April 12 - April 18, 2010 
 News In Review
 Vol 5, Issue 11
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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.

 April 11 - 7.1-magnitude quake hits off Solomon Islands
 Article: Signs Of The Last Times

A powerful earthquake struck off the Solomon Islands on Sunday, but a monitoring agency said a tsunami was not expected.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the 7.1-magnitude quake hit southwest of the island chain's Kira Kira island in the South Pacific. The temblor's epicenter was about 130 miles southeast of the capital, Honiara.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center says a destructive wave is not expected. There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

The Solomon Islands is a country of nearly 1,000 islands that lie on the "Ring of Fire" -- an arc of earthquake and volcanic zones that stretches around the Pacific Rim and where about 90 percent of the world's quakes occur.

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 April 6 - Short film contest to bridge the divide
 Article: One World Religion

Former British prime minister Tony Blair has announced the launch of a global short film competition, with the aim of promoting inter-faith dialogue.

In an exclusive interview with Gulf Times yesterday, Blair said that the aim of the initiative was to bring young people of different faiths together and allow them to present a positive picture of their religion to the rest of the world.
"There is often huge misrepresentation and wrong thinking about what Islam means," he said, adding "I think therefore that it will be particularly interesting to present to a Western audience that 'this is actually what my faith means to me - this is the Muslim perspective' and correct some of the misapprehensions and misunderstandings around faith."
The competition has been organised by the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, and is one of numerous programmes to have been introduced with
the aim of promoting inter-faith dialogue.

"The most important thing to realise is that religion matters enormously to millions and millions of people - it motivates them, it provides meaning to their lives, so there is no way that religion can be excluded from society or politics," he argued.
"So for me the question is 'what sort of role does it play?'" he said, adding
"it can inspire people to do things that are bad, but it can also inspire people to do things that are wonderful, selfless and life-enhancing."

"In the end, I believe that the single most important thing for the 21st century is to get people of different religious faiths to live side by side in peace with each other," he said.

Now the Middle East Peace Envoy for the Quartet, Blair spends around a week each month in the region, and has been trying to further peace talks between Palestine and Israel since accepting the role after stepping down as Prime Minister.

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 April 9 - N. Korea Vows to Keep Building Nuclear Bombs
 Article: Wars And Rumors Of Wars

North Korea denounced President Barack Obama's new nuclear stance as "hostile" and vowed to continue expanding its atomic arsenal Friday as the country's rubber-stamp parliament held an annual session focused on rescuing and revitalizing the tattered economy.

Obama pledged Tuesday to resist using nuclear weapons against nations that comply with international nonproliferation standards -- exempting North Korea and Iran from the new policy.

Miffed by Obama's move, North Korea accused his government of being no better than the Bush administration, "hell-bent on posing a nuclear threat" to North Korea, and said it would not give up its atomic weapons.

"As long as the U.S. nuclear threat persists, (North Korea) will increase and update various type nuclear weapons as its deterrent in such a manner as it deems necessary in the days ahead," the official Korean Central News Agency quoted an unidentified Foreign Ministry spokesman as saying Friday.

North Korea had shown a willingness in recent months to return to the negotiations, but the ministry said Obama's new policy "chilled the hard-won atmosphere for the resumption of the talks."

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 April 7 - Obama Bans Islam, Jihad From National Security Strategy Document
 Article: Misc.

President Barack Obama's advisers will remove religious terms such as "Islamic extremism" from the central document outlining the U.S. national security strategy and will use the rewritten document to emphasize that the United States does not view Muslim nations through the lens of terror, counterterrorism officials said.

The change is a significant shift in the National Security Strategy, a document that previously outlined the Bush Doctrine of preventative war and currently states: "The struggle against militant Islamic radicalism is the great ideological conflict of the early years of the 21st century."

The revisions are part of a larger effort about which the White House talks openly, one that seeks to change not just how the United States talks to Muslim nations, but also what it talks to them about, from health care and science to business startups and education.

That shift away from terrorism has been building for a year, since Obama went to Cairo, Egypt, and promised a "new beginning" in the relationship between the United States and the Muslim world. The White House believes the previous administration based that relationship entirely on fighting terror and winning the war of ideas.

Ramamurthy runs the administration's Global Engagement Directorate, a four-person National Security Council team that Obama launched last May with little fanfare and a vague mission to use diplomacy and outreach "in pursuit of a host of national security objectives."Since then, the division has not only helped change the vocabulary of fighting terror but also has shaped the way the country invests in Muslim businesses, studies global warming, supports scientific research and combats polio.

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 April 9 - Salehi: Iran tested 3G centrifuges
 Article: Wars And Rumors Of Wars

Iran unveiled a third generation of domestically built centrifuges Friday as the country pushes ahead with plans to accelerate a uranium enrichment program that has alarmed world powers fearful of the nuclear program's aims.

The new machines are capable of much faster enrichment than those now being used in Iran's nuclear facilities, and Iranian officials praised it as a step toward greater self-sufficiency in the face of international sanctions targeted at choking off the nuclear work.

"Our capable experts at the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran have managed to design a third-generation centrifuge and it has successfully passed all the mechanical tests," said Ali Akbar Salehi, the nuclear chief.

The enrichment technology is of concern to the international community because it can be used to generate power or material for nuclear bombs. Iran insists it only wants to generate power, but the United States and its allies suspect the civilian work is a cover for a weapons program.

Iran says it will install more than 50,000 centrifuges at its enrichment facilities in central town of Natanz.

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 April 12 - Cardinal Bertone delivers statue of Our Lady of Carmel to Chile
 Article: Roman Catholic Church And The Last Days

Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, celebrated Mass on Sunday at the Cathedral of Santiago and officially presented a statue of Our Lady of Carmel as a gift from Pope Benedict XVI to Chile.  The pilgrim statue will travel to the various cities in the country that were affected by the February earthquake.

The Vicar General for Ministry in Santiago and the National Coordinator of the Continental Mission, Msgr. Cristian Precht remarked that this statue "will accompany us in our sorrow-mothers can always identify with sorrow, thanks be to God-but it is also here to renew us in our faith."

Father Carlos Cox, who is rector of the Shrine of Maipu and will coordinate the pilgrim statue's tour throughout the country, added, "The most important aspect of this statue is that it brings us close to Jesus, who encourages us and helps us with what is essential in the Continental Mission, which is the encounter with the Living Christ."

The statue was created by Ecuadoran artist Ricardo Villalba and depicts Our Lady of Carmel standing upon the Shrine of Maipu, with the Cross of Chile at her back and the Child Jesus in her left arm.

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 April 12 - More moving and shaking, but why?
 Article: Signs Of The Last Times

The number of earthquakes greater than magnitude 4.0 in Southern California and Baja California has increased significantly in 2010. There have been 70 such quakes so far this year, the most of any year in the last decade. And it's only April. There were 30 in 2009 and 29 in 2008.

The string of quakes this year raises the possibility that Southern California might again be entering a more active seismic period. Scientists said the increase does not mean the Big One is any more imminent, but it could mean more significant quakes are on the way.

Egill Hauksson, a geophysicist at Caltech, said the rate of quakes in the region is "probably . . . picking up again" after a relative lull that lasted more than a decade. "What it means is that we are going to have more earthquakes than in the average year. With more earthquakes, we're bound to have more bigger ones. But there are always fewer of those than the smaller ones."

Scientists, however, have not been able to identify reasons that fully explain the increase. "We would like to be able to explain it," said Kate Hutton, a seismologist at Caltech. "But there's no real correlation with any cause."

In California, scientists say one of their biggest concerns remains the San Andreas fault, which has produced some of the state's largest earthquakes. Experts have said the San Andreas is overdue for a major event. State officials have also often noted that only about one in six Californians has , with the high cost and large deductibles deterring many homeowners from buying policies.

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 April 13 - Bodies Pile Up After Quake in Western China Kills More Than 600
 Article: Signs Of The Last Times

Rescue teams fought gusty winds and altitude sickness Thursday as survivors faced a second night outside in freezing weather after strong earthquakes left more than 600 dead and 9,000 hurt in a mountainous Tibetan area of western China.

Rescuers, tired from the high winds and thin oxygen, pulled survivors and more bodies from the pulverized remains of the town flattened by Wednesday morning's quake, the largest of which was magnitude 6.9. About 15,000 houses have collapsed.

"We've seen too many bodies and now they're trying to deal with them. The bodies are piled up like a hill. You can see bodies with broken arms and legs and it breaks your heart," said Dawa Cairen, a Tibetan who works for the Christian group the Amity Foundation and was helping in rescue efforts. "You can see a lot of blood. It's flowing like a river."

Zou said that 617 died in the quake, with 313 missing and more than 9,100 hurt.

Wednesday morning's quakes -- the worst of which measured magnitude 6.9 by the U.S. Geological Survey and 7.1 by China's earthquake administration -- were the worst to hit the region since the massive Sichuan earthquake two years ago left 90,000 dead or missing.

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 April 14 - Cash to be used in fewer than half transactions by 2015
 Article: Miscellaneous

Last year 59 per cent of the 37 billion transactions were done with cash, a sharp decline from the 73 per cent of transactions that were made with cash just 10 years ago. According to the Payments Council, a trade body representing the banks, card and cash machine industry, this proportion will fall to below 50 per cent by 2015, and to 45 per cent by 2018.

The figures have alarmed some campaigners, who gave warning that banks should not encourage the march towards a cashless society.

Because of this trend and the rise of debit cards and direct debit payments, cash has markedly fallen from favour, the report said.

"The trend is well entrenched and will continue. Paying for things is more secure and more convenient now we don't have to keep replenishing the stock of paper and metal we drag around. By 2018, the amount of cash we use will fall by 20 per cent after adjusting for inflation, even though our total spending will rise by perhaps 15 per cent in real terms," the report said.

"I am concerned that there is a huge head of steam building behind the card issuers to push out cash. But that is not in the interest of the general public."

"These people are being left behind in a society where cash is no longer king," he said.

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 April 14 - Joyce Meyer joins critics of Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Bill
 Article: Social Gospel

Charismatic preacher Joyce Meyer has spoken out against Uganda's highly contentious Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

In a statement released Monday, Meyer said it is "increasingly evident" that the Bill introduced in the Ugandan parliament is a "profoundly offensive, dangerous and disturbing attack on the very foundation of individual liberties and human rights afforded not only to the good citizens of Uganda, but on the at-large global community".

Proposed last October, Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Bill seeks to strengthen the criminalisation of homosexuality in Uganda by introducing the death penalty for people who are considered serial offenders, are suspected of "aggravated homosexuality" and are HIV-positive, or who engage in sexual acts with those under 18 years of age.

Though Member of Parliament David Bahati, who proposed the Bill, said the legislation is necessary to protect Uganda's children from being "recruited" into homosexuality, the Bill has provoked criticism and protests internationally, including in the United States, where both liberal and conservative church leaders have expressed their opposition.

Among those who have spoken out against the legislation are Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) Presiding Bishop Mark S Hanson, popular megachurch pastor Rick Warren, and leaders of Exodus International - which claims to be the world's largest Christian referral and information network dealing with homosexual issues.

"As a global society, we do not have to agree, endorse or condone the lifestyle choices of others. However, history has taught us that we equally cannot and should not excuse those who would hide behind religion or misuse God's word to justify bigotry and persecution," she insisted.

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 April 15 - 'Life's Purpose' author Eckhart Tolle is serene, critics less sos: Hariri
 Article - New Age

Are you weighted down by your past? Anxious about tomorrow? Stewing over how to face today? Stop. Drop those thoughts. Breathe. Be still. Just be. Spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle will tell you this is the ultimate path to inner peace, available to you any time. All you have to do is let go of all your thoughts.

Religious critics have called him the Antichrist for claiming you can save yourself, no God or Jesus required. Secular critics call his ideas and looping ways with language New Age twaddle.

This is someone who in conversation uses the term "is-ness" (the state of "being in the now") who, when he says "human being," means "being" as a verb. "I am, you are" - and nothing more need be said. Sort of. Actually, it takes many words to map out an earthly path to Tolle's "new heaven."

Tolle quotes often from the Bible, from Christianity and Buddhism, and half a dozen other world religions. But the words of Buddha and Jesus take a unique Tolle spin. For example, "Your thought identity, your words, are ultimately illusionary. Jesus knew this when he talked about 'deny thyself.' Most Christians do not fully understand what that means. It means 'no self.' Buddha, too, recognized the inherent unreality of our self-image" he says.

By submitting yourself to this thought-free state, you can finally recognize "The Truth" within yourself - that you already have all the joy, creativity, energy, love you seek. You possess all the higher power, you reach your own heaven, he says.

"Was Jesus the son of God?" he asks rhetorically. "Yes. But so are you. You just haven't realized it yet."

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 April 15 - Judge: Natl Day Of Prayer Unconstitutional
 Article - Perilous Times

The National Day of Prayer, honored in the United States for more than a half-century, is unconstitutional, a federal judge in Wisconsin has ruled. In a 66-page opinion issued Thursday, U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb said the holiday violates the "establishment clause" of the First Amendment, which creates a separation of church and state.

The opinion comes in a case filed by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a Wisconsin-based group of self-described "atheists" and "agnostics."

"The only issue decided in this case is that the federal government may not endorse prayer in a statute," Crabb said.

"The decision undermines the values of religious freedom that America was founded upon," Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Tex., said in a statement. "What's next?  Declaring the federal holiday for Christmas unconstitutional?"

She insisted her ruling was not a judgment on the value of prayer.

"No one can doubt the important role that prayer plays in the spiritual life of a believer," Crabb said in her opinion. "In the best of times, people may pray as a way of expressing joy and thanks; during times of grief, many find that prayer provides comfort. Others may pray to give praise, seek forgiveness, ask for guidance or find the truth. ... However, recognizing the importance of prayer to many people does not mean that the government may enact a statute in support of it, any more than the government may encourage citizens to fast during the month of Ramadan, attend a synagogue, purify themselves in a sweat lodge or practice rune magic."

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 April 15 - Promote the Eucharist, Pontiff Urges Brazil's Bishops
 Article: Roman Catholic Church And The Last Days

Benedict XVI exhorted the bishops of Brazil to promote the worship of the Eucharist upon receiving a group of them in audience.

"Being alive and risen, Christ can become 'living bread' for humanity," he continued. Because of this, "the center and permanent source of the Petrine ministry are the Eucharist, heart of Christian life, source and summit of the evangelizing mission of the Church."
From this point of view, one can understand "the preoccupation of the Successor of Peter over all that which can obfuscate the more original aspect of the Catholic faith: Today Jesus Christ is alive and really present in the consecrated host and chalice."
"The Church lives from this presence, and her reason for being and existing is the fact of extending this presence to the whole world," stressed the Pontiff.
The bishop of Rome then mentioned the 16th National Eucharistic Congress, which will be held in a month's time in Brasilia and will be "enriched by the gold of eternity present in time: Jesus Eucharist."

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 April 18 - Our Lady of Ta' Pinu Receives a Rose
 ArticleL Roman Catholic Church And The Last Days

Benedict XVI gave a Golden Rose to Our Lady of Ta' Pinu today, and invited the Maltese to pray to her as the Queen of the Family.

After presiding at Sunday Mass in the Granaries Square in Floriana, and before praying the Regina Caeli, the Pope affirmed the "particular devotion of the Maltese people to the Mother of God, expressed with great fervour to Our Lady of Ta' Pinu and so I am pleased to have the opportunity to pray before her image, brought here specially from Gozo for this occasion."

I am pleased to have the opportunity to pray before her image, brought here specially from Gozo for this occasion.

The Holy Father asked that the Maltese pray to Mary "under the title Queen of the Family, a title added to the Litany of Loreto by my beloved predecessor, Pope John Paul II, himself on more than one occasion a visitor to these shores."

The Golden Rose is a papal decoration conferred on prominent Catholic personalities; it has gone through a significant evolution. Initially, kings and dignitaries received it, later it was conferred almost exclusively on queens and, more recently, on Our Lady. The distinction was created by Pope Leo IX in 1049. In more recent times, after the Second Vatican Council, the papal decoration has become almost exclusively a gift from popes to Our Lady.

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

Ron Pierotti

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