July 31 - August 6, 2006 
 Weekly News In Review
 Vol 1, Issue 54
In This Issue
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The Weekly News In Review Newsletter is a compilation of the news articles that have appeared on the Understand The Times website during the previous week.

 July 30, 2006 - Heatwave with a global grip
 Article: Signs of the Last Times

Hot, arid weather is afflicting millions in America and in dozens of countries across Europe and parts of east Asia.

The phenomenon has surprised meteorologists who are used to seeing drought as a regional, not global, problem. This weekend they said early analysis of the hot weather, together with the size of the areas affected, suggested it was linked to global climate change.

:Greenhouse gas emissions raise the likelihood of heatwaves like this one," said Dave Griggs, a Met Office representative on the Joint Scientific Committee for the World Climate Research Programme. "By 2040 this will be just an average summer and by 2060 it will be a relatively cool one."

Data on the global heatwave have been collated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in America. Its maps show that most of the US is 3-7C above the average for the time of year and several western states have been more than 9C higher.

In South America, mid-winter temperatures in Uruguay, Argentina, Chile and Brazil are up to 7C higher than average. The accompanying drought has reduced the giant Iguazu falls on the Brazil-Argentina border to a trickle.

Temperatures are averaging 7C higher than usual across southern England and Scotland. Casualties are expected: a similar hot spell in August 2003 caused 2,071 deaths, according to estimates by the Office for National Statistics.

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 July 30, 2006 - Israelis edge closer to war with Syria
 Article: Israel and the Last Days

Israel and Syria appeared to be edging closer to direct military confrontation last night after tit-for- tat attacks around the Lebanese border and the revelation that a new type of long-range missile fired into Israel by Hezbollah was built in Syria.

Tension between the two countries over the war in Lebanon was growing as both Tel Aviv and Damascus readied their forces for the possibility of a direct clash. Israeli intelligence reported that Syrian forces had been put onto their highest state of alert, while Israel has called up 15,000 reservists who many believe will be despatched as reinforcements to the disputed Golan Heights, between the two countries.

...On Thursday Syria claimed to have shot down an Israeli spy plane in the same area, flying on the Lebanese side of the border. Israel, which admitted only to a "technical fault", uses unmanned "drones" to locate weapons convoys heading from Syria towards Hezbollah's strongholds within Lebanon, in order for the Israeli air force to strike the convoys before they can reach the front line.

...Israeli anger at the continuing missile-smuggling operation across Syria's border, thought to include both the rockets used against Israel and their launchers, will be heightened by comments by Hezbollah's elusive leader, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah. He vowed to strike cities in the heart of Israel, declaring that the Jewish state had failed to win any military victory after days of bloody clashes with his fighters.

There are fears within Israeli military circles that an attack on a Syrian target could trigger a Scud missile assault by Damascus on Israeli military or civilian locations.

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 July 27, 2006 - Clarification re Psalm 83 in Ancient Book of Psalms
 Article: Biblical Archaeology

In the press release issued by the National Museum of Ireland on 26th July the following reference was made to Psalm 83:

"While part of Psalm 83 is legible, the extent to which other Psalms or additional texts are preserved will only be determined by painstaking work by a team of invited experts probably operating over a long time in the Museum laboratory"

The above mention of Psalm 83 has led to misconceptions about the revealed wording and may be a source of concern for people who believe Psalm 83 deals with "the wiping out of Israel".

The Director of the National Museum of Ireland, Dr. Patrick F. Wallace, would like to highlight that the text visible on the manuscript does NOT refer to wiping out Israel but to the 'vale of tears'.

This is part of verse 7 of Psalm 83 in the old latin translation of the Bible (the Vulgate) which, in turn, was translated from an original Greek text would have been the version used in the medieval period. In the much later King James version the number of the Psalms is different, based on the Hebrew text and the 'vale of tears' occurs in Psalm 84. The text about wiping out Israel occurs in the Vulgate as Psalm 82 = Psalm 83 (King James version).

It is hoped that this clarification will serve comfort to anyone worried by earlier reports of the content of the text.
source: Marketing Department

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 July 31, 2006 - Catholics must unite behind the pope for peace
 Article: Roman Catholic Church and the Last Days

By Raymond L. Flynn

National Catholic Register

During a conversation I had with Pope John Paul II in July of 1993 at his summer residence at Castel Gandolfo, he said something to me that I keep thinking as I watch in horror on TV, day after day, the heavy pounding of Israeli missiles landing in southern Lebanon towns.

The holy father said to me, "The future of Lebanon is very troubling; much pain and much suffering. People should be able to live in peace and practice their own religious beliefs in the Middle East. Tragically, they are not able to. I'm troubled that many innocent people will continue to be victims of intolerance and injustice. The crisis in the Middle East can only be settled with prayer and good will, not by bombs, hatred or terrorists."

...Deeply troubled with the lack of moral and political leadership in our nation, I (Raymond Flynn)recently wrote a letter to Pope Benedict XVI, which I would like to share with you. In the letter I wrote "that the Middle East is in crisis. Thousands of innocent Lebanese, Palestinians and Israelis are being killed and nobody has been able to do anything about it. We are experiencing a complete breakdown of moral order and international law.

(Continuing in the letter Raymond Flynn wrote to the pope, he writes:) ..."There are over 64 million Catholics in the United States and 1.2 billion worldwide. You must lead us with one voice for peace and justice in the Middle East. Your message will be listened to by all three great religious faiths in the Middle East, Muslims, Jews and Christians."

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 July 28, 2006 - Truth, prayer, Holy Spirit are Pope Benedict's keys to Christian unity
 Article: Ecumenical Movement - Misc.

ROME (National Catholic Register) - " In a development that few observers would have predicted before his election, Pope Benedict XVI is winning recognition as a champion of Christian unity...

Every pope "has his own style and brings to ecumenism his own personal conviction and experience," Bishop Brian Farrell, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, told the National Catholic Register. But Benedict "truly feels the pain of a weakened witness by Christians before a world urgently in need of divine truth and love," he added.

Benedict's sense of urgency was demonstrated when he announced in his first public message as pope that he would "work without sparing energies for the reconstitution of the full and visible unity of all the followers of Christ."

Benedict said working toward unity would be "a primary commitment" of his papacy, and said he "is prepared to do all that is in his power to promote the fundamental cause of ecumenism."

According to Bishop Farrell, the holy father "constantly calls for prayer, conversion of our hearts to Christ, and great love and humility in our dealings with our brothers and sisters of other churches and communities." The bishop added that the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity is "greatly encouraged by the way this 'spiritual' ecumenism is gaining ground at every level of the church."

"There are lots of things we can do at the local level where most ecumenism that's meaningful takes place," George said. "I'm thinking joint prayers together, joint Scripture distribution and translation, and bible studies together."

George also pointed to an "ecumenism in the trenches" that has developed between Catholics, evangelicals and other Protestants in their common work on behalf of protecting human life and promoting the family.

"We have met in the trenches as co-combatants against a common foe," he said. "That has drawn us into deeper discussions on issues related to salvation and justification and holiness of life."

Emphasis on the preeminent role of the Holy Spirit is the third prong of Benedict's ecumenical approach.

"In fact, it is impossible for us to 'make' unity through our own powers alone," the Holy Father told an ecumenical gathering in Poland this May. Making the words of Pope John Paul II his own, Benedict added, "We will be available to receive this gift to the extent that we open our minds and hearts to him through the Christian life and above all through prayer."

"Pope Benedict never fails to remind us that unity is a gift of the Holy Spirit," Bishop Farrell said.

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 August 02, 2006 - Up to 10,000 casualties in North Korea flooding: aid group
 Article: Signs of the Last Times

Up to 10,000 North Koreans are believed dead or missing in what Pyongyang's official media is describing as the worst flooding in a century, a respected South Korean humanitarian group said.

...Seoul-based Good Friends said the media was now terming the flooding as the worst to hit the impoverished country in a century.

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 August 2, 2006 - Pope Calls for Immediate End to Conflict
 Article: Roman Catholic Church and the Last Days

VATICAN CITY (AP) -- Pope Benedict XVI issued an impassioned call Wednesday for an immediate cease- fire in the Middle East, saying "nothing can justify the spilling of innocent blood."

Clenching his fist and his voice filled with emotion, Benedict said: "Our eyes are filled with the chilling images of torn bodies of so many people, especially children - I am thinking in particular of Qana."

...It was the latest in a half-dozen peace appeals by the pope that have consistently included calls for an immediate cease- fire. He has spoken out on every public occasion since the fighting began three weeks ago, reminiscent of his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, who became a rallying point for critics of the Iraq war.

...During his recent Alpine vacation, Benedict made clear that attempts at reaching any settlement should be left to diplomats "because we don't enter politics ... Our goal is simply peace, and we will do everything to help attain peace."

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 August 4, 2006 - Judges in Egypt: Scrap peace deal with Israel
 Article: Israel and the Last Days

Roee Nahmias

Judges in Egypt called upon the government to dissolve its peace agreement with Israel, on the grounds that it is inconceivable for Egypt to coexist peaceably with Israel while the IDF operates in Lebanon. The judges expressed support of popular resistance against Israeli advances, which, in their eyes, is the only way to protect the Arab ummah (greater nation).

In a statement issued Thursday, Egyptian judges censured "the barbaric Israeli attacks on the Palestinian and Lebanese people." They also warned of American attempts "to rearrange the Middle East, based on the 'Greater Middle East' plan, via Israeli pride and American hegemony, in whose eyes the lives of hundreds of Arab children are not worth the wounds of one Israeli child."

The judges expressed their belief that the popular resistance is the only way to protect the Arab nation and their honor, and stated their support from "the bravery of Lebanese resistance fighters and the stance of Lebanese people of all denominations." The statement declared that it is inconceivable that the US will continue to be considered a friend or strategic ally of any nation in the region, after having proven itself to be the primary instigator of attacks on the Arab nation.

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 August 5, 2006 - No Life on Mars After All?
 Article: Creation / Evolution - Misc.

It was a science fiction fantasy come true: Ten years ago this summer, NASA announced the discovery of life on Mars.

At a Washington, D.C., news conference, scientists showed magnified pictures of a four-pound Martian meteorite riddled with wormy blobs that looked like bacterial colonies. The researchers explained how they had pried numerous clues from the rock, all strongly supporting their contention that microscopic creatures once occupied its nooks and crannies.

It was arguably the space agency's most imagination- gripping moment since Apollo. Space buffs and NASA officials said that it just might be the scientific discovery of the century.

"If the results are verified," the late Carl Sagan pronounced, "it is a turning point in human history."

Ten years later, the results have not been verified. Skeptics have found non-biological explanations for every piece of evidence that was presented on Aug. 6, 1996. And though they still vigorously defend their claim, the NASA scientists who advanced it now stand alone in their belief.

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 August 3, 2006 - New immigrant: F22 stealth bomber? The United States may supply Israel with the most advanced stealth fighter jet in the world
 Article: Israel and the Last Days

World's most advanced fighter jet currently only in US hands. After House of Representatives lifts ban on its sale, security establishment assesses jet may be offered to Israel
Aryeh Egozi

The United States may supply Israel with the most advanced stealth fighter jet in the world - the F22 Raptor - considering the war in Lebanon and the Iranian threat, the Israeli security establishment has assessed.

The US has not yet exported the F22 to any of its allies. Recently, however, the House of Representatives lifted its nine year ban on the sale of the advanced jet outside the United States. No real contacts have yet been made on the matter, but the lifting of the ban on its sale has paved the way for such a deal.

US officials have apparently hinted to Israel lately that as part of American efforts in the international war on the "axis of evil," the US would offer Israel to buy the stealth fighter.

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 August 4, 2006 - Yemenite President Ali Abdallah Saleh on Al-Jazeera TV: I Hope All Countries Bordering Israel Will Join the War; Arab Countries Should Allow Transfer of Weapons & People to Lebanon & Palestine
 Article: Israel and the Last Days

The following are excerpts from an interview with Yemenite President Ali Abdallah Saleh, which aired on Al-Jazeera TV on August 1, 2006.

Interviewer: "Do you expect the war to expand?"

Ali Abdallah Saleh: "Yes."

Interviewer: "To include Syria?"

Ali Abdallah Saleh: "I would certainly hope that it expands. I would hope so, but the Israelis would not dare. They are frustrated in South Lebanon, so how could they expand the war? All Israeli cities would be within the range of the Syrian missiles. Syria is armed, and is ready for anything. It would be foolish, even more than foolish... I say in all honesty that the Israeli government is defeated. The Israeli army is also defeated by any standard. The Israeli government will fall. It will fall soon because it misjudged things. Israeli strategy is based on brief wars, on swift strikes. By now it has been 19 days, and the equation has changed. If Israel were to act foolishly and wage war against Syria, I expect Israel would find itself in an extremely difficult situation. Perhaps they would even leave the region, because their society is a mixture [of identities], full of contradictions."


Ali Abdallah Saleh: "I hope that all the countries bordering with Israel, not just Syria, would enter the war. I meant the countries bordering with Israel. We will not enter the war officially, but we will open the borders to the fighters. We will allow the transfer of money and equipment, to support the Lebanese resistance and the Palestinian resistance in Gaza."

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

In Jesus,
Roger Oakland

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