Daily Archives: February 4, 2009

Anglican-Catholic Reunion in the Works

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Pope Benedict XVI welcomes dissatisfied Anglicans back into the mother church. (Getty Images)

The Trumpet | Feb 4, 2009

The pope is preparing to accept half a million disgruntled Anglicans into the Roman Catholic Church. Australian Catholic weekly The Record reports that the Vatican will accord the Traditional Anglican Communion a personal prelature if unity talks succeed.

“History may be in the making,” begins the Record article. “It appears Rome is on the brink of welcoming close to half a million members of the Traditional Anglican Communion into membership of the Roman Catholic Church. Such a move would be the most historic development in Anglican-Catholic relations in the last 500 years. But it may also be a prelude to a much greater influx of Anglicans waiting on the sidelines, pushed too far by the controversy surrounding the consecration of practicing homosexual bishops, women clergy and a host of other issues.”

The Traditional Anglican Communion is a group of churches with a worldwide membership of 400,000 people. It formed in 1990 from a dozen Anglican churches that broke away from the 80-million-strong Anglican Communion (of which the Church of England is the heart), mostly to protest the liberalism creeping into that organization.

In October 2007, the Traditional Anglican Communion sent a letter formally requesting “full, corporate and sacramental union” with the Roman Catholic Church, which has since been under review by the Vatican.

The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has decided to recommend that the Traditional Anglican Communion be offered a person prelature. This would put the communion in the same position as Opus Dei. The Record explains that a personal prelature is “something like a global diocese without boundaries, headed by its own bishop and with its own membership and clergy.”

The Trumpet has followed this subject closely because of its prophetic significance. For half a century, Herbert W. Armstrong and his Plain Truth magazine expounded on biblical prophecies foretelling the unification of Protestants with their Roman Catholic mother church. The October 1961 Plain Truth, for example, said this: “The pope will step in as the supreme unifying authority—the only one that can finally unite the differing nations of Europe. … Europe will go Roman Catholic! Protestantism will be absorbed into the ‘mother’ church—and totally abolished.”

This prophecy is in process of being fulfilled right now. The Vatican is expected to possibly announce its decision to absorb the Traditional Anglican Communion around April this year.

The eagerness of the Vatican to absorb the Anglican communion, and the lengths to which the communion is prepared to go to be accepted by Rome—“no matter what the personal cost”—is an indication of things to come.

Read Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry’s article “Anglicans Submitting to the Pope” and “Returning to the Fold,” by Stephen Flurry, to learn how full unity between the Anglicans and Catholics will finally be achieved. •

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Study questions usefulness of animal-human embryos

AP | Feb 2, 2009

By MALCOLM RITTER

NEW YORK (AP) — It may be futile to try producing stem cells by putting human DNA into cow or rabbit eggs and making hybrid cloned embryos, a strategy that triggered controversy recently in Britain, a new study says. The animal eggs don’t reprogram human DNA in the right way to generate stem cells, researchers report.

“Instead of turning on the right genes, it turns out the animal eggs actually turn them off,” said senior study author Dr. Robert Lanza of Advanced Cell Technology in Worcester, Mass.

Another scientist disputed that conclusion.

The idea of using animal-human “hybrid” embryos drew fire last year in Britain as authorities pondered whether to let scientists try it. Opponents objected to mixing human and animal material and worried that such research could lead to genetically modified babies.

Hybrid embryos have been made elsewhere, but there’s no widely accepted report of getting stem cells from them. Animal eggs are attractive because human ones are hard to get for research.

Scientists prize embryonic stem cells because they can develop into virtually any cell of the body. By inserting a person’s DNA into an egg and growing an early embryo, scientists hope to extract stem cells that are a genetic match to that person. That would help in disease research and enable scientists to develop transplant tissue that avoids the risk of rejection.

For the new work, Lanza and colleagues put human DNA into human, cow and rabbit eggs and grew them into early embryos. In embryos from human eggs, they found that patterns of gene activity resembled those in ordinary human embryos. But with the human-animal hybrid embryos, the patterns were much different.

The work was funded by Lanza’s company and several institutions collaborating on the research. It was published online Monday by the journal Cloning and Stem Cells.

“The idea that this is the nail in the coffin for hybrids is grossly overstated,” declared Stephen Minger of King’s College London, who has permission from British authorities to pursue making hybrid embryos.

He cited a 2008 study that reported key genes are in fact turned on in embryos made with cow eggs, although the efficiency is low. That study concluded that cow eggs could be useful if techniques to use them were further developed.

Minger suggested Lanza’s team looked too early in embryonic development to see the activation.

Lanza, however, said he found the 2008 study to be unconvincing.

Minger’s group is one of three that gained permission from British authorities to try using animal eggs. He said he thought stem cells from hybrid embryos should not be used for making transplant tissue for people.

Central New York shovels, shivers through one of its snowiest, coldest Januarys on record

Syracuse.com | Feb 3, 2009

By Charles McChesney

West-central Pennsylvania’s biggest celebrity saw his shadow Monday morning. According to tradition – and the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club – that means winter will last another six weeks.

At least he didn’t predict six more weeks of January.

Central New Yorkers have survived snowier, colder Januarys. But January 2009 had a brutal consistency.

The average temperature was 18.2 degrees. The temperature stayed below freezing for all but six days and dropped well below freezing every night.

Temperatures were in the 40s for a total of seven hours all month. That heat wave lasted from 1 to 8 p.m. Jan. 23.

Snow was even more constant. Only three days had no snow, according to National Weather Service records. For 26 days, there was enough snow to measure. Two days saw a trace.

Only January 1977 was more consistently snowy, according to Keith Eggleston at the Northeast Regional Climate Center at Cornell University. That year, it snowed every day of the month – a measurable amount on 28 days.

January 1977 was colder, too. The average temperature was 15.7 degrees, but that’s not the record. January 1994 averaged 12.6 degrees. Cold as it was, January 2009 was just the eighth coldest since record keeping began at Syracuse’s Hancock Airport in 1950.

Snowy as it was, the month saw just the ninth most snow recorded in a January. Its 49.8 inches of snow is far behind the 78.1 inches that fell in January 2004.

Now, if you happen to be looking for a prediction from someone other than the largest member of the squirrel family, the weather service’s long-range February forecast calls for above-normal precipitation in Central New York but doesn’t see a trend either way for colder or warmer temperatures.

However, even before Punxsutawney Phil stuck his head out Monday morning, February had brought some relief. On Sunday, the first day of February, temperatures at Hancock were 40 or above for 10 hours, according to weather service records.

Blackwater Guards Immune Under Law, Pentagon Says

Bloomberg | Feb 2, 2009

By Ken Fireman

The U.S. Defense Department concluded in 2007 that Blackwater Worldwide contractors can’t be prosecuted under federal law for a shooting incident in Iraq that left 17 civilians dead.

In a letter to North Carolina Representative David Price, Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England said contractors are subject to prosecution under federal law for alleged misconduct committed overseas only when they are working for the Pentagon or supporting its mission.

Blackwater was working for the State Department when the September 2007 incident took place in Baghdad. The company was “not engaged in employment that was in support of the DoD mission,” England said in a letter to Price on Dec. 14, 2007.

The Democratic congressman’s office released a copy of the letter today. It was reported earlier by the Associated Press.

A spokesman for Price, Paul Cox, said in an e-mailed statement: “Regardless of the views expressed in this letter, it’s up to the courts alone to determine whether these security contractors fall under federal criminal jurisdiction.”

Five Blackwater employees were charged in December with manslaughter and weapons violations in connection with the shooting incident. A sixth employee pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter. The Moyock, North Carolina-based company wasn’t charged in the case.

The Justice Department on Jan. 27 filed a legal brief arguing that the law governing the criminal actions of Pentagon contractors should apply to the Blackwater employees. Government lawyers argued that both the State and Defense Departments had a common mission to stabilize Iraq.

“Both departments fulfill mutually supporting responsibilities and work hand-in-hand to achieve that single, common objective,” the brief said.

Dean Boyd, a Justice Department spokesman, said today that the government’s prosecution of the Blackwater employees will continue. “We’re going forward,” he said.

Blackwater spokeswoman Anne Tyrrell declined to comment on the letter.

Study Finds High-Fructose Corn Syrup Contains Mercury

Washington Post | Jan 28, 2009

MONDAY, Jan. 26 (HealthDay News) — Almost half of tested samples of commercial high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) contained mercury, which was also found in nearly a third of 55 popular brand-name food and beverage products where HFCS is the first- or second-highest labeled ingredient, according to two new U.S. studies.

HFCS has replaced sugar as the sweetener in many beverages and foods such as breads, cereals, breakfast bars, lunch meats, yogurts, soups and condiments. On average, Americans consume about 12 teaspoons per day of HFCS, but teens and other high consumers can take in 80 percent more HFCS than average.

“Mercury is toxic in all its forms. Given how much high-fructose corn syrup is consumed by children, it could be a significant additional source of mercury never before considered. We are calling for immediate changes by industry and the [U.S. Food and Drug Administration] to help stop this avoidable mercury contamination of the food supply,” the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy’s Dr. David Wallinga, a co-author of both studies, said in a prepared statement.

In the first study, published in current issue of Environmental Health, researchers found detectable levels of mercury in nine of 20 samples of commercial HFCS.

And in the second study, the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP), a non-profit watchdog group, found that nearly one in three of 55 brand-name foods contained mercury. The chemical was found most commonly in HFCS-containing dairy products, dressings and condiments.

But an organization representing the refiners is disputing the results published in Environmental Health.

“This study appears to be based on outdated information of dubious significance,” said Audrae Erickson, president of the Corn Refiners Association, in a statement. “Our industry has used mercury-free versions of the two re-agents mentioned in the study, hydrochloric acid and caustic soda, for several years. These mercury-free re-agents perform important functions, including adjusting pH balances.”

However, the IATP told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that four plants in Georgia, Tennessee, Ohio and West Virginia still use “mercury-cell” technology that can lead to contamination.

IATP’s Ben Lilliston also told HealthDay that the Environmental Health findings were based on information gathered by the FDA in 2005.

And the group’s own study, while not peer-reviewed, was based on products “bought off the shelf in the autumn of 2008,” Lilliston added.

The use of mercury-contaminated caustic soda in the production of HFCS is common. The contamination occurs when mercury cells are used to produce caustic soda.

“The bad news is that nobody knows whether or not their soda or snack food contains HFCS made from ingredients like caustic soda contaminated with mercury. The good news is that mercury-free HFCS ingredients exist. Food companies just need a good push to only use those ingredients,” Wallinga said in his prepared statement.

Palestinian Children Return to School to Find Classmates Dead

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Gazan students mourn friends killed by Israeli forces

Three seats remain empty in Jabaliya’s Ibn Rushd eighth grade classroom as students return to school Saturday to find classmates were killed in Israeli raid. Muhammad, who lost his best friend, says, ‘I don’t know how we’re going to learn, I hope God punishes those who killed them’

Information Liberation | Jan 30, 2009

By Ali Waked

Hundreds of thousands of Gazan students went back to school on Saturday, many of them to discover that their friends have been killed.

Three chairs were left empty in the Jabaliya UNRWA school’s eighth grade classroom. Issam, Ahed and Bashar were killed during Operation Cast Lead.

Muhammad Kutkut, 14, told Ynet what it was like going back to school after the three-week offensive, “I saw the chair behind me that Bashar used to sit on was empty. I was very sad and I cried.”

Muhammad described the difficult sight at the entrance to the Ibn Rush school, saying the walls were damaged from the bombings, parts of the building had collapsed, and broken glass was everywhere. “But we can learn, the broken pieces and the shrapnel won’t interrupt the classes.”

The teachers dedicated the first school day to consoling the students and cheering them up them, but Muhammad found little comfort. He and Bashar had been best friends for the past three years.

“I also hurt over Issam and Ahed, but Bashar and I were the closest friends. We studied together, played together at recess, and went to each other’s houses after school, even though we didn’t live very close to each other.

“We were friends. We did everything together. Everything that pupils and best friends do together in class, and outside it. Today I felt alone, sad, I cried a lot.”

Hearing that so many children were killed in the war, Kutkut worried for his friends, but he never imagined he would lose three classmates, including his best friend.

“My classmate Muhammad told me on the (online) messenger that three students from our class were killed, Issam, Ahed and Bashar. I learned this two days after they were killed. I was in so much pain. I felt very bad; I didn’t know what to do.”

Dealing with the loss was even harder for the children upon their return to school. “I keep having these thoughts; I keep looking around the classroom and seeing only empty desks.

“Some of the students brought pictures. It wasn’t easy; I don’t know how we’re going to learn. I can only say I hope God punishes whoever killed them.”

Muhammad was interrupted by his uncle Basem, who said, “This war has killed children. It was against civilians, not against Hamas. They killed civilians – children. We want the whole world to know, this was not a war against Hamas, they were fighting against Hamas and Hamas wasn’t hit.

“The ones that were hit were Muhammad’s friends. He and his friends are in a state where they don’t feel like eating, drinking, studying, they don’t feel like doing anything.

“These children stayed alive, but their joy was killed. The children are depressed. This is something the whole world should know, this is the truth of this war.”