1. According to the Philippine Star, a Chinese news network has reportedly stated that the Chinese Navy has drawn up a detailed plan to seize the Philippines’ Pag-asa Island in a battle that will be restricted in the South China Sea this year. A report of business and strategy news in Mandarin was translated by English news site China Daily Mail and stated: “Chinese troops will seize Pag-asa Island back from the Philippines in 2014.” China’s plan to invade Pag-asa Island could be part of Beijing’s 20-year expansion plan for its navy to have total dominance of the disputed Spratlys archipelago. The Philippine defense and foreign affairs ministries both declined to comment on the report.
2. According to the Jerusalem Post, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Tuesday that world powers have surrendered to Iranian interests with the implementation of the interim nuclear deal forged in Geneva. Sending out the message via Twitter, Rouhani said Iran’s relationship with the world is based on its national interests, and that the agreement reached in Geneva marked a global surrender to Iran’s “national will.” The United States brushed off the remark, with White House press secretary Jay Carney calling it unsurprising.
3. According to Time Magazine, Hong Kong officials are reporting that a second patient has died after contracting the H7N9 bird flu virus. The 65-year-old male is believed to have been the third person in Hong Kong to contract the virus during the last month. Authorities reported that all of the patients were exposed to the disease in the neighboring city of Shenzhen in southern China. Dr. Leung Ting-hung, director of Hong Kong’s Centre for Health Protection, said, “The public is reminded to remain vigilant in prevention of seasonal influenza, especially the elderly, children and those who suffer from long-term illness.”
4. According to the Jerusalem Post, US President Barack Obama said on Monday it would not be right for Congress to impose new sanctions on Iran now, saying, “Now is the time for us to allow the diplomats and technical experts to do their work.” Raising the issue in comments to reporters, Obama said that if Tehran abides by the agreement, “then I have no doubt that it can open up extraordinary opportunities for Iran and their people.” But if they refuse, he said, then “we are in position to reverse any interim agreement and put in place additional pressure to make sure that Iran does not obtain a nuclear weapon.”
5. According to the Los Angeles Times, Iran’s chief negotiator said on Monday that key elements of a new nuclear agreement between Iran and six world powers are contained in an informal, 30-page text not yet publicly acknowledged by Western officials. Abbas Araqchi disclosed the existence of the document in a Persian-language interview with the semiofficial Iranian Students News Agency. When officials from Iran and the world powers announced that they had completed the implementing agreement, they didn’t release the text of the deal, nor did they acknowledge the existence of an informal addendum. In the interview, Araqchi referred to the side agreement using the English word “nonpaper,” a diplomatic term used for an informal side agreement that doesn’t have to be disclosed publicly. He said, the nonpaper deals with such important details as the operation of a joint commission to oversee how the deal is implemented and Iran’s right to continue nuclear research and development during the next several months.
Jesus Christ said in Luke 17:28-30: “Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.”