Weekly News In Review
November 3 - November 9, 2008 
 Weekly News In Review
 Vol 3, Issue 32
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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.


 November 2 - Evolution Doesn't Contradict Bible, Cardinal Affirms
 Article: Creation / Evolution - Creation / Evolution Debate

Comment from UTT:
To say that God used evolution to creation is a contradiction of terms. Evolution means matter, chance and time. Creation is based on the fact that a Creator is required, bringing things into existence by design. 
ROME, NOV. 3, 2008 (Zenit.org).- There is no incompatibility between the scientific theory of evolution and the Christian understanding of creation, says the archbishop of Vienna.

The prelate explained that there is no contradiction between evolution and a belief in creation, but rather a "conflict between two diverse concepts of man and his rationality, between the Christian vision and a rationalism that pretends to reduce man to the biological dimension."

Citing various addresses from Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, before and after his election as Pope, the Austrian cardinal explained that "there are many proofs in favor of evolution."

In the same vein, Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of the Sciences, explained to Vatican Radio that the theory of evolution is even closer to the biblical account of creation than many other theories.

According to the pontifical academy official, the Church "is open to what science says. What's more, it's very interested in science, because it speaks of nature. The Church has always believed that nature was created by God and that man forms part of nature."

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 November 3 - Islam: Muslims pin hopes on Vatican interfaith talks
 Article: Ecumenical Movement - Other Reiligions Uniting with Roman Catholics

Comment from UTT:
Dialogue between Roman Catholic and Islamic leaders continues to take place with the goal of finding common ground. 
Rome, 3 Nov. (AKI) - Muslim scholars due to meet Pope Benedict XVI and Vatican officials in Rome on Tuesday hope the landmark talks will help defuse continuing tensions between Islam and Christianity. Milanese imam Yahya Pallavicini is part of the delegation of Muslim scholars taking part in the first round of interfaith talks with the Vatican.

"In the Islamic world, there are high hopes that the talks will present a great opportunity for dialogue," Pallavicini, vice-president of the Islamic Religious Community in Italy , told Adnkronos International (AKI).

Closed-door talks are taking place on Tuesday on 'Love of God and Love of One's Neighbour' and on 'Human Dignity and Mutual Respect' on Wednesday.

Twenty-four Muslim scholars led by the Grand Mufti of Bosnia, Mustafa Ceric, will attend the talks. They are representing the Common World Group, a broad coalition of Muslim leaders and scholars who are pursuing dialogue between the world's two largest religions.

A total 275 prominent Muslims have now signed The Common World Manifesto, a document urging Christian churches to reach mutual understanding to safeguard global security, based on shared principles of love of God and neighbour.

"Our delegation intends to take forward and promote dialogue with the Roman Catholic Church that respects the identity of both faiths, but which can promote brotherhood under a single God and uphold human dignity worldwide," said Pallavicini.

"For us, it is important that
we can have a genuine exchange of ideas with the Pope, which there will be. Benedict XVI has agreed to receive all participants at the talks and to engage with them," Pallavicini told AKI.

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 November 1 - Bush to attend UN dialogue on religions
 Article: One World Religion

Comment from UTT:
The road to one world religion widens as the United Nations hosts a meeting that will be attended by George Bush. 
U.S. President George W. Bush will join the leaders of more than half a dozen countries at an upcoming General Assembly meeting to promote a global dialogue about religions, cultures and common values, a U.N. official said Friday. General Assembly President Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann has sent invitations to all 192 U.N. member states to the high-level meeting on Nov. 12- 13 and expects at least 20 or 30 world leaders to attend, his spokesman Enrique Yeves said.

The meeting is a follow- up to a three-day interfaith conference in Madrid organized by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and King Juan Carlos of Spain in July which brought together Jews, Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists and representatives of other religions and sparked hopes of a new relationship among religions.

In a final declaration, participants urged the United Nations to play a role, saying they hope to follow up "recommendations in enhancing dialogue among the followers of religions, civilizations and cultures through conducting a special U.N. session on dialogue."

D'Escoto "believes this is an excellent initiative and that it should be broadened to talking not only about religions but about cultures, about all the common values we have in our very rich philosophical and ethical traditions in the different parts of the world," Yeves said. "He would like that we talk not only about dialogue, but about joining forces in order to work together with all these common values to address the major issues that we are facing right now in the world," Yeves said.

In an Oct. 9 letter inviting U.N. member states to participate, d'Escoto said the November meeting should serve as "a useful preparatory step" for a high-level interfaith and intercultural dialogue with members of civil society in 2010.

King Abdullah, whose country bans non-Muslims from openly practicing their religion, has called for religious tolerance and said such dialogue is the duty of every human being. The king also urged fellow Muslims to reach out to non-Muslims as a way to show that Islam is not a violent religion.

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 November 5 - No religious discrimination in Iran: Ahmadinejad
 Article: One World Religion

Comment from UTT:
The statement made by Ahmadinejad regarding the need for a Saviour and that Muslims and Christians are looking for that Saviour to solve world problems is a perfect setup for what the Bible calls the antichrist.

TEHRAN - President Mahmud Ahmadinejad said on Tuesday that there is no religious discrimination in Iran and followers of different religions are living in the country peacefully. Followers of different religions in Iran are living side by side and they share each other's sorrow and joy, Ahmadinejad said in a meeting with Bishop of Armenian Orthodox Church in Cilici Aram I Keshishian.

The problems of mankind result from atheism, said the president.

Ahmadinejad stated that mankind is frustrated with the situation of the world and is waiting for the savior. Islam and Christianity believe that one day the savior will come and this is the source of unity between the followers of divine religions, he opined.

War, occupation, aggression, discrimination, and poverty must be eradicated in the world, Ahmadinejad stressed. If the religious faithful stay together they can play a constructive role in ending the current crises in the world, he added.

Keshishian, for his part, expressed satisfaction that all religious minorities live peacefully in Iran. "In Iran, Armenians live with Muslims in friendship and brotherhood," he stressed

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 November 5 - Russia to move missiles to Baltic
 Article: Wars And Rumors Of Wars

Comment from UTT:
Statements and posturing by Russia's president indicate that Russia plans to make a move to regain status as a world power with an agenda.

Russia is to deploy new missiles in a Baltic enclave near Nato member Poland, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev says. Short-range Iskander missiles in the Kaliningrad region would "neutralize" the planned US anti-missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic, he said.

The US says its shield is a defence against missiles from "rogue" nations, but Moscow sees it as a direct threat.

Mr Medvedev also said he wanted to extend Russia's presidential term to six years from the current four. He did not explain if he wanted to extend his own term, or change the rules for his successor. There has long been speculation that Mr Medvedev is a stop-gap so that Prime Minister Putin - who served the maximum two consecutive terms - can return to the top job, correspondents say. 

In his first state-of-the nation address, Mr Medvedev said Moscow would deploy the Iskander missile system in the Kaliningrad region - between Nato members Lithuania and Poland - to "neutralize - if necessary - the [US] anti- missile system". Naturally, we also consider using for the same purpose the resources of Russia's navy," he said. Mr Medvedev also said Russia would jam the US anti-missile system electronically.

Mr Medvedev's announcement is extremely provocative, but the Kremlin's clear message is that America is to blame, the BBC's Rupert Wingfield-Hayes in Moscow says.

Mr Medvedev also blamed Washington for the global financial crisis, but said Russia would "overcome" the challenge.

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 November 7 - Vladimir Putin 'could return as Russian president next year'
 Wars and Rumors of Wars

Comment from UTT:
Is the world headed for a showdown in the middle east with Russia playing a key role according to Ezekiel 38?
The respected business daily Vedomosti quoted unidentified Kremlin sources as saying that Dmitry Medvedev, the current president, could step down after carrying out changes to the constitution that would allow Mr Putin to solidify his grip on power.

In his first state of the nation address on Thursday, Mr Medvedev proposed amending the constitution to allow sitting presidents to stay in power for 12 rather than eight years.

Mr Putin served as Russia's president between 2000 and May this year, but was forced to shoehorn Mr Medvedev, long his protege, into his job because of a constitutional provision that barred him from serving more than two consecutive four-year terms.

Since May, Mr Putin has been Russia's prime minister, but many believe he remains the country's most powerful man and are convinced that Mr Medvedev is little more than a cipher.

Speculation abounded last year that Mr Medvedev would be little more than a stopgap leader who would step down once he had extended presidential term limits and undertaken potentially unpopular social reforms that could have undermined Mr Putin's popularity.

A spokesman for Mr Putin denied that there were any plans for an election next year but refused to comment on whether or not the ex-KGB spy had ambitions to return to his old job.

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 November 7 - Axis of evil countries "open" to Obama. Al Qaeda calls upon him to convert to Islam
 Article: Misc

Comment from UTT:
It is interesting to see how the news is reported outside North America regarding the election of a new president for the United States of America.
Tehran (AsiaNews/Agencies) - From axis of evil countries comes partial openness to American president-elect Barack Obama, who is being asked to disown the stance adopted in foreign policy by his predecessor, George Bush. A fundamentalist group connected to Al Qaeda instead calls upon Obama and Christian countries to "convert to Islam."

On Thursday, November 6, the official news agency Irna published a text in which Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad congratulates Barack Obama for his success in the election, and calls upon the new U.S. head of state for "fundamental and fair" changes in foreign policy, characterized by "noninterference" in the domestic affairs of other countries.

It is the first message of congratulations that an Iranian leader has sent to a newly elected American president since 1979, the year of the Khomeini revolution, with the ascent to power of the ayatollahs. For almost 30 years, the two countries have not had official diplomatic relations, and George W. Bush has repeatedly included Iran on the list of countries that are part of the so-called "axis of evil."

"Convert to Islam" is the message that the leaders of Al Qaeda have issued "to the new leaders of the White House and their allies among Christian countries." The text is signed by Abu Omar al Baghdad, an association of terrorist groups guided by the Iraqi branch of Al Qaeda.

Partial openness to the new American president is also coming from North Korea, which says it is ready to "sign agreements" with the new U.S. administration. "We will have dialogue if (the US) seeks dialogue." A newspaper connected to the Pyongyang regime, printed in Japan, also emphasizes the "the new phase" into which the Korean Peninsula has entered, and invites the new Obama administration "to put behind it the errors of the governments that preceded it."

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 November 7 - Turkish Village Slaughters 44 Sheep for 44th U.S. President-Elect
 Article: Misc

Comment from UTT:
Presidential news from Turkey for westerners to think about.
ANKARA, Turkey  -  Residents of a mainly Kurdish village in southeastern Turkey have sacrificed 44 sheep to celebrate the election of Barack Obama as the 44th president of the United States.

Dogan news agency video Friday shows villagers in Cavustepe village, in the province of Van, bordering Iran, holding Obama posters smeared with blood. In overwhelmingly Muslim Turkey, the practice is believed to protect people or property from bad luck.

The posters read "you are one of us" and "we love you."

Abdulkerim Kulaz of Cavustepe village says Obama's election and his Muslim ancestry have excited the villagers. Kulaz says Obama's election was a "proof of an end to racism in the world." Turkey is a close U.S. ally.

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 November 6 - Pope emphasizes necessity of human dignity for Catholic-Muslim dialogue
 Article: One World Religion

Comment from UTT:
Is it possible for Islam and Christianity to work together for a common future as the present pope has stated in the following article? While working together for the cause of good may be a noble effort, the Bible teaches the way to eternity is a narrow road and only through the shed blood of Jesus. Islam does not believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died for our sins.
Can this message which is the heart and core of Christianity be compromised for the sake of peace. Not according to Scripture.
.- The inaugural Catholic-Muslim Forum reached its culmination today with Pope Benedict XVI emphasizing that "only by starting with the recognition of the centrality of the person and the dignity of each human being" will Catholics and Muslims find common ground for building a "more fraternal world."

Over the past two days, Muslim and Catholic leaders have discussed the theme "Love of God, Love of Neighbor" from two main standpoints: "theological and spiritual fundamentals" and "the dignity of the human person and mutual respect."

"I was pleased to learn," Pope Benedict said, "that you were able at this meeting to adopt a common position on the need to worship God totally and to love our fellow men and women disinterestedly, especially those in distress and need. God calls us to work together on behalf of the victims of disease, hunger, poverty, injustice and violence." In addition, the Holy Father described how "for Christians the love of God is inseparably bound to the love ... of all men and women, without distinction of race and culture. ... The Muslim tradition is also quite clear in encouraging practical commitment in serving the most needy."

At the same time, Benedict XVI stressed that, "Only by starting with the recognition of the centrality of the person and the dignity of each human being, respecting and defending life which is the gift of God, and is thus sacred for Christians and for Muslims alike - only on the basis of this recognition, can we find a common ground for building a more fraternal world, a world in which confrontations and differences are peacefully settled, and the devastating power of ideologies is neutralized."

The Pope also lambasted the way that religion is robbed of its credibility when it is coupled with violence. "God's name can only be a name of peace and fraternity, justice and love. We are challenged to demonstrate, by our words and above all by our deeds, that the message of our religions is unfailingly a message of harmony and mutual understanding. It is essential that we do so, lest we weaken the credibility and the effectiveness not only of our dialogue, but also of our religions themselves."

Concluding his address Pope Benedict reaffirmed the efforts of the Catholic-Muslim Forum saying, "let us unite our efforts, animated by good will, in order to overcome all misunderstanding and disagreements. Let us resolve to overcome past prejudices and to correct the often distorted images of the other which even today can create difficulties in our relations; let us work with one another to educate all people, especially the young, to build a common future."

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 October 28 - Russia determined to broaden interaction with Islamic world - Medvedev
 Article: Misc

Comment from UTT:
Note that Russia plans to work together and to broaden relations with the Islamic world in the future. What impact will this have on the little country of Israel? 

Moscow, October 28, Interfax - President Dmitry Medvedev has sent greetings to the fourth meeting of the Russia - Islamic World strategic vision group in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, the Kremlin reported on Tuesday.

"Russia's developing cooperation with the Islamic states remains highly dynamic. Your Group is playing no small part in this," Medvedev writes.

"Russia, a country with observer status in the Organization of the Islamic Conference, intends to abide firmly to its course to expand active interaction with the Islamic world. I think in connection with this, that a broad discussion of the initiative to further develop interregional dialogue, proposed by King Abdallah bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saudi of Saudi Arabia, is of crucial importance, taking into account a significant role the religious factor is playing in international affairs," he said.

"I am also convinced, that the implementation of the Russia-proposed idea of forming a consultative council of religions under UN aegis, will help strengthen the moral principles of world politics, facilitate deeper inter-confessional communication and, in a broader context, promote the dialogue of civilizations," the Russian president writes.

"The illusion of the uni-polar world is becoming a thing of the past in front of our eyes. Forums like yours can contribute significantly to the search for ways to make the situation in the world healthier and to attain a new level of global partnership," Medvedev said.

"I am convinced that Russia's active interaction with the Islamic world will help build a fairer system of international relations, where the factor of force will finally stop playing the role of universal instrument of settling all emerging problems," he said.

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 November 9 - Farrakhan Says Obama Presidency Will Bring 'New Beginning'
 Article: Misc

Comment from UTT:
In the past, Farrakhan has promoted President elect Obama as "the Messiah" the world has been waiting for. 
Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan says the U.S. can expect a "new beginning" under the leadership of President- elect Barack Obama.

The 75-year-old is scheduled to make a speech on that topic Sunday at Mosque Maryam, the Chicago-based movement's headquarters.

The address is called "America's New Beginning: President-elect Barack Obama."

Farrakhan has praised Obama and publicly supported his bid for the White House, which Obama's campaign quickly denounced.

In February, Farrakhan called Obama the "hope of the entire world" that the U.S. will change for the better at a Chicago Saviours' Day event.

Obama rejected Farrakhan's support because of past comments the minister has made that many have considered offensive.

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