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May 16, 2011- May 22,2011 
 News In Review
 Vol 6, Issue 20
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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.

 News Alert - May 14 - Using Apps, Facebook and Twitter to pray the rosary
 Article: Roman Catholic Church And The Last Days

Comment from Understand the Times:
 
We have been warning about the New Evangelization introduced by Pope John Paul II for years. Watch the following video to see that the agenda to win the world to the Mother of the Eucharistic Jesus is clearly underway. Get ready. The Eucharistic Reign of Jesus is just around the corner.
 


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 May 13 - English Bishops Bring Back Meatless Fridays
 Article: Roman Catholic Church And The Last Days

The bishops of England and Wales are re-establishing the practice of abstaining from meat on Fridays as a penance to identify with Christ on the cross.
 
"Every Friday is set aside by the Church as a special day of penance, for it is the day of the death of our Lord," a statement of resolutions from the assembly reminded. "The law of the Church requires Catholics to abstain from meat on Fridays, or some other form of food, or to observe some other form of penance laid down by the Bishops' Conference."
 
"The Bishops wish to re-establish the practice of Friday penance in the lives of the faithful as a clear and distinctive mark of their own Catholic identity," the statement announced.
 
The prelates added that it is "important that all the faithful be united in a common celebration of Friday penance."
 
The date for the re-establishment of meatless Fridays, Sept. 16, marks the anniversary of Benedict XVI's visit to the United Kingdom last year.
 
"Many may wish to go beyond this simple act of common witness and mark each Friday with a time of prayer and further self-sacrifice," the bishops' statement concluded. "In all these ways we unite our sacrifices to the sacrifice of Christ, who gave up his very life for our salvation."


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 News Alert - May 9 - Jesuit to Become Chaplain of the House
 Article: Miscellaneous

Comment from Understand the Times:
 
It is amazing how quickly Congress forgets history. There was a time when Congress agreed to condemn Jesuits for their subversive plans to take over the USA. They were banned from many countries for the same reason. What has happened? What has changed?
 
A Jesuit will be sworn in as the 60th chaplain of the House of Representatives on May 25, when he will become the first member of his order and second consecutive Catholic priest to serve the House.

As chaplain, the Rev. Patrick Conroy will be in charge of opening House sessions with prayer, coordinating guest chaplains, counseling members of the House community and arranging memorial services, weddings and funerals.

Conroy was selected by House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, who consulted with Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. Both are Catholics.

"We are honored that Father Conroy has agreed to serve as House chaplain," Boehner said in a statement. "His dedication to God's work, commitment to serving others and experience working with people of faith from all traditions will make him an asset to the House community."

Conroy has master's degrees in philosophy, divinity and sacred theology, and a law degree from St. Louis University in Missouri. In the 1980s, he was pastor of several Washington missions and parishes, and later was chaplain at Georgetown University in Washington, for nearly a decade. He will celebrate his 28th year as a Jesuit on June 11.



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 May 8 - Pope Speaks of Mary as Mother of the Risen One
 Article: Roman Catholic Church And The Last Days

Comment from Understand the Times:
 
The pope's emphasis on the Queen of Heaven can be understood in light of Jeremiah chapter seven. When a so-called Christian pope puts more emphasis on Mary than on Jesus, it is time to kick him out. This is not Christianity. It is "Christian-Babylonianism."
 
On Easter morning, Mary became the mother of a Risen Son; His luminous face is reflected in hers.
 
With these meditations, Benedict XVI introduced the midday Regina Caeli today, after concluding a Mass in the park of San Giuliano at Mestre. The Pope was today and Saturday in the region of Venice.
 
Speaking of the Queen of Heaven, he said that "with the dawn of Easter she became the Mother of the Risen One and her union with him is so profound that there where the Son is present, the Mother cannot fail to be present."
 
"In her the luminous face of Christ is reflected," he affirmed. "If we follow her with docility, the Virgin will lead us to him."
 
He continued, "Let us invoke Mary Most Holy, who supported the first witnesses of her Son in preaching the Good News, that she might also today support the apostolic efforts of priests; make the witness of those in religious life fruitful; animate the daily work of parents in the first transmission of the faith to their children; illuminate the path of young people so that they might walk confidently in the way traced by their fathers; fill the hearts of the elderly with hope; comfort the sick and all of the suffering with her nearness; assist the work of numerous laypeople who actively collaborate in the new evangelization, in parishes, in associations, [...] in the movements, which, in the variety of their charisms and their action, are a sign of the richness of the ecclesial fabric."
 
"I encourage everyone to work with the true spirit of communion in this great vineyard in which the Lord has called us to work," the Pope concluded. "Mary, Mother of the Risen One and of the Church, pray for us!"


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 May 8 - Lent: Preparing for Spiritual Growth
 Artcle: Unbiblical Christianity

Comment from Understand the Times:
 
This article published by the Billy Graham association is best described by one word as an oxymoron. No where in the Bible is lent mentioned as something that should be practiced. Check it out. It is a Roman Catholic dogma. 
 
In the Last Days the Bible teaches there will be wolves who masquerade in sheep's clothing. It is time to wake up. If you trust in any many and his organization and don't check out the Word of God you will be deluded for certain.
 
Lent, which comes from an Anglo-Saxon word for "spring," can be viewed as a spiritual spring cleaning: a time for taking spiritual inventory and then cleaning out everything which hinders a relationship with Christ.

Traditionally, the season of Lent begins with a sign of repentance: placing ashes mixed with oil on one's head or forehead. This day is known as Ash Wednesday. However, we must realize that any Lenten disciplines/denials we demonstrate before God should be practiced to help us become closer to Christ and become more like Him, not to wallow in our repentance or try to gain favor or earn more love from God.

For spiritual preparation, it is important to get under sound, biblical teaching. How will we know the difference between sound doctrine and words spoken to make us "feel" better? Studying and knowing the Bible and praying for wisdom and discernment.

Let's look at one other principle of spiritual preparation in verse 22:

Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.

Paul was reminding Timothy of his responsibilities as a young leader, in light of the false teaching that was around them. When we give way to the corruption around us ("youthful lusts"), we make ourselves more susceptible to believe lies, whether directly from the enemy or from false teaching.

The best way to grow as disciples of Christ is to not limit our spiritual preparation to the Lenten season, but to pursue these things daily throughout the rest of our time here on earth.


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 May 6 - Reports of the Arrest of Ahmadinejad's 'Exorcist' Fuel Concerns About Iran's Leadership
 Article: Miscellaneous

A mysterious man known by some as the Iranian president's "exorcist" has been arrested, in the latest sign that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's involvement with purveyors of the so-called "dark arts" is raising concerns among Iran's leadership.

Abbas Ghaffari, described as Ahmadinejad's "exorcist" or "jinn (genie) catcher" is reportedly among a number of people in Ahmadinejad's circle who have been arrested lately, amid reports of continuing strains between the president and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. As is typical in Iran, details on the timing and specific charges behind the arrests are somewhat murky.

In a fiery speech Tuesday in the Iranian holy city of Qom, Mojtaba Zolnour, Khamenei's representative in the Revolutionary Guard, said he asked Ahmadinejad: "What do you see in this Mashaei, other than links to exorcists, soothsayers and fortune tellers?    They come and gurgle on about his prophecies, and Mr. Ahmadinejad thinks he has divine knowledge."

Ahmadinejad has also frequently raised concerns with what some see as his obsession over the concept of the "12th Imam," a belief among some Muslims that a leader who has been in hiding since 869 will return and unite the world under the banner of Islam.

Believers say the 12th Imam will only appear during a time of worldwide chaos, however, leading some to fear Ahmadinejad would deliberately act to destabilize the international situation in the hopes of sparking the imam's return. Ahmadinejad has reportedly stabilized a rift with Kahmenei, following a nearly two-week sustained sulk that kept him out of his office.

"The reality of conjuring 'jinn' is not exclusive to our society," said Morteza Nabavi, a member of the Expediency Council, which mediates between the Iranian parliament and the Guardian Council and who is also managing director of Resalat newspaper. "In other places too, catching jinn and eliciting their help is also relevant."

But that doesn't mean the proponents of such beliefs should be running a government, according to Nabavi. "The deviant group that have recently been mentioned have reached out to others     and they have even influenced the president and gained his support." Despite the fact that Ahmadinejad is at the center of this controversy, there are limits to how seriously others in the regime are willing to damage him.



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 May 6 - Ken Ham: Christian Colleges Compromising Creationism, Bible's Authority
 Article: Creation/Evolution - Creation/Evolution Misc

Answers in Genesis President/CEO Ken Ham has new research showing that Christian institutions of higher learning have gone too far gone down the pathway of secularism and they need to be either totally overhauled or scrapped in favor of new biblically-sound schools.

A hunch led him to survey the administration and faculty of 200 U.S. Christian campuses about their views on the authority of the Bible and the creation story versus evolution. A regular speaker on college campuses, Ham could tell that a metamorphosis has been occurring on Christian campuses. What he found is bound to shock parents who send their children to Christian four-year institutions, he said.

According to data gathered last year by the America's Research Group, only 17.3 percent of Christian institutions surveyed define "authority of the Bible" to mean "you believe everything it says." Other institutions said the Bible is "foundational" (30 percent); "a book of guidelines" (22 percent) or "inspired by God" (21.2 percent).

Additionally, when asked "what does your institution teach about the Bible," only 35.3 percent of respondents said they teach that it is true. The two most popular answers after that were "it is inspired by God" (25 percent) and "it is a book of guidelines"(23.1 percent).

While phrases such as "foundational" and "inspired by God" sound good to prospective students and their parents, Ham says those are newspeak, terms which are used because they sound pleasing, but mean something totally different. The data shows just how little "inspired of God" means with three follow-up questions. Respondents were asked if they believed in the inspiration, the inerrancy and the infallibility of the Scriptures. While nearly all respondents expressed their belief in the inspiration of the Scriptures (98.1 percent), less than three quarters of respondents (74 percent) affirmed their belief in the inerrancy, or total accuracy, of the Bible. Nearly 19 percent of respondents rejected the belief that the Scriptures are infallible or incapable of failing.

"Hall warned that if Christian professors teach youth that it is OK to change the Bible to accommodate evolution or an earth that has existed for millions of years, then students get the idea that it is also OK to undermine the authority of the Bible.

Without the strong teaching of Genesis, it won't be long before Christian students and faculty will be changing the Bible to accommodate other beliefs such as homosexuality and abortion, Ham argued. The young earth creationist asserted that the issue is really about preserving the Bible's authority as 100 percent true. "Until you get back to that issue (the Bible's authority), then you'll never be able to shut the door [on those issues]."



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 May 7 - Earth-centered religions get chapel at Air Force Academy
 Article: New Age

Earth-centered religions now have a chapel at the Air Force Academy.

The Gazette of Colorado Springs reports Academy superintendent Lt. Gen. Michael Gould this week dedicated the Cadet Chapel Falcon Circle on a 7,200-foot hill top that overlooks the main cadet chapel.

Religious tolerance at the elite school became a concern in 2004 when a survey found some cadets felt ostracized because they weren't religious.

Gould says the worship space is meant to help people of all religions. Earth-centered religious groups include New Age, paganism, Wicca, and Druids.



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 May 11 - Trend: More Doctors Prescribing Yoga & Meditation
 Article: New Age

Doctors may be more accepting of certain complementary and alternative medicine therapies, such as yoga, meditation and deep breathing, than they have been in the past, a new study suggests.

The results show about 3 percent of Americans use such mind-body therapies because of a referral from a physician.

Evidence is growing to support the use of mind-body therapies as a clinical treatment, said study researcher Dr. Aditi Nerurkar, of Harvard Medical School. "Still, we didn't expect to see provider referral rates that were quite so high."

In 2007, 38 percent of Americans used complementary and alternative medicine (referred to by researchers as CAM). Mind-body therapies, which include things like yoga and tai chi, are a type of CAM. Use of CAM in the United States has increased since 2002, with mind-body therapies comprising 75 percent of the rise, the researchers say.

Nerurkar and colleagues collected information from more than 23,000 U.S. households from the 2007 National Health Interview Survey. They found more than 6.3 million Americans used mind-and-body therapies due to provider referral. That compares with 34.8 million who were self-referred. Those who were referred to mind-body therapies by their doctors tended to be sicker and used the health care system more than people who self-referred.

"What we learned suggests that providers are referring their patients for mind-body therapies as a last resort once conventional therapeutic options have failed," Nerurkar said. "It makes us wonder whether referring patients for these therapies earlier in the treatment process could lead to less use of the health care system, and possibly, better outcomes for these patients," she said.

Pass it on: About one in 30 Americans use mind-body therapies due to a physician's referral. The findings indicate these therapies may be becoming a more mainstream approach to care, researchers say.



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 Doomsday fire: Millions of volcanoes are stirring beneath the world's oceans
 Article: Signs Of THe Last Times

Comment from Understand the Times:
 
While the world is seeking a peace agreement in the Middle East because a potential world war lurks around the corner, another threat is also something to watch. This is a natural disaster that seems to be about to happen based upon the following article. Volcanoes all over the world are about to explode in keeping with a Biblical scenario as revealed in the Book of Revelation during the time of the Great Tribulation
 
In 1993, marine geophysicists aboard the research vessel Melville discovered 1,133 previously unmapped underwater volcanoes off the coast of Easter Island. Though some of the newly discovered volcanoes rose as much as one-and-a-half miles above the seafloor, their summits still remained half a mile below the water's surface- all this in a comparatively small area of only 55,000 square miles, about the size of New York State. The geophysicists had increased the known supply of underwater volcanoes by more than ten percent just in a matter of months. That was 1993. Today, scientists estimate that there are more than three million underwater volcanoes. That's a three followed by six zeroes! In 2007, oceanographers Hillier and Watts surveyed 201,055 submarine volcanoes. "From this they concluded an astounding total of 3,477,403 submarine volcanoes must reasonably exist worldwide," said this article by John O'Sullivan. Hillier and Watts "based this finding on the earlier and well-respected observations of Earth and Planetary Sciences specialist, Batiza (1982) who found that at least 4 per cent of seamounts are active volcanoes." According to Batiza's survey, the Pacific mid-plate alone contains an incredible 22,000 to 55,000 underwater volcanoes, with at least 2,000 of them considered active. Thinking that anyone could know exactly how many volcanoes lurk beneath the surface of the ocean is ludicrous, of course. But that 3,477,403 number, coming from two well-respected oceanographers, does reinforce my point rather nicely, namely, that underwater volcanoes are heating the seas. To go from 10,000 underwater volcanoes to more than three million in less than 20 years shows how little we knew - and how little we still know - about this incredible force of nature. We know more about the moon.
 
If a single volcano can heat a high-mountain lake to 108 degrees in New Zealand, imagine what an eleven-hundred-mile-long chain of underwater volcanoes could do to the Arctic Ocean.
 
Asphalt volcanoes are ocean floor vents that erupt asphalt instead of lava. They were discovered in the Gulf of Mexico during an expedition of the research vessel SONNE, led by Gerhard Bohrmann of the DFG Research Center Ocean Margins in 2003. In 2007, seven more such structures were discovered off the coast of Santa Barbara, California. The largest of these domes lies at a depth of 700 ft (213 m). The structures were larger than a football field and about as tall as a six-story building, all made completely out of asphalt. You needn't wonder why so many dead fish are washing up on the coast of California.


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 May 11 - Superbug Germ Detected in Bedbugs, Study Finds
 Article: Signs Of The Last Times

Scientists in Canada have found MRSA in bedbugs from three hospital patients who live in a poverty-stricken Vancouver neighborhood.

Although bedbugs are not known to spread disease - they do lead to scratching - which can cause the skin to tear and make people at risk for bacteria, said Dr. Marc Romney, an author on the study. There's no evidence of whether or not the bedbugs actually spread the MRSA bacteria or another less dangerous drug-resistant germ, but the study is "an intriguing finding" that needs to be looked at further, said Romney, a microbiologist at St. Paul's Hospital in Vancouver.

The hospital is located near the poor downtown neighborhood where the three patients live, and when Romney and his colleagues saw a spike in both bedbugs and MRSA in the area, they decided to see if there was any correlation.

For the study, five bedbugs were crushed and analyzed. MRSA, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, was found on three bugs. MRSA is resistant to several types of common antibiotics and can become deadly if it gets through the skin and into the bloodstream. Two bugs had VRE, or vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus Faecium, a less dangerous form of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Both germs are often seen in hospitals, and experts have been far more worried about nurses and other health-care workers spreading the bacteria than insects. It's not clear if the bacteria originated with the bedbugs or if the bugs picked it up from already infected people, Romney added.

"We understand the anxiety this study's findings may cause amongst the general public, however, the study only confirms what has long been suspected and more research needs to be conducted to understand the value of this information."



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 May 12 - Rising Water From Mississippi River Brings Misery to South
 Article: Signs Of The Last Times

Water from the swollen Mississippi River poured over a century-old levee Thursday, flooding 12,000 acres of corn and soybeans despite farmers' frantic efforts to shore up the structure. Downstream, officials with the Port of New Orleans said the Coast Guard could close the river to ships as early as Monday, halting traffic on one of the world's busiest commercial waterways.

After swamping low-lying neighborhoods in Memphis, Tenn., earlier this week, the rising water is bringing misery to farms and small waterfront communities in Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas. The Corps of Engineers is considering whether to open the Morganza spillway, which would flood thousands of homes and acres of farmland along a 100-mile stretch in Louisiana but take the pressure off levees and help to protect Baton Rouge, New Orleans and the oil refineries in between. A decision is expected in the next several days.

In Bunche's Bend, in the northeastern corner of Louisiana, there was heartbreak in the voice of farmer Ted Schneider, 50, as he watched the muddy river creep into his 2,800 acres of soybeans. "It's kind of discouraging to look out here and think about all that work and money and know it is all going to be gone in a few days," said Schneider, who has farmed the land since 1984.

Chris Bonura, a spokesman for the Port of New Orleans, said the Coast Guard plans to close a 190-mile stretch of river from Baton Rouge to the Gulf of Mexico when the water reaches the 18-foot level at a gauge in Carrollton, which could happen by Monday.

In the poverty-stricken Mississippi Delta, meanwhile, people waited uneasily to see how high the water would get. About 600 homes in the Delta have flooded in the past several days as the water has risen toward some of the highest levels on record.

Swollen by weeks of heavy rain and snowmelt, the Mississippi River has been breaking high-water records that have stood since the 1920s and `30s. It is projected to crest at Vicksburg on May 19 and shatter the mark set there during the cataclysmic Great Flood of 1927. The crest is expected to reach New Orleans on May 23.



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 May 1 - Bull's eye! Air Force looks to use tiny drones to track targets by 'painting' them with goo
 Article: One World Government

A walking target!  the U.S. Air Force want to step up the pressure in conflicts around the globe by employing a whole new way of tracking the enemy.

The Air Force is looking to introduce a tiny drone that surreptitiously 'paints' an individual with some kind of signal-emitting powder or liquid that allows the military to keep tabs on him or her.  They could even use the technology to upload the person's whereabouts to a hellfire missile.

On Tuesday, the Air Force put out a call for proposals for such technology, though it didn't specify exactly what kind of drone might deliver the magic powder, or what the magic powder might be.

Tiny insect drones, while not yet perfected, are gaining popularity in the military labs. From larger hummingbird drones to other tiny ornithopters to DARPA's remote-controlled beetle, the delivery system for such a technology isn't so far away from being a reality. 

What's less clear is how the tracking might go down, though the Pentagon is hard at work on a range of what they call "Clandestine Tagging, Tracking, and Locating" (TTL) technologies.  Some ideas from the Pentagon include marking targets with biological paints or micro-mechanical sensors, Fox News reports.

A private firm in Oregon called Voxtel has already made available a product called NightMarks, a nano-crystal that can be seen through night-vision goggles and can be hidden in anything from glass cleaner to petroleum jelly.

DARPA is even looking into 'smart dust' - a cloud of dust that could be sprayed into the air near a target in hopes that he or she might walk through the cloud and be tagged, meaning the drone or delivery system wouldn't even have to make direct contact with the target.

 



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 May 3 - A gadget James Bond would be proud of: Motorola mobile is the first smartphone to operate using fingerprint recognition
 Article: Miscellaneous

It is the mobile phone designed to appeal to a man's inner James Bond - or those with secrets. The Motorola ATRIX is the first smartphone to operate using fingerprint recognition to ensure it can only be accessed by the genuine owner.

The ATRIX owner swipes their finger on the touchscreen a number of times when it is fresh out of the box to identify them as the authorised user.  From that point on, every time they touch the power button it will recognise the fingerprint and approve operation.

The ATRIX is marketed as the most powerful smartphone in the world on the basis it can be plugged into a range of docks that convert it into a laptop, personal computer, media centre, or a sat-nav.

Jeremy Marks, of Spymaster, the leading professional suppliers of security equipment, said: 'Biometric fingerprint security is the best way to protect your device.  'This type of technology offers consumers a new level of security surpassing anything we have seen before on a smartphone.'

Owners in the U.S. have been impressed with the ground-breaking security feature. One said: 'All phones should have a fingerprint reader like this - it's the future.

It said: 'It's rather amazing to connect your phone to an HDTV and play music, watch a movie, type up a real document, and even do your online banking with the Bluetooth keyboard and mouse connected, all from a 135-gram phone.'

'With its multimedia accessories and ground-breaking fingerprint swipe access, this is an innovative handset that Orange is proud to be bringing to the UK first.'



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 May 15 - Netanyahu Vows to Defend Israel's Borders After Troops Clash With Protesters
 Article: Israel And The Last Days

Mobilized by calls on Facebook, thousands of Arab protesters marched on Israel's borders with Syria, Lebanon and Gaza on Sunday in an unprecedented wave of demonstrations, sparking clashes that left at least 15 people dead in an annual Palestinian mourning ritual marking the anniversary of Israel's birth.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who heads to Washington at the end of the week, said he ordered the military to act with "maximum restraint" but vowed a tough response to further provocations. "Nobody should be mistaken. We are determined to defend our borders and sovereignty," he declared in a brief address broadcast live on Israeli TV stations.

The violence showed Israel the extent of Arab anger over the Palestinian issue, beyond the residents of the West Bank and Gaza, and came at a critical time for U.S. Mideast policy.

Sunday's unrest -- which came after activists used Facebook and other websites to mobilize Palestinians and their supporters in neighboring countries to march on the border with Israel -- marked the first time the protests that have swept the Arab world in recent months have been directed at Israel.

The events carried a message for Israel: Even as it wrestles with the Palestinian demand for a state in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem -- areas Israel captured in the 1967 Mideast war -- there is a related problem of neighboring countries that host millions of Palestinians with aspirations to return.

Around midday, thousands of people approached the frontier, hoisting Palestinian flags, shouting slogans and throwing rocks and bottles at Israeli forces. When hundreds of people burst across the border fence into the Israeli-controlled town of Majdal Shams, surprised soldiers opened fire.

Israel's military spokesman, Brig. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, told Channel 2 TV he also saw "fingerprints of Iranian provocation and an attempt to use 'nakba day' to create conflict."

"It's our land," one of the infiltrators, Sufian Abdel Hamid, told Israel's Channel 2 TV. "We won't stop trying to come back."



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 May 12 - Russian official: Iran atomic plant to operate in weeks
 Article: Wars And Rumors Of Wars

Iran's Russian-built Bushehr nuclear power plant will be fully operational within weeks, local news agencies quoted a senior Russian diplomat as saying on Thursday.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov spoke two days after the company that built the plant, a politically charged project that faced repeated delays, said the reactor had begun operating at a low level for tests before bringing it on line.

"The final launch of Bushehr is a matter of the coming weeks," state-run RIA quoted Ryabkov as saying. "But this is a longstanding project and so I would refrain from naming concrete dates -- but we are already on the threshold of the final launch of the reactor."

The United States and other Western nations for years urged Russia to abandon the project, fearing it would help Iran develop nuclear weapons. But an agreement obliging Tehran to repatriate spent nuclear fuel to Russia eased those concerns.


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 May 9 - Farmers across America ditch tractors for oxen in bid to beat rising fuel prices
 Article: Signs Of The Last Times

When farmers Danielle and Matt Boerson realised they could no longer afford to run their tractors, they took the bull by the horns - and ditched them for oxen. Soaring petrol prices had become so high that the couple, who run an 80-acre farm near Madison, Wisconsin, were forced to get rid of their two tractors, hay baler, plough and rotavator.

So they took a course at the agricultural institute in traditional farming techniques. Their instructor was former peace core volunteer Dick Roosenberg, 64, who learned the trade while working for the UN in West Africa. He is already teaching up to 20 farmers every weekend.

'People want to get away from petroleum fuels where they can, because it's getting more expensive,' he said.

A pair of plough-ready oxen cost $3,000 (1,800) - roughly the same as a second hand tractor. But younger cattle are a snip at $150 each. They only eat grass and can work for up to 14 years. They are also a handy source of fertilizer and can be eaten when they die. The only downside is that they are slow and are not viable on a large farm. They are however perfect for 'small farms, with high-value garden crops', said Mr Roosenberg.

Todd Juzwiak, 42, bought two oxen after learning how to command them with Mr Roosenberg. He told the Times: 'We are definately saving on fuel. Though it's not necessarily easier. Tractors don't often jump over fences.'



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