March 10 - March 16, 2008 
 Weekly News In Review
 Vol 3, Issue 8
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The Weekly News In Review newsletter is a service provided by Understand The Times that is a compilation of the news articles posted on our site during the previous week.


 March 7 - Blair to teach in the US on faith
 Article: .Roman Catholic Church And The Last Days

Tony Blair is to teach students at Yale University in the US when he leads a seminar on faith and globalisation. The former prime minister has been appointed as a fellow at Yale and will begin teaching next year.

The prestigious Connecticut university said the work was related to Mr Blair's Faith Foundation which will be launched later this year.

Mr Blair's other appointments have included as a Middle East envoy and an adviser to investment bank JP Morgan.

Mr Blair has also left the Anglican Church to become a Roman Catholic since leaving office.

He said: "As the world continues to become increasingly inter-dependent, it is essential that we explore how religious values can be channelled toward reconciliation rather than polarisation.

"Mr Blair has demonstrated outstanding leadership in these areas and is especially qualified to bring his perspective to bear."

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 March 8 - Gregorian chant leads revival of church's music
 Article: Emerging Church

A massive revival of interest in Gregorian chant is sweeping the Catholic world, according to Jeffrey Tucker, managing editor of Sacred Music, a publication of the Church Music Association of America.

"It's mainly due to the growing realization that the chant is not just another style of music at the Mass, it's the music of the Mass itself," Tucker said.

"The chant is for the young generation what groovy guitar music was in the 1970s. It's the music of rebellion against bad music in churches," he said.

"Chant has universal properties," he said. "If you listen to chant, it causes your mind and heart to extend upward. It always rises up, like incense. It's heaven-bound music.

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 March 9 - Pope to Youth: Look to Eucharist for True Immortality
 Article: Roman Catholic Church And The Last Days

VATICAN CITY, MARCH 9, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Those looking for the fountain of life should look to the Eucharist, the only true source of immortality, says Benedict XVI.

The Pope said this today upon celebrating a Mass marking the 25th anniversary of the San Lorenzo International Center, attended by an international group of 200 young people.
"Although he is part of the this great biocosmos, man transcends it because, certainly, man is always man with all his dignity, even if he is in a comatose state, even if he is an embryo; but if he only lives biologically not all of the possibilities of his being will be realized, which open new dimensions," he said.

The first dimension is that of knowledge, the Holy Father continued, a knowledge that in man, as distinct from animals, is identified with a "thirst for the infinite."

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 March 10 - Electronic Structure Of DNA Revealed For First Time
 Article: Creation / Evolution - Misc.

ScienceDaily (Mar. 10, 2008) - Utilizing a technique that combines low temperature measurements and theoretical calculations, Hebrew University of Jerusalem scientists and others have revealed for the first time the electronic structure of single DNA molecules.

The knowledge of the electronic properties of DNA is an important issue in many scientific areas from biochemistry to nanotechnology -- for example in the study of DNA damage by ultraviolet radiation that may cause the generation of free radicals and genetic mutations. In those cases, DNA repair occurs spontaneously via an electronic charge transfer along the DNA helix that restores the damaged molecular bonds.

In nano- bioelectronics, which is the advanced research field devoted to the study of biological molecules (to produce electrical nanocircuits, for example), it has been suggested that DNA, or its derivatives, may become used as possible conducting molecular wires in the realization of molecular computing networks which are smaller and more efficient than those produced today with silicon technology.

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 March 7 - 'Conspirators' Bring Together New Styles of Christianity
 Article: Emerging Church

More than 300 people participated in "The New Conspirators Conference" last week that brought together hip-hoppers, community workers, and mainline pastors who all were looking for new ways to connect the new generation with Jesus Christ.

Afterwards, Efrem Smith, co-author of The Hip Hop Church, spoke about the need to tear down traditional structures that are associated with the "white" church, according to Brink. He also spoke about what it meant to be loved first by God so we can love others.

Earlier in the conference, representatives of the four Christian "streams of renewal" gathered Friday, Feb. 29, for a brief introduction of their stream and Q & A session. The emerging, missional, mosaic, and monastic streams were present for the special intro session.

The emerging stream tries to reach the young postmodern generation who are interested in spirituality but not in what is offered by traditional churches. To address the problem, emerging leaders started creating cafes and art centers that engaged specific populations of the un-churched and de- churched. Emerging churches tend to be more relational and experiential.

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 March 10 - Recycle or go to Hell, warns Vatican
 Article: Social Gospel

Failing to recycle plastic bags could find you spending eternity in Hell, the Vatican said after drawing up a list of seven deadly sins for our times.

The seven, which include polluting the environment, were announced by Monsignor Gianfranco Girotti, a close ally of the Pope and the head of the Apostolic Penitentiary, one of the Roman Curia's main court.

The "sins of yesteryear" - sloth, envy, gluttony, greed, lust, wrath and pride - have a "rather individualistic dimension", he told the Osservatore Romano, the official Vatican newspaper. The new seven deadly, or mortal, sins are designed to make worshippers realise that their vices have an effect on others as well.

"The sins of today have a social resonance as well as an individual one," said Mgr Girotti. "In effect, it is more important than ever to pay attention to your sins."

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 March 8 - Feeling Renewed By Ancient Traditions
 Article: Emerging Church

But Lent -- a time of inner cleansing and reflection upon Jesus Christ's sufferings before his resurrection -- is one of many ancient church practices being embraced by an increasing number of evangelicals, sometimes with a modern twist.

This increasing connection with Christianity's classical traditions goes beyond Lent. Some evangelical churches offer confession and weekly communion. They distribute ashes on Ash Wednesday and light Advent calendars at Christmastime. Others have formed monastic communities, such as Casa Chirilagua in Alexandria, modeled on the monasteries that arose in Christianity's early years.

"Evangelicalism is coming to a point where the early church has become the newest staple of its diet."

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 March 11 - Russian Foreign Minister To Visit Middle East To "control Worsening Conditions In Region"
 Article: Israel And The Last Days

(RTTNews) - Russia, which was until recently a silent spectator in the Middle East peace processes, has decided to intervene actively to "help control the worsening conditions in the region."

Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov will visit Syria, Israel, and the Palestinian territories during March 19-21, foreign ministry spokesman Mikhail Kamynin said in a statement on Tuesday.

He will address the problems with Palestinian-Israeli relations, ways out of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, the suspension of violence, the resumption of negotiations aimed at the Palestinian-Israeli situation and other negotiating tracks, including the Syrian one, the AP quoted Kamynin as saying.

Moscow has offered to host a follow-up meeting to the Annapolis peace conference held last year as an "extension of support to an obvious impulse that the peace process received from Annapolis," the statement said.

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 March 12 - Dozens sun-blinded in India after Marian apparition rumor
 Article: Signs And Wonders

At least 50 in India have been blinded after staring at the sun in the hope of seeing an apparition of the Virgin Mary, the Telegraph reports.

Devotees have flocked to a hotel manager's house in Erumeli, near where the apparition is rumored to have occurred.  The hotelier claimed that statues of the Virgin Mary in his house had been crying honey and bleeding oils and perfume.   The hotelier has since moved, but the house has been the object of attention for months.

Health authorities in the Kottayam district have tried to dispel rumors of a miraculous image in the sun.  They warn of the dangers of looking into direct sunlight.  Forty-eight cases of sight loss, possibly caused by photochemical burns on the retina, have been recorded at St. Joseph's ENT and Eye Hospital since Friday.

"All our patients have similar history and symptoms... They have developed photochemical, not thermal, burns after continuously gazing at the sun," Dr. Annamma James Isaac, the hospital's ophthalmologist said, according to the Telegraph

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 March 12 - Pope to gather with 200 religious leaders at interfaith meeting
 Article: One World Religion

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- When Pope Benedict XVI comes to the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington for an early-evening interfaith meeting April 17 with Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, Muslims and representatives of other religions, space will be at a premium.

Among those expected to be invited are representatives of major religious organizations that either work with the Catholic Church in areas of common interest or are in dialogue with Catholic representatives.

When he is in New York, the pope also will gather with leaders from other Christian denominations at an ecumenical prayer service at a Catholic church April 18.

Father Massa, in an interview with
Catholic News Service, said that while ecumenical dialogue is aimed at bringing about unity among Christians -- a difficult task even after 40 years of efforts -- the goal of interfaith dialogue brings with it its own difficult task: peacemaking.

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 March 13 - Obama pastor: Not God bless, but God d--- America!
 Article: Misc.

First he praised Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, giving him a humanitarian award and traveling with him to Libya to meet Moammar Gadhafi.

Then he turned his Trinity United Church of Christ into an institution that had all the earmarkings of a black separatist congregation.

And now he, it turns out, he has damned America in God's name and blamed the U.S. for provoking the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks by dropping nuclear weapons on Japan in World War II and supporting Israel since 1947.

ABC News reviewed dozens of Wright's sermons, finding repeated denunciations of the U.S. based on what he described as his reading of the Gospels and the treatment of black Americans.

"The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing 'God Bless America.' No, no, no, God d--- America, that's in the Bible for killing innocent people," he said in a 2003 sermon. "God d--- America for treating our citizens as less than human. God d--- America for as long as she acts like she is God and she is supreme."

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 March 11 - Jordan Deports Evangelical Christians
 Article: Misc.

AMMAN, JORDAN -- Evangelical Christians are being criticized in Jordan where dozens of seminary students and missionaries have been deported, a report said.

Some Jordanians reportedly feel American evangelicals are trying to bring down their beliefs and customs by pushing American values.

"They come as individuals, and they exploit the citizens of this nation, recruiting them for their interests," UPI reported World Council of Churches representative Awda Qawwas said.

The proselytizing of Muslims to Christianity is against the law in Jordan.

Further questioned by Compass about Jordanian law, Nour specified that all Jordanian citizens were guaranteed freedom of religion as long as it did not "interfere with other religions."

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 March 13 - Inside the hush-hush North American Union confab
 Article: One World Government

WASHINGTON -- A largely unreported meeting held at the State Department discussed integration of the U.S., Mexico and Canada in concert with a move toward a transatlantic union, linking a North American community with the European Union.

The meeting agenda included topics reviewing the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America, or SPP, and the U.S.-EU Transatlantic Economic Council, or TEC.

The SPP, declared by the U.S., Canada and Mexico at a summit meeting in 2005, has 20 trilateral bureaucratic working groups that seek to "integrate and harmonize" administrative rules and regulations on a continental basis.

Others noted the premise of the TEC is to create a convergence of administrative rules and regulations between Europe and North America, anticipating the creation of a "Transatlantic Economic Union" between the European Union and North America.

Read More ... 

 March 15 - Blair wants 'climate revolution'
 Article: One World Government

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair has called for a "global environment revolution" to tackle climate change.

In a speech to a meeting of G8 ministers building on the 2005 Gleneagles summit, he stressed the need for a "global deal". He suggested it should be led by the UN and that failure to act on climate change "would be deeply and unforgivably irresponsible".

"The UN machinery is valiantly striving to put this deal together. The UN and the UN alone is the right forum to reach the global agreement.

"What I found, whilst still in office as prime minister, was that countries had their own environmental policy. They talked to other nations of course, but there was no centre where it was brought together." He also said that he could "see no way of tackling climate change without a renaissance of nuclear power".

He also works as an advisor to investment bank JP Morgan and insurer Zurich.

Last week it was announced he would run a seminar on faith and globalisation at Yale University in the US.

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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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