This is a semi-regular posting of newsy bits that are often overlooked by mainsteam media in their fervor to tell us what Donald Trump had for breakfast. I glean news from a variety of sources that I feel have prophetic significance or may be setting the stage for Biblical end-time events. I love to have your comments or questions:
Wait for it! Obamacare Premiums will Jump 3 Times Higher Next Year
November 2, 2015
The Obamacare increases for 2016 have been released. Premiums will increase 3 times faster than officials claim.
Every state is different. Every insurer is different. New Mexico residents, for instance, can expect increases of 8 to 40 percent for the second-lowest cost silver plan. But for people in other states, including Arkansas the cost will increase less than 4 percent. Overall the average increase is 20.3 percent, according to analysis by The Daily Caller News Foundation, instead of the 7.5 percent originally asserted.
The variance comes from the differences in the four plans. Officials quoted participants would only face a 7.5 increase, but that was for the Silver Plan. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Center for Medicare Services did not include the Bronze, Gold and Platinum plan in their claims.
The tax penalty for people remaining uninsured next year will go up too. It will increase to $695 for 2.5 percent of taxable income, whichever is greater.
From now until Dec. 15 people can sign up for the Affordable Care Act for 2016, which will start Jan. 1. But the monthly cost isn’t the only consideration for people picking a plan. They need to think about the co-pays and deductibles. A study by HealthPocket Inc found the average deductible on the Bronze plan was more than $5000 a year. Typically the insurance will pay 60% of covered expenses. The remaining 40% is paid by consumers, in addition to the premium.
Read more at https://www.trunews.com/obamacare-premiums-will-jump-3-times-higher-next-year/#QIMKZMR1EkK0zsSY.99
Rujm el-Hira: Stonehenge of the Golan Heights
Driving past it, one of the most mysterious structures in the Middle East is easy to miss. The prehistoric stone monument went unnoticed for centuries in a bare expanse of field on the Golan Heights.
After Israel captured the territory from Syria in a 1967 war, archaeologists studying an aerial survey spotted a pattern of stone circles not visible from the ground. Subsequent excavations revealed it was one of the oldest and largest structures in the region.
Known as Rujm el-Hiri in Arabic, meaning the “stone heap of the wild cat”, the complex has five concentric circles, the largest more than 500 feet (152 m) wide, and a massive burial chamber in the middle. Its Hebrew name Gilgal Refaim, or “wheel of giants”, refers to an ancient race of giants mentioned in the Bible.
It is up to 5,000 years old, according to most estimates, making it a contemporary of England’s Stonehenge. Unlike the more famous monument built with about 100 huge stones topped by lintels, the Golan structure is made of piles of thousands of smaller basalt rocks that together weigh over 40,000 tons.
“It’s an enigmatic site. We have bits of information, but not the whole picture,” said Uri Berger, an expert on megalithic tombs with the Israel Antiquities Authority.
“Scientists come and are amazed by the site and think up their own theories.”
No one knows who built it, he said. Some think it might have been a nomadic civilization that settled the area, but it would have required a tremendous support network that itinerants might not have had.
There could be an astrological significance. On the shortest and longest days of the year – the June and December solstices – the sunrise lines up with openings in the rocks, he said.
Standing on the ground inside the complex, it looks like a labyrinth of crumbling stone walls overgrown with weeds. From on top of the five-meter-high burial mound, it is possible to make out a circular pattern. Only from the air does the impressive shape of a massive bull’s-eye clearly emerge.
Shards of pottery and flint tools were found in various excavations to help date the site, Berger said. Scholars generally agree that construction started as early as 3,500 BC and other parts may have been added to over the next two thousand years.
The complex is in an area now used for training by Israel’s military, but visitors can explore the walls and crawl into the 20-foot-long burial chamber on weekends and holidays.
Read more at https://www.trunews.com/rujm-el-hiri-stonehenge-of-the-golan-heights/#9IVPGoT2a0GORgmr.99
Japanese PM: South China Sea Cause for International Concern!
Novermber 2, 2015 Reuters
SEOUL – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told South Korean President Park Geun-hye on Monday he wanted cooperation between the two countries and the United States in maintaining an open and peaceful South China Sea, a Japanese government spokesman said.
Abe also told Park during a bilateral summit in Seoul that the situation in the strategic waterway was “a common cause of concern for international society”, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Koichi Hagiuda told reporters.
Jewish Businessman stabbed multiple times in Milan by masked attacker
Fears that attack on Nathan Graff could have been inspired by stabbings of Jews in Israel and West Bank
An Orthodox Jewish businessman was badly wounded after being repeatedly stabbed by a masked assailant in an attack on the streets of Milan.
Nathan Graff, 40, was stabbed seven times in the face, neck, back and arm by a man wearing a balaclava, as he stood outside a kosher pizzeria.
There were fears that the vicious assault was a copy-cat attack inspired by the recent spate of stabbings of Jews by Palestinians in Israel and the occupied West Bank.
Mr Graff was wearing a kippah or skull cap and was clearly identifiable as Jewish at the time of the attack, which happened in the street in which he lives.
One of the stab wounds nearly severed his optic nerve.
His family insisted that he had no enemies and said the attack must have been religiously motivated.
Photo: Stefano Porta/EPA
“When the intifada of stabbings began, they promised to strike Jews in Israel and in every part of the world, and now they have done that,” said Riccardo Pacifici, the recently-retired president of the Jewish community in Rome.
It was the most serious anti-Semitic attack in Italy since an assault on Rome’s Great Synagogue in 1982 in which a two-year-old boy was killed and 34 people wounded by Palestinian gunmen throwing grenades and firing machine guns.
Ruth Dureghello, the newly-elected head of the Jewish community in the capital, said: “We have to recognise that the appeal by Isil to attack Jews everywhere is unfortunately finding followers.”
Jewish community leaders said there was a growing climate of anti-Semitism in Europe and that the attack was unnerving for Italy’s 35,000 Jews.
Mr Graff, believed to be an Israeli citizen, was the son-in-law of a rabbi, Hetzkia Levi.
“We have never had problems like this in Milan, let’s hope it was an isolated incident,” said Milo Hasbani, a Jewish community leader. “We will continue with life as normal.”
He said that “for now” there was no concrete evidence that the attack was inspired by the stabbings in Israel.
The assailant is being hunted and an investigation is being led by anti-terrorism police.
Across the country, security was increased around synagogues and Jewish schools and community centres.
The attack was condemned by Muslim leaders in Italy.
Erdogan Wins Big in Turkey
Nov. 2, 2015 Tim Hume CNN
(CNN)Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, secured a surprise win at the polls Sunday. The AKP, the socially conservative party of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan won nearly half the votes to regain its parliamentary majority.
With nearly all the votes counted, the AKP, led by Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, won 49.41% of the votes (316 seats), followed by the Republican People’s Party with 25.38% (134 seats), according to preliminary results released by the semiofficial Anadolu News Agency.
Polls and pundits had not predicted such a comprehensive victory for the AKP. In a general election in June, the party failed to secure enough votes to form a government.
With the country severely shaken by terror attacks, waging a renewed conflict with Kurdish militants and more deeply polarized than before, what will the AKP’s resounding win mean for this pivotal regional power?
Indyk: Israel offered portions of Area C in West Bank and a Building Freeze
Jersualem Post by Tovah Lazaroff 11-13-15
During the 2013-2014 negotiations Israeli officials were willing to hand portions of Area C of the West Bank to the Palestinian Authority and freeze settlement building, Martin Indyk said on Thursday in Tel Aviv.
“In the last night of the negotiations that I was involved in, the Israeli negotiators came with an offer of tens of thousand of dunams of C Area, that they were prepared to give over to the Palestinian Authority’s control to build what they would want to on them without the permit regime and so on,” Indyk said on Thursday.
“And that came in the context of a settlement freeze,” Indyk told the audience at the Israel Conference on Peace, sponsored by the newspaper Haaretz.
“Why can’t that be done now?” he asked. He later confirmed the quote for The Jerusalem Post, but would not expand upon it.
When Indyk quit his post as special envoy in July 2014 to return to the Brookings Institution in Washington, he cited lack of trust between Israelis and Palestinians as one of the critical reasons the talks, brokered by US Secretary of State John Kerry, had failed.
In Tel Aviv on Thursday, Indyk said he still felt that “Israelis and Palestinians lacked the trust necessary between them for progress to occur.”
It is still important, however, to push forward to resolve the conflict, Indyk said. “The alternative to not trying is what we face today; a kind of hopelessness that leads nowhere,” he said.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas could be a partner for peace tomorrow if Israel froze settlement building, Indyk said.
“I can tell you from personal experience they [settlements] are the problem,” Indyk said.
He warned that without such a freeze on Jewish building in Area C of the West Bank, which is under Israeli military and civil control, the option for a two-state solution could disappear.
Areas A and B, which amount to 40% of the West Bank, are under the Palestinian Authority’s civil control. But the PA wants control over Area C, where all the Israeli settlements are located, and east Jerusalem, which it views as the capital of its future state.
Without those areas it fears that it would not have enough territory for a viable state.
Indyk and many in the international community agree with that assessment.
“The creeping [Israeli] annexation which is continuing apace every day will make it impossible for any part of that 60% [Area C of the West Bank] to go back to the Palestinians, and therefore there will not be a two-state solution, if something is not done,” Indyk said.
“You can press your government to do that,” he urged the packed auditorium of hundreds of listeners.
Indyk made his plea at a time when Israel is under pressure from the United States and the international community to take steps to preserve the option of a two-state solution, particularly given the absence of a new peace initiative. Last week US officials said they did not believe a final status agreement for the creation of two states could be achieved during the 14 months left in the Obama administration.
They added that even the renewal of talks was unlikely.
Current and former diplomats at the conference in Tel Aviv said they believed talks could be renewed if Israel took steps to improve economic life for the Palestinians, allowed the PA to develop portions of Area C and froze settlement building.
Tony Blair, the former envoy for the Middle East Quartet, was less focused on the issue of settlements and preferred to think instead of ways Israel could empower the Palestinian Authority, particularly economically in exchange for Abbas’s return to the negotiating table.
Such steps could include telecommunications, movement and access, containerization and Palestinian development of Area C.
“There are a series of things that could make a difference to people’s lives on the ground, and improve the Palestinian economy and also have significance politically,” he said.
But any effort to revive peace talks must also include the reunification of Fatah and Hamas and the support of Arab countries in the region, Blair said.
When he was in Washington this week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he has not given up hope for a two-state solution. He spent three hours with Kerry discussing ways to advance the diplomatic process with the Palestinians.
Netanyahu has persistently called on the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table. The Palestinians have refused to do so unless Israel halts all settlement construction in the West Bank and Jewish building in east Jerusalem.
Netanyahu has rejected that request and insisted that the heart of the problem is the Palestinian refusal to recognize that Israel is the homeland of the Jewish people. Netanyahu has similarly ignored a call by the Zionist Union party to freeze building in isolated settlements, so as to ensure that construction can continue in the blocs that Israel hopes to retain in any final state agreement with the Palestinians.
Netanyahu has noted that upon taking office in 2009, he instituted a 10-month moratorium on new settler construction in the West Bank, which did not lead to renewed negotiations. At the conference in Tel Aviv United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov said continued settlement building was the stumbling bloc both to the peace process and the two-state solution. He also called on Israel to recognize Palestine as a state.
“If you accept the right of the State of Israel to exist, how can you deny the right of the state of Palestine to exist,” Mladenov said.
“There is a wrong and a right two-state solution,” he said. “The right two-state solution is the state of Israel and Palestine. The wrong two-state solution, is the state of Israel and the settler state in the West Bank,” Mladenov said.
Netanyahu’s words in support of a two-state solution must be backed up by significant policy changes that give the Palestinians hope, he said.
An international architecture must also be set up so that other countries in the region can support the resolution of the conflict, he added.
The frozen little dove of peace must be thawed, he said. Let’s “make sure that when its unfrozen, it’s not dead,” Mladenov said.
US: EU product labeling is not a boycott of Israel
Jerusalem Post by Michael Wilner & Tovah Lazaroff Nov 13,2015
The European Union’s guidelines on consumer labels for Israeli products produced over the pre-1967 lines is not tantamount to a boycott of Israel, Edgar Vasquez, a State Department spokesman, told The Jerusalem Post.
“We do not believe that labeling the origin of products is equivalent to a boycott. And as you know, we do not consider settlements to be part of Israel. We do not view labeling the origin of products being from the settlements as a boycott of Israel,” Vasquez said.
The EU has also insisted that the measure is not a boycott of Israel and that their concern is the consumer’s right to know as well as compliance with EU legislation.
Israel has warned that such labels strengthen the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement and other such extremist groups that want to stop shoppers from buying Israeli products all together.
The Foreign Ministry has explained that Israel is the only country, among 200 nations with territorial disputes, in which the EU has agreed to place consumer labels.
It has suspended diplomatic dialogue with the EU for a few weeks to protest the measure, which has been in the works since 2012.
Vasquez said on Thursday, “We continue to oppose boycotts against Israel and any effort to delegitimize Israel.
”We are aware of the EU’s note clarifying existing labeling guidelines from 2012. We understand the objective is to provide EU consumers correct information on the origin of products, as required by EU law. The EU has made clear that measures are not a boycott, and the EU has also made very clear that they oppose boycotts against Israel.”
“EU guidelines for products that are sold in EU countries are for the EU to determine. The EU note is a technical clarification of existing regulations, not a new measure.”
The guidelines left the decision regarding placing consumer labels on products to member states.
Labeling is mandatory, the commission said, for fresh fruit, vegetables, wine, honey, olive oil, eggs, poultry, organic produce and cosmetics.
For packaged food and other products, it is voluntary, unless its omission misleads the consumer into believing that the product was produced in Israel.
The commission provided examples of appropriate labels and stressed that it is important to distinguish between the West Bank and the Golan Heights.
For the latter, the label should read, “Product from the Golan Heights (Israeli settlement).”
For the former it should say, “Product from West Bank (Israeli settlement),” unless it is from the Palestinian territories, in which case it should say “product from West Bank (product from Palestine)” or “Product from West Bank (Palestinian product).” It could also say, “Product from Gaza (Palestinian product)” or “(product from Palestine).”
The commission noted that this designation “shall not be construed as recognition of a state of Palestine.”
The United Kingdom, Denmark and Brussels already place consumer labels on products from over the pre-1967 lines.
Many other member states have waited for the guidelines before taking action.
Since 2003, the EU has placed numerical codes on products from over the pre-1967 lines, so that custom officials would know not to include those items in the EU’s Free Trade Agreement with Israel, which is limited to areas within the Green Line. But these guidelines mark the first time that consumers will also have that information.
The issue was first raised by European foreign ministers at a time when the peace process was frozen. Work on the guidelines was suspended in 2013 at the request of US Secretary of State John Kerry, who was brokering a nine-month period of negotiations that ended in failure in April 2014.
In the absence of a renewed peace process, European foreign ministers asked EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and the European Commission to push forward on publication of the guidelines.
Entering Syrian Talks: Kerry Hopes to turn all guns on ISIS
US Secretary of State will travel to Vienna this week for negotiations on Syrian conflict
Reuters November 12, 2015
WASHINGTON – Secretary of State John Kerry travels to negotiations in Vienna this weekend with an “action-oriented” strategy, he told a group of Washington scholars on Thursday: To create military facts on the ground advantageous to the diplomatic position of the United States, and to use its influence to turn the forces of all warring parties against Islamic State.
Ahead of the talks, which will include the US , Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, President Barack Obama directed his cabinet to step up his strategy “in all its aspects,” Kerry told the United States Institute of Peace.
“The chance for successful diplomacy depends, in part, on the ability to exert leverage,” he said.
Obama’s decision to send “fewer than” 50 American servicemen to advise moderate Syrian rebels on the ground was just one part of this effort, he said, after Russia began its own effort to create “facts on the ground” in Syria by engaging in an air campaign against all forces battling President Bashar Assad.
While Russia and Iran consider Assad the legitimate ruler of Syria – merely stamping out a scourge of terrorism nationwide – the US and its allies in the West, alongside Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, oppose Assad and refuse to entertain his continued reign.
Kerry said that a return to a pre-war Syria was a “non-starter,” but also called on all diplomats traveling to the Austrian capital for talks not to “dig in their heels.”
Parties to the negotiation, he said, are exploring a nationwide cease-fire that would exclude the targeting of Islamic State – a terrorist organization controlling territory in eastern Syria and northern Iraq that is opposed by all nations at the table.
The US proposal undercuts a Russian strategy to target not just Islamic State, but all rebel groups operating in Syria in opposition to Assad.
“Walls of mistrust within Syria, within the region, within the international community are thick, and they are high,” Kerry said.
That’s it for this edition: Keep looking up Luke 21:28 And don’t forget to be Thankful!