January 2, 2012- January 8, 2012 
 News In Review
 Vol 7, Issue 1
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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.

 December 28 - Tweeting the word 'drill' could mean your Twitter account is read by U.S. government spies
 Artical: One World Government

The Department of Homeland Security makes fake Twitter and Facebook profiles for the specific purpose of scanning the networks for 'sensitive' words - and tracking people who use them.

Simply using a word or phrase from the DHS's 'watch' list could mean that spies from the government read your posts, investigate your account, and attempt to identify you from it, acccording to an online privacy group.

The words which attract attention range from ones seemingly related to diseases or bioweapons such as 'human to animal' and 'outbreak' to other, more obscure words such as 'drill' and 'strain'.The DHS also watches for words such as 'illegal immigrant'. When its search tools net an account using the phrases, they record personal information. It's still not clear how this information is used - and who the DHS shares it with.

The group says that the government has used scans of social media before to analyse specific events - such as the 2010 BP oil spill - but this general 'watching' of social media using fake profiles is new.

'The initiatives were designed to gather information from 'online forums, blogs, public websites, and message boards,' to store and analyze the information gathered, and then to 'disseminate relevant and appropriate de-identified information to federal, state, local, and foreign governments and private sector partners,' the group said in a court filing.

Read Full Article.... 

 January 1 - Passwords to become fossils by 2017?
 Article: Technology For Global Monetary System

IBM recently released its annual tradition of five predictions for five years in to the future - among them, the belief that passwords will become redundant.

IMB is developing technology that views facial definitions, eye scans, voice files and even DNA as personal safeguards to a far more extreme extent than now.

The company wants to replace words and numbers with security based on your biological makeup, and create unique DNA based profiles that will serve as your 'password' for a variety of tasks. These could include going to an ATM, logging in to your computer, and perhaps going as far as signing in to individual online services like Facebook or Twitter.

By using personal data that is far more difficult to forge than simply guessing or learning a password, IBM believes this type of security will be far more appealing than the memory-based approach currently employed.

That is, if people want it. Personally, I'm not keen on the idea of more DNA profiles, even for security measures. It smacks of the U.K government's failure to introduce biometric I.D cards. A question we probably don't ask ourselves enough is: how much personal information are we comfortable for organisations to hold on us?

We are yet to see whether this kind of technology, which is likely to be far more expensive to produce, will make its way in to the general public market - or whether it will remain firmly in the grip of security companies and elitist technology.

Read Full Article.... 

 December 21 - Will Biometrics Go Mainstream In 2012?
 Article: Technology For Global Monetary System

As a kid, I marveled at movies featuring retina or hand scanners, or instant DNA analysis to authenticate the bad guy to his vault. As an adult, I figured these devices would mean the end of passwords and spoofing and would bring the collision of sci-fi future and real-world security.

More secure, it's hoped, are the digital images the government is embedding in the newest version of the U.S. passport for use with facial-recognition software, to reduce the likelihood of someone successfully using a fake passport to enter the country illegally. Since 2004, the US-VISIT--for United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology--program has been collecting digital fingerprint and facial images of international visitors to be used for identification; this data is shared with a number of government agencies.

The enrollment and validation of these attributes is fast and accurate enough for use in everyday, large-scale deployments, and the Department of Homeland Security just announced it will pay Accenture Federal Services $71 million over 13 months to further improve the system.

Though they should, most users never question the privacy, storage, handling, and sharing of their biometric data. What happens if people are enrolled in a system and their biometric data is compromised, sold, shared, or mined in some way? This topic came to the fore in 2009 when a company offering faster airport security checks closed its doors and didn't immediately state where the biometric data it had collected would end up.

In return for allowing Clear (which has since been reopened) to keep biometric data on file, frequent fliers could move through airport security faster.
It was great for those who fly often and don't want to waste time. It would also be great for those who want to steal this data to impersonate a frequent flier, for either malicious airport activity or use elsewhere. If a credit card is stolen, it's easy enough to close the account and get a new card. Not so much for a new fingerprint.

The fact that these concerns are mainstream shows that biometrics has evolved to a point where enrollment, usage, cost, and user fears are no longer hindering adoption. I can see a future in which governments push for inclusion of digital photos to be used with facial recognition, require fingerprints for traveling, and eventually embed DNA attributes in identification documents to address everything from fraud to immigration control.

As a user, it seems great not to worry about someone impersonating me and not having to carry an access token or know a password. At the same time, though, it's scary to think my fingerprint, DNA attributes, and digital image will be shared across governments, vendors, and employers. Those futuristic movies never addressed the security and privacy aspects of our personal biometric data and what happens if it's compromised, altered, or goes missing. That's up to us.

Read Full Article.... 

 December 25 - Tri-Faith Project to construct multi-million dollar interfaith complex in America's heartland
 Article:Ecumenical Movement - Christianity Uniting With Other Religions

The similarities between the three Abrahamic faiths of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are well known to those who study each religion, but many people practicing these faiths are not quite as aware.
A new project that its creators call the first development of its kind in the world hopes to shed light on those similarities with the building of the new Tri-Faith Project, a large privately-funded development in Omaha on a former country club and golf course that spans 35 acres and will comprise three sites: Temple Israel, the Episcopal Diocese of Nebraska (including a church) and the American Institute of Islamic Studies and Culture (which includes a mosque), as well as the large central Tri-Faith Center connecting the three religious centers for common events and meetings.
The main building will use a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) structure and will house an auditorium and briefing room for conferences, lectures, symposiums and film screenings, coffee shops and gathering spaces, kitchen and dining facilities, space for traveling exhibits and more. Included on the site will be educational and social facilities to be used by all of the religious groups sharing the campus.
"Our vision is to build bridges of respect, acceptance and trust, to challenge stereotypes, to learn from each other and to counter the influence of fear and misunderstanding," the project posted on its website as its mission statement.
John Lehr, president of Temple Israel spoke about the initiative. "How serendipitous it is that on the very ground where Omaha's Jews once congregated at the only Country Club that would have us, we are now poised to congregate again, but this time, in a peaceful and beautiful multi-faith neighborhood, linked together by bridges of dialogue and mutual understanding."
Dr. Syed M. Mohiuddin, president of the Islamic center, is also excited about the project. "In a time when the world is engaged in building walls, this is a celebration of building bridges," he said. "As the Holy Qur'an reminds us of the common bond among us: 'We believe in what has been revealed to us and what has been revealed to you (Jews and Christians). Our God and your God is one and the same: and it is to him we submit."
Tim Anderson, Canon for Episcopal Tri-Faith Ministries, is also looking forward to the completion of the project. "In our baptismal covenant in the Episcopal Church we make the following promises: to seek and serve Christ in all persons; to love our neighbors as ourselves; to strive for justice and peace among all people; and to respect the dignity of every human being. We will now have a unique opportunity to live out those promises with our new Jewish and Muslim neighbors."

Read Full Article.... 

 January 6 - Minn. Church Launches Service for 'Unsure' Christians
 Article: Miscellaneous

Minnesota's First United Methodist Church has taken a new approach to reconnecting congregants to their faith.
The church in St. Cloud is asking people who have averted from their faith to attend their services, which will be less "preachy." Starting Saturday, First United Methodist will offer congregants who "aren't so sure about church" a service that consists mostly of just music and meditation, said the Rev. William Meier.

The pastor of the church, speaking to St. Cloud Times, commented, "Our church is concerned for people whose spiritual journey has taken a detour or have been hurt by religion."

The new church service will be offered the first Saturday of each month and will combine inspirational readings, music, and meditation. "Our hope is that this service will be a safe place to re-enter the Christian spiritual life and find acceptance, healing, and wholeness," Meier added.

The altered church service is a result of a low church attendance, and many other churches across the United States are being affected by the ever-shrinking numbers of parishioners.

Meier noted that his church's offering is the first of its kind in the state. "As far as we are aware, no one else in this area in offering this type of service that honors silence, acoustic music, art and meditative prayer in this format."

Similar to First United Methodist, many churches are changing the way they conduct services in an attempt to attract and maintain churchgoers. Earlier this year one church leader suggested shortening church services to last under one hour in order to boost church attendance.

Read Full Article.... 

 January 4 - World's First 'Inter-Religious' University Concludes First Semester
 Article: Ecumenical Movement - Christianity Uniting With Other Religions

A Southern California academic institution that prides itself on being "the world's first inter-religious university" has completed its first semester since opening its door.
Claremont Lincoln University, once a Methodist seminary, has decided to add other religious schools to its program, including most recently several Eastern religions.

Tammi J. Schneider, a professor of Hebrew Bible at Claremont School of Theology at Claremont LFloveincoln University, said that she had a favorable opinion of Claremont's direction. "I am a big fan of religious diversity," said Schneider, who is also dean of the School of Religion at Claremont Graduate University, unofficially affiliated with Claremont Lincoln. "I think people learn more about themselves and their own religion when they learn about how others do it."

In June 2010, Claremont School of Theology's president, the Reverend Jerry Campbell, announced the seminary will be partnering with Jewish and Islamic schools to offer training to seminarians of various faiths.

By late 2011, Claremont Lincoln further expanded its interfaith campus to include Eastern religious views such as Buddhism and Jainism.

Read Full Article.... 

 January 4 - Hawaiian churches denied exemption
 Article: Perilous Times

A court in Hawaii has refused to exempt churches from being forced to allow their property to be used for civil union ceremonies.

The Emmanuel Temple and the Lighthouse Outreach Center Assembly of God requested a restraining order to block a law that permits same-sex couples to enter civil unions. It exempts clergy from performing the ceremonies, which are the equivalent of marriage, but there is no provision to protect church property. They argued that they would face civil penalties and fines if they refused to rent their property for same-sex civil unions, but U.S. District Judge Michael Seabright denied the request.

Matt Barber of Liberty Counsel Action tells OneNewsNow that creates a clear conflict between government and the free exercise of religion.
"There is no exemption for religious institutions, for churches, houses of worship from being subject to fines and to sanctions as provided in the legislation for refusing to allow their houses of worship to be desecrated through the use of a so-called 'civil union' ceremony," he explains. But the two churches were unsuccessful in blocking the law for that reason.

"It's unfortunate that this judge has refused to grant injunctive relief here to protect freedom of religious expression," Barber laments,
"and this will indeed create a chilling effect on the free exercise of religion in the state of Hawaii -- and it sets a very bad example for the rest of the country."

At the very least, the attorney says the legislature needs to revisit the issue and make sure churches are protected from being forced to host civil union ceremonies. The law went into effect as scheduled on Sunday.

Read Full Article.... 

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

Roger Oakland

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