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Weekly News In Review

January 22 - 28, 2006
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We are adding a commentary by Roger Oakland in our Weekly News In Review and we will be adding them as they become available. The commentary will appear at the bottom of this email.


The following articles were posted at this past week:

Ethical problems and Mickey Mousetalking mice
Pope Encourages Lutheran-Catholic Efforts at Unity
Israeli Hints at Preparation to Stop Iran
Iran says Palestine is center of Islam, fight against arrogance
Difficulties Are Ecumenical Opportunities, Says Pope
Iran Allocates Over $100 Million for Hizbullah, Islamic Jihad
To bring about peace, end to violence, faithful must take the side of God, love, justice, says Pope

Benedict XVI Sees Hope for Ecumenical Path

This Weeks Commentary by Roger Oakland
Design Without Intelligence

Article: Cloning And Genetic Engineering

January 20 - Ethical problems and Mickey Mousetalking mice

Innovation that would enable scientists to create Mickey Mouse-like creatures capable of talking and thinking is a "gross" thought for most Americans, an ethicist said in Salt Lake City on Thursday.

Yet the time to consider the ethics of such research has arrived. Animal-human hybrids already exist in most laboratories, said Jonathan Moreno, director of the Center for Biomedical Ethics at the University of Virginia and a co-author of National Academy of Sciences (NAS) ethical guidelines for scientists working with stem cells.

Scientists often implant cells into research animals to study how genes behave and to help find cures for diseases such as cancer and diabetes, he said, but the number of cells is so small they don't humanize the animal. Moreno said many people can accept the transplantation of organ cells, but grow cautious about brain cell transfer.

"What if it wasn't heart or pancreas cells, but human brain cells to study neurological diseases? Would that create a talking mouse? It's an interesting thought experiment," Moreno said at the Eccles Institute of Human Genetics.

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Article: Ecumenical Movement - Protestants Uniting with Roman Catholics

January 19, 2006 - Pope Encourages Lutheran-Catholic Efforts at Unity

VATICAN CITY, JAN. 19, 2006 ( Benedict XVI encouraged Catholics and Lutherans to overcome divisions, as they did in 1999 with the historic Joint Declaration on Justification.

The Pope's exhortation was heard by an ecumenical delegation from Finland, which visited the Vatican today on the occasion of the feast of the country's patron, St. Henrik.

The Finnish delegation's visit was a standard event in Pope John Paul II's agenda during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. The visits now continue under Benedict XVI's pontificate.

Lutheran Bishop Mikko Heikka of Espoo and Catholic Bishop Jozef Wróbel of Helsinki headed the delegation.

"These visits are an occasion for further productive work, as well as for a deepening of the spiritual ecumenism, which prompts divided Christians to appreciate how much already unites them," the Holy Father said in his address in English to his guests.
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Article: Wars ad Rumors of Wars

January 22, 2006 - Israeli Hints at Preparation to Stop Iran

Israel's defense minister hinted Saturday that the Jewish state is preparing for military action to stop Iran's nuclear program, but said international diplomacy must be the first course of action.

"Israel will not be able to accept an Iranian nuclear capability and it must have the capability to defend itself, with all that that implies, and this we are preparing," Shaul Mofaz said.

His comments at an academic conference stopped short of overtly threatening a military strike but were likely to add to growing tensions with Iran.

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Article:  Wars and Rumors of War

January 23, 2006 - Iran says Palestine is center of Islam, fight against arrogance

President Ahmadinejad said Friday Palestine is the center of the final stages of the battle between Islam and arrogance, saying the Palestinian Intifada is progressing.
The plots hatched by enemies against Palestine should not be overlooked even for a moment, Ahmadinejad noted in a meeting with leaders of the Palestinian resistance movements in Damascus, Syria.

Ahmadinejad arrived in Damascus on Thursday upon the official invitation of his Syrian counterpart -- President Bashar al-Assad.

He spoke of the importance of the Palestinian cause and stressed the cause will not come be materialized if occupiers continue to occupy even a tiny part of Palestine's territories.
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Article: Ecumenical Movement - Misc

January 22, 2006 - Difficulties Are Ecumenical Opportunities, Says Pope

VATICAN CITY, JAN. 22, 2006 ( Difficulties on the path toward full Christian unity have their usefulness since they encourage growth in perseverance and fraternal charity, says Benedict XVI.

...Speaking from the window of his study, the Holy Father said that the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, born at the start of the 20th century, has become "an ecumenical point of reference, in which Christians of the different confessions worldwide pray and reflect on the same biblical text."

This year, Christians are reflecting on the phrase of Christ: "Where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am in the midst of them" (Matthew 18:19-20).

"These words of the Lord Jesus infuse much confidence and hope!" he said. "In particular, they invite Christians to ask God together for that full unity among them, for which Jesus himself, with heartfelt insistence, prayed to the Father during the Last Supper."

Rock-solid faith

"We understand, therefore, the reason why it is so important that we, Christians, invoke the gift of unity with persevering constancy," Benedict XVI said. "If we do so with faith, we can be sure that our request will be heard."

"We do not know when or how, as it is not for us to know, but we must not doubt that one day we will be one, as Jesus and the Father are united in the Holy Spirit."

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Article: Wars And Runors Of Wars

January 22, 2006 - Iran Allocates Over $100 Million for Hizbullah, Islamic Jihad

The Lebanese-based terror organization Hizbullah is supported by Iran to the tune of US$100 million per year. $10 million also made its way last year from Iran to the Islamic Jihad.

The extent of Iranian support for Lebanese and Palestinian Authority-based terrorist organizations was revealed by Defense Minister Sha'ul Mofaz Saturday night, in a lecture he delivered at the annual Herzliya Conference. Mofaz noted that on Friday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad held talks in Damascus with representatives of Hizbullah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine during a visit he paid to Syrian dictator Bashar Al-Assad.

Mofaz called Assad and Ahmadinejad "representatives of the Axis of Evil," saying that their meeting was "a summit for terror." Ahmadinejad made the trip to Syria, according to the defense minister, "to be sure that the terrorism against Israel would not slow down for a moment, and would even increase." In this regard, Mofaz said that Iran supports public relations efforts for the Hizbullah, supplies the organization with weapons and funds its activities with about $100 million per year. Part of that sum also makes its way to terrorists in the Palestinian Authority, Mofaz said.

In addition, Iran separately funded the PA-based Islamic Jihad with $10 million in 2005. This figure, the defense minister noted, is twice the Iranian budget allocation for it in 2004. Most recently, Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing on Thursday in south Tel Aviv, in which 30 people were injured, and for a rocket it claimed was fired at Ashkelon on Saturday.

"The regime of the president of Iran, Ahmadinejad, supports terrorism in the Middle East through the supply of rockets that threaten population centers in this country, sends money for terrorism, and supplies training and know-how to the Middle Eastern [terror] organizations," Defense Minister Mofaz said.
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Article:  Roman Catholic Church And The Last Days

January 25, 2006 - To bring about peace, end to violence, faithful must take the side of God, love, justice, says Pope

Vatican City, Jan. 25, 2006 (CNA) - In his weekly general audience earlier today at the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI told a crowd of 8,000 that the image of a future world devoid of evil and described in the scriptures is possible if faithful take the side of God, building a culture of love and justice.

After noting that today ends the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which had been the focus of much of his work recently, the Pope returned to his ongoing catechesis on the Psalms, this time reflecting on the second part of Psalm 143, which he called "The king's prayer."

Benedict explained that this Psalm "sings of the final goal of history, when the voice of evil will finally be silent." It also makes mentions "of evildoers, seen as oppressors of the people of God and of their faith."

He pointed out however, that "this negative aspect is followed by the positive, to which far greater space is dedicated, that of the new and joyful world that is about to come into being."

"This", he said, "is the true 'shalom,' the messianic 'peace,' a luminous horizon expressed in a series of images drawn from daily life: for us too, these can become an expression of hope for a more just society."

The Pope then reflected on these images which include that of "the family based on the vitality of the generations," that of "economic life, the countryside and crops," and finally "the city, in other words the entire civil community finally enjoying the precious gift of peace and of public order."

"This picture", he said, "of a different but possible world is entrusted to the work of the Messiah and of His people. All together we can put this project of peace and harmony into effect, bringing an end to the destructive action of hatred, violence and war."

The Holy Father said that before this can come about however, "it is necessary to make a choice, taking the side of God, of love and of justice."

He said that this reference is "to the new covenant announced by the prophets and consummated in Christ, to the new man, to the hallelujah of a life renewed and redeemed, to the novelty of Christ and His Gospel."

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Article: Ecumenical Movement - Misc

January 26, 2006 - Benedict XVI Sees Hope for Ecumenical Path

ROME, JAN. 26, 2006 ( The conviction that "God is love" makes possible the hope that one day Christians will surmount their divisions, Benedict XVI said when closing the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

"God is love. On this solid rock is founded the whole of the Church's faith. In particular, on it is based the patient search for full communion among all of Christ's disciples," the Holy Father affirmed Wednesday in the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls. He was addressing representatives of various Christian confessions gathered for solemn vespers.

"Fixing one's gaze on this truth, summit of divine revelation, despite the fact that divisions maintain their painful gravity, they seem surmountable and do not discourage us," the Pope noted.

...The Pope invited his listeners to conceive "the whole ecumenical path in the light of the love of God, of the Love that is God."

"If even from the human point of view love is manifested as an invincible force, what do we have to say, who 'know and believe the love God has for us'?" he asked, quoting a line from 1 John 4:16.

"Authentic love does not cancel the legitimate differences, but harmonizes them in a higher unity, which is imposed on us from outside, but, to say it another way, gives shape from the interior to the whole," the Holy Father said.
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Commentary - Creation/Evolution

Design Without Intelligence

When it comes to the subject of the origin of life, there are two basic views. Either life has arisen from the “goo” by some spontaneous process shaped by chance and time, or there is an intelligent Creator God who brought life into existence according to a plan and by His design.

While evolution claims that the “non-life to life view” is true, no one has ever observed this process happening. In fact there is a law of biology that refutes it – all life that has ever been observed, comes from life that already exists.

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