“…wars and rumours of wars… for all these things must come to pass. Nation against nation, kingdom against kingdom… famines and pestilences and earthquakes in unusual places…” Matt. 24:6-7
INSIDE THIS WEEK’S EDITION: War brewing between the U.S. and North Korea? UN imposes sanctions on North Korea; Famine deepens in Africa and Middle East; Christianity on the rise in Iran; The Christianity of the Primitive Church; What is the Lord’s Day?
Week of August 13 – August 20, 2017
War brewing between the United States and North Korea?
U.S. President Donald Trump has a stern warning to North Korea this week.
“They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen,” Trump said after North Korea threatened to dump its missiles on the U.S. territory of Guam.
The U.S. reaction came after a report the rogue nation has created a miniature nuclear warhead.
In a later statement, President Trump, demanded North Korea Dictator Kim Jong-un’s government “get their act together,” or face extraordinary trouble.
He said his earlier “:fire and fury” warning to North Korea might have been too mild. He said “it may very well be tougher than I said.”
However, North Korea is not backing down. It has announced a detailed plan to launch several ballistic missiles at Guam.
UN Security Council Toughens Sanctions North Korea
The Security Council has further strengthened its sanctions regime against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, condemning in the strongest terms that country’s ballistic missile launches and reaffirming its decision that Pyongyang shall abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programmes in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner.
Unanimously adopting resolution 2371 (2017) under Article 41, Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, the 15-nation Council decided that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea shall not supply, sell or transfer coal, iron, iron ore, seafood, lead and lead ore to other countries.
Expressing concern that Democratic People’s Republic of Korea nationals working abroad were generating foreign export earnings to support the country’s nuclear and ballistic missile programmes, it also decided that all Member States shall not increase the total number of work authorizations for such persons in their jurisdictions, unless approved by the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1718 (2006).
Through the text, the Council decided that States shall prohibit the opening of new joint ventures or cooperative entities with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea entities and individuals, or expand existing joint ventures through additional investments. In addition, it decided that Pyongyang shall not deploy or use chemical weapons and urgently called for it to accede to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and Their Destruction.
Also through the resolution, the Council named nine individuals and four entities to be subject to a travel ban and asset freeze already in place, as well as to request that the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) issue special notices with respect to designated individuals.
In addition, it reaffirmed that its provisions were not intended to have adverse humanitarian consequences for the civilian population of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and that the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1718 (2006), on a case-by-case basis, exempt from sanctions those activities that would facilitate the work of international and non‑governmental organizations engaged in assistance and relief activities for civilian benefit.
Furthermore, through the text, the Council called for the resumption of the Six-Party Talks between China, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Japan, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation and the United States towards the goal of a verifiable and peaceful denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
Speaking after the resolution’s adoption, the representative of the United States said the Council had put the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s dictator on notice by increasing the penalty of its ballistic missile activity to a whole new level. All Member States must do more to put more pressure on that country, she said, adding that the United States would take defensive measures to protect itself and its allies, including through joint military exercises.
China’s representative said that, while today’s resolution had imposed further sanctions, it did not intend to negatively impact such non-military goods as food and humanitarian aid. Calling on all parties to implement the resolution’s provisions fully and earnestly, he recalled that China and the Russian Federation on 4 July had put forward a road map to resolve the issue through two parallel tracks — denuclearization and the establishment of a peace mechanism. Recalling that the United States had recently indicated that it was not pushing for regime change or for the Korean Peninsula’s reunification, he said an escalation of military activities would be detrimental to all countries of the region.
Crisis in Famine-Threatened Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria
Calling upon all parties in Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and north-east Nigeria to urgently take steps that would enable a more effective humanitarian response, the UN Security Council has expressed its grave concern about the unprecedented level of global humanitarian needs and the threat of famine currently facing more than 20 million people in those countries.
In a statement, the Security Council deplored that in conflict-affected Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and north-east Nigeria, certain parties had failed to ensure unfettered and sustained access for deliveries of vital food assistance, as well as other forms of humanitarian aid.
By the text, the Council reiterated its call on all parties to allow safe, timely and unhindered access to all areas and to facilitate entry for essential imports of food, fuel and medical supplies into each country and their distribution throughout. The Council further urged all parties to protect civilian infrastructure, which was critical to the delivery of humanitarian aid in the affected countries.
Stressing the need to enhance longer-term recovery and resilience of conflict-affected countries, the Council emphasized with deep concern that ongoing conflict and violence had devastating humanitarian consequences and hindered an effective humanitarian response, and were, therefore, a major cause of famine.
The Security Council noted with appreciation the Secretary-General’s leadership in the efforts to respond to the humanitarian crises in the four countries and asked him to continue to provide information on the humanitarian situation and response, including on the risk of famine. He was also asked to give an oral briefing in October on country-specific impediments to an effective response and to make specific recommendations on how to address those obstacles to enable a more robust short- and long-term response.
Terrifyingly Biblical Scene in Indonesia as River Turns Blood Red, Killing All Fish
A graphic reminder of the Biblical plagues that struck Egypt suddenly appeared on Monday in Indonesia when the normally pristine Bah Bolon River, a source of life-giving water for irrigation and drinking, turned bright blood-red. The river, normally teeming with life, became choked with dead fish.
Interestingly, the Bah Bolon is known to locals as “the King’s Bathhouse”. The river meanders through the city of Pematangsiantar before flowing through the outlying village where the people build their houses directly on its banks. The river is their life and their livelihood, as it waters their fields, provides fish, and is a popular tourist site for rafting. The residents build pools on the edges of the river in which to catch fish. The sudden, deadly change in the river has turned their once idyllic existence into a living hell.
Some residents blame a yet-to-be-discovered source of industrial waste, but no one is really sure yet what caused this change. Another possible natural cause could be an algal bloom which occurs when specific conditions lead to uncontrolled growth of deadly forms of algae.