April 5 - April 11, 2010 
 News In Review
 Vol 5, Issue 10
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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 31 - Sarkozy joins Obama in condemning settlements
 Article: Israel And The Last Days

WASHINGTON - France is standing with the United States in condemning Israeli settlement activity in east Jerusalem.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy (sar-koh-ZEE') says his own commitment to Israel's security is well known but adds that the settlement activity in an area claimed by the Palestinians "contributes nothing."

Speaking at a news conference with President Barack Obama after their White House meeting Tuesday, Sarkozy praised Obama for trying to engage the two sides in peace talks. Sarkozy said that the "absence of peace" in the region "is a problem for all of us" - and that it feeds terrorism around the world.

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 April 3 - Obama hails 'shared spirit of humanity' at Easter
 Article: One World Religion

President Barack Obama's Easter address calls on people of all faiths, as well as nonbelievers, to embrace their common aspirations and "shared spirit of humanity."

"On this Easter weekend," he said, "let us hold fast to those aspirations we hold in common as brothers and sisters, as members of the same family, "the family of man."

He also embraced a broader, more ecumenical audience. "While we worship in different ways," the president said, "we also remember the shared spirit of humanity that inhabits us all - Jews and Christians, Muslims and Hindus, believers and nonbelievers alike."

He called health "the rock upon which our lives are built." He made no direct reference, however, to the recently enacted health care legislation, which divided Congress and the nation.

Education is valuable, the president said, but "we also know that ultimately, education is about something more, something greater. It is about the ability that lies within each of us to rise above any barrier, no matter how high; to pursue any dream, no matter how big; to fulfill our God-given potential."

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 April 3 - Israel warns of new Gaza assault as US urges restraint
 Article: Wars And Rumors Of Wars

Israel on Friday threatened widescale military action against the Gaza Strip after launching a string of air strikes in response to rocket fire from the Hamas-run Palestinian enclave. However, the United States urged restraint on both sides, saying there was no military solution to the conflict.

Israel's Deputy Prime Minister Silvan Shalom warned of a new offensive on the coastal territory unless militant rocket attacks ceased.

"If this rocket fire against Israel does not stop, it seems we will have to raise the level of our activity and step up our actions against Hamas," Shalom told public radio.

"We won't allow frightened children to again be raised in bomb shelters and so, in the end, it will force us to launch another military operation. "I hope we can avoid it, but it is one of the options we have, and if we don't have a choice, we will use it in the near future," he said.

"We call on the international community to intervene to stop this escalation and Israeli aggression," he said in a statement. Israel 'closer to death' if it attacks Gaza: Ahmadinejad

Nearly 20 rockets have been fired into Israel in the past month, including one that killed a Thai farm worker, in the worst violence since the end of Israel's 22-day assault on Gaza that began in December 2008.

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 April 4 - Vatican's Easter Mass infused with defense of pope
 Article: Roman Catholic Church And The Last Days

It was the Catholic calendar's holiest moment -- the Mass celebrating the resurrection of Christ. But with Pope Benedict XVI accused of failing to protect children from abusive priests, Easter Sunday also was a high-profile opportunity to play defense.

The ringing tribute at the start of a Mass attended by tens of thousands in St. Peter's Square marked an unusual departure from the Vatican's Easter rituals, infusing the tradition-steeped religious ceremony with an air of a papal pep rally.

Sodano's praise for Benedict as well as the church's 400,000 priests worldwide cranked up a vigorous campaign by the Holy See to counter what it calls a "vile" smear operation orchestrated by anti-Vatican media aimed at weakening the papacy and its moral authority.

Sodano said the faithful came to "rally close around you, successor to (St.) Peter, bishop of Rome, the unfailing rock of the holy church" amid the joy of Easter.

His speech ignored demands by victims that he shoulder some responsibility for a common practice by bishops in the past of shuffling pedophile priests from parish to parish rather than sullying the church's reputation by defrocking clergy who raped, sodomized or otherwise sexually abused minors.

Germany's top Roman Catholic cleric, Archbishop Robert Zollitsch, urged Catholics in his Easter homily not to break with the church even as they face "the heinous crimes, the dark sides of the church."

Jewish leaders, and even some top Catholic churchmen, were angered after Benedict's personal preacher, in a Good Friday sermon, likened the growing accusations against the pope to the campaign of anti-Semitic violence that culminated in the Holocaust.

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 April 4 - Quake rolls across Baja
 Article: Signs Of The Last Times

Reporting from Mexico City and Mexicali, Mexico - A magnitude 7.2 earthquake rocked Mexico's Baja California peninsula Sunday, jolting millions of people from Los Angeles and San Diego to Phoenix and scattering destruction along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Emergency services in both the U.S. and Mexico scrambled to assess the extent of casualties and damage, including fallen buildings, buckled roads, cracked water canals, fires and telephone and electrical outages. It appeared that most of the damage was in the twin border cities of Calexico, Calif., and Mexicali, Mexico, where at least two people were reported killed and several injured.

A new four-story parking garage at Mexicali's state government headquarters partly collapsed, along with part of the city's courthouse, residents said. Patients were evacuated from the main hospital for fear of structural damage.

Miguel Coronado, 48, who was in Mexicali with half a dozen relatives visiting family for Easter, said the quake "shook so strong that some people fell down. Some people got hysterical, and others started praying."

"It's a disaster over there," said Nayeli Ramirez, 17, after crossing into Calexico. "Buildings are tipped up. Cars are smashed. It's horrible. Everyone is running."

The U.S. Geological Survey measured the magnitude of the quake at 7.2 -- equal to the force that devastated the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince in January. It hit about 3:40 p.m. local time, lasted about 35 seconds and was followed 16 minutes later by a magnitude 3.9 shaker near Borrego Springs, Calif., and, separately, a magnitude 4.1 temblor six miles southwest of Malibu in the Pacific Ocean.

It was the third major quake in the Western Hemisphere in the last three months: In addition to the Haiti disaster, in which more than 200,000 people were killed, central and southern Chile were hit by one of the most powerful seismic events in history when an 8.8 quake struck on Feb. 27, killing about 700 people.

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 April 5 - Bending yoga to fit their worship needs
 Article: Emerging Church

Christian pop music played quietly in the background as instructor Bryan Brock led a recent yoga class at the nondenominational Church at Rocky Peak in Chatsworth.

Incorporating prayer and readings from the Bible, Brock urged his class of about 20 students to find strength in their connection to their creator through yoga's deep, controlled breathing. "The goal of Christian yoga is to open ourselves up to God," he said. "It allows us to blur the line between the physical and the spiritual."

Such hybrid classes, which combine yoga practice with elements of Christianity or Judaism, appear to be growing in popularity across Southern California and elsewhere.

Some Christians call their versions of the discipline holy yoga or Yahweh yoga and some teachers urge participants to "breathe down Jesus." Jewish yogis, in turn, have developed -- and in some cases, even trademarked -- Torah yoga, Kabbalah yoga and aleph bet yoga, applying Eastern meditative movements to Jewish prayer and study.

Meanwhile, Californian Muslims who practice yoga have yet to merge it with the teachings of the Koran or worship of Allah, a local leader says. And there are skeptics within all three Abrahamic religions who question whether it is proper to integrate the Hindu-based spiritual practice into Western monotheistic traditions.

"Christ is my guru. Yoga is a spiritual discipline much like prayer, meditation and fasting," Boon said in a telephone interview. "No one religion can claim ownership."

Some fundamentalist Christians distance themselves from yoga, saying it is inseparable from Hinduism or Buddhism and therefore dangerous, even blasphemous. Some Orthodox Jewish authorities warn that if practiced with all its Eastern components, including Sanskrit chanting and small statues of deities, it amounts to avodah zarah, or the worship of false gods.

"He said, 'God has been trying to reach you all these years and he is reaching you through yoga," Erlick recalled. The rabbi challenged her to reconcile yoga with Judaism, which led to five years of study to become a rabbi. "For me, yoga is prayer," Erlick said.

Unger chants shalom (peace) instead of om, and recites the daily Jewish prayer for awakening when she does the sun salutation.

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 April 6 - Fossil could rewrite human evolution
 Article: Creation/Evolution Creation/Evolution Debate

While there have been thousands of fossilised fragments from human ancestors unearthed around the world, the story of mankind's progression from simple primates to modern, intelligent humans is far from complete.

The fossil record, which spans millions of years, contains large gaps while in some cases entire species have been described from just a few small pieces of bone.

Some religiously-inspired opponents of evolution theory use the patchy fossil record to argue that humans did not evolve from primates.

But rare fossil finds like the new skeleton from the Malapa caves in Sterkfontein, South Africa, give anthropologists the opportunity to gain huge insights into how our prehistoric ancestors lived and looked.

Africa is now widely accepted as the birthplace of mankind as simple primates evolved into the common ancestor we share with the great apes such as Chimpanzees and Gorillas.

With so few fossils, scientists have struggled to draw a definitive timeline of how human species evolved and arguments about how individual fossils should be ranked are common.

With an almost-complete skeleton, however, it will be possible to determine whether this early ancestor of humans climbed trees or lived on open grassland and if it stood upright or used its arms to assist when walking. Armed with this kind of detail, scientists should be able to make far more conclusive statements about how our own species evolved.

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 April 5 - Reformed Christians Approve Document on Racism, Unity
 Article: Social Gospel

The Reformed Church in America is closer to officially adopting a document that confronts the sin of racism and affirms unity and reconciliation among Christians. The denomination announced on Monday that a two-thirds majority of the 46 classes, or regional groups of churches, voted to approve the adoption of the Belhar Confession.

The confession would be added as a fourth standard of unity to the Book of Church Order. The last time the church adopted a new standard was more than two centuries ago.

Drafted in 1982, the confession partly declares that unity must become visible "so that the world may believe that separation, enmity and hatred between people and groups is sin" and it rejects any doctrine maintaining that "descent or any other human or social factor should be a consideration in determining membership of the church."

It also rejects, among other things, ideology which would "legitimate forms of injustice and any doctrine which is unwilling to resist such an ideology in the name of the gospel."

Some have called the PC(USA) to reject it. The Sacramento Presbytery says the document is confusing and could be used to press issues other than racial equality, such as "same-sex causes."

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 April 4 - Benedict XVI Says Baptism Is Death's Cure
 Article: Roman Catholic Church And The Last Days

Human beings have always sought a way to extend life, to cure death. Such a cure does indeed exist, Benedict XVI says. The Pope spoke of this cure for death - baptism -- during his homily at the Easter Vigil Mass in St. Peter's.

"The true cure for death must be different," the Holy Father proposed. "It cannot lead simply to an indefinite prolongation of this current life. It would have to transform our lives from within. It would need to create a new life within us, truly fit for eternity: it would need to transform us in such a way as not to come to an end with death, but only then to begin in fullness."

The Pontiff said that the "new and exciting" of the Christian message is the affirmation that this "cure for death, this true medicine of immortality, does exist." "It has been found," he assured. "It is within our reach. In baptism, this medicine is given to us."

"A new life begins in us," Benedict XVI told the faithful and the newly baptized, "a life that matures in faith and is not extinguished by the death of the old life, but is only then fully revealed."

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 April 6 - United States offers Europe an interfaith model
 Article: One World Religion

It was a warm summer afternoon in the new U.S. Capitol Visitor Center and some European rabbis and imams were exchanging bearhugs. Imam Mohamed Kajjaj, vice president of the Council of Muslim Theologians of Belgium, waxed eloquent about all the Muslim-Jewish give and take. "It's been magnificent, wonderful," he said, speaking in French. "This is a grand movement for the future."

These Muslim and Jewish leaders had met for the first time only a few days earlier as part of an unusual effort by the New York-based Foundation for Ethnic Understanding (FFEU) to foster ties between two religions with a history of conflict and suspicion on modern times.

In July, the foundation flew more than two dozen of these religious leaders from Europe - where religions rarely communicate with one another - to the United States, where interfaith cooperation has been part of the religious landscape for hundreds of years. The FFEU, which spent $150,000 on the project, was banking on America's interfaith experiment being attractive enough as a model for other cultures.

"It's so good to see my friends on both sides of the religious aisle, if you will," he said. "The real world changers and leaders are in this room. You have influence over the hearts, minds and spiritual direction of most of the people on this earth."

Although the Australian government provided $4 million to help underwrite the 2009 gathering, the main funding for worldwide interfaith efforts still comes from the United States. Foundations that lend money to interfaith initiatives include the Henry Luce Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Sierra Club, the Open Society Institute's Soros Foundations and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

One of the most well-known 20th-century interfaith efforts, the San Francisco-based United Religions Initiative (URI), has garnered support from many secular foundations and wealthy patrons since its founding 10 years ago. Its annual budget is $2.6 million, and it boasts 317,000 members in 72 countries who are committed to what it calls "transforming religious conflict into positive social change."

Lee Penn, a Roman Catholic writer and author of the 2004 book "False Dawn: The United Religions Initiative, Globalism, and the Quest for a One-World Religion," said the URI, whether or not it intends to, provides the basis for a coming global religion. "Under President George W. Bush and President Obama, American civil religion is now interfaith," encompassing what Mr. Obama in his inaugural address called a "patchwork heritage" of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, and nonbelievers, Mr. Penn said. "Officially, Christian America is no more."

"The interfaith movement is growing worldwide and the United Religions Initiative is one of its leading organizations. The URI, in time, aspires to have the visibility and stature of the United Nations. "In short, global governance and interfaith are now normal and accepted ideas for secular and religious leaders worldwide. The new world order is not science fiction; it is being built now. The question is not whether there will be a new world order; it is who will control it and for what ends."

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 April 7 - Mideast conflict 'more explosive' than Iran crisis: Hariri
 Article - Israel And The Last Days

The conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is "much more explosive" than the Iranian nuclear crisis, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri said in an interview published Wednesday. The Middle East conflict "is much more explosive, brimming over with 'uranium and extremism', than any other regional issue," he told the Spanish newspaper El Mundo, without elaborating.

Hariri, who is expected for a two-day visit in Madrid on Thursday, said Lebanon was in favour of a "Middle East without nuclear weapons" which he said "includes Israel" and not only Iran.

As Hariri prepares to make his second visit to Syria since taking office in November, he also said closer ties with Damascus were key to counter an "Israeli threat".

"Stronger ties with Syria mean there is a firmer position toward Israel," Hariri said. He also accused the media of under-reporting Israeli "atrocities" toward the Palestinians.

While paedophile priests in the Roman Catholic Church were given "extensive media coverage" amid "attacks against the Vatican", "atrocities committed by Israel against Palestinians" go practically unreported, said Hariri, who is a Muslim. For Israel "war is always an option", he added.

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 April 7 - Obama's New Nuke Strategy Raises Fears of Bolstering Rogue States
 Article - Misc.

President Obama's decision to reverse 65 years of U.S. nuclear weapons policy and drop most of the nation's deterrence capacity has alarmed critics who say they fear that the United States will now be more vulnerable to attack from would-be nuclear nations.

"I'm deeply concerned by some of the decisions made in the Nuclear Posture Review and the message this administration is sending to Iran, North Korea, and non-state actors who may seek to harm the United States or our allies," Rep. Michael Turner, R-Ohio, the ranking member of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, said in a written statement. "By unilaterally taking a nuclear response off the table, we are decreasing our options without getting anything in return and diminishing our ability to defend our nation from attack."

The White House nuclear strategy review released Tuesday concluded the Obama administration will narrow the circumstances in which the U.S. might launch a nuclear strike, will forego the development of new nuclear warheads and will seek even deeper reductions in American and Russian arsenals.

In presenting the results of the administration's policy review, Gates said a central aim was to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in U.S. defense strategy.

"If you look at history, and the time after the Cold War, it was a great deterrent for the Soviet Union when it came to preventing them from invading eastern European countries, for example. What you see here is part of what is rather disturbing pattern where the Obama administration continues to take away capabilities that the U.S. needs in its arsenal," she said.

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

Ron Pierotti

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