May 9, 2011- May 15,2011 
 News In Review
 Vol 6, Issue 19
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Dear Ron,

This newsletter is available online by clicking here. The archived newsletter are also available by clicking here.

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.  The purpose of posting these articles is to warn the church of deception from a Biblical perspective.

 May 1 - Pope beatifies John Paul II before 1.5M faithful
 Article: Roman Catholic Church And The Last Days

Some 1.5 million pilgrims flooded Rome Sunday to watch Pope John Paul II move a step closer to sainthood in one of the largest Vatican Masses in history, an outpouring of adoration for a beloved and historic figure after years marred by church scandal.

The turnout for the beatification far exceeded even the most optimistic expectation of 1 million people, the number Rome city officials predicted. For Catholics filling St. Peter's Square and its surrounding streets, and for those watching around the world the beatification was a welcome hearkening back to the days when the pope was almost universally beloved.

"He was like a king to us, like a father," Marynka Ulaszewska, a 28-year-old from Ciechocinek, Poland, said, weeping. "I hope these emotions will remain with us for a long time," she said.

Benedict was responding to chants of "Santo Subito!" or "Sainthood Immediately" which erupted during John Paul's funeral. Beatification is the last major milestone before a candidate is declared a saint. John Paul needs another miracle attributed to his intercession before he can be canonized.

Already, Vatican officials have said reports of inexplicable cures were pouring in, suggesting it is only a matter of time before John Paul is declared a saint, or even a doctor of the church - an even greater honor.

After the nearly three-hour Mass, Benedict prayed before John Paul's coffin, which had a copy of the Lorsch Gospels on it, an illuminated medieval book of the Gospels that is one of the most precious in the Vatican's collection.

During the Mass, Benedict received a silver reliquary holding a vial of blood taken from John Paul during his final hospitalization. The relic, a key feature of beatification ceremonies, will be available for the faithful to venerate.

Read Full Article .... 

 April 30 - Church in Your Pocket? Facebook Multimedia Church to Launch
 Article: Emerging Church

Thou shalt love thy neighbor - all 600 million of them? Hosting the first-ever interactive service on Facebook, St. Pixels, an online 3D church, is redefining the way most people worship.
"Love it or hate it, Facebook is where people are in 2011," said St. Pixels pioneer Mark Howe in a statement. "If the Gospel is for today's connected culture, it has to find a distinctive but culturally-appropriate place within social networking."

Behind computer screens and iPhones, worshippers will have the opportunity to listen to Bible readings and a sermon, sing along to hymns and key in prayer requests. They'll even be given a chance to weigh in with an "amen" or "zzzz" via a real-time feedback meter they can click.

Moving to a new software system and developing a 3D environment, St. Pixels Ltd came into operation in 2009 and was registered in the U.K., with membership worldwide.

Offering Peer to Peer Discipleship groups, real time chat open 24/7, dialogue forums, and occasional real life meets, St. Pixels desires "to create a sacred space and a welcoming and witnessing community on the Internet." They also hope to make disciples by providing opportunities for theological reflection, discussion and exploration.

"God is revealed to seekers by many different means, including creation, the Bible, the life of Jesus and the Spirit-filled witness of the Church. St. Pixels is one expression of that historical, international and universal Church."

"We have 600 million 'neighbors' on Facebook," announced Graystone. "St. Pixels on Facebook means 600 million Facebook users now have a church in their pocket. I congratulate St. Pixels on reaching an amazing milestone."

Read Full Article.... 

 April 30 - Imam's Call to Add Crescent Moon Symbol to Russian Emblem Met With Alarm
 Article: Miscellaneous

Was it a call to bring the revolts and violence of the "Arab Spring" now sweeping the Middle East to Russia? That is the question that swirled throughout Moscow when a top imam called for the addition of the Islamic crescent moon symbol to the Russian emblem. 

The surprise call by Talgat Tadzhuddin during an interview with a leading Russian newspaper was met with alarm because the imam heads the Central Spiritual Association of Muslims of Russia, a major regional Islamic association. As quickly as the word of the proposal became public it ignited a wave of condemnation. 

"According to this logic," Georgiy Vilinbakhov, head of Russia's Heraldry Service argued, "we must change the name of Russia, put a green stripe on or flag and move the capital city from Moscow to somewhere on the border between Europe and Asia." 

The fears of renewed tension between the state and the Islamist were exacerbated because Moscow had just seen serious clashes between Islamic and Russian youths. 

In Chechnya, for example, Russia has fought two brutal wars and been the subject of major terror attacks by Islamic separatists from the region. The two most significant were the 2004 attack on a school in Beslan that left more than 300 dead and the 2002 siege at a Nord Ost theater by 50 Chechen soldiers that left at least 170 dead. Both attacks left relations with Russia's Islamic community in a fragile state. 

In his interview, Tadzhuddin said, "We are asking for one of the heads (of the Russian state emblem, a double-headed eagle) to be topped with a crescent moon and the other to be topped with a Russian Orthodox cross. All the crowns on the coat of arms -- two on the heads of eagles and one above the middle -- are topped by crosses. But Russia has 20 million Muslims. That is 18 percent of the population." 

Tadzhuddin also said that he had presented a sketch of the proposed change to both Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. The Kremlin has not commented on the issue. 

Read Full Article .... 

 May 2 - Usama Bin Laden Killed in Firefight With U.S. Special Ops Team in Pakistan
 Article: Wars And Rumors Of Wars

Declaring "justice has been done," President Obama announced late Sunday that Usama bin Laden was killed by U.S. forces in Pakistan, marking the end of the worldwide manhunt that began nearly a decade ago on Sept. 11, 2001.

The president made the stunning announcement within hours of informing congressional leaders. He said bin Laden was killed Sunday, the culmination of years of intelligence gathering. The news drew a large crowd to the front of the White House, as well as in Times Square, as people chanted "U-S-A. U-S-A."

"For over two decades, bin Laden has been Al Qaeda's leader and symbol," Obama said. "The death of bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation's effort to defeat Al Qaeda."

In the wake of bin Laden's death, authorities around the world are being urged to take security precautions. One source said officials are concerned bin Laden's death could incite violence or terrorist acts against U.S. personnel overseas.

The State Department issued a travel alert for U.S. citizens abroad overnight, citing "the enhanced potential for anti-American violence given recent counter-terrorism activity in Pakistan."

"Bin Laden was not a Muslim leader. He was a mass murderer of Muslims," Obama said. "So his demise should be welcomed by all who believe in peace and human dignity."

Read Full Article .... 

 May 4 - Palestinian deal ends rift, hurts peace prospects
 Artcle: Israel and The Last Days

Comment from Understand the Times:
Negotiations for peace continue in the middle east, but as usual, there is no peace. Expect the day coming soon for the negotiation of a false peace treaty that will bring God's wrath, and not His blessing.

Rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas signed a landmark reconciliation pact on Wednesday, ending a four-year rift that had divided the territory envisioned for a future Palestinian state. The deal plunged Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking deeper into uncertainty as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called it a "mortal blow to peace."

The agreement, which followed years of bitter acrimony between the two Palestinian movements, was made possible in large measure by the political changes sweeping the Arab world and the deadlock in U.S.-brokered peace talks with Israel.

A unity government foreseen by the accord would also allow the Palestinians to speak with a single voice if they go ahead with plans to ask the United Nations to recognize Palestine as a state during the annual General Assembly session in September.

With Wednesday's signing, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, whose Palestinian Authority governs the West Bank, joined forces with Khaled Mashaal, the Syrian-based head of Hamas, which rejects Israel's existence and is backed by Iran.

The alliance set off ecstatic celebrations in the Palestinian territories - and warnings from both the Obama administration and international mediator Tony Blair that the new Palestinian government must recognize Israel or risk international isolation.

Abbas brushed off the criticism and instead used the occasion to deliver a scathing attack on Israel, saying "We reject blackmail and it is no longer possible for us to accept the (Israeli) occupation of Palestinian land."

Both Palestinian leaders emphasized a united Palestinian direction, with Mashaal declaring the pact means the Palestinians will have "one leadership, ... one decision."

Netanyahu denounced the new Palestinian alliance as "a mortal blow to peace and a big prize for terrorism.  Israel continues to want peace and seek peace but we can only achieve that with our neighbors that want peace," the Israeli leader said. "Those of our neighbors that seek the destruction of Israel and use terrorism are not partners to peace."

Read Full Article .... 

 May 4 - Former Bobby new Port priest
 Artcle: Emerging Church

Comment from Understand the Times:
For years we have been saying that the Emerging Church is just another road to Rome. The article beneath confirms this. Many do not see what is happening, and if they do see, they don't care. We are in the latter stages of apostasy and the only way to understand it is in light of the Bible.

A FORMER police officer hailing from England never expected to be twice ordained at the tender age of only 30.

Manchester-born Chris Yates, who moved to Australia last November, has just been appointed to the Anglican priesthood and is serving the parish of Williamtown, Medowie and Mallabulla.

Reverend Yates seemed destined to uphold the law as a police officer in Oxford but soon began to attend weekly church gatherings.  He realised he wanted to become a minister and put himself forward for ordination as a Deacon and was soon accepted.

Since his time in Australia he has noticed considerable differences between the Church of England and Anglicans in Australia.

He hopes to build on new relationships he has recently made with Port churchgoers and incorporate a contemporary, postmodern approach.

"I want to set up an emerging church which serves the congregation but offers something different in Anglo-catholicism," he said.

Read Full Article .... 

 April 19 - Rob Bell Calls for Civil Discourse, Has No Regrets
 Artcle: Emerging Church

Comment from Understand the Times:
There are those who participate in pastors blogs who are part of fellowships that promote the inerrancy of the Word of God, and who promote Rob Bell as a great man of God and a great modern day theologian. What is that about?

Since its release last month, Love Wins has flown off the shelves, reaching No. 2 on the New York Times bestseller list and the top 10 on Amazon.

While it has clearly struck a chord with people looking for an alternative to the hellfire and brimstone concept of God, many critics have pounded the book and denounced Bell as a universalist or a heretic.

They accuse Bell of distorting biblical truths about judgment, wrath and hell, and diminishing the meaning of the blood and the cross in salvation, with potentially devastating consequences for the spiritual fate of those who embrace his perspective.

"Some of the things people say and the way that they act, this can't be the way of Jesus. There's got to be a little higher standard of civil discourse," he said.

Despite the fierce criticism from some corners, Bell said others have been "extraordinarily supportive and appreciative," and that some had been set free because they realized they could be a Christian and "ask that sort of question."

He told them it had never been his intention to be controversial but that his book was rather about "recapturing the Gospel" and pointing out that Christianity has a "wide variety of perspectives" on judgment and reconciliation.

That exploration has led Bell to conclude that Christians should be open to the possibility that repentance can come later.  Although he denies being a universalist, Bell went on to say that he is also open to the possibility that repentance and, therefore salvation, could come at a point beyond this life.

Read Full Article .... 

 May 2 - 9/11 Mastermind Reportedly Warned of 'Nuclear Hellstorm' if Bin Laden Killed
 Artcle: Wars and Rumors Of Wars

The self-proclaimed mastermind of the 9/11 terror plot told interrogators at Guantanamo Bay that Al Qaeda has a nuclear bomb somewhere in Europe and would detonate it if Usama bin Laden was ever captured or killed, The Daily Telegraph reported, citing WikiLeaks' cables.

Khalid Sheikh Mohamed, one of the top prisoners at the facility, called the plan a "nuclear hellstorm." The report, which was first published late last month, said some detainees had comprehensive knowledge of Western countries' nuclear defense.

There was no immediate indication that bin Laden's killing last weekend by the U.S. would prompt Al Qaeda to carry out such a threat, or if it even has the capabilities. To be sure, cables show U.S. authorities uncovered a number of attempts by Al Qaeda to obtain nuclear materials, according to the report.

The WikiLeaks cables about Guantanamo, obtained and detailed last month by several news organizations, illustrated how intelligence agencies employ information obtained by the 780 prisoners. Although some of the information is proved to be erroneous, still some appears to be actionable.

Separately, a prisoner described as the 20th 9/11 hijacker said the terror group is seeking to recruit staff at Heathrow Airport in London and plotted major chemical and biological attacks against the U.S.

Read Full Article .... 

 April 25 - IMF bombshell: Age of America nears end
 Artcle: Miscellaneous

For the first time, the international organization has set a date for the moment when the "Age of America" will end and the U.S. economy will be overtaken by that of China. 

And it's a lot closer than you may think. According to the latest IMF official forecasts, China's economy will surpass that of America in real terms in 2016 - just five years from now.  Put that in your calendar. 

It provides a painful context for the budget wrangling taking place in Washington, D.C., right now. It raises enormous questions about what the international security system is going to look like in just a handful of years. And it casts a deepening cloud over both the U.S. dollar and the giant Treasury market, which have been propped up for decades by their privileged status as the liabilities of the world's hegemonic power. 

According to the IMF forecast, whomever is elected U.S. president next year - Obama? Mitt Romney? Donald Trump? - will be the last to preside over the world's largest economy. 

The IMF in its analysis looks beyond exchange rates to the true, real terms picture of the economies using "purchasing power parities." That compares what people earn and spend in real terms in their domestic economies. 

Under PPP,
the Chinese economy will expand from $11.2 trillion this year to $19 trillion in 2016. Meanwhile the size of the U.S. economy will rise from $15.2 trillion to $18.8 trillion. That would take America's share of the world output down to 17.7%, the lowest in modern times. China's would reach 18%, and rising. 

Just 10 years ago, the U.S. economy was three times the size of China's. 

Read Full Article .... 

 April 29 - Pope John Paul II's body exhumed ahead of beatification
 Artcle: Roman Catholic Church And The Last Days

Comment from Understand the Times:
Rome will have done well on the sale of souvenirs and other things as a result of the masses coming to Rome to celebrate the pope's beatification. He, according to Roman Catholic dogma has now become a saint. Whether or not he actually knew Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior is in question as his totus tuus was "All to Mary!" 

Pope John Paul II's coffin was exhumed on Friday ahead of his beatification as tens of thousands of people began arriving in Rome for one of the biggest events since his funeral in 2005.

The wooden coffin will be placed in front of the main altar of St. Peter's Basilica. After Sunday's beatification mass, it will remain in that spot and the basilica will remain open until all visitors who want to view it have done so.

It will then be moved to a new crypt under an altar in a side chapel near Michelangelo's statue of the Pieta. The marble slab that covered his first burial place will be sent to Poland.

The city is festooned with posters of the pope on buses and hanging from lamp posts as the city where he was bishop for 27 years awaits one of the largest crowds since his funeral in 2005, when millions came to pay tribute.

At least several hundred thousand people are expected at the mass in St. Peter's Square on Sunday, when John Paul's successor Pope Benedict XVI will pronounce a Latin formula declaring one of the most popular popes in history a "blessed" of the Church.

The Vatican has deemed that the otherwise inexplicable cure of a French nun, Marie Simon-Pierre Normand, who was suffering from Parkinson's disease, was due to John Paul's intercession with God to perform a miracle, thus permitting the beatification to go ahead.  Another miracle will have to be attributed to John Paul's intercession after the beatification in order for him to be declared a saint.

Read Full Article .... 

 April 22 - Europe prays for Easter rain in worst drought for a century
 Article: Signs Of The Last Tmes

The Dutch have banned barbecues, camp fires and outdoor smoking this Easter, while the Swiss are forecasting potentially the worst drought in Europe for more than a century. 

Either way, prayers in Europe this Easter holiday weekend are as likely to call for rain as anything else -- with serious fears over the wheat harvest, its impact on already sky-high global food prices and, of course, devastating brush fires.

A year ago, it was Russia that bore the brunt of global warming, and with the price of benchmark wheat futures jumping by more than a fifth since the spring in the global market hub of Chicago, farmers everywhere are busy scanning the skies for soothing signs.

In the Swiss canton of Zurich, officials
began moving trout this week from the river Toess before their habitat dried up.

This year threatens to bring "one of the most significant droughts since 1864," the year when records began in Switzerland, said Olivier Duding, a climatologist from Swiss weather service Meteosuisse. The drought in western Switzerland over the last 12 months is as severe as those recorded in 1884 and 1921, Meteosuisse said.

Rainfall is at 40 percent of normal levels, and England and Wales had the driest March in more than a century. Beware the ides, as they say. Soon, if the hot, dry spell continues, water use restrictions will be forced on residents and companies there.

A spokeswoman for European farmers federation Copa-Cogeca said it was too soon to draw conclusions, but Belgian farmer Guy Franck, who heads a dairy collective in French-speaking Wallonia, says gut instinct tells him worse is yet to come.

"I've been in this game for 30 years, I've never seen a month of April like this one,"
he said. "Everything with short roots is seriously dehydrated," he warned.

Read Full Article .... 

 May 3 - 'Nutcracker Man' Ate Like a Cow (or Pig)
 Article: Creation-Evolution - Evidence For Ancient Man

The strong-jawed human relative nicknamed "Nutcracker Man" likely didn't crack nuts at all, preferring to graze on grass like a cow instead, scientists find. These findings could dramatically alter conventional wisdom regarding what the earliest members of the human lineage and their relatives ate.

The extinct hominid, officially called Paranthropus boisei, ranged across East Africa 1.2 million to 2.3 million years ago, living side-by-side with the direct ancestors of humanity. It earned its nickname because of its massive jaw and huge molars.

Now scientists investigating carbon isotope ratios in Nutcracker Man's teeth found "it most likely was eating grass, and most definitely was not cracking nuts," Cerling said.

"Frankly, we didn't expect to find the primate equivalent of a cow dangling from a remote twig of our family tree," said researcher Matt Sponheimer at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

By looking at the carbon isotope ratios in tooth enamel, scientists can decipher the past diet. The method relies on the type of carbon used in photosynthesis, the process in which carbon dioxide and water, with energy from the sun, are turned into food for certain plants. For instance, trees and the leaves, nuts and fruits they produce, as well as shrubs, herbs and cool-season grasses, all rely on C3 photosynthesis, which prefers carbon-12, while tropical grasses and sedges such as papyrus rely on C4 photosynthesis, where both carbon-12 and the heavier carbon-13 isotope are used.

The scientists found that P. boisei did not eat nuts or other C3 items, but chewed more heavily on grasses than any early human, human ancestor or human relative studied to date. Their rugged jaws may have helped them munch on tough grass.

"We have been looking at this organism through the wrong lens, which may have led to significant distortions in our understanding of its biology, ecology and evolution," Sponheimer told LiveScience.

Approximately 2.5 million years ago, researchers suggest the australopithecines split into the genus Homo, which produced our species, and the genus Paranthropus, which dead-ended. So what led Paranthropus to die off? It could have been direct competition with Homo, which grew more skilled in tool use over time, or it could have been a variety of other factors, including having a slower reproductive rate, Sponheimer said.

Read Full Article .... 

 May 5 - Atheists protest National Day of Prayer with National Day of Reason

Today, Thursday, May 5, atheists, agnostics, freethinkers and humanists are protesting the National Day of Prayer and staging their own National Day of Reason. Many of those protesting a National Day of Prayer do so in an attempt to protect and affirm the separation of church and state enshrined in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. 
Many believe a National Day of Prayer violates the establishment clause to the First Amendment which guarantees a separation between religion and government. The Freedom From Religion Foundation, a church/state watchdog with a large national presence, is currently challenging the National Day of Prayer in federal and state courts for this reason. 

Rather than prayer, a National Day of Reason is a time for focusing upon the employment of reason, critical thought, the scientific method, and free inquiry into the resolution of human problems; free of restrictions imposed by religious tradition, dogma or superstition.

The National Day of Reason is a secular holiday sponsored by the American Humanist Association. Many secular humanists have deep concerns about the current state of political affairs, affairs a National Day of Prayer serves to symbolize. For many the power and influence of the religious right is an alarming development. Many fear the intrusion of religious ideology into all forms of government. A National Day of Reason is a time to contemplate and address such concerns

Read Full Article .... 

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

Roger Oakland

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