Officials believe Chinese strategy has changed from one of gathering intelligence to one of wreaking havoc: FBI Director warns of large-scale hacking targeting our critical infrastructure

Chinese-military-hackers

Important Takeaways:

  • FBI director warns China’s computer attacks are now at a ‘scale greater than we’d seen before’ as vulnerable critical infrastructure remains at high-risk to be targeted
  • China’s cyber-attacks have grown to a ‘scale greater than we’d seen before’, the FBI director has advised amid fears that US infrastructure is under threat.
  • Christopher Wray gave the grave warning as intelligence chiefs and politicians met at the Munich annual security conference on Sunday, according to the Wall Street Journal.
  • The wars raging in Ukraine and the Middle East were the focus of the conference – but Wray urged leaders not to lose sight of a subtler menace.
  • He said Beijing’s plan to secretly plant technology inside the US critical infrastructure has become a significant threat to national security.
  • Wray cited Volt Typhoon, the moniker given to the Chinese hacking network that infiltrated the US last year, but said it’s only the ‘tip of the iceberg.’
  • Under ‘Volt Typhoon’ Beijing’s military have burrowed into more than 20 major suppliers in the last year alone including a water utility in Hawaii, a major West Coast port and at least one oil and gas pipeline, analysts revealed weeks ago.
  • They have bypassed elaborate cyber security systems by intercepting passwords and log-ins unguarded by junior employees, leaving China ‘sitting on a stockpile of strategic’ vulnerabilities.
  • In May, Microsoft uncovered Chinese attempts to infiltrate dozens of sectors in Guam, the closest US territory to Taiwan.
  • Communications, manufacturing, utility, transportation, construction, maritime, government, information technology, and education organizations were targeted by Volt Typhoon.
  • But officials believe the strategy has changed from one of gathering intelligence to one of wreaking havoc.
  • And no company is too small or seemingly unimportant to escape Chinese attention

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Europe’s weak economy risk: Fourth quarter doesn’t look good

Paris-Market

Important Takeaways:

  • Europe’s economy risks a recession after output falls in the third quarter
  • The euro area economy risks falling into recession later this year after official data Tuesday showed that output shrank slightly in the third quarter.
  • Gross domestic product across the 20 countries that use the euro fell 0.1% in the July-to-September quarter compared with the previous three months, according to an initial estimate published by Eurostat, the European Union’s statistics office.
  • The dip follows a rise of only 0.2% in the April-to-June quarter and highlights the fine line between contraction and growth in the eurozone. GDP was stagnant in the final three months of 2022 and the first quarter of this year.
  • “The big picture is that the eurozone is struggling. It has only grown by 0.1% over the past year, and the timeliest business surveys consistently point to activity declining at the start of [the fourth quarter],”
  • Recent survey data shows that activity in the eurozone’s manufacturing and services sectors has been on a downward trajectory, with demand for goods and services set to weaken further.
  • Even if the region avoids a recession, economists say a meaningful recovery is still some way off.

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China’s 44th Naval escort to be deployed in the Middle East as tensions rise

Chinese-Navy-Warship

Important Takeaways:

  • China deploys six warships to Middle East over fears Israel crisis could spark WW3
  • China has deployed six warships to the Middle East as the conflict between Israel and Hamas escalates, according to reports.
  • The 44th naval escort task force – from the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Eastern Theatre – has been involved in routine operations in the region and spent several days in Oman last week.
  • The Chinese warships left Muscat for an unspecified location on Saturday after participating in an exercise with the Omani navy.
  • The task force includes the Zibo, a guided missile destroyer, the frigate Jingzhou, and the supply ship Qiandaohu – all of which will be stationed in the Middle East as Israel prepares for a ground invasion of Gaza.
  • Chinese leader Xi Jinping said on Thursday that a two-state solution to establish an independent Palestine is the “fundamental way out” of the Israel-Hamas war.
  • According to China’s state broadcaster CCTV, Xi said: “The top priority now is a ceasefire as soon as possible, to avoid the conflict from expanding or even spiraling out of control and causing a serious humanitarian crisis.”
  • China’s deployment comes after the US sent a powerful arsenal to the Middle East earlier this week.

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Gas prices going up in time for return to school

Gas Prices OPEC

Important Takeaways:

  • US gas prices climb to highest level in nearly 10 months
  • Pump prices are creeping towards $4 a gallon nationally.
  • The national average for regular gasoline hit $3.85 a gallon on Monday, according to AAA. That’s the highest level since October 19 and comes just weeks ahead of Labor Day weekend when millions of Americans will hit the roads.
  • …gas prices have climbed by 28 cents over the past month and 32 cents since the Fourth of July as a result of higher oil prices caused by Russia and Saudi Arabia cutting supply and extreme heat sidelining some US refineries.
  • According to AAA, there are now 11 states averaging $4 or higher, including Arizona, Illinois and Utah. Colorado and Michigan aren’t far away.

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Large percentage of Americans are living under financial strain

Important Takeaways:

  • 61% of Americans say they are living paycheck to paycheck even as inflation cools
  • Lower-income workers have been the hardest hit by price spikes, particularly for food and other staples, since those expenses account for a bigger share of the budget, studies show. Roughly three-quarters of consumers earning less than $50,000 annually and 65% of those earning between $50,000 and $100,000 were living paycheck to paycheck in June, based on LendingClub’s numbers.
  • Fewer top earners have been struggling to make ends meet. Of those earning $100,000 or more, only 45% reported living paycheck to paycheck, the report found.
  • A majority, or 52%, of adults, including high earners, said they have felt more financially stressed since before the Covid pandemic began in 2020, according to a separate CNBC Your Money Financial Confidence Survey conducted in March — largely due to inflation, rising interest rates and a lack of savings.

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Dr. David Jeremiah points to hope even though so many seem to be leaving the faith

Knocking on Door

Important Takeaways:

  • A Shift Away From Biblical Faith: Why Are So Many Quitting Christianity?
  • The Pew Research Center has tracked viable data for years and studied the trends. Their projections are disheartening…
    • In 2020, 64% of people of all ages were Christian. This number will shrink to between a little more than half (54%) and just above one-third (35%) of all Americans by 2070.
    • Over that same period, “nones” (people who are religiously unaffiliated) will rise from the current 30% to somewhere between 34% and 52% of the U.S. population.
  • But do not despair! There is hope in the headlines. And while what is happening in the church shocks us, it is not a surprise to God. The falling away of the church is prophesied in Scripture and points to the soon return of Christ. And for His own, the faithful and redeemed, salvation is secure.
  • This “falling away” isn’t new. Throughout history, many have embraced Christianity, only to abandon it later. Even the first Christians faced this challenge. Demas, a coworker of Paul, initially supported him but eventually left, “having loved this present world” (2 Timothy 4:10).
  • The core issue isn’t that people are falling away from church or even falling away from the faith. We’re talking about falling away as Judas did, from Jesus Himself. We’re talking about branches that cut themselves off from the vine. These are people who have—these words are stark—“trampled the Son of God underfoot . . . treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and . . . insulted the Spirit of grace” (Heb. 10:29).
  • How can this happen?
  • They Fall Away Because They Are Deceived
  • The Bible very clearly warns that spiritual deception will lead many to fall away from Christ in the end times.
  • “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron” (1 Timothy 4:1–2).
  • There are those who receive the Gospel with joy but lack a strong foundation. These individuals seek solutions rather than a Savior and want the blessings of belief without fully committing to Christ. During times of temptation, they fall away (Luke 8:13).
  • But, don’t despair. There’s still hope. God knows those who are His, and He will bring them home safely. Jesus said: “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand” (John 10:28).

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The path we’re on leads to more Government Control

(Photo 65763839 © Flynt | Dreamstime.com)

Important Takeaways:

  • As states continue to implement digital ID systems, it is essential that they build tools in ways that inherently protect civil liberties rather than asking citizens to just trust government officials.
  • In many states, Americans can now ditch their physical wallet and verify their identity simply by tapping their device on a scanner. And just as digital wallets from Apple and Google have made commerce more convenient, digital ID systems could potentially make government interactions faster and more efficient. But they also raise the ominous specter of government surveillance. Can we have the efficiency of a digital ID without letting government track our every move?
  • Yes, but that’s not the path we’re on.
  • Take Colorado. Since 2019, Coloradans have been able to use a digital ID as a legal form of personal identification throughout the state. Users download an application to their smartphone, enroll in the service, and have their identity authenticated by taking photos or videos of a valid ID card or other government issued documents to prove that they are who they claim to be. Then that information is encrypted, and the user is granted a digital ID and an associated key or code that serves as an identifier.
  • Coloradans can simply show their digital ID to verify their identity in much the same way as you would show your driver’s license to a bartender to prove you are over 21. That means of verifying identity is relatively private. However, many services, both public and private, are increasingly turning to electronic verification, which requires pinging a government server. This ping creates a data record outlining who, what, when, and where. Over time, these records create a government-controlled ledger of information about its citizens.

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‘She just held them and prayed;’ Tornado ripped through Nash County

Matthew 24:7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places.

Important Takeaways:

  • There is devastation.
  • Dortches, in Nash County, is one of the areas where officials told CBS17 they’re finding the most damage.
  • With just a moment’s notice, people on Town Hall Road found shelter where they could.
  • “When I looked out, it was like midnight. Tree limbs were going this way and that way,” said Mayor Jamie Vick.
  • “The good Lord blessed us, because as you can see with what’s around here, with the size of these trees, the wind, I mean, a lot of people could have lost their life,” said Vick.
  • “She took the brunt of the damage coming in off of them. Three small children she has. She said she watched the roof come off the house just held them and prayed.”
  • The tornado ripped out trees, and even picked up a propane tank. The tank was dropped off next to a little white house that is now barely standing.

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Reports of chemicals from the train derailment killing fish, residents worry about long term health impact

Ohio Train Derailment

Luke 21:11 There will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences. And there will be terrors and great signs from heaven.

Important Takeaways:

  • Worried residents near Ohio train derailment report dead fish and chickens as authorities say it’s safe to return
  • The Ohio Department of Natural Resources said the chemical spill resulting from the derailment had killed an estimated 3,500 small fish across 7½ miles of streams as of Wednesday.
  • “Don’t tell me it’s safe. Something is going on if the fish are floating in the creek,” Cathey Reese, who lives in Negley, Ohio
  • Jenna Giannios, 39, a wedding photographer in nearby Boardman, said she has had a persistent cough for the past week and a half. “They only evacuated only 1 mile from that space, and that’s just insane to me,” she said, coughing throughout the conversation. “I’m concerned with the long-term heath impact. It’s just a mess.”
  • Andrew Whelton, a professor of environmental and ecological engineering at Purdue University, said it’s possible the burn created additional compounds the EPA might not be testing for.
  • “When they combusted the materials, they created other chemicals. The question is what did they create?”

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NASA predicts a Solar Storm to hit Earth July 19

Mathew 24:29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken

Important Takeaways:

  • Leading space science expert predicts a ‘direct hit’ on Earth from a solar storm
  • It has been a busy time for solar activity. Back in March of 2022, Earth was hit by separate geomagnetic storms, according to government weather agencies in the U.S. and the U.K.
  • Then earlier this month, a G1-class geomagnetic storm hit the Earth, causing bright auroras over Canada. The only problem is that nobody saw this storm coming until it was quite late.
  • Five days ago, a giant sunspot and filaments on the solar surface had astronomers worried about possible Earth-directed solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs) that could lead to blackouts.
  • Finally, on Friday, it was reported that a massive solar flare had erupted from the Sun, which could see radio blackouts in many parts of the world.
  • Now, on Saturday, Dr. Tamitha Skov, known as the “Space Weather Woman,” predicted a “direct hit” from a solar storm to take place on Tuesday. She took to social media to share the news along with a NASA prediction model video.
  • “Direct Hit!” she wrote on Twitter. “A snake-like filament launched as a big solar storm while in the Earth-strike zone.”
  • “NASA predicts impact early July 19

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