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End Time News – Updated 1 June 2016 - 8 stories
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Earthquakes

earthquake headlines             6.0 quakes            7.0 quakes            quakes in diverse places          quake map

Strong earthquake hits East Pacific Rise far off Mexico
BNO News

A strong earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.8 has struck the northern East Pacific Rise in the Pacific Ocean, centered far southwest of Mexico, seismologists say. There is no threat of a tsunami.

The earthquake, which struck at 8:33 p.m. CT on Thursday, was centered about 597 kilometers (371 miles) east of France's Clipperton Island, or 842 kilometers (523 miles) southwest of Acapulco de Juarez in Mexico.

The United States Geological Survey put the earthquake's preliminary magnitude at 6.8 and said it struck at a shallow depth of just 10 kilometers (6.2 miles).

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said there was no threat of a tsunami to Pacific coastlines of Mexico, Central America and South America, while the U.S. National Tsunami Warning Center added that there also isn't any threat along the western coastlines of the United States and Canada.

Because the earthquake was centered far from land, there should be no damage or casualties.

This is a breaking news alert. Please check back or follow @BNONews on Twitter as details become available. If you want to receive breaking news alerts by email, click here to sign up. You can also like BNO News on Facebook by clicking here.

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Earthquakes

earthquake headlines             6.0 quakes            7.0 quakes            quakes in diverse places          quake map

Quake of 6.8 magnitude strikes northwest of Ecuador capital Quito -USGS
by Reuters

LONDON, (Reuters) - A magnitude 6.8 earthquake hit Ecuador to the northwest of the capital Quito on Wednesday, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The quake was initially given a magnitude of 6.9 but the USGS then revised the figure down to 6.8. It said the epicentre of the quake was 82 km (50 miles) south of Esmeraldas on the northwestern coast of the Andean country.

Overnight on Wednesday, a 6.7 quake struck Ecuador's Pacific coast, causing minor injuries and light damage in the same region where a 7.8 tremor killed more than 650 people last month.

(Writing by Hugh Lawson; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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Earthquakes

earthquake headlines             6.0 quakes            7.0 quakes            quakes in diverse places          quake map

6.9-magnitude quake strikes Myanmar, shakes neighbouring countries
Straits Times

YANGON (AFP) - A magnitude 6.9 earthquake struck Myanmar on Wednesday, causing tremors around the region, including in neighbouring Bangladesh where scores were reported injured in stampedes and buildings were damaged.

The quake, which took place at a depth of 134 km, hit some 400 km north-west of Myanmar’s capital Naypyidaw, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS), and was also felt in parts of India and China.

There were no immediate reports of casualties, although the region where the earthquake hit has poor communications infrastructure like many of Myanmar’s outlying provinces.

A lawmaker from the Sagaing region, some 100 km from the epicentre, told AFP that she felt rough tremors that lasted for several minutes.

“There may be some destruction and damage. But it’s difficult to know the (extent) of destruction at nighttime,” Ms Cho Cho Win said, adding that the town does not have many high-rise buildings.

Ms Tin Nyo, 67, from another township in Sagaing, said the earthquake was the strongest she had ever felt.

“Although it happened over a short period, it was really rough,” she said.

Some in Yangon – Myanmar’s former capital and biggest city – who also reported feeling tremors fled their multi-story apartment buildings in fear.

The quake was also strongly felt across Bangladesh, which shares a border with Myanmar.

More than 80 people in the country were injured, mostly in stampedes as panicked residents fled their homes and offices, Channel 24 reported.

In the port city of Chittagong, some 200 km from the Myanmar border, at least four buildings stood on a slant following the quake.

“Around 50 people were injured in the Chittagong city, including 24 who were admitted to hospital with minor injuries. They were mostly injured in stampedes,” the city’s police constable Imran Hossain told AFP.

Traffic ground to a halt in parts of the capital Dhaka as tens of thousands of alarmed residents rushed into the streets.

In neighbouring India, tremors were felt in the north-eastern cities of Kolkata, Shillong, Guwahati and Patnam.

In Kolkata, one of India’s largest cities, startled residents ran from their houses after the trembling.

“I was inside, working and then suddenly I felt the ground shaking,” local resident Chiranjeet Ghosh told television news channels.

“People started yelling ‘Something is happening, let’s get out!’ and we immediately rushed out.”

“I came out and saw that everyone else around here had already evacuated their homes and poured onto the streets.”

Residents in Kolkata reported seeing cracks appearing in buildings following the quake, and the city’s metro was suspended for a few minutes.

Strong tremors were also felt in Tibet, with some residents of Lhasa out on the streets, Chinese official news agency Xinhua said.

Earthquakes are relatively common in Myanmar, where six strong quakes of 7.0 magnitude or more struck between 1930 and 1956 near the Sagaing Fault, which runs north to south through the centre of the country, according to the USGS.

Myanmar has not seen a major quake since November 2012, when a powerful 6.8 magnitude earthquake struck the centre of the country, killing 26 people and injuring hundreds.

The impoverished Southeast Asian nation, which is emerging from decades of military rule, has a strained medical system, especially in its rural states.

The breakneck pace of development in Myanmar’s cities, combined with crumbling infrastructure and poor urban planning, has also made the country’s most populous areas vulnerable to earthquakes and other disasters, experts say.

In 2015, severe flooding swept across swaths of Myanmar, including the region where Wednesday’s earthquake hit, leaving more than 100 people dead and affecting thousands as rescuers struggled to reach isolated regions.

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Pestilence
 

Flesh-Eating Tropical Bug to Attack Europe Soon? Creating Havoc in Middle East
Australia network

A flesh-eating tropical bug that was limited to Syria has been spreading rapidly in the Middle East and may sweep Europe very soon. Reportedly, ISIS civil war created a perfect breeding ground for the bug.

utaneous leishmaniasis is a parasitic disease which spread through bites from infected sand flies. It can lead to sever scarring on the face. It is a disease which usually goes undiagnosed and untreated. Some symptoms of the disease are open sores, nose bleeding, difficulty in breathing and swallowing. According to The Sun, it can also lead to death if goes unchecked.

Previously, the Kurdish Red Crescent had claimed that the flesh-eating tropical bug is spreading rapidly after ISIS has dumped rotting corpses in the street. Poor medical facility is perceived as another cause of the spread. Thousands of medical workers were killed and hospitals bombed in the war-torn country, which has devastated the medical facilities. Chronic lack of water and wreckages are the prevalent problems which also helped the disease to spread. The bug has swept across ISIS strong holds like Raqqa, Hasakah and Deir al –Zour.

The spread of the disease can be further boosted by the poor living conditions at refugee camps, which includes overcrowding, malnutrition, lack of medical facilities.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has claimed that the disease is rapidly spreading in Syria’s neighbouring countries like Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon. There were only 6 cases of the disease in Lebanon between 2000 and 2012. In September 2012 the disease outbreak started in the country, reported Al Arabia English. Consequently, in 2013, 1,033 cases were reported of which 96% were displaced Syrian refugees.

Hundreds of cases are reported in Jordan, East Libya, Turkey and Yemen. There is a high possibility of the bug’s spread in Arabia, as more and more Yemenis are migrating to the country. There is the risk that refugees migrating to these Middle Eastern countries might carry the disease to Europe, too.

Dr Waleed Al-Salem, of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, told MailOnline, “It’s a very bad situation. The disease has spread dramatically in Syria, but also into countries like Iraq, Lebanon, Turkey and even into southern Europe with refugees coming in.”

“There are thousands of cases in the region but it is still underestimated because no one can count the exact number of people affected,” added Al-Salem.

The doctors said that the only ways to fight the flesh-eating tropical bug are early detection and treatment, training for doctors, and improved living conditions in refugee camps. Moreover, continued surveillance after containing the outbreak is essential.

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Wars and Rumors of Wars

Global armed conflicts becoming more deadly, major study finds
The Guardian

International Institute for Strategic Studies says despite fewer wars number of deaths has trebled since 2008 due to an ‘inexorable intensification of violence’

Tens of thousands more people are dying in armed conflicts around the world, even as the number of conflicts falls, according to an authoritative study that attributes the rising death toll to an “inexorable intensification of violence”.

Sixty-three armed conflicts led to 56,000 fatalities in 2008, whereas 180,000 people – more than three times as many – died in 42 conflicts last year.

The numbers reflect the extremely violent fighting in Syria and Iraq and deaths in Afghanistan increasing following the withdrawal of western combat troops.

The data is contained in the first armed conflict survey published by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict killed 2,500 people last year, mostly civilians, while fighting in Libya, Yemen and Central African Republic also contributed to the rise in overall deaths.

Number of conflicts and fatalities:

2008 - 63 active conflicts: 56,000 fatalities
2010 - 55 active conflicts: 49,000 fatalities
2012 - 51 active conflicts: 110,000 fatalities
2014 - 42 active conflicts: 180,000 fatalities

Source: IISS Armed Conflict Survey 2015

The study found the number of displaced people exceeded 50 million in 2013. It warned that civilian populations continue to pay the price of conflicts in short-term dislocation and the longer-term impact of the collapse of government services, particularly education, healthcare and economic development. The World Bank estimates that 1.2 billion people, roughly one fifth of the world’s population, are affected by some form of violence or insecurity.

As conflicts cause widespread destruction, increasing numbers of displaced people and refugees, and the risk of “ungovernable megacities”, the west has been increasingly reluctant to intervene.

Nigel Inkster, the former MI6 chief of operations and now the director of transnational threats and political risk at the IISS, said in an introduction to the survey: “The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have exposed the limitations of hard military power and have given rise to a growing aversion to intervention among Washington and its allies, as well as among those states inherently distrustful of what they perceive as US hegemony.”

Emerging powers have shown no inclination to compensate for western disengagement, he noted.

“The toxic inheritance of Iraq and Afghanistan” has been the cause of the west’s reluctance to intervene, Ben Barry, the senior fellow for land warfare at the IISS, told a press conference in London on Wednesday.

In retrospect that was not politically justified, he added. Commenting on suggestions that the EU was becoming increasingly introverted, Barry said the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean was a “potential wakeup call”.

Inkster said Russia’s annexation of Crimea and support for secessionists in Ukraine had raised the spectre of wider armed confrontation in Europe, even if in practice it still seemed a distant possibility. He said: “In none of these situations [Ukraine and East Asia, Indian and Pakistan] or any others that can be envisaged, is war inevitable: for war to happen, capabilities have to align with circumstances.

“But capabilities can give rise to misplaced confidence which, combined with the chronic inability of policymakers to see the world from the perspective of potential rivals or opponents, ensures the risk of miscalculation can never be overplayed.”

In an essay in the IISS survey on the evolution of global jihadism, Alia Brahimi, of Oxford University, said the “significant moral and political support” Isis received had enabled it to take control of territory the size of the UK and command as many as 50,000 fighters in Syria alone.

Isis wants to impose long-term order on land it holds, controlling the population by installing fear, and its sights are now set on Libya, she said on Wednesday.

Source

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Wars and Rumors of Wars

Armed Conflict Survey: In 2015, Syria accounted for one-third of global conflict deaths
Deutsche Welle

This year's edition of the Armed Conflict Survey has been released. DW's Matthias von Hein spoke with its editor about the rise of foreign fighters and how climate change could stoke conflicts around the globe.

Anastasia Voronkova: In the last edition of the Armed Conflict Survey we documented a decrease in the number of active conflicts since 2008. Globally, conflict fatalities amounted to 167,000, which is less than the 180,000 documented in last year's edition. But it's important to know that half of these deaths occurred in conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa. In Syria, conflict fatalities accounted for one-third of conflict fatalities globally.

Conflict deaths also rose massively in Turkey, Yemen and Egypt. So in the Middle East, we judge that the prospects for resolution or de-escalation of conflicts grew more distant in a few conflicts and no closer in conflicts like Iraq, the Palestinian territories, and Lebanon.

In terms of other broader developments, we saw displacement a factor in the battle against ISIS (or IS, an acronym for the "Islamic State"), because the group lost territory in Syria and Iraq, for example, but it increased its presence in Libya. One of the difficulties we will highlight facing IS - particularly in Libya - is that its fighters there are seen as outsiders, and society lacks the divisions on which the jihadists have fed in Iraq and Syria. Yet the group's success in reinforcing some of the territory in Libya - for example, Sirte, and holding the city - testifies to its determination and resources.

What can we expect in terms of the risk posed by foreign fighters returning to their countries of origin, such as Belgium or France?

There are more foreign fighters active in Syria and Iraq now than in the anti-Soviet conflict in Afghanistan - which in turn featured more foreign fighters than the conflicts in the Balkans, Chechnya, and post-9/11 Afghanistan and Pakistan combined. But we have to be cautious in our assessment about a rise in terrorism.

We have seen improvements, for example, in the capability and vigilance of Western security services. We have also seen that some foreign fighters die, and some do not want to carry out terrorist attacks when they return to their home countries. So we shouldn't assume that the high presence of foreign fighters will automatically translate into their carrying out terrorist attacks in Europe.

Note: See graphic at source.

The last edition of the Armed Conflict Survey covered 42 conflicts around the world. This newest edition deals with 37 conflicts, a slightly smaller figure. Does this suggest a slightly more peaceful situation worldwide?

Not really. The North African region and the Middle East regions are still as distant from resolution as they were in 2014. The situation in Central America and Mexico is also particularly gloomy: The level of fatalities there rose year-on-year. One of the very few bright spots globally is perhaps Colombia, which has achieved considerable de-escalation of conflict and progress in the resolution of its conflict with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). But even there challenges remain on the long road to peace.

Last November saw the signing of a climate agreement with the aim of mitigating climate change, but climate displacement is happening already, and within the next 10 to 15 years it might increase massively, with millions of people being displaced. What does this mean for international security?

Global displacement of people by unresolved conflict and by global disasters of all kinds is a challenge of global proportions. According to our analysis, adding the number of refugees to those displaced by disasters and disease would reach an estimated 60 million. This number continues to rise quite dramatically.

This year's survey focuses more on urban conflict and its effect on the civilian population. But combined with the effects of unresolved conflicts and displacement caused by conflict, global disasters will continue to have a significant impact on the world population. Hopefully, the deal on climate change can contribute to improving the situation, but I don't think it will lead to any significant reduction in global displacement numbers, given the number of unresolved conflicts.

What do you mean by urban conflict?

We are investigating the extent to which armed conflict is increasingly taking place in cities. For example, mega cities increasingly act as hubs for terrorist groups. The number of refugees living in cities as opposed to rural areas has increased quite dramatically in recent years. A lot of the fighting worldwide, including most noticeably perhaps Turkey and Ukraine, has been shifting to cities. So it's those kinds of areas that we try to analyze and investigate. As a result, we have quite a lot of data on things like the most violent cities in the world.

Which are the most violent cities in the world?

The vast majority of the most violent cities are in Latin America, according to our data, which suffers massively from organized crime and systemic conflict.

This interview was conducted by Matthias von Hein. It has been condensed for clarity.

Anastasia Voronkova is the editor for the Armed Conflict Survey and research fellow for the Armed Conflict and Armed Conflict Database. The annual survey is published by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).

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Famines

Conflict and poor harvests push more Sudanese citizens into hunger
Radio Tamazuj

A recent survey found nearly half a million Sudanese children under five were are acutely malnourished, and over 17,000 severely malnourished, a 30% increase from last year.

The survey was conducted in 13 of Sudan's 18 states by Sudan's ministry of health and UNICEF, reported the USAID-funded Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET).

"This increase is attributed to increased displacement due to conflict, reduced food access following below-average harvests in 2015 due to El Niño," and the expansion of survey programs, FEWSNET said.

More than four and a half million Sudanese citizens especially in war torn South Kordofan and Darfur's Jebel Marra are expected to face crisis or emergency food shortages until July thanks to early onset of the lean season, FEWSNET said.

FEWSNET said 23,000 people were displaced from their homes in Central and South Darfur while over 34,000 have been displaced in South Kordofan. Meanwhile, 69,000 South Sudanese refugees have arrived in Sudan fleeing hunger and war as well.

Most of them are in East Darfur with the rest in West Kordofan, South Darfur, and White Nile, the group added.

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Famines

UN: Plenty of Syrian civilians in danger of starvation
Aljazeera

UN envoy says more progress needed to strengthen ceasefire and deliver humanitarian aid before peace talks can resume.

The UN has called for greater humanitarian access in Syria amid fears that many civilians risk starvation in besieged areas of the war-torn country.

Speaking in Geneva on Thursday, Staffan de Mistura, the UN special envoy, said there "are plenty of civilians at the moment in danger of starvation" in Syria, where more than 400,000 are trapped in areas besieged by the government or armed groups across the country.

The UN also estimates that upwards of four million people are trapped in "hard-to-reach" areas.

Jan Egeland, secretary-general of the Norwegian Refugee Council and special adviser to the UN envoy, said plans to reach a million Syrians with humanitarian assistance have fallen short.

"Of the one million people that we have planned and have tried to reach by land in May, we've only so far reached 160,000," he said.

"Even in areas where we had full approval from the government, there have been infinite problems in actually reaching the places, and in others where we had conditional approvals, like Daraya, we haven't been able to reach the people at all."

Daraya and Moadamiyah near Damascus and al-Waer in Homs were the three places where the situation was "horrendously critical", he said.

"Children are so malnourished in these places that they will be dying if we're not able to reach them."

The UN has resorted to airdrops of food to reach 110,000 people besieged by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, or ISIS) group in the town of Deir Az Zor, and is considering airdrops to places besieged by government forces if it does not get permission to go in by land.

De Mistura said those airdrops would still need government approval, but if that was denied, he expected the United States and Russia to find a way to ensure everyone could be reached.

The five-year Syrian conflict has killed more than 270,000 people in the past five years, according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Peace talks
De Mistura said that he has no plans to convene a new round of talks in the next two or three weeks as fighting flares on the ground.

He told a closed session of the Security Council that more progress was needed to strengthen a ceasefire and deliver humanitarian aid before talks can resume.

The envoy "briefed on his intention to start the next round of talks as soon as feasible but certainly not within the next two/three weeks," said a statement from his office.

Two weeks of UN-brokered talks between the Syrian government and opposition groups in Geneva ended on April 27 with no breakthrough.

A new round had been expected for the end of May, but no new date has been announced.

Time is running out before an August deadline for the peace talks, and some diplomats had expected the timetable would be even tighter because talks might not be scheduled during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which starts on June 6.

But de Mistura said earlier on Thursday that Ramadan would "not be a factor", saying that if people were able to keep fighting during Ramadan, they could be expected to conduct peace talks.

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