March 22 - March 28, 2010 
 News In Review
 Vol 5, Issue 8
In This Issue
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Dear Ron,

The News In Review newsletter is a service provided by Understand The Times that is a compilation of the news articles previously posted on our site . Understand The Times does not endorse these events but rather is showing the church the current events.  Our purpose of posting these articles is to warn the church of the Biblical deception.

 March 3 - Quartet to Israel: Freeze settlements
 Article: Israel And The Last Days

Top international diplomats on Friday called on Israel and the Palestinians to return to peace negotiations with a goal of reaching a final settlement that would create an independent Palestinian state within 24 months.

The statement further condemned "the decision by the government of Israel to advance planning for new housing units in east Jerusalem." Last week, during US Vice President Joe Biden's tour of the region, an Israeli building an planning committee had announced that 6,000 additional housing units would be built in Ramat Shlomo, a primarily haredi neighborhood near Ramot and adjacent to the Shuafat refugee camp.

The so-called Quartet peacemakers met in the Russian capital and issued a formal statement read by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas welcomed the statement, but said the real test would be whether Israel would act according to the Quartet's demands.

Joining Ban at the Moscow meeting were US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, and the Quartet's special representative, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

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 March 17 - African Prelate: New Churches Benefit All Faiths
 Article: Ecumenical Movement - Other Religions Uniting With Roman Catholics

VATICAN CITY, MARCH 17, 2010 (Zenit.org).- A bishop from Burkina Faso is affirming that people of all faiths welcome the construction of new churches, because they benefit from the resources that come along with them.

Archbishop Séraphin Francois Rouamba of Koupela, president of the country's episcopal conference, affirmed this while in Rome for his five-yearly visit along with the other prelates of Burkina Faso.

According to the latest statistics, Catholics represent 19% of the total population in that country, Protestants 4% and Muslims 60.5%. About 15% of the inhabitants of Burkina Faso belong to traditional African religions.

The prelate spoke about the Church's relations with other creeds and said that, despite differences, the relations with Muslims on the whole are good: "For example, when we make our pastoral visits in the diocese, Protestants and Muslims also come" to the events.

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 March 22 - Resolution by Gilbert town council in reference to home bible studies
 Article: Miscellaneous

Home bible studies have been illegal in Gilbert for the past few years.

The reason is because of a zoning code no one knew about until a local church got cited. That made national news.

The town council says it is committed to protecting its residents' religious freedom and voted unanimously to change the ordinance that has come under heavy fire.

Pastor Sutherland and members of the church were told several weeks ago to stop meeting in his Gilbert home.
Sutherland, whose church is new and has less than 10 members, was hit with a violation notice.

Council members approved a motion to change the current ordinance that says "public and private schools and religious assembly are not permitted in single family residential structures."

Mayor John Lewis indicated that would not happen until early June at the earliest. In the meantime, the city council has suspended any enforcement of the current code.

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 March 18 - Senators push Obama for biometric national ID card
 Article: Technology For Global Montary System

Two U.S. senators met with President Obama on Thursday to push for a national ID card with biometric information such as a fingerprint, hand scan, or iris scan that all employers would be required to verify.

In an opinion article published in Friday's edition of the Washington Post, Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) say the new identification cards will "ensure that illegal workers cannot get jobs" and "dramatically decrease illegal immigration."

Schumer and Graham pitched the idea to President Obama during a private meeting Thursday at the White House. Graham said afterward that Obama "welcomed" their proposal for a new ID card law; the White House said in a statement that the senators' plan was "promising."

Linking national ID cards to immigration reform is a popular idea in Washington political circles. After all, if every U.S. citizen has a biometric-equipped cards, the thinking goes, it's easy to order employers not to give a job to someone without one.

Under the Schumer-Graham proposal, extracting biometric information from hundreds of millions of Americans is no trivial task. It could mean extraordinary lines at regional Social Security offices--and an inconvenience for Americans switching jobs who haven't had their retina or DNA scanned in and stored on the ID card.

"Our framework remains a work in progress," Graham said in a statement after Thursday's meeting. "The president welcomed the framework and indicated that he needs time to review the structure. We will share our ideas with our colleagues in the weeks ahead, so we can finally solve this difficult problem."

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 March 18 - Nano Based RFID Ink Could Change The Way We Buy & Sell
 Article: Technology For Global Montary System

Long lines at store checkouts could be history if a new technology created in part at Rice University comes to pass.

Rice researchers, in collaboration with a team led by Gyou-jin Cho at Sunchon National University in Korea, have come up with an inexpensive, printable transmitter that can be invisibly embedded in packaging. It would allow a customer to walk a cart full of groceries or other goods past a scanner on the way to the car; the scanner would read all items in the cart at once, total them up and charge the customer's account while adjusting the store's inventory. 

More advanced versions could collect all the information about the contents of a store in an instant, letting a retailer know where every package is at any time.

"We are going to a society where RFID is a key player," said Cho, a professor of printed electronics engineering at Sunchon, who expects the technology to mature in five years. Cho and his team are developing the electronics as well as the roll-to-roll printing process that, he said, will bring the cost of printing the tags down to a penny apiece and make them ubiquitous.

RFID tags are almost everywhere already. The tiny electronic transmitters are used to identify and track products and farm animals. They're in passports, library books and devices that let drivers pass through tollbooths without digging for change.

But RFID tags to date are largely silicon-based. Paper or plastic tags printed as part of a package would cut costs dramatically. Cho expects his roll-to-roll technique, which uses a gravure process rather than ink-jet printers, to replace the bar codes now festooned on just about everything you can buy.

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 March 14 - Blair courts controversial US pastor Rick Warren in bid to unite faiths
 Article: One World Religion

Tony Blair is preparing to launch a "faith offensive" across the United States over the next year, after building up relationships with a network of influential religious leaders and faith organisations.

With Afghanistan and Iraq casting a shadow over his popularity at home in Britain, Blair's focus has increasingly shifted across the Atlantic, to where the nexus of faith and power is immutable and he is feted like a rock star.

According to the annual accounts of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, a UK-based charity that promotes cohesion between the major faiths, the foundation is to develop a US arm that will pursue a host of faith-based projects. The accounts show that his foundation has an impressive - and, in at least one case, controversial - set of faith contacts. Sitting on some £4.5m in funds as of April last year, mostly gathered through donations, it is now well placed to make its voice heard.

The foundation's advisory council of religious leaders includes Rick Warren, powerful founder of the California-based Saddleback church. It attracts congregations of nearly 20,000 and is reportedly one of the largest in the US. Warren, who has addressed the UN and the World Economic Forum in Davos, has been named one of the "15 world leaders who matter most" and one of the "100 most influential people in the world".

Also on the council is David Coffey, president of the Baptist World Alliance (BWA), a Virginia-based network of churches that spans the globe and is particularly active in the US.

The accounts also shine a light on the close connections the foundation now enjoys with major political institutions in the US. "With the Washington-based Centre for Interfaith Action, the foundation supported a meeting of major international organisations active in faith-based approaches to combating malaria (plus the White House, World Bank, UN, World Health Organisation) to co-ordinate international efforts," the accounts state.

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 March 24 - The "Yes" That Set Humanity Free - By Mark Miravalle
 Article: Roman Catholic Church And The Last Days

"You have heard, O Virgin, that you will conceive and bear a son; you have heard that it will not be by man but by the Holy Spirit. The angel awaits an answer; it is time for him to return to God who sent him. We too are waiting, O Lady, for your word of compassion; the sentence of condemnation weighs heavily upon us."The price of our salvation is offered to you. We shall be set free at once if you consent. In the eternal Word of God we all came to be, and behold, we die. In your brief response we are to be remade in order to be recalled to life."

These words of St. Bernard of Clairvaux bespeak the historical, global, and eternal significance of the response of a 15-year-old virgin for the salvation of the entire world. The price of our salvation is indeed offered to her, and her "yes" will set us free, because it will set the Redeemer free.

From the ancient Church of the second century, St. Irenaeus tells us that the obedient Virgin of Nazareth becomes the "cause of salvation for herself and the whole human race." A contemporary version of the same truth is found in the words of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta: "Of course Mary is the co-redemptrix. She gave Jesus his body, and the offering of his body is what saved us." The Letter to the Hebrews confirms both the early Apostolic Father and the modern Apostle to the Poor: "We are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all" (Hebrews 10:10). From whom does Jesus receive his body, the instrument of his redemption? 

Mary was a free, personal, and feminine cooperator in God's plan of salvation. It was not a Pope, nor a bishop, nor a priest, nor a layman who joined the New Adam in redeeming the world by her fiat and consequent lifetime of fiats. It was a woman who became a mother. This was neither an accident nor accidental to divine providence. It was God's perfect will to grace the human race with a new "Eva" or mother of the living.

Jesus always abundantly blesses and sustains those who work and suffer intimately with him. He does so most of all by his accentuated presence for those who give him more time in prayer during times of great vocational trial, especially during times of Eucharistic adoration, where we can all directly experience the fruit of Mary's yes in the Incarnate Jesus present in the Eucharist.

Jesus, uncreated grace and source of all grace; Mary, the mysterious mediatrix. The sublime Annunciation solemnity must celebrate both, as these two lovers of humanity cooperate like none other in bringing saving graces to a world of sinners, of whom we all are all members.

Benedict XVI reflects this essential Catholic doctrine in his most recent March 21, 2010 Sunday Angelus: "Dear friends, let us learn from the Lord Jesus not to judge and not to condemn our neighbor. Let us learn to be intransigent with sin -- beginning with our own! -- and indulgent with people. May we be helped in this by the Holy Mother of God, who, free of every fault, is the mediatrix of grace for every contrite sinner."

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 March 24 - 'Beer and Bible' Launches in Mormon Community
 Article: Miscellaneous

There are a few places where you will find non-Mormons in Utah: pubs and coffee shops. And that's exactly where Pastor Charles Hill has set up camp.

Hill, 36, was at a pub in South Jordan on Monday for the launch of his "Beer and Bible" meeting. It was a soft launch with five people but he expects it to "blow up" in the months ahead, he told The Christian Post.

The combination of beer and Bible may not sit well with many Christians but for Hill, it's about going where the non-religious crowd is gathered, building relationships and talking about Jesus.

"We go where the people are like Jesus did, and of course we are criticized," said Hill, who had half a beer Monday night. "This is the hardest place in the country to plant a church. They will not come to us. We have to be Jesus and go to them."

Hill hopes to launch a church in September, if God allows. For now, he and his team of "warriors" are sticking to the pubs and other public places to engage people with love and community in Jesus' name.

And for those in the area who aren't into beer but may be curious about the Bible or have life questions, Hill is hosting a separate meeting called Alpha, a "10-week gathering that involves a meal, fellowship and discussion of what Christians believe in a very non-threatening way." Alpha launched on Tuesday.

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 March 24 - Religious Leaders Commit to Stronger, Visible AIDS Response
 Article: Social Gospel

Leaders from various faith groups around the world on Tuesday pledged to prioritize and strengthen their response to HIV and to end the stigma associated with the pandemic.

Tveit and representatives of some 40 religions just came out of the first-ever religious summit of high level leaders on the HIV response. The March 22-23 event took place in the Netherlands where participants - including Baha'í, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh leaders - signed a personal commitment to action, vowing to "be clear in my words and actions that stigma and discrimination towards people living with or affected by HIV is unacceptable," according to The Associated Press.

"Our focus was ending stigma and discrimination for those who are HIV positive and who have AIDS," the Rev. Mark S. Hanson, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, told the ELCA News Service. "We recognized that religious communities have been part of that."

In addition to discussing stigma, the diverse group of religious leaders also explored opportunities to promote universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support in their communities.

The group called for "a massive social mobilization" to support services for women to eliminate the transmission of HIV from mother to child.

"By promoting community solidarity they can prevent new HIV infections and ensure that people living with HIV are treated with dignity and respect," he stated.

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 March 23 - Netanyahu Pushes Back, Says Jerusalem 'Not a Settlement'
 Article: Israel And The Last Days

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented dueling positions on Jerusalem construction Monday, underlining a recent spat between the allies while simultaneously suggesting the incident is behind them.

Israel recently announced new housing plans for east Jerusalem, the part of the city Palestinians want for a future capital, drawing unusually sharp criticism from the Obama administration. Clinton renewed that disapproval on Monday, telling a pro-Israel audience that provocative Israeli land policies in areas claimed by the Palestinians are not in Israel's long-term interests and undermine U.S. credibility as a mediator.

The spread of Jewish homes on land claimed by the Palestinians threatens the Obama administration's first attempts at shuttle diplomacy intended to establish an independent Palestinian state, Clinton said in her speech, and makes it hard for the United States to be an honest broker.

"Jerusalem is not a settlement. It's our capital," Netanyahu said to a prolonged standing ovation. The neighborhoods Israel has built in east Jerusalem are an "inextricable" part of the city, the Israeli leader said, and will remain part of Israel under any peace agreement.

Clinton got loud approval when she talked tough on Iran -- an issue on which there is more agreement between Israel and the United States. Both countries believe that Iran wants nuclear weapons, that it could be able to develop them soon and that such weapons would pose a grave threat. The secretary said the Obama administration would not accept a nuclear armed Iran and is working on sanctions "that will bite" as a deterrent. In his speech, Netanyahu said that should Iran obtain nuclear weapons, "Our world would never be the same."


 March 25 - Bin Laden: Americans Will Die if Alleged 9/11 Mastermind Is Executed
 Article: Wars And Rumors Of Wars

Al Qaeda leader Usama bin Laden threatened in a new audio recording released Thursday to kill any captured Americans if the U.S. executes the accused mastermind of the Sept.11 attacks or any other Al Qaeda suspects. The U.S. is still considering whether to put Khalid Sheik Mohammed and four of his fellow plotters on military tribunal for their role in the Sept. 11 attacks. The Obama administration is also looking into recommendations for civilian trials, and is expected to announce a decision soon.

In a brief 74-second audio tape aired on Al-Jazeera television, bin Laden said if the U.S. decides to execute any Al Qaeda suspects in its custody -- and explicitly mentioned Mohammed -- his terror network would kill American captives.

The terror leader said such a decision "would mean the U.S. has issued a death sentence against whoever of you becomes a prisoner in our hands."

U.S. politicians have "oppressed us and still do, especially by backing Israel, which occupies the land of Palestine," the Al Qaeda chief said.

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 March 25 - Pope Blesses Image of Our Lady for Chile
 Article: Roman Catholikc Church And The Last Days

Benedict XVI is offering Chileans an image of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, as a sign of his affection after the Feb. 27 earthquake and in congratulations for the nation's bicentennial, celebrated this year.

The Pope blessed the image today at the end of the general audience. It will be taken around Chile, beginning with the areas most affected by the earthquake.
The Missionary Virgin "will accompany you in these moments of difficulty after the recent earthquake you suffered," he said.
Together with the image of the Missionary Virgin, the Pope also blessed official copies of Chile's Gospel, which will accompany Mary on her pilgrimage through the country. More than 9,000 Chileans took part in creating this handwritten copy of the New Testament.

Next month, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Pope's secretary of state, will travel to Chile to officially present the image of the Virgin to the Church and people of Chile in a concelebrated Mass with the bishops of the country.

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 March 25 - Lebanese Christians and Muslims celebrate the Annunciation together in the name of Mary
 Article: Ecumenical Movement - Other Religions Joining with Catholics

Lebanese Christians and Muslims are celebrating today, 25 March, the Feast of the Annunciation, an official national holiday sanctioned by the Government of Lebanon. All public buildings, schools, banks and university are closed. The government has also encouraged private businesses to do the same.

On 18 February, the government made 25 March a national Christian-Muslim Day, something that has never occurred before in the history of Christian-Muslim relations. The decision was confirmed two days later during a meeting between Pope Benedict XVI and Prime Minister Hariri in the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican.

Dar-al-Fatwa Secretary General Sheikh Mohammed Nokkari, one of the main promoters of the joint festivity, said he hopes that such a holiday would spread to other parts of the world, adding that it was fitting that it should begin in Lebanon, which the late Pope John Paul II had described as "a message of pluralism for the East and the West."

For the Muslim clergyman, Mary is "the best woman ever, here (on earth) and in eternity" for "she's above all women", a symbol of unity between the two faiths. The Council of Maronite Bishops praised the government's decision, saying it "helps in bringing hearts together".

For the bishops, the celebration "is a unique event which deserves praise" for "it shows the face of Lebanon (as) 'the message'" as well as "the place and honour occupied by the Virgin Mary in Christianity and Islam."

For Joseph A. Kechichian, a commentator for Dubai-based GulfNews, the very creation of a joint Muslim-Christian is "an unprecedented event in contemporary history," going "beyond the symbolic political gesture" because it "opens a new page in the country's history".

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

Ron Pierotti

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