Signs of the Times (1/24/14)

March for Life Draws Thousands to Washington DC

On Wednesday thousands of pro-life supporters descended on Washington DC, marching from the National Mall to Capitol Hill and the Supreme Court despite the snow on the ground and temperatures in the teens. Penny Young Nance, president of Concerned Women for America, wrote about her participation in the march in an article for FOX News. “We must fight for those who cannot speak for themselves or, as the Bible calls them, ‘the least of these,’” she said. This year the march marks the 41st anniversary of the 1973 Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade. “We march for the 55 million children who have been aborted since Roe v. Wade and cannot speak for themselves,” Penny Young Nance concluded.

Global Elite Descend on Davos to ‘Reshape World’

The ski resort of Davos, Switzerland, attracts the global political and business elite each year for the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum that began Wednesday. For several days at the end of every January, presidents, prime ministers, monarchs and corporate titans jostle with actors, rock stars and major influencers for top billing at the annual WEF meeting. Dignitaries ranging from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Yahoo Chief Executive Officer Marissa Mayer, actors Matt Damon and Goldie Hawn, and any number of the approximately 2,500 heads of state, entrepreneurs, CEOs, young global leaders and assorted cultural and social visionaries are making the pilgrimage to Davos to talk about one thing: “The Reshaping of the World: Consequences for Society, Politics and Business” — WEF founder Klaus Schwab’s characteristically abstruse theme for 2014.

  • The WEF isn’t the primary engine for creating the New World Order, but it is one of the many outlets employed by the globalists to push their agenda and get the elite into proper alignment

As Obama Hammers ‘Income Inequality,’ Gap Grows Under His Presidency

Income inequality — the gap between the rich and poor — is an issue U.S. presidents of both parties have spoken of for years. No president has hammered the issue as emphatically as President Obama. But a look back shows that income inequality has grown, not shrunk, under the current president. The share of income earned by the top 1% has dramatically increased since Obama’s inauguration in 2009. By 2012, the top 1 percent was back to where it was decades ago — taking in about a quarter of all pre-tax income. Yet the bottom 90 percent saw their share fall below 50 percent for the first time in history. “Rich people have pulled away, largely because the top 1 percent has been doing quite well — and disproportionately doing quite well under President Obama,” American Enterprise Institute President Arthur Brooks said. “Remember that the stock market has doubled in value since President Obama took office, and at least 80 percent of those gains have gone to the top 10 percent of the income distribution.”

  • Obama pays lip service to this issue for political reasons but is subservient to the global elite in their quest to capture an even greater proportion of the world’s wealth in order to enforce its agenda

Administration Fears Health Care System so Flawed it Could Bankrupt Insurance Companies

While the Obama administration publicly expresses full confidence in its health care law, privately it fears one part of the system is so flawed it could bankrupt insurance companies and cripple ObamaCare itself. To justify a no-bid contract with Accenture after firing CGI as the lead contractor, the administration released documents from the Department of Health and Human Services and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services that offered a rare glimpse of its worst fears, saying the problems with the website puts “the entire health insurance industry at risk” … “potentially leading to their default and disrupting continued services and coverage to consumers.” Then it went even further, saying if the problems were not fixed by mid-March, “they will result in financial harm to the government.” It even added that without the fixes “the entire health care reform program is jeopardized.” In spite of the “urgent” need officials cited to keep the system from collapsing, the official White House spokesman said he knew nothing about it.

Most Mexicans Sent home have No Interest in Returning to U.S.

More than half of Mexican immigrants who moved back home said in a recent survey that they have no intention of returning to the U.S., even though many left family here and most had positive experiences. Those were among the findings of a recent report that said the cycle of Mexican-U.S. immigration has reached the “end of an era.” “We recognize a new era of return migration where record numbers of Mexicans are returning home and fewer are coming to the United States,” said Aracely Garcia-Granados, executive director of the nonprofit Mexicans and Americans Thinking Together.

The survey was based on interviews with 600 people in the Mexican state of Jalisco who had lived in the U.S. Just under two-thirds of them said they came to the U.S. for work. But while 77 percent said they came here illegally, about 89 percent said they returned home voluntarily. Only 11 percent claimed to have been deported. About 37 percent said they went home for family reasons and another 29.1 percent said it was because they were homesick. Only 4.3 percent said the fear of being deported drove them to cross back over the border. However they got back home, 53 percent said they had no plans to ever return to the U.S. This despite the fact that 54 percent said they have family in this country and 88 claimed they had a positive experience living here.

Europe, Facing Economic Pain, May Ease Climate Rules

For years, Europe has tried to set the global standard for climate-change regulation, creating tough rules on emissions, mandating more use of renewable energy sources and arguably sacrificing some economic growth in the name of saving the planet. But now even Europe seems to be hitting its environmentalist limits, reports the New York Times. High energy costs, declining industrial competitiveness and a recognition that the economy is unlikely to rebound strongly any time soon are leading policy makers to begin easing up in their drive for more aggressive climate regulation. On Wednesday, the European Union proposed an end to binding national targets for renewable energy production after 2020.

  • Globalists now hoisted on their own petard (caught by the very device one had contrived)

Payment Card Data Thefts Jump Five-Fold

More than 740 million records were exposed in 2013, making it the worst year in terms of data breaches recorded. That’s a very conservative number derived by analyzing approximately 500 breaches listed on the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse Chronology Data Base, according to the Online Trust Alliance. That list is comprised of only publicly disclosed data breaches. Many of the breach cases listed for 2013 show an unknown or undisclosed number of records taken. So 740 million is a low number. Even so, the Clearinghouse’s tally shows a five-fold Increase in credit card and social security numbers stolen last year. “Consumers and businesses are both victims of rapidly escalating hacking attacks, and as stewards of consumer data it’s incumbent on businesses to adopt best practices to help protect consumers from harm,” says Craig Spiezle, executive director and president of the Online Trust Alliance. “Companies that fail to do so need to be held accountable.”

Economic News

Existing-home sales in the U.S. rose slightly in December, but the market lost momentum and inventories of homes for sale tightened. December existing-home sales rose 1% from November to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.87 million. That marked the second month in a row that sales posted a year-over-year drop. December sales were down 0.6% from a year ago.

The United Nations’ labor agency says the number of unemployed people around the world rose above 200 million last year as job opportunities failed to grow at the same pace as the global workforce. The International Labor Organization said Monday that an estimated 201.8 million people were unemployed in 2013. That’s 4.9 million more than the previous year. East and South Asia together accounted for more than 45% of last year’s increase. The agency puts last year’s global unemployment rate at 6%, unchanged from 2012. It says it expects little improvement this year, projecting that the jobless rate will edge up to 6.1% and the number of unemployed will rise another 4.2 million.

Financial institutions all over the world are warning that there could be a “mega default” on a very prominent high-yield investment product in China on January 31st. They say that this could lead to a cascading collapse of the shadow banking system in China which could potentially result in “sky-high interest rates” and “a precipitous plunge in credit“. In other words, it could be a “Lehman Brothers moment” for Asia. And since the global financial system is more interconnected today than ever before, that would be very bad news for the United States as well.

Persecution Watch

Police have identified the individuals who attacked two churches in Sri Lanka on Sunday. The attacks were perpetrated by 24 people, according to police, including 8 Buddhist monks. No one was harmed in the attacks, but church members were threatened and one pastor was issued a death threat. Two churches were vandalized, and Bibles and other Christian books were burned by the mob. In the wake of the attacks, Police spokesman Ajith Rohana admitted “inaction” on the part of the police department, due largely to insufficient numbers. “We request your urgent prayer support for justice, peace and common sense to prevail and for the protection of these pastors, believers and their families,” said one Sri Lanka Assemblies of God leader.

Some Pakistani Christians are considering leaving their homeland to live in another country with less persecution. In an article on ChristianToday.com, Lubna Thomas Benjamin wrote about Christians leaving their country because of discrimination and blasphemy laws in the mostly Muslim country. Among other countries, Pakistani Christians are fleeing to Buddhist Sri Lanka. “The burning of Christian villages, assaults, desecrating the churches and the Holy Bible have happened over the years in Pakistan,” Benjamin wrote. “Therefore, the conditions in the homeland is bringing the Christians to the verge where they have to take this decision of leaving their motherland, which they have never thought of.”

According to Michael Wood of Open Doors USA, a nationwide church shutdown is underway. “It’s basically illegal to even go to a church,” Wood explains. “Those that have been going: the government has their names, their addresses; they’re really being scrutinized and followed.” Believers began meeting in houses instead, but even then they weren’t safe. “Anything that draws large crowds to a home brings attention and investigation,” says Wood. Wood says the situation has gotten increasingly difficult for believers since the last presidential election. More people are coming to Christ, he says, which results in resistance from Iran’s Islamic government.

Middle East

Rockets were fired into Israel from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip early Tuesday, landing in open fields and causing no injuries or damages. Later in the morning, an improvised explosive device was detonated near the border fence in what the IDF believes was a deliberate attempt to target soldiers patrolling the area. “Palestinian terrorists are exploiting the area west of the border to attack soldiers and Israeli civilians,” an army spokeswoman said. “The IDF takes a grave view of this.” The attacks on the Gaza border came just hours after two Grad rockets were reportedly fired at Israel’s Red Sea resort city of Eilat. Meanwhile, Hamas has been observed deploying forces near the border in an apparent effort to bring the rocket-firing squads of rival terrorist groups under control.

Israel

Israel has foiled an Al Qaeda plan to carry out a suicide bombing at the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv, Fox News confirmed. Shin Bet said Wednesday it arrested three Palestinians it accuses of plotting to carry out bombings, shootings, kidnappings and other attacks. The Times of Israel reported that the arrests were made three weeks ago, shortly before at least one of the men was due to travel to Syria to make final plans for the operation. One of the suspected plotters, identified as Arib al-Sham — a Gaza-based Al Qaeda point man for the attacks — is still at large. Shin Bet said the men, two from Jerusalem and one from the West Bank, were recruited by an operative based in the Gaza Strip who worked for Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Overnight Wednesday the Israeli Air Force hit a vehicle carrying Ahmed Za’anin, an operative with the terror militia Popular Front For the Liberation of Palestine which carried rocket attacks into Israel shortly after the funeral of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon last week. Following the strike which killed Za’anin, another terror militia, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, of which Za’anin was a former member, vowed revenge.

Syria

Syrian peace talks began Wednesday in Switzerland with a bitter clash over President Bashar Assad’s future. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Assad’s decision to meet peaceful dissent with brutal force had robbed him of all legitimacy while Assad’s foreign minister declared that no one outside Syria had the right to remove the government. The Syrian opposition said the whole point of the peace conference was to create a transitional government without Assad. Less than three hours into the peace talks, they appear to be on the verge of collapse with the two sides far apart. Syria’s government handed an ultimatum to a U.N. mediator hoping to broker peace in the country’s civil war, vowing to leave if “serious talks” do not begin by Saturday.

Iran

As President Obama lauds his nuclear deal with Iran on its launch date, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned the world that this “historic mistake” empowers Iran to develop new centrifuges. And in a shocking announcement, one nuclear expert estimated Iran is likely 2-3 weeks from achieving nuclear weapons capability. The Prime Minister’s message coincides with expert analysis just released by Olli Heinonen, former deputy director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, who saying “it would currently take the country two or three weeks to have enough uranium hexafluoride high-enriched for one single weapon.”

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif insisted Wednesday that the Obama administration mischaracterizes concessions by his side in the six-month nuclear deal with Iran, telling CNN in an exclusive interview that “we did not agree to dismantle anything.” “The White House version both underplays the concessions and overplays Iranian commitments” under the agreement that took effect Monday, Zarif said in Davos, Switzerland, where he was attending the World Economic Forum.

  • How can anyone (e.g. Obama) be surprised any more that Iran is not to be trusted???

Egypt

A massive explosion hit Egyptian police headquarters in downtown Cairo early Friday in the deadliest bomb blast in Egypt’s capital since a military coup ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi last summer. A car bomb tore through the site around dawn, killing 4 and wounding 76. In a separate, smaller attack, a home-made bomb exploded across the Nile River in Dokki, the state news agency said. One was killed and eight were wounded in the attack, which targeted police vehicles. A third bomb went off near a police station in Giza. The blasts come a day before the three-year anniversary of the uprising against Hosni Mubarak, president of Egypt for three decades until hundreds of thousands took to the streets to protest against him in early 2011.

Afghanistan

Military leaders have submitted a proposal to the White House that would keep 10,000 troops in Afghanistan after the U.S. combat mission ends in 2014. The plan has also been backed by both the State Department and intelligence agencies. The 10,000-troop plan or any other troop proposal could still be rejected by Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who has not yet signed a security agreement that would allow American soldiers to remain in the country.

Pakistan

A Pakistani police officer says a bomb rigged to a bicycle has hit a police patrol on its way to guard a polio vaccination team, killing six policemen and a boy who was a bystander. The bombing came just hours after a car bomb hit a bus carrying Shiite pilgrims in a restive region of southwest Pakistan, killing 20. And on Tuesday, three health workers were killed in an attack on a polio vaccination team in southern city of Karachi.

Thailand

Thailand’s government on Tuesday declared a state of emergency in Bangkok and surrounding areas to cope with protests that have stirred up violent attacks. Labor Minister Chalerm Yubumrung announced that the measure will take effect Wednesday and continue for 60 days. The emergency decree greatly expands the power of security forces to issue orders and search, arrest and detain people, with limited judicial and parliamentary oversight.

Burma

At least 48 Muslims were killed when Buddhist mobs attacked a village in an isolated corner of western Burma earlier this month, the United Nations said Thursday, calling on the government to carry out a swift, impartial investigation and to hold those responsible accountable. Burma, a predominantly Buddhist nation of 60 million people, has been grappling with sectarian violence since June 2012. The total number killed nationwide has grown to more than 280, most of them Muslims. Another 250,000 people have fled their homes.

South Sudan

The South Sudanese government and rebels signed a cease-fire deal on Thursday after more than a month of fighting. It calls for an immediate end to all military operations and a freeze of forces at the “place they are in.” The parties also agreed not to attack civilians and to refrain from rape, sexual abuse and torture. Supply routes for humanitarian aid are to be opened to reach displaced populations. The agreement also sets up an unarmed group of monitors that includes members from surrounding East African nations and representatives from both the rebels and the government

Ukraine

Anti-government protesters have held their ground through a night of violent street clashes in the Ukrainian capital, despite police moving in to dismantle barricades erected in a street leading to government offices. Police attempted to move in on the protest camp early Tuesday, but faced fierce resistance from demonstrators who tossed fire bombs and stones in their direction. Police responded with stun grenades, tear gas and rubber bullets, and were able to dismantle a catapult and a barricade built by protesters before being pushed back to their original positions by the crowd. Three protesters died in clashes with police in the Ukrainian capital Wednesday. Opposition leader Vitali Klitschko accused the government of paying thugs to delegitimize the protests through violence by smashing windows and burning cars. They were finally chased away by protesters. A second round of talks Thursday between Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and opposition leaders were fruitless, but both parties decided to keep talking.

China

Millions of Chinese were prevented from accessing huge swathes of the Internet Tuesday, with many rerouted to a website owned by a U.S. company with ties to a group outlawed in China. Security analysts quoted by the official Xinhua news agency said this could have been the result of a cyber-attack by hackers — though this has not been proved. Dynamic Internet Technology (DIT) confirmed it owns the web address users were redirected to but denied any involvement. It said the company’s IP address is already blocked in China so users would have been met by a blank web page. DIT President Bill Xia told CNN Wednesday that the Internet outage was likely caused by China’s own web censorship system, more widely known by its infamous “Great Firewall” moniker, which controls access to content on the Internet inside China deemed unsuitable.

Environment

China’s dangerous smog is well documented as a health and environmental danger, but last week the problem rose to a new height: It got so bad the country had to televise the sunrise in Tiananmen Square. On Thursday, Jan. 16, the capital city projected a video of a sunrise onto the giant video screen in Tiananmen Square, because the smog was so thick it blocked out the sun. This came on the same day Beijing’s air quality registered more than two dozen times the level considered safe.

Weather

Another wide swath of bitter cold air is sweeping the nation, thrusting temperatures to near zero degrees in the upper Midwest and blasting snow across parts of the Northeast Tuesday. Washington saw a high of just 18 degrees with 5 to 9 inches of snow; about 13 inches hit New York with 15 inches in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. The snow extended as far south as Georgia which saw 1.5 inches in Mountain City. North Carolina received up to 8 inches across the state. An ongoing band of lake-effect snow occurring in northwestern Indiana contributed to slick road conditions caused more than 40 vehicles to crash on a busy highway leading into Chicago. Three people were killed and twenty injured in the massive pileup.

Wacky weather continues unabated. The intense cold that’s plagued much of the central, eastern and southern USA recently shows no signs of relenting, as wave after wave of cold air is forecast to continue. On Thursday, it was so cold in Florida that farmers joked the oranges are squeezing themselves to stay warm. But Alaska is so warm that a ski resort’s been forced to close. Add to this curious mix, giant waves in Hawaii, a historic drought in California, and bears coming out of hibernation in Nevada, causing CNN to wonder: What is going on with the weather? It was 37 degrees below zero Thursday morning in northern Minnesota. Contrast that with Anchorage, Alaska, where Thursday’s high was 45 degrees. A typical high would be in the low 20s. Waves up to 50 feet high have been pounding the North Shore of Oahu. And California’s drought continues to worsen with 63% of the state now officially in extreme drought, according to the Drought Monitor Index released Thursday.

The first typhoon of the year is leaving a new wave of destruction in the Philippines. Many areas are still recovering from the historic Typhoon Haiyan that hit the nation in November. For some, the latest system has set back the recovery. Temporary houses have been destroyed, tents where families have been living were blown over, and at least 40 people were killed.

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