French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday backed Germany’s idea of a European Monetary Fund (EMF) to counter economic shocks in euro zone member states but stressed the ultimate goal of deeper integration should remain a euro zone budget.
Macron, who wants a giant leap forward in European cooperation, pressed for greater financial solidarity towards the bloc’s more vulnerable members. He also used a visit to Greece, which nearly crashed out of the euro zone in 2015, to call for an easing of Athens’ debt burden.
Elected in May, the French leader is trying to reshape and strengthen the euro currency bloc by creating a euro zone finance minister and parliament, as well as a stand-alone budget to cushion against economic shocks and head off future crises.
“We should head towards a European Monetary Fund but this should in no way be mixed up with a (euro zone) budget,” Macron told Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos.
With its own EMF, Europe would be less reliant on the Washington-based International Monetary Fund, a key player in successive Greek bailouts.
“We respect the IMF, but we can manage better with an organization which was set up to have a European mentality and understand the euro zone’s special features,” Pavlopoulos said.
Syrian opposition media named Israel as responsible for air strikes over Syria before dawn Thursday, Sept. 7 - in particular the attack which targeted the Scientific Studies Researchers Center, or Centre D'Etudes et de Recherches Scientifiques (CERS), at Masyaf, 38km west of Hama in central Syria.
This facility has overseen the government’s chemical warfare and missile programs since the 1970s. Casualties were reported in this attack. The reports were accompanied by photos showing high flames from an explosion, although there were no signs that it took place at the Masyaf plant.
There was no official word on the attack until later Thursday, when the Syrian government charged that a military position near Masyef was struck by Israeli warplanes and missiles and two of its soldiers were killed.
On Aug. 24, the German Algemeiner cited a confidential UN report confirming that two North Korean shipments were intercepted in the past six months on their way to Syria, with reason to believe that their cargo was part of a Korea Mining Developing Trading Corp. (KOMID) contract with Syria. KOMID is Pyongyang’s primary exporter of prohibited chemical, missile engines and conventional arms. It was blacklisted by the UN Security Council in 2009 along with its two representatives in Syria.
The UN report, according to the German newspaper, did not name the two nations which intercepted the North Korean shipments or specify their contents. According to other sources, North Korean engineers or technicians were employed at the Syrian CERS plant, which the UN experts had reported as cooperating with KOMID in previous transfers of prohibited items. It is not known whether they were working on a Syrian project or an outsourced North Korean program.
A major precedent was exposed exactly a decade ago by an earlier Israeli attack, which destroyed a Syrian nuclear plant built by North Korea on Sept. 7, 2007. That plant, hit while still under destruction, was destined to produce plutonium for the nuclear programs of North Korea and Iran.
DEBKAfile's analysts suggest that since the confidential UN report strongly indicates that Syria and North Korea have long collaborated in the development of chemical and other prohibited weapons of mass destruction, the Trump administration would have more than one justification for going after the Syrian CERS facility. Indeed, with all eyes on the highly inflammable tensions over North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests, the US would have found it more convenient to get at Kim Jong-un through his back-door partner, rather than going for a direct military attack.
With all the controversy that surrounded the election of Pope Francis upon the resignation of Pope Benedict in 2013, it seems that Catholics may have lost sight of a very key element of this episode, namely, that Benedict XVI never resigned his papal office, but only the active exercise thereof.
On the eve of his resignation, he said: “Anyone who accepts the Petrine ministry no longer has any privacy. He belongs always and completely to everyone, to the whole Church… “The ‘always’ is also a “forever”—there can no longer be a return to the private sphere. My decision to resign the active exercise of the ministry does not revoke this.” (General Audience, February 27, 2013)
According to these words, Benedict XVI remains pope, with no revocation of his office having occurred. According to Church law, a pope must give up “his office” for his resignation to be valid. (Canon 332) Pope Benedict clearly chose to retain his office “forever,” which means he is still pope, which means that Francis cannot be pope, since there cannot be two popes. The late Fatima expert Fr. Nicholas Gruner points this out in a rare video on Benedict XVI’s resignation. If Francis is the pope, then Benedict’s office is revoked, but Benedict insists it was not revoked.
What it boils down to is that Benedict XVI was forced into abdicating, i.e. to give up the “active ministry,” but this was done under the guise of a resignation so as to not split the Barque asunder with controversy. Credible reports from 2015 indicate that Benedict XVI was coerced into stepping down, which was providentially foreshadowed in Pope Benedict’s inaugural speech of April 24, 2005, when he said: “Pray for me, that I may not flee for fear of the wolves.”
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