August 28 - September 10, 2006 
 Weekly News In Review
 Vol 1, Issue 57
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.

 August 23, 2006 - Pope Benedict: Read Book of Revelation as Christ's victory over evil
 Article: Roman Catholic Church and the Last Days

By John Thavis

Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) - The Book of Revelation should not be read as a frightening or enigmatic warning, but as an essentially encouraging vision of Christ's definitive victory over evil, Pope Benedict XVI said.

The pope noted that Revelation, also called the Apocalypse, had come to be mistakenly identified with the idea of an "imminent catastrophe" about to befall the world. Instead, he said, the text offers a clear expression of how the Christian faith makes ultimate sense of history.

...The Book of Revelation, the last book of the New Testament, is considered one of the most difficult to understand and interpret. The apocalyptic images recorded by the author, by tradition St. John the Apostle, have long inspired end-of-the-world scenarios, especially among Christian evangelicals.

The pope said the imagery should be seen in relation to Christ's sacrifice on the cross. He said, for example, that Revelation's key image of a slain lamb standing next to God represents the victory of the innocent Christ over evil and death, through his resurrection.

...Likewise, he said, Revelation's vision of the struggle between a woman giving birth and a dragon refers to Mary, but also to the whole church, which participates in the triumph over evil.

"As one sees, John wants to instill in his readers an attitude of courageous trust. With his strong and sometimes difficult images, he certainly does not intend to propose enigmas to solve, but to suggest a path of certain hope," he said.

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 August 25, 2006 - Pope Greets Meeting on Global Emergencies
 Article: Roman Catholic Church and the Last Days

VATICAN CITY, AUG. 25, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI sent his greetings to some 100 scientists from 26 countries gathered for the 36th Erice International Seminar on Planetary Emergencies in Sicily.

In a telegram signed by the Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Pope expressed the hope that the working sessions held from Aug. 19-24 were successful.

...Benedict XVI also assured the event's organizers and participants of his prayers, and sent his apostolic blessing.

Defending the planet
Zichichi, in comments to Vatican Radio, said that "the scientists in Erice want the greater public to understand that we are all embarked on the same spaceship. It is our duty to defend it."

...Zichichi continued: "Hundreds of millions of people enter the energy market every year, as all want to live better. We are devourers of energy. We cannot avoid this appeal. We must come to an agreement so that the atmosphere will not be turned into a gas chamber."

In order to decrease contamination, the seminar studied the possibility of developing fourth generation nuclear plants.

Also studied were the dangers that asteroids and comets represent for the planet, which, the professor said, at a certain moment "might surprise us" with an impact.

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 August 25, 2006 - Rich Preacher Claims to be Jesus
 Article: Cults

Far from a typical evangelist, Jose Luis De Jesus Miranda of Puerto Rico claims to be the second coming of Jesus Christ. Miranda has a taste for gold, diamonds and BMWs and preaches that sin and the devil dont' exist.

Note from UTT: Clicking on the link to this article will take you to a video newcast, on MSN, telling the story of the preacher claiming to be Jesus Christ. Pay attention to the preacher's last words on the video.

Mat 24:5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.

Luk 21:8 And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am [Christ]; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them.

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 August 31, 2006 - Study: Summer is getting longer
 AArticle: Signs of the Last Times

The lines between seasons are blurring and summer is getting longer in North America, a new study indicates.

Tracing backwards every known rainfall event on the globe for a 25-year period ending in 2003, scientists wanted to determine where the moisture that supplied each rainfall came from.

While doing that, they found remarkable trends in what they call recycling over that time period, said study co-author, Paul Dirmeyer from the Center for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies in Calverton, Md. The study was published July 29 in Geophysical Research Letters.

... This trend observed in high latitudes is consistent with other changes attributed to global warming. Studies have found that the spring season is arriving earlier, and vegetation is lasting later into the fall.

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 August 31, 2006 - 300,000 Marian devotees gather to pray for peace in Sri Lanka
 Article: Roman Catholic Church and the Last Days

In conflict-torn Sri Lanka, 300,000 devotees from all over the country came to the National Basilica of Our Lady of Lanka to pray for the sick, as they do every year, but also for lasting peace.

The basilica, which is just north of Colombo, observes an annual day for the sick on the last Sunday of August, which fell on Aug. 27 this year.

"There is no peace in our country. But every year we gather like this and pray for peace. We believe that our mother Mary will grant us peace," A.H. Samarasinghe, 55, told UCA News. He came with his family to the basilica four days before the observance from Thoduwawa Parish in Chilaw diocese, about 125 kilometers north of Colombo.

Priyani Perera, 47, a mother of two children from Kalutara parish of Colombo archdiocese, spoke with UCA News after the Sunday prayer service. "Every year we attend this prayer service and pray for our country. We need peace and I think we should pray as one family for peace."

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 September 1, 2006 - Author Sees Science and Religion Saving Environment
 Article: One World Religion

Scientist and Pulitzer Prize-winning author E.O. Wilson is out to save life on Earth "literally" and as a secular humanist has decided to enlist people of religious faith in his mission.

The Harvard professor sees science and religion as potential allies for averting the mass extinction of the species being caused by man, as he argues in his latest book, "The Creation: An Appeal to Save Life on Earth" (W.W. Norton), due out on Tuesday.

Asked whether he could unite two groups with clashing world views, Wilson immediately responded, "I know I can."

Among people of religious faith, "There is a potentially powerful commitment to conservation" saving the creation "once the connection is made and once the scientists are willing to form an alliance," Wilson told Reuters in a telephone interview on Thursday.

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 September 5, 2006 - Pope: Interreligious prayer meetings are needed even more today
 Article: One World Religion

On the 20th anniversary of the first interreligious prayer meeting in Assisi, Pope Benedict XVI said the initiative had been a "prophetic" way for various faiths to witness against conflict and war.

The pope said such gatherings were needed even more today, when younger generations of all faiths must learn that prayer "does not divide, but unites" and that religion must never be used as an excuse for violence.

"We need this 'education to peace' more than ever, especially looking at the new generations," the pope said.

The pope made his comments in a message Sept. 4 to the 20th Interreligious Prayer Meeting for Peace in Assisi, Italy. Sponsored by the Sant'Egidio Community, the two-day encounter brought together more than 150 representatives of various world religions.

The pope addressed bluntly the accusation, aired in some conservative church circles, that the Assisi meeting represented an injudicious blending of different faith elements and prayer expressions.

He noted that 20 years ago Pope John Paul emphasized that the religious leaders had not come together to seek a religious consensus or "negotiate" their faith convictions. Pope Benedict said the policy chosen in 1986, which continues today, is for the various religions to pray in their own distinct way even as they gather to witness in the same place. In this way, confusion is avoided, he said.

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 September 3, 2006 - Israel plans for war with Iran and Syria
 Article: Israel and the Last Days

THREATENED by a potentially nuclear-armed Tehran, Israel is preparing for a possible war with both Iran and Syria, according to Israeli political and military sources.

The conflict with Hezbollah has led to a strategic rethink in Israel. A key conclusion is that too much attention has been paid to Palestinian militants in Gaza and the West Bank instead of the two biggest state sponsors of terrorism in the region, who pose a far greater danger to Israel's existence, defence insiders say.

...The Israeli defence establishment believes that Iran's pursuit of a nuclear programme means war is likely to become unavoidable.

...While the American State Department favours engaging with President Bashar Assad of Syria in the hope of detaching him from the Iranian alliance, hawks believe Israel missed a golden opportunity to strike at Syria during the Hezbollah conflict.

"If they had acted against Syria during this last kerfuffle, the war might have ended more quickly and better," Perle added. "Syrian military installations are sitting ducks and the Syrian air force could have been destroyed on the ground in a couple of days." Assad set off alarm bells in Israel when he said during the war in Lebanon: "If we do not obtain the occupied Golan Heights by peaceful means, the resistance option is there."

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 September 1, 2006 - Egyptian Weekly on Hizbullah's Armed Children's Militias
 Article: Islam

In its August 18, 2006 edition, the Egyptian weekly Roz Al-Yusuf featured an investigative article by Mirfat Al-Hakim titled "Hizbullah's Children's Militias." The article reveals that Hizbullah has recruited over 2,000 children aged 10-15 to serve in armed militias, and that the Hizbullah-affiliated Mahdi Scouts youth organization is training them to become martyrs.

The following are excerpts from the article:

Hizbullah Recruits Children Barely 10 Years Old

According to Roz Al-Yusuf, "Hizbullah has recruited over 2,000 innocent children aged 10-15 to form armed militias. Before the recent war with Israel, these children appeared only in the annual Jerusalem Day celebrations, and were referred to as the 'December 14 Units,' but today they are called istishhadiyun ['martyrs']..."

"Hizbullah has customarily recruited youths and children and trained them to fight from a very early age. These are children barely 10 years old, who wear camouflage uniforms, cover their faces with black [camouflage] paint, swear to wage jihad, and join the Mahdi Scouts [youth organization]...

"The children are selected by Hizbullah recruitment [officers] based on one criterion only: They must be willing to become martyrs."

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 September 5, 2006 - Christian faces court over 'offensive' gay festival leaflets
 Article: Perilous Times

A police force was caught up in a freedom of speech row after its officers arrested an anti-gay campaigner for handing out leaflets at a homosexual rally.

South Wales police admitted evangelical Christian Stephen Green was then charged purely because his pamphlets contained anti-gay quotations from the Bible.

Mr Green faces a court appearance today charged with using 'threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour' after his attempt to distribute the leaflets at the weekend 'Mardi Gras' event in Cardiff.

A spokesman for the police said the campaigner had not behaved in a violent or aggressive manner, but that officers arrested him because 'the leaflet contained Biblical quotes about homosexuality'

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 September 9, 2006 - Abortion lessons for schoolchildren
 Article: Signs of the Last Times

Schoolchildren should be given compulsory lessons about the benefits of abortion, ministers' advisers on sex education claim.

Abortion should be included in teaching about sex to ensure that girls who become pregnant 'can make an informed decision' about whether to have one, they said.

And the abortion teaching should combat 'myths' that turn teenagers away from terminating their pregnancies, a report for ministers said.

It cited the idea that abortion can lead to infertility as misleading.

The recommendation from the Independent Advisory Group on Teenage Pregnancy would mean - if accepted by the Government - that pupils would be taught about abortion from the age of 11.

But they could also have abortion lessons in primary schools that teach children from the age of five.

The group, which reports to Education Secretary Alan Johnson and Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt, has repeatedly called for sex education classes to be made compulsory and to include testing for all pupils down to the age of five.

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 July 19, 2006 - VeriChip's VeriMed Patient Identification System Selected by Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield for Two-Year Pilot Program
 Article: Technology for Global Monetary System

Year Pilot Program

DELRAY BEACH, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--July 19, 2006--VeriChip Corporation, a subsidiary of Applied Digital (NASDAQ: ADSX - News), announced today that Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, the largest health insurer in the state, has agreed to a two-year pilot program of VeriChip's VeriMed(TM) Patient Identification System in conjunction with Hackensack University Medical Center and its physicians. In this new test program, participating patients suffering from chronic diseases would be provided with the VeriChip implantable microchip, to provide emergency room staff easy access to those patients' medical information, as well as to help avoid costly or serious medical errors.

Under this trial, participating Horizon BCBSNJ members with chronic illnesses will receive VeriChip's FDA- approved, human-implantable Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) microchips inserted just under the skin of their right tricep. Each patient's unique 16- digit identifier found within the microchip will then tie into their individual electronic medical record stored within the VeriMed Patient Registry accessible by Hackensack University Medical Center's physicians. Each record will contain vital information related to the patient's condition, family contacts, lab test data, and pharmacy records helping make the difference between life and death during an emergency.

"This two-year collaboration is a milestone for VeriMed and for our implantable identification technology marking the first time a health insurer has sponsored such a program," stated Kevin McLaughlin, Chief Executive Officer, VeriChip Corporation.

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 September 6, 2006 - 'Virtually untreatable' TB found
 Article: Signs of the Last Times

A "virtually untreatable" form of TB has emerged, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Extreme drug resistant TB (XDR TB) has been seen worldwide, including in the US, Eastern Europe and Africa, although Western Europe has had no cases.

Dr Paul Nunn, from the WHO, said a failure to correctly implement treatment strategies was to blame.

TB experts have convened in Johannesburg, South Africa, to discuss how to address the problem.

TB presently causes about 1.7 million deaths a year worldwide, but researchers are worried about the emergence of strains that are resistant to drugs.

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 September 5, 2006 - Archbishop of Canterbury and Chief Rabbis sign historic agreement
 Article: Ecumenical Movement - Other Religions Uniting with Roman Catholicism

By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries

LAMBETH, LONDON, UK (ANS) -- The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams and the Chief Rabbis of Israel, Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar and Chief Rabbi Yonah Metzger today (Tuesday, September 5), signed a joint Declaration in London which sets out a framework for continuing dialogue between them.

According to the Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS), Dr. Williams described the agreement as historic quoting him as saying, "This is a most significant step in developing better mutual understanding and trust between the Anglican Communion and the Chief Rabbinate and worldwide Judaism."

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 September 10, 2006 - Pope Begins Visit to Bavaria at Feet of Mary
 Article: Roman Catholic Church and the Last Days

The Column of Mary in Munich, with the possible exception of the Marian Shrine of Altötting, is the most popular symbol of Marian devotion in Bavaria. Pope Benedict XVI chose this monument, which represents the keeping of a promise for a miracle which saved the city from certain destruction, as the place of his first public act in his native land.

The prayer recited by the Pope at the Column of Maria in Marienplatz, shortly after his arrival, has a special symbolic value as the statue of the Virgin there depicts the country's patroness.

During World War I, King Ludwig III and his wife Maria Theresa asked Pope Benedict XV to the declare the Virgin Mary Official Patroness of Bavaria. On April 26, 1916, the Pope changed the Kingdom of Bavaria to the "Kingdom of Mary" and established a proper feast in honor of the Patroness. In 1970 the Bishops' Conference of Germany set May 1 as the feast day.

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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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