February 4- February 10, 2008 
 Weekly News In Review
 Vol 3, Issue 6
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We have compiled a list of twenty trends, in the news, for 2007. You can read this review by clicking on the link below

http://www.understandthetimes.org/yir200 7.shtml


 February 3 - U.S. Methodist Church renews drive for divestment from Israel
 Article: .Israel And The Last Days

Tensions are re-emerging between Jewish organizations and some mainline Protestant churches in the wake of a renewed drive for churches to divest from companies doing business with Israel.

The United Methodist Church opened discussions last Friday on a resolution calling for divestment from Caterpillar, the tractor manufacturer, because the company supplies Israel with bulldozers used in building the separation barrier and in demolishing Palestinian homes. The divestment resolution comes only months after the publication of a church-sponsored report referring to the creation of the State of Israel as the "original sin."

Relations with the Presbyterian Church (USA) are also strained, following remarks by church officials criticizing Israel because of the Gaza closure. A recent study by an affiliate of the Presbyterian Church called on American Jews to "get a life" instead of focusing on defending Israeli policies.


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 February 1 - Evolution and creation: A recurring papal theme, often misunderstood
 Article: Creation / Evolution - Creation / Evolution Debate

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Vatican newspaper ran an illustration of a chimpanzee in late January. The image was a grabber, though it didn't have much to do with the accompanying article, a lengthy exposition of how evolution can be considered a means of divine creation. "Evolution and creation cannot be in opposition. God can have created a world with the capacity to change and evolve through natural causes," it said.

In commentaries, papal speeches, scientific conferences and philosophical exchanges, the Vatican has been focusing more and more on the relationship between God and evolution.

From the outside, this may seem a reaction to the U.S. debate over creationism versus evolution, but it really has as much or more to do with the pope's interest in defining the legitimate spheres of science and faith.

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 February 2 - I'll be president of Europe if you give me the power - Blair
 Article: One World Governement

Tony Blair has been holding discussions with some of his oldest allies on how he could mount a campaign later this year to become full-time president of the EU council, the prestigious new job characterised as "president of Europe". Blair, currently the Middle East envoy for the US, Russia, EU and the UN, has told friends he has made no final decision, but is increasingly willing to put himself forward for the job if it comes with real powers to intervene in defence and trade affairs.
Blair, who is being actively promoted by the French president Nicolas Sarkozy, recognises he would need to abandon his well-paid, private sector jobs if he won. His wife Cherie - often portrayed as seeking ever more wealth and well-paid consultancies for her husband - is understood to be supportive of him accepting the job.

The president of the European council of ministers is a post created under the Lisbon treaty. The president will be the permanent chair of the council of ministers, Europe's chief decision- making body.

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 February 4 - Pope Benedict prays for those who defend life
 Article: Roman Catholic Church And The Last Days

On the subject of Lent, which begins next Wednesday, Benedict XVI asked that it "be a time of authentic conversion for all Christians, who are called to an ever more authentic and courageous witness of their faith".

The Holy Father finished his remarks by reminding everyone that, from yesterday and up to and including February 11, the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes and the 150th anniversary of the apparitions there, "it is possible to receive a plenary indulgence, which may be applied to the deceased, under the usual conditions (sacramental Confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer in keeping with the intentions of the Holy Father) and by praying before a blessed image of Our Lady of Lourdes exposed to public veneration. For the sick and elderly this is possible if they formulate such a desire in their hearts".

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 February 5 - Kissimmee Baptist edges emperor toward sainthood
 Article: Roman Catholic Church And The Last Days

.- Karl von Habsburg, the last emperor of the Austro-Hungarian Empire moved a step closer to sainthood last week, the Orlando Sentinel reports.  A Florida woman has claimed that by praying for the intercession of the emperor, she was cured from breast cancer.

The Baptist woman from Kissimmee, Florida received the ruler's holy card from a friend, Paula Melancon, who became interested in Emperor von Habsburg on a trip to Europe.  The cancer sufferer prayed that Karl intercede on her behalf.

Doctors as well as a judicial tribunal of the Diocese of Orlando agreed that there appears to be no medical explanation for the woman's recovery.

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 February 4 - Clinton urges respect with conservatives
 Article: Misc.

ATLANTA (BP)-- Former President Bill Clinton's exhortation to moderate Baptists: Treat conservative Baptists with humility, love and respect "because all of us might be wrong."

Clinton, a member of Immanuel Baptist Church in Little Rock, Ark., in addressing the closing session of the New Baptist Covenant Celebration Feb. 1, noted, "We came here to seek a covenant of reconciliation."

"He looked at me and he said, 'I want to ask you a question, a simple question, and I just want a yes or no answer. I don't want one of those slick political answers. Just answer me yes or no. Do you believe the Bible is literally true? Yes or no?' "I said, 'Rev. Young, I think it is completely true, but I do not believe you or I or any other living person is wise enough to understand it completely,'" Clinton recounted to applause. "He said, 'That's a political answer.' I said, 'No, it's not. You asked a political question.'"

"... The reason why we have to put love above everything else is because we see through a glass darkly and know in part," he said.
"Therefore, it almost doesn't matter whether the Bible is literally true because we know in part, we see through a glass darkly. Humility is the order of the day. The reason we have to love each other is because all of us might be wrong."

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 February 4 - Benedict XVI tells seminarians that the world needs "the adventure" of the priesthood
 Article: Roman Catholic Church And The Last Days

.- On Friday afternoon the Holy Father visited "his seminary"- as the bishop of Rome - for the feast of its patroness, Our Lady of Trust. After presiding at Vespers, the Pope spoke to the seminarians and their parents, telling them that the priesthood is "the most interesting of adventures and the most necessary for the world."

Pope Benedict also noted the Marian dimension of the priestly call, "All this cannot but induce great trust, because the gift received is amazing, it fills us with wonder and sates us with intimate joy. And thus you are able to understand the role Mary has in your lives. ... Just as 'the Son was born of woman', of Mary Mother of God, the fact that you are children of God means you have her as mother".

The Pope then addressed the parents of the future priests, saying "you are probably the most surprised of all about what has happened and is happening to your children. You had perhaps imagined for them a mission different from the one for which they are now preparing. ... Let us look to Mary. The Gospel helps us to understand that she too asked herself many question about her Son Jesus, and reflected on Him for a long time.

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 February 3 - The unexpected monks
 Article: Bridges To Rome

S.G. PRESTON IS a Knight of Prayer. Each morning at his Vancouver, Wash., home, he wakes up and prays one of the 50-odd psalms he has committed to memory, sometimes donning a Kelly green monk's habit. In Durham, N.C., Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove and fellow members of Rutba House gather for common meals as well as morning and evening prayer based on the Benedictine divine office. Zach Roberts, founder of the Dogwood Abbey in Winston-Salem, meets regularly with a Trappist monk to talk about how to contemplate God. Roman Catholic monastic traditions loom large in their daily routines - yet all three men are evangelical Protestants.

The image of the Catholic monk - devoted to a cloistered life of fasting and prayer, his tonsured scalp hidden by a woolen cowl - has long provoked the disdain of Protestants. Their theological forefathers denounced the monastic life: True Christians, the 16th-century Reformers said, lived wholly in the world, spent their time reading the Bible rather than chanting in Latin, and accepted that God saved them by his grace alone, not as reward for prayers, fasting, or good works. Martin Luther called monks and wandering friars "lice placed by the devil on God Almighty's fur coat." Of all Protestants, American evangelicals in particular - activist, family-oriented, and far more concerned with evangelism than solitary study or meditative prayer - have historically viewed monks as an alien species, and a vaguely demonic one at that.


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 February 5 - Pastor Argues Faith is Missing Link
 Article:Emerging Church

Rev. Rick Warren, the founder and leader of a nondenominational megachurch, argued that faith-based organizations provide the missing link to successfully face the world's biggest problems yesterday in Gaston Hall.
In his speech, Warren argued that the solution of the world's greatest problems lie in what he called the "third partnership." The third partnership involves a relationship between faith communities, the government and the business sector.

"If business and government were able to solve the world's problems by themselves, they would have done it by now. A combination of the public, profit and parish sector is needed," Warren said. "The government has the administrative power to form agendas and set goals, the business sector can provide the expertise, the capital and the managerial skills, and the church can provide the distributive network and the local credibility."

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 February 6 - Embryos created with DNA from 3 people
 Article: Cloning And Genetic Engineering

LONDON (AP) -- British scientists say they have created human embryos containing DNA from two women and a man in a procedure that researchers hope might be used one day to produce embryos free of inherited diseases.

Though the preliminary research has raised concerns about the possibility of genetically modified babies, the scientists say that the embryos are still only primarily the product of one man and one woman.

"We are not trying to alter genes, we're just trying to swap a small proportion of the bad ones for some good ones," said Patrick Chinnery, a professor of neurogenetics at Newcastle University involved in the research.

The process aims to create healthy embryos for couples to avoid passing on genes carrying diseases.

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 February 6 - US: al-Qaida in Iraq training children
 Article: Wars And Rumors Of Wars

BAGHDAD - Boys in soccer jerseys don black masks and grab weapons. They scramble over mud-brick walls, blast down doors and hold guns to the heads of residents inside. The U.S. military said videos seized from suspected al-Qaida in Iraq hideouts show militants training children who appear as young as 10 to kidnap and kill.

It's viewed as a sign that the terror network - hungry for recruits - may be using younger Iraqis in propaganda to lure a new crop of fighters.

"Al-Qaida in Iraq wants to poison the next generation of Iraqis," said Rear Adm. Gregory Smith, a U.S. military spokesman. "It is offering children as the new generation of mujahedeen," he added, using the Arabic term for holy warriors.

The video, shown to reporters Wednesday, depicted an apparent training session with black-masked boys - ammunition belts draped across their small chests - forcing a man off his bicycle at gunpoint and marching him off down a muddy lane. An off-camera voice, speaking with an Iraqi accent, instructs children how to take firing positions with assault rifles.

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 February 6 - Russia worried over Iran's missile test
 Article: Wars And Rumors Of Wars

A senior Russian diplomat on Wednesday voiced concern about Iran's launch of a rocket, saying it has raised suspicions about its nuclear program, Russian news reports said.

Russian news agencies quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Losyukov as saying that Monday's launch of an Iranian research rocket has raised questions about the direction of Iran's nuclear program.

The statement appeared to indicate that Moscow, which in the past has been skeptical about Iran's missile capability, increasingly shares Western concerns about Teheran's course.

"It adds to general suspicions of Iran regarding its potential desire to build nuclear weapons," Losyukov was quoted as saying. "Long- range missiles are one of the components of such weapons. That causes concern."

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 February 6 - More Evangelicals Value Lent Disciplines
 Article: Bridges To Rome

As thousands of Catholics line up to receive the sign of the cross in ashes on Wednesday to mark the start of Lent, more Protestants are joining the tradition to observe Easter more meaningfully.

Still, "Easter must have preparation," Shaw said. And some non- liturgical churches are embracing Lenten disciplines.

"There is a trend ... toward more sacramental forms and it is not surprising to see the recovery of imposition of ashes on Ash Wednesday," said the Rev. Daniel K. Dunlap, vice president of Houston Graduate School of Theology and a liturgy expert, according to the Houston Chronicle.

The Rev. Jeremy Rutledge, pastor of Covenant Baptist Church in Houston, said he will administer ashes at a service Wednesday night, as reported by the local Chronicle.

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 February 8 - Vatican prepares for interreligious meeting with Muslim leaders
 Article: Ecumenical Movement - Other Religions Uniting With Roman Catholics

.- The first meetings were held earlier this week at the Vatican to prepare for the visit of representatives of the 138 Muslim scholars who have offered to conduct interreligious dialogue, Italian journalist and church expert Sandro Magister reports.

The first meetings at the Vatican will take place next spring at the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and will be presided over by Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran.  The Muslim representatives will meet with Pope Benedict and other Church officials, holding study sessions at institutes like the Pontifical Gregorian University and the Pontifical Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies.

Jordan's Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad bin Talal, the lead promoter of the scholars' letter, coordinated the meeting with the Vatican's Secretary of State Cardinal Tarisco Bertone.

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 February 8 - Archbishop of Canterbury seeks adoption of Islamic law
 Article: Ecumenical Movement - Misc.

The chief of the 70-million-strong worldwide Anglican Communion advocates the establishment of Islamic law in Britain, drawing a rebuke from Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who suggested that perhaps British law would serve better.

In a recent interview with BBC Radio 4's "The World At One Today," Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams confirmed adoption of sharia "seems unavoidable." As a matter of fact, certain conditions of sharia are already recognized in our society and under our law, so it is not as if we are bringing in an alien and rival system," Williams said.

"Nobody in their right mind would want to see in this country the kind of inhumanity that has sometimes been associated with the practice of the law in some Islamic states: the extreme punishments, the attitudes to women," he said, according to a Times report.

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 February 9 - Spanning the U.S. to Bridge a Rift
 Article: Misc.

Promising that he would engage in "a spirited debate" with whomever the Democrats nominate, the senator promised to adhere to his party's values. "I am proud to carry the banner of a conservative Republican, with a record of conservative voting," he said.

McCain also said that he plans to meet with Romney, whom he fought openly with during the campaign, so they can work on "uniting the party and move on to victory in November."

While the senator tried to appeal to conservatives on the stump, his top advisers were trying to set up meetings with some of the nation's more influential evangelical ministers, including Rick Warren, author of "The Purpose Driven Life," and Joel Osteen, to find common ground. The effort has been spearheaded by Sen. Sam Brownback (Kan.), who endorsed McCain after dropping his own presidential bid in November.

When asked about that effort, McCain said, "I'll be glad and willing to meet with anyone who wants to meet with me." He added that there is no formalized strategy to reach out to religious leaders.

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 February 6 - Indian guru Maharishi Yogi dies

The Maharishi, thought to have been 91 years old, died in his sleep on Tuesday evening at his home in the Netherlands. He introduced the Transcendental Meditation movement to the West in 1959, with the intention of creating individual peace and enlightenment.

Based on the theory and practice of yoga, transcendental meditation involves a mental technique that can reportedly be easily learnt and practised by anyone to reach a "state of pure consciousness" and gain deep rest. By repeating in the mind a Sanskrit mantra, a short word or phrase, a practitioner is supposedly able to find deep relaxation, which in turn leads to enhanced inner joy, vitality, and creativity.

"Don't fight darkness. Bring the light, and darkness will disappear," the Maharishi said in an interview in 2006, repeating one of his own mantras.

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 February 6 - Obituary: Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
 Article: Misc.

During two years of Himalayan silence, the precocious sage honed his thoughts on TM, what he called "a spontaneous, effortless march to one's own unbound essence."

By 1959, his "technique" - that of unfolding the potential of Natural Law to improve all areas of life - was complete, and he set off on his first international mission of peace.

The Beatles were spending a weekend with Mahesh Yogi in Bangor, Wales, when their manager, Brian Epstein, committed suicide in August, 1967. Their enlightened teacher told them to "forget it, be happy".

Despite these setbacks, by 1972, the glamorous guru had attracted 100,000 members to his Academy, set up Institutes of Meditation across the world and made the cover of Time magazine. 

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 February 7 - Syria says Golan Heights the key to peace with Israel
 Article: Israel And The Last Days

DAMASCUS (AFP) - Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said on Thursday that peace with Israel would follow the return to Syria of the strategic Israeli- occupied Golan Heights.
We are ready to establish a just and comprehensive peace in the region based on the application of UN security council resolutions," Muallem told a news conference with his visiting Austrian counterpart Ursula Plassnik.

He said both sides must strive for peace and that Israel must be willing to return the key Golan plateau.

"Syria will examine the issue of security on the two sides of the (Syrian-Israeli) border and the normalisation" of relations between the two countries, he said.

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 February 8 - France ratifies EU treaty
 Article: One World Government

The French parliament has approved the new EU treaty, making France the first of the large member states to ratify the document and drawing a line under the shock 'No' vote of almost three years ago when French voters rejected the original EU constitution.

Europe Minister Jean- Pierre Jouyet told parliament on Thursday that ratification was a "historic moment for France" while foreign minister Bernard Kouchner said "this treaty deserves to be appreciated for its value: as an important moment in the construction of the European ideal."

"This is excellent news, a great victory for France which has gone from being the country holding up Europe to being the one that pulled Europe out of gridlock," said government spokesman David Martinon.

The French ratification, which has to be formally signed and sealed by president Nicolas Sarkozy, makes France the fifth country after Hungary, Slovenia, Malta and Romania to approve the treaty.

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 February 5 - Swedish state to train imams
 Article: Misc.

The Swedish government is to set up an inquiry to look into the possibility of using state funds to provide training programmes for imams.
Muslim religious representatives should be able to benefit from Swedish tax kronor in the same way as Christian priests and ministers, according to Minster for Higher Education and Research Lars Leijonborg.

The former Liberal Party leader also believes that the move will help stem the development of radical Islam in Sweden.

"It has been suggested that radical Muslims from Saudi Arabia are offering to provide imams for free, and a lack of money means that moderate Muslims who want to set up a mosque don't have any alternatives," Leijonborg told Svenska Dagbladet.

Concrete proposals regarding the structure and composition of a training course for imams would only be put forward following close consultation with Muslims in Sweden, he said. The minister added that the government had already begun discussions with the newly formed Ibn Rushd study foundation.

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 February 8 - Wheaton College Administrators Remove Names From Christian-Muslim Statement
 Article: Misc.

The Wheaton College student newspaper, The Record, reports today that the influential evangelical college's president, provost, and chaplain have removed their names from a letter to Muslim leaders that has attracted criticism in some quarters.

"Loving God and Neighbor Together" was published in the November 18, 2007, New York Times as a response to an October statement from 138 Muslim scholars and clerics calling for interfaith cooperation. Wheaton College president Duane Litfin and provost Stanton Jones were among the signatories, along with pastors Rick Warren and Bill Hybels, National Association of Evangelicals president Leith Anderson, Youth With a Mission chairman Lynn Green, Frontiers mission founder Greg Livingstone, theologians Miroslav Volf and John Stott, and Christianity Today Media Group editor-in-chief David Neff.

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We hope the Weekly News In Review has been a blessing to you.

In Jesus,
Roger Oakland

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