Trampling the People Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11:2)

Gaza running out of fuel, medicine: UN

AFPAugust 22, 2018, 6:40 PM GMT

Palestinians receive aid at a United Nations food distribution centre in Jabalia refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip on August 8, 2018 (AFP Photo/MAHMUD HAMS)

United Nations (United States) (AFP) – The United Nations has run out of funding to pay for fuel needed for hospitals, water plants and other critical facilities in the Gaza Strip, the UN political chief said Wednesday.

Rosemary Di Carlo also told the Security Council that recent violent escalations between Israel and Palestinian militants „threatened to plunge Gaza into war.“

The Security Council held its monthly meeting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as the United Nations was working with Egypt to address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and halt the violence.

Di Carlo said she was „deeply concerned that funding for UN emergency fuel, which sustains some 250 critical facilities in Gaza has now run out“ and appealed for $4.5 million to ensure essential services for the rest of the year.

The UN undersecretary-general for political affairs also raised concern over a „dangerously short supply of essential medicines“ after 40 percent of the stocks of drugs were completely depleted.

Gaza has seen a surge of violence since Palestinian protests that began in March have been met with Israeli fire, killing 171 Palestinians.

Israel has carried out strikes in Gaza at least 125 times in response to rocket attacks fired toward Israeli towns and cities.

UN envoy Nickolay Mladenov and Egyptian officials have been seeking to broker a truce between Israel and Hamas, which rules Gaza. The two sides have fought three wars since 2008.

Israeli media have speculated that a deal could entail easing Israel’s crippling blockade of Gaza in exchange for calm on the border and the return of the bodies of two soldiers killed in 2014.

Israel is also seeking the return of two Israeli citizens believed held by Hamas.

Di Carlo called „on all parties“ to ensure that humanitarian aid reaches Gaza and urged Hamas to provide information on Israeli nationals held in the strip.

Just Another 7 Earthquake (Daniel 6)

7.1-magnitude earthquake hits Peru-Brazil border – USGS

(UPDATED) The earthquake hits at a depth of 609 kilometers on Peru’s eastern frontier with Brazil

Agence France-Presse

Published 6:58 PM, August 24, 2018

Updated 8:43 PM, August 24, 2018

WASHINGTON, DC, USA (UPDATED) – A powerful 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck Peru’s border with Brazil on Friday, August 24, the US Geological Survey said, but national authorities said there were no initial reports of casualties or damage.

The US agency said the quake hit at a depth of 609 kilometers (380 miles) on Peru’s eastern frontier with Brazil.

The earthquake hit shortly after 0900 GMT, about 140 kilometers west of the Peruvian town of Iberia, the USGS said.

„So far no damages or victims have been reported and monitoring continues,“ said Peru’s National Institute of Civil Defense (INDECI). – Rappler.com

East Coast Still Unprepared For The Sixth Seal (Rev 6:12)

Posted: 08/25/2011 8:43 am EDT

WASHINGTON — There were cracks in the Washington Monument and broken capstones at the National Cathedral. In the District of Columbia suburbs, some people stayed in shelters because of structural concerns at their apartment buildings.

A day after the East Coast’s strongest earthquake in 67 years, inspectors assessed the damage and found that most problems were minor. But the shaking raised questions about whether this part of the country, with its older architecture and inexperience with seismic activity, is prepared for a truly powerful quake.

The 5.8 magnitude quake felt from Georgia north to Canada prompted swift inspections of many structures Wednesday, including bridges and nuclear plants. An accurate damage estimate could take weeks, if not longer. And many people will not be covered by insurance.

In a small Virginia city near the epicenter, the entire downtown business district was closed. School was canceled for two weeks to give engineers time to check out cracks in several buildings.

At the 555-foot Washington Monument, inspectors found several cracks in the pyramidion – the section at the top of the obelisk where it begins narrowing to a point.

A 4-foot crack was discovered Tuesday during a visual inspection by helicopter. It cannot be seen from the ground. Late Wednesday, the National Park Service announced that structural engineers had found several additional cracks inside the top of the monument.

Carol Johnson, a park service spokeswoman, could not say how many cracks were found but said three or four of them were “significant.” Two structural engineering firms that specialize in assessing earthquake damage were being brought in to conduct a more thorough inspection on Thursday.

The monument, by far the tallest structure in the nation’s capital, was to remain closed indefinitely, and Johnson said the additional cracks mean repairs are likely to take longer. It has never been damaged by a natural disaster, including earthquakes in Virginia in 1897 and New York in 1944.

Tourists arrived at the monument Wednesday morning only to find out they couldn’t get near it. A temporary fence was erected in a wide circle about 120 feet from the flags that surround its base. Walkways were blocked by metal barriers manned by security guards.

“Is it really closed?” a man asked the clerk at the site’s bookstore.

“It’s really closed,” said the clerk, Erin Nolan. Advance tickets were available for purchase, but she cautioned against buying them because it’s not clear when the monument will open.

“This is pretty much all I’m going to be doing today,” Nolan said.

Tuesday’s quake was centered about 40 miles northwest of Richmond, 90 miles south of Washington and 3.7 miles underground. In the nearby town of Mineral, Va., Michael Leman knew his Main Street Plumbing & Electrical Supply business would need – at best – serious and expensive repairs.

At worst, it could be condemned. The facade had become detached from the rest of the building, and daylight was visible through a 4- to 6-inch gap that opened between the front wall and ceiling.

“We’re definitely going to open back up,” Leman said. “I’ve got people’s jobs to look out for.”

Leman said he is insured, but some property owners might not be so lucky.

The Insurance Information Institute said earthquakes are not covered under standard U.S. homeowners or business insurance policies, although supplemental coverage is usually available.

The institute says coverage for other damage that may result from earthquakes, such as fire and water damage from burst gas or water pipes, is provided by standard homeowners and business insurance policies in most states. Cars and other vehicles with comprehensive insurance would also be protected.

The U.S. Geological Survey classified the quake as Alert Level Orange, the second-most serious category on its four-level scale. Earthquakes in that range lead to estimated losses between $100 million and $1 billion.

In Culpeper, Va., about 35 miles from the epicenter, walls had buckled at the old sanctuary at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, which was constructed in 1821 and drew worshippers including Confederate Gens. Robert E. Lee and J.E.B. Stuart. Heavy stone ornaments atop a pillar at the gate were shaken to the ground. A chimney from the old Culpeper Baptist Church built in 1894 also tumbled down.

At the Washington National Cathedral, spokesman Richard Weinberg said the building’s overall structure remains sound and damage was limited to “decorative elements.”

Massive stones atop three of the four spires on the building’s central tower broke off, crashing onto the roof. At least one of the spires is teetering badly, and cracks have appeared in some flying buttresses.

Repairs were expected to cost millions of dollars – an expense not covered by insurance.

“Every single portion of the exterior is carved by hand, so everything broken off is a piece of art,” Weinberg said. “It’s not just the labor, but the artistry of replicating what was once there.”

The building will remain closed as a precaution. Services to dedicate the memorial honoring Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. were moved.

Other major cities along the East Coast that felt the shaking tried to gauge the risk from another quake.

A few hours after briefly evacuating New York City Hall, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the city’s newer buildings could withstand a more serious earthquake. But, he added, questions remain about the older buildings that are common in a metropolis founded hundreds of years ago.

“We think that the design standards of today are sufficient against any eventuality,” he said. But “there are questions always about some very old buildings. … Fortunately those tend to be low buildings, so there’s not great danger.”

An earthquake similar to the one in Virginia could do billions of dollars of damage if it were centered in New York, said Barbara Nadel, an architect who specializes in securing buildings against natural disasters and terrorism.

The city’s 49-page seismic code requires builders to prepare for significant shifting of the earth. High-rises must be built with certain kinds of bracing, and they must be able to safely sway at least somewhat to accommodate for wind and even shaking from the ground, Nadel said.

Buildings constructed in Boston in recent decades had to follow stringent codes comparable to anything in California, said Vernon Woodworth, an architect and faculty member at the Boston Architectural College. New construction on older structures also must meet tough standards to withstand severe tremors, he said.

It’s a different story with the city’s older buildings. The 18th- and 19th-century structures in Boston’s Back Bay, for instance, were often built on fill, which can liquefy in a strong quake, Woodworth said. Still, there just aren’t many strong quakes in New England.

The last time the Boston area saw a quake as powerful as the one that hit Virginia on Tuesday was in 1755, off Cape Ann, to the north. A repeat of that quake would likely cause deaths, Woodworth said. Still, the quakes are so infrequent that it’s difficult to weigh the risks versus the costs of enacting tougher building standards regionally, he said.

People in several of the affected states won’t have much time to reflect before confronting another potential emergency. Hurricane Irene is approaching the East Coast and could skirt the Mid-Atlantic region by the weekend and make landfall in New England after that.

In North Carolina, officials were inspecting an aging bridge that is a vital evacuation route for people escaping the coastal barrier islands as the storm approaches.

Speaking at an earthquake briefing Wednesday, Washington Mayor Vincent Gray inadvertently mixed up his disasters.

“Everyone knows, obviously, that we had a hurricane,” he said before realizing his mistake.

“Hurricane,” he repeated sheepishly as reporters and staffers burst into laughter. “I’m getting ahead of myself!”

___

Associated Press writers Sam Hananel in Washington; Alex Dominguez in Baltimore; Bob Lewis in Mineral, Va.; Samantha Gross in New York City; and Jay Lindsay in Boston contributed to this report

Khamenei: The New Hitler

The new HitlerThe new Hitler

By Mike Evans
August 23, 2018 22:42

 

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks live on television after casting his ballot in the Iranian presidential election in Tehran June 12, 2009. (photo credit:

REUTERS/CAREN FIROUZ)

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman has labeled the Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei of Iran “the new Hitler” of the Middle East. What might have prompted the prince’s pronouncement? He views Iran’s, and therefore Khamenei’s, blatant power-grab tactics throughout the Middle East as comparable to those of Adolf Hitler in Europe during the early 1930s. Bin Salman is the son of His Highness Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.

MbS, as Mohammad bin Salman is been known in some circles, burst onto the scene with ideas of modernizing Saudi Arabia and moving that absolute monarchy ruled by Sharia (Islamic law) into the 21st century. His determination to do that is coupled with the desire to make his country a major global player. Among his first actions as crown prince was traveling to the United States, Russia and China to introduce himself to those major world players.

Bin Salman indicated early in his official elevation that he was opposed to Shia-led Arabs infiltrating Syria, and their attempts to establish a caliphate in Muslim countries. He is especially concerned about an incursion into Islam holy sites such as Mecca and Medina. His moral clarity has been in full view, especially as it relates to Iran and its world threat.

The rapid rise of radical Islam in Europe, the United States and many other places is jarringly evocative of the rise of the Nazis. This should bring a shadow of déjà vu over the entire world. Unfortunately, many schools no longer teach about those moments in history that forever changed the world. Sadly, students of history are discouraged from making comparisons, such as that between radical Islam and terrorist attacks, or between Ali Khamenei and the Nazis. It is simply not politically correct in the 21st century. Those things that might cast a light on how to avoid repeating history are seldom debated.

It appears that the crown prince has offered his country as the bulwark against Iranian incursion, while imploring other world leaders to stand against the danger of the Shia regime in Tehran. Iran’s meddling in the affairs of other nations should not be deemed gratuitous, but rather a warning of what is almost surely to come.

While world powers have focused of late on North Korea and the ever-unpredictable Kim Jong Un, it appears the more probable arena of conflict could well be the Middle East. An enmity – dating from the seventh century – between what are now Saudi Arabia and Iran could trigger a conflict that could pull Russia and the US into defending their respective allies.

HOLLYWOOD HAS made numerous movies about zombies – the living dead. The world is staring at the reality of reviving three such carcasses: the Persian Empire, the Russian Empire and an Arab caliphate. Any one of these could wreak havoc on global security. A triumvirate would be anathema to the entire world.

The Persian Empire and an Arab caliphate would be the perfect match-up with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei as its leader. As the new Hitler, he would be in a position to leave a trail of dead and dying strewn across the Middle East, as did the Nazi leader throughout Europe. Hitler had apparently outlined a group of “key” countries that he saw as germane to his unfettered ambition to control Europe. Among them were Poland, Czechoslovakia, France and Austria-Hungary.

The Gulf region of the Middle East is squarely on Khamenei’s list of “key” states and thus justifies his dispatching Iran’s Revolutionary Guard to locations such as Syria, with which there is no shared border and no danger of invasion. Nor does it prevent a Shia/Sunni clash with terrorist groups such as the Sunni-controlled Hamas, Muslim Brotherhood, and Islamic Jihad fitting firmly in the ayatollah’s pocket. Hitler

As with Hitler before him, Khamenei is a fascist – a dictatorial leader who readily suppresses any opposition and has an iron grip on Iran’s industry and trade. He is the supreme authority who determines the course Iran will take. At some point in his iron-fisted rule, he will likely set his sights on the opposition, a Sunni-led Saudi Arabia, and will prove the crown prince correct in his assessment that a new Hitler has sent his troops storming through the Middle East.

On his way to supremacy, Khamenei’s legions could easily conquer Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar. His Revolutionary Guard would make ISIS appear as though it engaged in child’s play. Like Hitler before him, the supreme leader places little, if any, value on human life. Therefore, no one would be safe – not Sunnis, not Christians, not Jews, and not even those Shia who fail to fall in line with his rising caliphate.

The writer has published 89 books, including The New Hitler. He is the founder of Friends of Zion Museum in Jerusalem and serves on President Trump’s Evangelical Faith Initiative.

The Rising Pakistani Nuclear Horn (Daniel 8)

Pakistanis went to the polls last month for elections to choose their provincial and national leaders, and the results were disturbing.

Imran Khan—a 65-year-old former cricket star turned Islamo-nationalist politician—was declared the winner as the country’s new prime minister. His Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party will be the majority forming a coalition in the national assembly.

The results have not passed without controversy, however. The months leading up to the election were rife with serious concerns, and the results are indicative of significant issues that point to Washington’s need for a serious reassessment of its relationship with Islamabad.

For several years now, well-founded accusations of complicity in incubating and supporting terrorism have existed against the Pakistani government by the United States, India, Afghanistan, and even certain domestic constituencies within the country itself.

At the beginning of this year, the State Department immediately suspended more than $250 million worth of security aid to Pakistan. The State Department cited the South Asian nation’s “failure to take decisive action” against various regional terrorist organizations, including the Haqqani Network and Tehreek-e-Taliban and its material support for such groups.

Those accusations were further vindicated in June when Pakistan was placed on the Financial Action Task Force’s “gray” monitoring list owing to concerns over terrorist financing.

Prior to its placement on the “gray” list, Pakistan made a move that appeared to be in accordance with the need for decisive action against domestic terrorist organizations and their affiliates.

The Election Commission of Pakistan ruled the Milli Muslim League political party ineligible to run in the July election, thereby barring it from holding political office.

The Milli Muslim League was launched in 2017 by Jamaat-ud-Dawa, the political arm of the notorious Lashkar-e-Taiba whose co-founder, Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, is the known mastermind of the Nov. 26, 2008, attacks in Mumbai.

The action was taken by Pakistan only after the U.S. included the Milli Muslim League as a part of Lashkar-e-Taiba’s designation as a Foreign Terror Organization, while several of the Milli Muslim League’s candidates merely switched parties or ran independently as a means of circumventing the ban, moves that the Pakistani government did not act against.

The Pakistani government not only fails to take decisive action against domestic terrorist entities, it routinely engages in the opposite through implicit—as well as explicit—overtures of tolerance toward such entities. In June, the Pakistani government lifted a ban on Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat chief Maulana Ahmed Ludhianvi, unfreezing the movement’s financial assets and allowing its leader to purchase firearms and travel abroad.

The Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat—formerly the Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan—is an ultraconservative Deobandi organization that has been designated a terrorist entity by the United Kingdom and was by the Pakistani government prior to the ban being lifted in June.

The Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat has a close affiliation with the Kashmiri terrorist outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad, and its splinter group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi is responsible for a multitude of terrorist attacks in Pakistan, including the 2013 attack in Quetta that killed more than 200, predominantly Shias.

Ludhianvi has long been known as a radical Sunni extremist, who the Pakistani government for several years had suspected of being linked to terrorist organizations through his role with Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan.

Another major component of ongoing concern is Pakistan’s military establishment, an entity that has directly ruled for approximately half of the nation’s existence, and its known relationships with several homegrown jihadi organizations.

The results of this election represent only the second civilian-to-civilian power transfer in the history of Pakistan’s existence, but reports abounded of the military’s attempt to forcibly influence certain aspects of the vote.

Pakistani soldiers created an intimidating presence with their significant numbers at polling stations across the country, and they were given broad powers to prosecute perceived “corruption” crimes on the spot at their personal discretion.

The military’s interference was also observed in media crackdowns, where censorship or shutdown was threatened toward any outlet critical of the military establishment.

The newest concern on the U.S. radar should be the national election’s biggest victor: Khan and his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party.

Khan secured his place as Pakistan’s next prime minister in the election, while his party won 116 of 267 seats to become the majority in the next ruling coalition of the national parliament.

Khan and his party have said many of the right things, and their normative appeal emanates from several sources: the staunch anti-corruption platform on which he and the party campaigned; the idea to transform Pakistan into an Islamic welfare state; and Khan’s personification as a devout Muslim.

Khan’s well-documented association with elements of Islamist radicalism, however, makes for the continuation of an unsettling reality in Pakistan.

As an ethnic Pashtun and Sharia stalwart, Khan has voiced strict support for Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, and he sympathized with the Taliban on a multitude of occasions throughout his political career, earning him the nickname “Taliban Khan” in the process.

In February, Khan’s government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provided hundreds of millions of Pakistani rupees in grant funding to the Darul Uloom Haqqania, nicknamed the “University of Jihad” and the alma mater of several terrorist leaders from the Haqqani Network, al-Qaeda, and the Taliban, including the latter’s infamous Mullah Omar.

More recently, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf inducted Fazlur Rehman Khalil, a U.S.-designated terrorist and leader of Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, into its ranks in a move on par with many of Khan’s documented associations.

Islamist radicals openly running for office, the military’s strongarm influence and actions, and the fact that the big winner of this election is a military-approved terrorist apologist who supports extreme blasphemy laws all demonstrate a cause for serious concern over a country that is currently a major U.S. ally in the region.

The “Islamist radical” aspect of this reality in Pakistan presents a significant physical threat to U.S. personnel and allied Afghan forces in the region, given that these radicals are the same terrorist entities that the U.S. has fought against since the conflict in Afghanistan began in 2001.

Along with the military’s behavior, the Islamist radicalism aspect also presents notable concern over the normative consequences associated with legitimizing such destructive, anti-democratic ideologies and comportment in a nuclear-capable country as unstable as Pakistan.

The issues outlined here demonstrate the need for a serious review of the United States’ foreign policy toward Pakistan.

These issues are merely the most recent offenses committed by the Pakistanis in what is a detrimental pattern of behavior observable for many years now. There has been very little to demonstrate that Pakistan is ready to be a true friend to the United States, and the foreseeable future looks quite bleak in this regard.

It’s time for America to change its Pakistan policy. It’s time for the U.S. government to revoke the Islamic Republic’s major non-NATO ally status.