively prevent and correct unsustainable policies in every euro area member state,” he continued. “Concretely, this would imply that a euro area authority would have competence to limit countries’ ability to issue debt and have intervention rights into national budgets, and to compel member states to correct their policies, be that in the fiscal, structural and financial fields.”

His suggestion that the esm be responsible for intervening in eurozone nations’ taxation and spending policies is important, as it was recently agreed that the esm would be under German control. The German head of Europe’s temporary European Financial Stability Facility (efsf) bailout fund, Klaus Regling, will continue his role with the permanent bailout fund, the esm, the Eurogroup announced July 10.

Last year, Stratfor wrote: “Unlike previous EU institutions (which the Germans strongly influence), the efsf takes its orders from the Germans. The mechanism is not enshrined in EU treaties; it is instead a private bank, the director of which is German.”

Unlike the efsf, the esm is enshrined in EU treaties—or will be if the treaty is ratified. And it isn’t a private bank—it is an intergovernmental institution, governed by eurozone finance ministers.

Even so, many are concerned about the esm being undemocratic. The Dutch court of auditors wrote that it “considers the deficient democratic control problematic and even more so given the permanent character of the esm and its potential financial volume.”

“The esm will be a non-democratic black box. It’s completely irresponsible to set it up, and we will fight against it as much as we can,” said the head of the German association of family business, Brun-Hagen Hennerkes.

Regling’s appointment indicates that Germany’s role will continue in the esm. It indicates that in practice, the esm will operate in a similar way to the efsf. Assmussen may have emphasized democratic legitimacy and parliamentary oversight, but the details and fine print of any future agreement will show if this is really the case.

At the end of the day, Germany puts up the greatest proportion of the esm’s money, which gives it the greatest power.

The timing of Assmussen’s suggestion is interesting; is it a coincidence that he suggested that the esm become the eurozone’s treasury a week after a German was put in charge of it?

The esm has not come into force yet and will have to face the scrutiny of the German Constitutional Court before it does. The court may even strike it down. What is more likely is that it will approve it but insist on more German oversight to make up for its lack of democratic accountability.

Whatever happens, watch for Germany to quietly assert its influence over eurozone finances, either through the esm or an alternative.

Epic Failure: America’s Muslim Outreach

Epic Failure: America’s Muslim Outreach

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Three years after President Obama’s historic speech in Cairo, the Muslim world is vastly more radicalized.

Three years ago, President Barack Obama set out to redefine America’s relationship with the Muslim world. It was hailed as a “new beginning”—a chance to remove the wedge President Bush and others had driven between the United States and Islam.

Instead, this new approach of reaching out to Islam has proved to be a spectacular failure.

After Obama’s 2009 Cairo speech in which the president defended instead of condemned Iran’s nuclear pursuits and failed to even mention terrorism, my father boldly predicted what the end result of this pacifist approach would be:

President Obama thinks that through his words, he will have peace with Iran. But after the terrorists heard that speech, they had to be rejoicing! When America’s president gives a speech like that, the terrorists have contempt for such weakness and are stirred to fight even harder. They can smell the victory. So we can expect violent terrorism to intensify and shake the nations! We won’t have long to wait to see who is right.

President Barack Obama tours Egypt’s Great Sphinx of Giza and the Pyramid of Khafre during his visit to Cairo on June 4, 2009. (Getty Images)

Later in the article, my father said we were witnessing a reenactment of the 1930s between Chamberlain and Hitler, when Chamberlain tried to negotiate his way to peace. History has proven that attempting to appease a provoking enemy never works.

Daniel 11:40 reveals the nature of Iran’s radical Islamist agenda: “And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.” This Iranian-led radical Islamist power bloc referred to in the Bible as the “king of the south” is prophesied to push at the “king of the north,” or a German-led united states of Europe. (For more information on these two power blocs, read our booklets The King of the South and Germany and the Holy Roman Empire.)

Iran’s pattern has always been to provoke Europe and the West with its pushy foreign policy. By failing to confront Iran’s radical Islamist agenda, President Obama is ignoring the number one state sponsor of terror in the Middle East. This, in turn, will lead Europe to realize America is unwilling to take on this king of terror.

Regular followers of the Trumpet are well aware of these prophecies. But it’s still amazing to look back on headlines we’ve penned in the past based on the prophecies of God and see them coming to fruition today.

Another remarkable prediction my father made back in 2009 was regarding the imminent radicalization of Egypt. While then President Hosni Mubarak was not present for Obama’s speech, he noted, the Muslim Brotherhood was. “Egypt is about to experience a radical change!” he wrote emphatically. “No doubt the Muslim Brotherhood is going to gain control of Egypt. Its invitation to hear that speech from the leader of the free world absolutely strengthens its cause!”

Who else was saying that in 2009—when Hosni Mubarak supposedly still had a firm grip on the Muslim Brotherhood and President Obama was healing the rift between America and Islam?

“How much did America’s president help the terrorist cause? Probably far more than we imagine,” he said. “It all gets back to Iran, Iran and Iran! Yet our president will hardly talk about the brutal king of terrorism.”

Toward the end of his article, my father said the president’s speech would have a powerful impact on the flow of prophetic events. He wrote, “President Obama’s speech is a great turning point in this world. It is going to play a major role in terrifying prophecies of your Bible being fulfilled. It is beginning because of the broken will of America. God is going to shake this world and start by shaking America, Britain and the Jewish nation for their sins!”

Three years later, United States ally and ex-president Mubarak is behind bars in an Egyptian prison while former inmates belonging to the once-banned Muslim Brotherhood are now running the country.

In her column from July 12, Caroline Glick highlighted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi’s unofficial inauguration speech in which he told cheering supporters that he would work for the release of Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman. This terrorist, also known as the “blind sheikh,” is currently serving out a life sentence in a U.S. federal prison for orchestrating the 1993 World Trade Center bombings.

He also led the radical Islamic group responsible for the assassination of Anwar Sadat in 1981. In fact, Abdel-Rahman is the one who personally penned the fatwa that called for Sadat’s murder because of the peace treaty he signed with Israel.

Even after his conviction for the 1993 bombing, Abdel-Rahman issued another fatwa calling for jihad against the United States—a document Osama bin Laden cited as justification for his attack on September 11.

“By calling for Abdel-Rahman’s release, Morsi has aligned himself and his government with the U.S.’s worst enemies,” Glick wrote. “By calling for Abdel-Rahman’s release during his unofficial inauguration ceremony, Morsi signaled that he cares more about winning the acclaim of the most violent, America-hating jihadists in the world than with cultivating good relations with America.”

And what was our nation’s official reaction to this insulting item at the top of Morsi’s to do list? President Obama invited Morsi to the White House for a September meeting.

We are now seeing the destructive aftermath of President Obama’s 2009 “outreach.” As Glick notes, Obama’s record of failure since he implemented this policy three years ago is spectacular and unbroken.

“Since he entered office, the Americans have dispensed with far fewer jihadists than they have empowered,” she wrote. “Since January 2009, the Muslim world has become vastly more radicalized. No Islamist government in power in 2009 has been overthrown. But several key states—first and foremost Egypt—that were led by pro-Western, U.S.-allied governments when Obama entered office are now ruled by Islamists.”

These are the undeniable fruits that have come from the policy of appeasement America kicked off three years ago in Cairo.

What a turning point that speech has turned out to be.

Most States Suffering From Worst Drought in Half a Century

The U.S. Drought Monitor reported Tuesday that drought conditions are now afflicting almost two thirds of the contiguous United States. The report said that drought conditions have spread for the 10th week in a row, and that the drought now covers the widest area of any since 1956.

In the last six weeks, the drought has driven the price of corn at the Chicago Board of Trade up nearly 50 percent. As of Thursday, corn is at an all-time high of $8.085 per bushel. Soybean prices also set a record high on Thursday, peaking at $17.23 per bushel.

On Thursday, analysts were slashing corn yield estimates by the hour, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture said only 31 percent of the corn crop was in good to excellent shape. That is down from 40 percent a week ago, and many farmers are now cutting down withered crops to feed to cattle.

Officials are expecting total losses in some regions.

Farms Secretary Michael Scuse said, “It’s bad, it’s as bad as what the reports have been indicating. There are areas out here where there will be near 100 percent loss.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has declared disasters in 26 drought-stricken states, marking the largest national disaster area ever declared in America’s history.

One reporter asked Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack about the role of prayer in addressing the drought. Vilsack replied saying, “I get on my knees every day, and I’m saying an extra prayer now. If I had a rain prayer or a rain dance I could do, I would do it.”

Secretary Vilsack is probably like most Americans. They believe in the idea of a god and will even mention Him when they are suffering, but they do not believe that He actually controls the weather. But nothing could be more biblical—or more increasingly evident—than the fact that God controls the weather.

God promises blessings in weather and agriculture for obedience, and He promises curses for disobedience. The Bible says that God causes it “to rain upon one city” and “not to rain upon another city. … [A]nd the piece whereupon it rain[s] not wither[s].”

Our problematic weather and our suffering agriculture is no coincidence. And we are about to experience even worse conditions. Relief from adverse weather will come only when we acknowledge that God has power over it—and when we repent toward Him.

For more information about why we experience weather problems, read “Why Natural Disasters.”

Israelis Targeted in Bulgarian Blast

JERUSALEM—Wednesday, a terrorist blew up a bus full of Israelis in the southeastern European nation of Bulgaria. The blast killed at least seven people. It’s the latest in a worldwide string of attacks aimed at Israelis—in Azerbaijan, Georgia, India, Thailand, Kenya and Cyprus.

Israeli officials in Jerusalem have been quick to pin the blame for the Bulgarian bombing on Iran and Hezbollah.

“This is a global Iranian terror onslaught and Israel will react forcefully to it,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“We were witnesses to a deadly terror attack coming out of Iran,” said Israeli President Shimon Peres. “We know there were other attempts, and this time they succeeded.” He said Israel was prepared to lash out at terrorist nests around the world.

Israeli-Iranian relations are already at an all-time low, given the face-off over Iran’s nuclear weapons program. Israel has recently said it can’t afford to wait much longer before acting against the Iranian threat. So the Middle East seems to be drawing toward a boiling point.

I’m reminded of a statement Herbert W. Armstrong made about this particular region on August 19, 1976. “Keep your eye on Jerusalem and the Middle East,” he said. “From now on that will be the focal point of world happenings.”

He continued, “This is the end-time! Never in the history of mankind have world conditions been so violent—never so much trouble—never before so many nations and their governments toppling and being overthrown so often—now one a month on the average.”

It’s as if that was written for our time today! For more on this subject, read my father’s personal, “Watch Jerusalem!