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eNews For The Week Of January 02, 2001


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In This Week’s Issue

Articles and Commentary

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Articles And Commentary

Russian Tax Police Get New Intelligence Agency

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In a battle to combat corruption in Russia, the government has decided to create a new intelligence agency next year to investigate fraud and financial crimes. According to Tax Police head Vyacheslav Soltaganov, This analytical center will have wide authority in demanding the necessary financial documents. There will be no banking or financial or commercial or any other kind of secret for it.

The Finance Ministry has announced that the new agency will probably be established in the next few months, provided the Russian parliament passes several laws, including one which would list all organizations obliged to report any suspicious deals.

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Taiwan Boats Legally Travel to China

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For the first time in more than 50 years, two passenger boats from Taiwan were allowed to make a direct trip to mainland China. This will be the beginning of three regular links establishing direct transport, trade and postal routes between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait.

The establishment of these routes is due to the entrance of China and Taiwan into the World Trade Organization, expected later this year. Both China and Taiwan will be required to offer each other the same trading rights and privileges that will apply to all other WTO trading partners after they both enter the global trading body.

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Clinton Approves International Criminal Court

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President Clinton has approved the signing of the U.N. treaty creating an International Criminal Court in spite of reservations about the form and procedures of the proposed court. The United States earlier voted against the proposed court, because the Pentagon feared our troops stationed in U.N. actions around the world could become targets of politically motivated charges. U.S. representatives to the conference attempted to pass an amendment which would force any proposed case to be approved by the Security Council, in essence allowing the U.S. to veto the prosecution of Americans, but it was overwhelmingly defeated by the assembly of delegates at the Rome convention.

Another serious concern is that the rights guaranteed U.S. citizens by the Bill of Rights (or the rights of citizens of other countries guaranteed under their laws) have no binding power over the prosecutors of the international court. National sovereignty in these matters will cease to exist.

There is no right to trial by jury. Appeals will be heard by the court's own appeals judges. There is no right to be free from testifying against one's self, right to a speedy trial, protection against cruel or unusual punishment, right to an attorney...etc.

Currently the international "crimes" under the court's jurisdiction involve war crimes and things such a genocide. However, the jurisdiction of the court was deliberately left open-ended by the treaty, and it is the court itself that determines what comes under the realm of its jurisdiction. This means it can create new international "law" any time it wishes, thus making the court into lawmaker, judge, jury and appeals court all in one. In short, there is little any country will be able to do to protect its citizens.

Funding for the court and its 18 judges would come from assessments against the participating nations in a manner similar to the way U.N. dues are currently assessed. However, in addition, the court will be given the right to confiscate the property and assets of the accused, and to convert those assets for its own use upon conviction. The opportunities for corruption here are limitless.

Clinton rationalizedthat bysigning the treatythe U.S. will have at least some influence over the makeup of the court, including the appointment of judges and writing of rules, even if the Senate never ratified the document.

Sen. Jesse Helms, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, has vowed to fight Senate ratification of the treaty. "By signing, the president has effectively given his approval to this unprecedented assault on American sovereignty," said Helms.

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Hussein Suffers Stroke

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Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has been taken to a hospital in Baghdad, reportedly after suffering a stroke. It is unknown what his condition is or how severe the stroke was. Hussein, 63 years old, had issued an appeal to all Christians and Muslims last week, following Christmas and the end of Ramadan, to rise up in holy war against Israel and the Zionist conspiracy.

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Bioterrorism Threat Leads to Drug Research

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The threat of the use of biological agents as weapons of mass destruction has prompted the Pentagon to commission a group of New York scientists to develop drugs to treat smallpox. The Center for Disease Control has also contracted pharmaceutical firms to mass-produce 40 million doses of smallpox vaccine.

The National Intelligence Council, a think tank group assembled by the CIA, issued its assessment saying that the danger from terrorist attacks is greater now than it was during the Cold War, predicting that nationalistic and religious terrorists will continue to seek out U.S. targets.

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Western Wall Attacked

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An American tourist splashed red paint against the Jewish holy site, the Wailing Wall, to protest the killing of Palestinians by Israelis. The red paint was supposed to symbolize the blood of the dead. Jewish leaders ordered a steam cleaner to remove the paint in a religiously appropriate manner.

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Astronomers Spot Ominous Asteroid

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An asteroid passed within 772,000 kilometers (479,700 miles) of the earth last Friday. Although the distance is twice the distance to the moon, astronomers consider it a near miss. Astronomers discovered the 50-meter-wide (164 feet) asteroid only at the last minute.

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Violence Against Churches

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The Christmas holiday prompted the bombings of churches in Yemen, Tajikistan, and Indonesia. Seventeen were killed by the blast in Jakarta, Indonesia. The bombings, while probably unrelated, were all reportedly carried out by Islamic extremists.

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Disclaimer

The views and opinions expressed in these articles, enews and linked websites are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views held by Koinonia House. Koinonia House is providing this information as a resource to individuals who are interested in current news and events that may have an impact on Christian Life and Biblical trends. Koinonia House is not responsible for any information contained in these articles that may be inaccurate, or does not present an unbiased or complete perspective. Koinonia House disavows any obligation to correct or update the information contained in these articles.

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