1. Category: Mark of the Beast:
"Where's Jimmy? Just Google His Bar Code"
Tech enthusiasts and futurists think implantable radio chips, such as those embedded in Amal Graafstra's hands, could mean safety, security and convenience. But civil libertarians are concerned about privacy.
Scientists tag animals to monitor their behavior and keep track of endangered species. Now some futurists are asking whether all of mankind should be tagged too. Looking for a loved one? Just Google his microchip.
The chips, called radio frequency identification (RFID) tags, emit a simple radio signal akin to a bar code, anywhere, anytime. Futurists say they can be easily implanted under the skin on a person’s arm.
Already, the government of Mexico has surgically implanted the chips, the size of a grain of rice, in the upper arms of staff at the attorney general’s office in Mexico City. The chips contain codes that, when read by scanners, allow access to a secure building, and prevent trespassing by drug lords.
In research published in the International Journal of Innovation and Sustainable Development, Taiwanese researchers postulate that the tags could help save lives in the aftermath of a major earthquake. "Office workers would have their identity badges embedded in their RFID tags, while visitors would be given temporary RFID tags when they enter the lobby," they suggest. Similarly, identity tags for hospital staff and patients could embed RFID technology.
There are a number of entrepreneurial companies marketing radio tracking technologies, including Positive ID, Datakey and MicroChips. Companies started marketing the idea behind these innovative technologies a few years ago, as excellent devices for tracking everyone, all the time.
These medical applications are not quite as controversial as the tracking technologies. The FDA in 2004 approved another chip developed by Positive ID’s predecessor company, VeriChip, which stores a code -- similar to the identifying UPC code on products sold in retail stores -- that releases patient-specific information when a scanner passes over the chip. Those codes, placed on chips and scanned at the physician’s office or the hospital, would disclose a patient’s medical history.
2. The Middle-East and calls for the destruction of Israel ("Rumors of War"):
"Iranian cleric wants creation of 'Greater Iran'"
A radical cleric called Saturday for the creation of a "Greater Iran" that would rule over the entire Middle East and Central Asia, in an event that he said would herald the coming of Islam's expected messiah.
Kharrazi's comments reveal the thinking of a growing number of hard-liners in Iran, many of whom have become more radical during the postelection political crisis and the international standoff over the country's nuclear program.
He said he envisioned a Greater Iran that would stretch from Afghanistan to Israel, bringing about the destruction of the Jewish state.
He also said its formation would be a prelude to the reappearance of the Mahdi, a revered ninth-century saint known as the Hidden Imam, whom Muslims believe will reappear before judgment day to end tyranny and promote justice in the world.
"The Islamic United States will be an introduction to the formation of the global village of the oppressed and that will be a prelude to the single global rule of the Mahdi," the Hezbollah newspaper quoted him as saying.
3. Category: Wars and Rumors of War:
"Russian arms sales to Syria 'don't help peace': Israel"
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Sunday criticised Russia for supplying arms to Syria, saying the move did not help efforts to bring peace to the region.
Lieberman's remarks came just days after a top Russian military official said Moscow was supplying Syria with MiG-29 fighter jets, Pantsir short-range air defence systems and armoured vehicles.
He also insisted the regime of Bashar al-Assad was not interested in peace, and described as "naive" anyone who believed Syria would be ready "to cut ties with Iran and Lebanon's Hezbollah militia" in exchange for a return of the Golan Heights, which Israel occupied during the 1967 Six Day War.
4. Category: Wars and Rumors of War:
"TIME: 'The Next Lebanon War'"
A report by TIME Magazine this week warns that "the next Lebanon War" is on the horizon, but contends that although the Hizbullah terrorist organization and Israel are both fully prepared for war, neither side is looking forward to the eventuality.
Iran is aiming Hizbullah's tens of thousands of missiles at Israel in a bid to halt American pressure designed to end its ability to build an atomic weapon.
Israel has vowed to consider the entire nation of Lebanon fair game, rather than restricting its targets to Hizbullah-linked areas, if war again breaks out in the north. The reason: Hizbullah has become a significant player in Lebanon's government, with several ministers representing the terrorist organization in the nation's cabinet and a healthy-sized faction in the parliament. The Lebanese government has issued numerous statements asserting the group's right to bear arms, and validating its status as a military entity “defending” the Lebanese people from “Israeli aggression.”
The terrorist group is supplied by Syria and Iran with generous funding and more missiles and other ordnance than most European nations, according to some reports, including Scuds. IDF Brigadier General Yossi Baidatz, a top military intelligence analyst, told a Knesset committee a week ago that Hizbullah has all kinds of weapons, “including solid-fueled rockets, more accurate and with a longer range.” The Scud missiles recently transferred from Syria to Lebanon are "just the tip of the iceberg," Baidatz warned.
Hizbullah is upgrading its battle plans and preparing for war, TIME reports, while planning to send guerrilla fighters on cross-border raids and sabotage missions, similar to that which ignited the Second Lebanon War.
War is imminent in the Middle East. It could explode at any minute. And when it does, subsequent events should begin to fall into place quickly as things deteriorate in the region, and as Russia (aka "MaGog") gets pulled in.
As usual - we're watching closely.
These events in the Middle East simply mean that we're all that much closer to our ultimate fate: A face-to-face meeting with Christ Jesus, and a tour of our eternal home.