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February 13, 2012- February 19, 2012 
 News In Review
 Vol 7, Issue 7
In This Issue
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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.

 February 7 - Fast-Spreading Animal Virus Leaps Europe, UK Borders
 Artical: Signs Of The Last Times

A newly identified disease is moving rapidly through livestock in Europe and has authorities both worried and puzzled. The disease, dubbed Schmallenberg virus for a town in west-central Germany where one of the first outbreaks occurred, makes adult animals only mildly ill, but causes lambs, kids and calves to be born dead or deformed.

The United Kingdom's Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AVHLA) said today that the virus has been found on 29 farms in England; in the past few weeks they found it in sheep, but today announced that they have identified it in cattle as well. In mainland Europe, it has been identified on several hundred farms in the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium, and most recently in France. The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control has said that the new virus's closest relatives do not cause disease in humans     but that other more distantly related viruses do.

The viral vector     the thing which spreads it     is believed to be midges, small flying biting insects (Culicoides) and maybe also mosquitoes (Culicidae). The disease doesn't pass from adult animal to another animal, but apparently does from a mother animal to its offspring in utero, and that is why it is showing up now: It's lambing season. With Europe enduring its coldest winter in decades, there are no virus-carrying insects flying around now. Instead, the animals that are giving birth to deformed and dead offspring were infected last summer and fall. No one has been able to say so far whether the organism can survive in insects over the winter (the way West Nile virus, for instance, may).

Meanwhile, the British Veterinary Record seizes on the outbreaks to make a larger point: Finding new diseases such as Schmallenberg depends on having good disease surveillance       but in the UK, funding is about to be sharply cut.

It is precisely this kind of emerging disease threat that scanning surveillance aims to detect     and it is also this kind of disease threat that might not be detected promptly if, for whatever reason, arrangements for surveillance fall short of the mark

Schmallenberg virus is not the first new disease to be detected by scanning surveillance, nor will it be the last. It was scanning surveillance that identified the emergence of BSE in the late 1980s and, in more recent years, it has been responsible for, among other things, the early detection of pandemic H1N1 influenza in pigs, four notifiable avian disease outbreaks, bovine TB in non-bovine species, antimicrobial resistance in Salmonella and virulent psoroptic mange in cattle. The AHVLA has noted that the value of its surveillance programme has greatly exceeded the cost in recent years, with monetised benefits having been estimated at over 200 million a year.



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 February 7 - Drones over U.S. get OK by Congress
 Artical: One World Government

Look! Up in the sky! Is it a bird? Is it a plane? It's     a drone, and it's watching you. That's what privacy advocates fear from a bill Congress passed this week to make it easier for the government to fly unmanned spy planes in U.S. airspace.

Privacy advocates say the measure will lead to widespread use of drones for electronic surveillance by police agencies across the country and eventually by private companies as well.

"There are serious policy questions on the horizon about privacy and surveillance, by both government agencies and commercial entities," said Steven Aftergood, who heads the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation also is "concerned about the implications for surveillance by government agencies," said attorney Jennifer Lynch. The provision in the legislation is the fruit of "a huge push by lawmakers and the defense sector to expand the use of drones" in American airspace, she added.

The agency projects that 30,000 drones could be in the nation's skies by 2020.

The FAA has issued hundreds of certificates to police and other government agencies, and a handful to research institutions to allow them to fly drones of various kinds over the United States for particular missions. The agency said it issued 313 certificates in 2011 and 295 of them were still active at the end of the year, but the FAA refuses to disclose which agencies have the certificates and what their purposes are.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is suing the FAA to obtain records of the certifications. "We need a list so we can ask [each agency], 'What are your policies on drone use? How do you protect privacy? How do you ensure compliance with the Fourth Amendment?' " Ms. Lynch said.



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 February 6 - With world population rising, era of low food prices over
 Article: Signs Of The Last Times

The era of falling food prices has come to an end with the world population set to add another 2 billion people, according to Cargill Inc., the U.S. farm commodities trader.

The United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization has said global food output must rise 70 per cent by 2050 to feed a world population expected to grow to 9 billion from 7 billion now and as increasingly wealthy consumers in developing economies eat more meat. Food prices tracked by the FAO climbed to the highest ever a year ago on surging grain prices.

Cargill, based in Minnesota, trades all kinds of farm commodities, including cocoa, soybeans, corn, sugar, meat, wheat and ethanol. Conway is based in Cobham, England. Wheat has doubled since the end of 2005, raw sugar is twice the price in December 2008 and orange juice climbed to a record last month.

Group of 20 farm ministers agreed to a plan last year in June to set limits on export bans and create a crop database to tackle what French President Nicolas Sarkozy called the "plague" of rising food prices.

As many as 925 million people already faced hunger worldwide in 2010, based on the FAO's estimates. In response to the 2008 food price crisis, countries from India and Egypt to Vietnam and Indonesia banned exports of rice, a staple for half the world. Russia in 2010 banned cereal exports after the country's worst drought in at least half a century destroyed crops and cut production, sparking a surge in grain prices across the world. Ukraine also restricted exports.

"The world's farmers, some of the smartest businessmen that there are, can produce enough food to feed the next two billion people," Conway said. "We are very confident about that. However, they need help."



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 February 9 - Report: Syrian Armored Forces Move Nearer to Israel
 Article:Wars And Rumors Of Wars

According to reports from the Free Syria Army, the Syrian military has moved forces stationed in the southern part of the Syrian Golan Heights closer to Israel.

The Syrian military did not come close to the border with Israel. However, armored forces that were stationed along the Syria-Jordan border, which were recently reinforced, were moved and are now closer to Israel, according to the report.

The Free Syria Army is the largest opposition group in Syria and is partly made up of defectors from the official Syrian Army. Israel has been concerned that Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad, whose regime is on the verge of collapse, may try to defuse the uprising against him by starting a conflict with Israel.

A Lebanese newspaper, The People's Army, claimed Thursday in its news website that the IDF has been making an extra effort in the past few days to place landmines all along its border with Syria.



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 February 11 - Ahmadinejad: Iran to reveal new nuke achievements
 Article:Wars And Rumors Of Wars

Iran will soon unveil "big new" nuclear achievements, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Saturday while reiterating Tehran's readiness to revive talks with the West over the country's controversial nuclear program.

Ahmadinejad did not elaborate on the upcoming announcement but insisted Iran would never give up its uranium enrichment, a process that makes material for reactors as well as weapons.

"Within the next few days the world will witness the inauguration of several big new achievements in the nuclear field," Ahmadinejad told the crowd in Tehran's famous Azadi, or Freedom, square.

Iran has said it is forced to manufacture nuclear fuel rods, which provide fuel for reactors, on its own since international sanctions ban it from buying them on foreign markets. In January, Iran said it had produced its first such fuel rod. Apart from progress on the rods, the upcoming announcement could pertain to Iran's underground enrichment facility at Fordo or upgraded centrifuges, which are expected to be installed at the facility in the central town of Natanz. Iran has also said it would inaugurate the Russian-built nuclear power plant in the southern port of Bushehr in 2012.

"Iran is ready for talks within the framework of equality and justice," Ahmadinejad repeated on said Saturday but warned that Tehran "will never enter talks if enemies behave arrogantly." In the past, Iran has angered Western officials by appearing to buy time through opening talks and weighing proposals even while pressing ahead with the nuclear program.

Before Ahmadinejad spoke Saturday, visiting Hamas prime minister from Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, also addressed the crowd, congratulating Iranians on the 1979 anniversary and vowing that his militant Palestinian group would never recognize Iran's and Hamas' archenemy, Israel.

Also at the Tehran rally, Iran displayed a real-size model of the U.S. drone RQ-170 Sentinel, captured by Iran in December near the border with Afghanistan. Iran has touted the drone's capture as one of its successes against the West. The state TV called the drone is a "symbol of power" of the Iranian armed forces "against the global arrogance" of the U.S.



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 February 12 - Mystery disease kills thousands in Central America
 Article: Signs Of The Last Times

Jesus Ignacio Flores started working when he was 16, laboring long hours on construction sites and in the fields of his country's biggest sugar plantation. Three years ago his kidneys started to fail and flooded his body with toxins. He became too weak to work, wracked by cramps, headaches and vomiting. On Jan. 19 he died on the porch of his house. He was 51. His withered body was dressed by his weeping wife, embraced a final time, then carried in the bed of a pickup truck to a grave on the edge of Chichigalpa, a town in Nicaragua's sugar-growing heartland, where studies have found more than one in four men showing symptoms of chronic kidney disease.

A mysterious epidemic is devastating the Pacific coast of Central America, killing more than 24,000 people in El Salvador and Nicaragua since 2000 and striking thousands of others with chronic kidney disease at rates unseen virtually anywhere else. Scientists say they have received reports of the phenomenon as far north as southern Mexico and as far south as Panama.

Last year it reached the point where El Salvador's health minister, Dr. Maria Isabel Rodriguez, appealed for international help, saying the epidemic was undermining health systems.

Wilfredo Ordonez, who has harvested corn, sesame and rice for more than 30 years in the Bajo Lempa region of El Salvador, was hit by the chronic disease when he was 38. Ten years later, he depends on dialysis treatments he administers to himself four times a day. "This is a disease that comes with no warning, and when they find it, it's too late," Ordonez said as he lay on a hammock on his porch.

Many of the victims were manual laborers or worked in sugar cane fields that cover much of the coastal lowlands. Patients, local doctors and activists say they believe the culprit lurks among the agricultural chemicals workers have used for years with virtually none of the protections required in more developed countries. But a growing body of evidence supports a more complicated and counterintuitive hypothesis.

"The thing that evidence most strongly points to is this idea of manual labor and not enough hydration," said Daniel Brooks, a professor of epidemiology at Boston University's School of Public Health, who has worked on a series of studies of the kidney disease epidemic. Because hard work and intense heat alone are hardly a phenomenon unique to Central America, some researchers will not rule out manmade factors. But no strong evidence has turned up.

"I think that everything points away from pesticides," said Dr. Catharina Wesseling, an occupational and environmental epidemiologist who also is regional director of the Program on Work, Health and Environment in Central America. "It is too multinational; it is too spread out. "I would place my bet on repeated dehydration, acute attacks everyday. That is my bet, my guess, but nothing is proved."



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 February 11 - Interfaith leaders stand with Catholics against administration
 Article:Socal Gospel

Evangelical and Jewish leaders declared their solidarity with Catholics on Feb. 10, as the Obama administration sought to quell controversy over its policy on contraception and religious ministries.

They criticized Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius for her Jan. 20 decision on religious employers' coverage of contraception, saying the rule "stands the First Amendment on its head." Instead of encouraging the different faith communities to continue their vital work for the good of all, the Obama administration is forcing them to make a choice: serving God and their neighbors according to the dictates of their respective faiths - or bending the knee to the dictates of the state."

The Jewish and Evangelical leaders joined Washington's archbishop in opposing the administration's attempt to require religious ministries - including schools, hospitals, charities, and media outlets - to subsidize contraception, sterilization, and abortion-causing drugs in their health plans.

Catholic League President Bill Donohue responded to Friday's revised rule by predicting the president would soon see Catholics "team with Protestants, Jews, Mormons and others to recapture their First Amendment rights."

"Under no circumstances should people of faith violate their consciences and discard their most cherished religious beliefs in order to comply with a gravely unjust law. That's something that this Catholic, this Protestant and this Jew are in perfect agreement about."

Two days earlier, Colson co-authored a Christianity Today editorial with Beeson Divinity School Dean Timothy George, stressing Evangelicals' duty to unite with Catholics against the contraception mandate.

In their column "First They Came for the Catholics," George and Colson said Evangelical Christians "must stand unequivocally with our Roman Catholic brothers and sisters. Because when the government violates the religious liberty of one group, it threatens the religious liberty of all."



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

Sincerely,
Roger Oakland


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