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A large-scale rescue effort is underway after the heaviest rainfall in a century caused flash floods to devastate parts of Western Europe

Fast moving torrents of water inundated entire towns and villages in western and southern Germany, causing buildings to collapse and leaving residents stranded, police said Thursday. At least 55 people have died in the severe flooding but authorities said that number is expected to rise.
Germany is worst hit with 49 dead, while six people died in Belgium. Luxembourg and the Netherlands are also affected.
In Germany’s worst hit Rhineland-Palatinate state, 1,300 people are “assumed” missing in the district of Ahrweiler, the local government said.
“In some areas we have not seen this much rainfall in 100 years,” Andreas Friedrich, a German weather service spokesman, told CNN. He added that “in some areas we’ve seen more than double the amount of rainfall which has caused flooding and unfortunately some building structures to collapse.”
Along with Rhineland-Palatinate, the German regions of North Rhine-Westphalia and Saarland were worst affected, Friedrich added.
Extreme rainfall totals were observed Wednesday into Thursday morning across much of western Germany and the Benelux region, with North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate seeing the highest rainfall totals, according to CNN meteorologist Brandon Miller.
Widespread swaths of these states saw 24-hour rainfall totals between 100 and 150 millimeters (3.9-5.9 inches), which represent more than a month’s worth of rainfall in this region.
Cologne recorded 154 millimeters (6 inches) of rainfall in only 24 hours ending Thursday morning, which is nearly double its monthly average for July of 87 millimeters (3.45 inches).
Locally heavier downpours resulted in extreme flash flooding. In Reifferscheid, an incredible 207 millimeters (8.1 inches) of rain fell in only nine hours, according to the European Severe Weather Database.

At least 30 dead in one German state

In North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany’s most populous state, 30 people have been found dead, a spokesman for the state government told CNN. According to the spokesman, at least 50 people were also injured in the floods and the number of people missing is unclear.
In Rhineland-Palatinate, at least 19 people were found dead, but “that number is expected to rise,” a spokesman for police in Koblenz told CNN.
On Thursday morning in the district of Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, more than 1,000 police and emergency workers were called in, the local government said.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is on her swansong visit to Washington, DC, described the deadly floods as a “catastrophe.”
“Here in Washington, my thoughts are also always with the people in our homeland,” Merkel said at a news conference on Thursday ahead of her meeting with President Joe Biden.
“Peaceful places are going through a catastrophe in these hours, one can say a tragedy. Heavy rainfall and floods are very inadequate words to describe this — it is therefore really a catastrophe.”
Merkel said the focus is on the rescue and immediate response to those affected by the floods, but added that she was in close contact with her country’s finance minister, Olaf Scholz, to work on a strategy for longer-term financial aid to help with recovery.
“I mourn for those who have lost their lives in this catastrophe — we do not yet know these numbers but there will be many,” she added.
Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert offered condolences to the families of the victims. “I am shocked by the disaster that so many people in the flood areas have to endure. My sympathies go out to the families of the dead and missing,” Seibert wrote on Twitter.
A woman tries to move in a flooded street following heavy rains in Liege, Belgium.
Merkel’s visit is likely her last to the US before stepping down as Chancellor in the fall after 16 years in power.
Armin Laschet, the premier of North Rhine-Westphalia and the Conservatives’ candidate to succeed Merkel, visited affected parts of the region on Thursday.
“We will be faced with such events over and over, and that means we need to speed up climate protection measures, on European, federal and global levels, because climate change isn’t confined to one state,” Laschet said.

Six deaths in Belgium

In neighboring Belgium, at least six people died in floods in the southern region of Wallonia, CNN affiliate RTBF reported Thursday, citing the magistrate on duty at the Verviers prosecutor’s office and the governor of the Liège province.
The Wallonia region borders North Rhine-Westphalia. The floods have also disrupted Belgium’s national railway network, Infrabel, stopping services in the French-speaking south of the country, the company said Thursday in a press release.
People ride on a trailer as the Dutch fire brigade evacuate people from their homes in South Limburg.
Italy has begun sending search crews and vehicles to Wallonia, the Italian Civil Protection agency said in a statement.
King Philippe of Belgium visited the town of Chaudfontaine, in the province of Liège, after it was hit by severe flooding.
“We are really touched by the severity of the catastrophe,” Philippe said in an on-camera statement. “Our thoughts go to the victims, their families, and all the people who had to be evacuated in emergency from disaster areas.”
Workers from France’s Civil Protection Agency arrived in the Belgium province of Liege to assist with recovery and rescue efforts.
“Rescuers from the instruction and intervention unit of the (French) Civil Protection carry out the first reconnaissance operations,” the French Civil Protection agency said in a post on Twitter, shortly after their arrival. “They will be joined this evening by firefighters, divers and lifeguards.”
The European Union also activated the civil emergency response mechanism to help areas of Belgium affected by floods, the EU Commission said Thursday in a statement.
“Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Germany you can count on the EU’s help to face these dramatic floods. My thoughts are with the victims of these tragic events and with all who will have to rebuild what they have lost. I want to thank all rescue teams for their invaluable help and relentless efforts,” EU Council president Charles Michel tweeted Thursday.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted an offer of support on Thursday.
“Shocking to see the devastating flooding across Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Belgium,” Johnson tweeted.
“My thoughts are with the families of the victims and all those affected. The UK is ready to provide any support needed in the rescue and recovery effort.”
Shipping was also suspended on the River Rhine, one of Germany’s longest and most important arteries of industrial transport, according to NTV news.
Weather service spokesman Friedrich said the downpours were caused by cooler and warmer rainfall mixing. “It came from France at the beginning of the week to Germany and has been sitting over Germany for the last 48 hours,” he said.
“For now we predict the worst of the torrential rainfall is over, though more heavy rain is due in southwestern Germany on the upper reaches of the Rhine, (Thursday) and Friday,” he added.

Dutch city calls for two neighborhoods to evacuate

The city of Maastricht in the Netherlands has called on residents of the Heugem and Randwyck districts to leave their homes “as soon as possible” due to rising water in the river Meuse.
“The water in the Meuse is rising rapidly. We expect it to cross the quays at Randwyck/Heugem around 3 a.m.,” a news release from the city council of Maastricht said. “This means water will end up in the streets and homes.”
According to the Dutch statistics office, the population of the two neighborhoods is more than 9,000.

With climate change comes warmer air holding more water vapor

The extreme rainfall was the result of a slow-moving area of low pressure, which allowed a conveyor belt of warm and moist air to fuel powerful thunderstorms and bring heavy, long-lasting rainfall, according to the German national weather service, DWD.
Intense rainfall rates are becoming more common in the warming climate, as warmer air can hold more water vapor that is available to fall as rain.
“These kind of high-energy, sudden summer torrents of rain are exactly what we expect in our rapidly heating climate,” according to Hannah Cloke, a professor of hydrology at the University of Reading.
“The fact that other parts of the northern hemisphere are currently suffering record-breaking heatwaves and fires should serve as a reminder of just how much more dangerous our weather could become in an ever-warmer world,” Cloke said.
This story has been updated.

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Speaking on voting rights in Philadelphia, Biden warns ‘the 21st century Jim Crow assault is real’

President Biden is facing increasing pressure from Black civil rights leaders to take an aggressive stance on Congress eliminating the filibuster and passing federal legislation that would protect voters as the President prepares to deliver a major speech on voting rights Tuesday.

Black leaders say Biden has not acted swiftly enough on voting rights as a growing number of states pass laws that restrict voting access. His address in Philadelphia comes less than a week after the President met with the leaders of several civil rights organizations at the White House.

The group demanded that Biden go into communities and speak about what he was doing to protect voting rights, said Melanie Campbell, president of the National Coalition of Black Civic Participation, who attended the White House meeting.

The leaders also urged the Biden administration to do more to push Congress to approve the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.

Black voters, Campbell said, put Biden in office with the expectation that he would rally against GOP efforts to suppress their votes.

“We believe this is a state of emergency,” Campbell said. “Because we don’t have a strong voting rights act to push back on some of this, then we are looking at regression… and with African Americans, we have always had to have federal intervention.”

According to the White House, Biden’s speech Tuesday will include “remarks on actions to protect the sacred, constitutional right to vote.”

Passing voting rights legislation has been an uphill battle for Democrats because of the filibuster, which means their slim majority in the Senate isn’t enough to overcome GOP opposition. Moderate Democrats have opposed major changes to the rules, making the future of new voting laws unclear. Biden has also stopped short of supporting elimination of the filibuster but has expressed openness to making the practice harder to execute.

Cliff Albright, co-founder of Black Voters Matter, said there is no path to voting rights that does not require modifying or ending the filibuster.

Biden, he said, has the power to influence lawmakers and that it would be an “epic fail” if the President doesn’t take a stand against the filibuster in his speech.

“The President’s hands are never tied,” Albright said.

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Theological aspect

The Eastern bishops, supporters of the semi-Arian party, most of whom were members of the Council of Philippopolis in 343 with the subsequent supreme ecclesiastical forums, express precisely the pre-Nicene conservatism hostile to the term “omousios,” an innovation included in the Creed. the Ecumenical Council. This is one of the main reasons and explanations for the high intensity of church councils in the IV century due to the many anti-Trinitarian heresies and false teachings, in particular the teachings of Arius and his derivatives. Heresies seem to be multiplying, which in turn multiplies the convening of pro and contra fairs, each of them.

Among the bishops gathered in Philippopolis, many came from the Eusevian coalition. For the followers of Eusebius of Nicomedia, there were no longer any theological problems with Arius after he returned from exile with the permission of the emperor. Constantine I at the cost of a religion in which his most extreme views were excluded. The main postulate in their doctrine was the semi-Arian view that the Son had a substance similar to the substance of the Father (omiusios) contrary to the view of the Aecians /in the name of the Antiochian deacon Aetius, who revived classical Arianism /and the Eunomians/ epi in the name of Euphnius. Kizik in Moesia/, according to which no news on the question of the substantiality of the Son can be accepted, because the Son is of a completely different substance from that of the Father /heterousios/ and is an anomios from His Father. Acacius of Caesarea is a representative of pure classical Arianism with his talent and erudition. He is known as the leader of the Eusevian party at a series of councils: in Antioch  /341/, in Philippopolis /343/, in Milan /355/, in Antioch /358/. At the synods of 359 and 360, respectively in Seleucia and Constantinople, he became the progenitor of a new sectarian branch – that of the Acacians (cf. Dictionnaire de Theologie catholique – DTC, Fasc. II, P., 1909, col. 290). The latter preached semi-Arian views, adhering to the term “omios”, in the sense of similar, whence comes the other name by which they are known in church history “omians”. The technical term “omios” meant similar to the Father not in substance, but referred to a similarity in the will (cf. DTC, Fasc. II, P., 1909, col. 290-292; Lacan M.-F ., Petite Encyclopedie Religieuse, Fayard, Paris, 1973, p. 163). The heads of many ancient episcopal bishops in Thrace (Rule 6 of the First Ecumenical Council determined five provinces in Thrace with the capital Heraclia or Heraclea, Heraclia, with its own metropolitan, and Balsamon in the interpretation of Rule 3 of the Second Ecumenical Council testified that from ancient times the bishop of the city of Byzantium – Byzantium was appointed by the Thracian Metropolitan until the adoption of this canon, with which he was equated in advantages and honor with the Roman bishop) in today’s Bulgaria are among the signatories of the decisions of the Eastern Council in Philippopolis (one of the first early Christian centers and an episcopal settlement not only on the territory of today’s Bulgaria, but also in the world): Ep. Eutychius of Philippopolis (+ ca. 347), successor of the disciple of St. Apostle Paul – St. Apostle Hermas /cf. Rom. 16:14/, one of the 70 apostles of Christ; ep. Demophilus of Beroe (now Stara Zagora), successor of the first bishop – the student of ap. Paul, Carp /cf. 2 Tim.4: 13/; in Odessos (now Varna) and in the Thracian city of Heraclea the first bishop was the apostolic disciple martyr. Amplius /cf. Rom. 16: 8/, whence they take part and sign the Eastern Encyclical of Philippopolis, ep. Theodore of Heraclea (hence the Arian bishop Sabin of Heraclia, who left us the valuable source from the IV century for the councils of the Arians “Synagogues of the Councils”) and bishop Timothy of Anhialo (Ankila). It is difficult to accept that all these hierarchs, who accepted their episcopal chairs from the earliest Christian epoch by apostolic succession, have completely and at the same time departed from the correct teaching of Christ.

Rather, they were strongly attached to the ancient religion before the Nicene Creed and reacted sharply to the innovations made at the time, as well as to attempts to establish papal supremacy at the Council of Serdica. The perspective of the decisions of Philippopolis was based on the canonical order established by the Ecumenical Council of Nicaea and the local Council of Antioch, while the decisions of Serdica are in the perspective of the bishop’s obligation to defend the pure Nicene faith.

Author: Petar Gramatikov
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