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April 20, 2003

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Religion in the News

Pope gives warning to divorced Catholics
Those who remarry are not to take Communion, the pontiff wrote. He also said it should not be taken in non-Roman Catholic churches.
Pope John Paul II, cracking down on what he considers serious abuses in his flock, issued a stern reminder yesterday that divorced Roman Catholics who remarry cannot receive Communion. See

For Jews of Baghdad, Passover is bittersweet
"Next year," they say, "in Jerusalem." The rallying cry of centuries of Jews is a fading echo this Passover in Baghdad, among a disappearing, dispirited remnant of an ancient and important Jewish community. See

Apocalypse Again and Again: The Bible doesn't tell us when to go to war but how to live in a war-ridden world. By Phillip Jensen. See

Franklin Graham preaches at the Defense Department
As criticism continues of plans by Samaritan's Purse and the Southern Baptist Convention to meet both physical and spiritual needs in post-war Iraq, a new controversy has developed over Franklin Graham's invitation to deliver the Good Friday homily at the Defense Department. See

Reagan staffer named president of Focus
Focus on the Family announced on Friday the hiring of new president and CEO Don Hodel. A former Christian Coalition president and CEO, Hodel has been a Focus board member since 1995 and served as interim executive vice president in 1996. In the '80s, he was a member of President Reagan's administration as U.S. Undersecretary of the Interior, U.S. Secretary of the Interior, and U.S. Secretary of Energy. See

SBC sets May 5 deadline on faith statement holdouts
The Southern Baptist Convention has set a May 5 deadline for overseas missionaries to sign the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message. In letters to 31 missionaries, Southern Baptist International Mission Board President Jerry Rankin said the statement must be affirmed by that date or "I will be recommending that the board take action to terminate your service in their May meeting." See,1,6198643.story?coll=la%2Dheadlines%2Dnation

Why Muslims love Moses | And yet, I lament the tension that exists between the American Muslim and Jewish communities. ( See

Gnosticism and the struggle for the world's soul | What do Harry Potter, the Star Wars series, The Matrix, Masonry, New Age, and the Raelian cult have in common? (National Catholic Reporter). See

"I'm right, you're wrong, go to Hell" | Religions and the meeting of civilization (The Atlantic Monthly). See

Half of Britain believes in Resurrection | The findings challenge the widespread view that an increasingly secular society sees Easter as little more than an opportunity to indulge a taste for chocolate. (The Daily Telegraph, London). See

Reflections: Cross and Resurrection: Quotations to stir heart and mind at Easter. Compiled by Richard A. Kauffman. See

Moses and the Exodus: See
Find out what scholars believe the real Moses was actually like.
Where's Moses? The Interactive Exodus
Moses Portrayed Through History
Test Your Faith
Moses As Seen by Jews, Muslims and Christians
Don't Miss the Show on TLC This Sunday

Science in the News


A Story Darwin Might Love: Brian McLaren's evolutionary interpretation of the faith promises more than it delivers, but what it delivers is good enough. By Mark Galli. See

The Public Education Committee of the Texas House of Representatives recently approved HB 1447, which will now be considered by the House as a whole. This bill would return total control of textbook content to the State Board of Education. Key provisions of this bill include a requirement that textbooks must "…be free from factual errors." See

Fast Changing Gene Drives Species Split
A gene that stops different species of fruit flies from interbreeding is evolving faster than other genes, according to researchers at the University of California, Davis, and the University of Cambridge in England. The findings may help scientists understand how new species evolve from existing ones. See


Looters of Iraqi antiquities looked organized, experts say
Some of the looters who ravaged Iraqi antiquities appeared highly organized and even had keys to museum vaults and were able to take pieces from safes, experts said yesterday at an international meeting. See

Hellenistic finds uncovered in Ashkelon
The remains of a Hellenistic city have been uncovered in the Barne'a quarter
of Ashkelon. See

Oldest evidence of Andean religion found
God carved on gourd points to cradle of Peruvian culture.
15 April 2003. See and also


Is Travel Through a Black Hole Possible: Washington - Apr 14, 2003 - Spaceship travel to another universe through a black hole may be highly improbable, but it cannot be ruled out, according to a new analysis that explores the idea of "hybrid singularity." As science fiction fans know, anyone who wishes to fall into a black hole and re-emerge at some distant location or even an another universe would have to go through a forbidding region inside the black hole known as a "space-time singularity." See

Beyond "Pi In The Sky" Stanford - Apr 14, 2003 - For most of us, "inflation" is a term that comes up only in conversations about the economy or flat tires. But for many cosmologists, inflation is the ultimate word in understanding how the universe was created. See

Science Begins For LIGO In Quest To Detect Gravitational Waves: Pasadena - Apr 14, 2003 - Armed with one of the most advanced scientific instruments of all time, physicists are now watching the universe intently for the first evidence of gravitational waves. See

Astronomers Stretch Celestial Yardstick to New Lengths: Baltimore - Apr 14, 2003 - Astronomers' "yardstick" for measuring vast distances across the cosmos grew longer today as scientists at The Johns Hopkins University announced they had identified and closely analyzed two distant new instances of a kind of exploding star known as a Type Ia supernova. See

X-rays Found From A Lightweight Brown Dwarf
Using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, scientists have detected X-rays from a low mass brown dwarf in a multiple star system, which is as young as 12 million years old. This discovery is an important piece in an increasingly complex picture of how brown dwarfs — and perhaps the very massive planets around other stars — evolve. See


Human Genome Sequence Completed. April 14, 2003 — Scientists have completed the sequence of the human genome, the blueprint of our genetic makeup that will allow researchers to tackle the many common diseases. See

Cloned Pigs Differ From Originals In Looks And Behavior
New research at North Carolina State University's College of Veterinary Medicine indicates that cloned pigs can have the same degree of variability in physical appearance and behavior as normally bred animals. Two separate studies show that while clones are genetically identical to the original animal, the similarities end there. See

Coronavirus Never Before Seen In Humans Is The Cause Of SARS; Unprecedented Collaboration Identifies New Pathogen In Record Time
The World Health Organization announced that a new pathogen, a member of the coronavirus family never before seen in humans, is the cause of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The speed at which this virus was identified is the result of the close international collaboration of 13 laboratories from 10 countries. While many lines of evidence have found strong associations between this virus and the disease over the last weeks, final confirmation came this week. See

Key To Hepatitis Virus Persistence Found
Scientists at two Texas universities have discovered how hepatitis C virus thwarts immune system efforts to eliminate it. The finding, published online today in ScienceExpress, could lead to more effective treatments for liver disease caused by hepatitis C virus. See

Earth Science

Magnetic fields blow vents cover
Roving magnetometer maps ocean ridges and faults.
17 April 2003. Researchers are capitalizing on the magnetic properties of solidified lava to identify important volcanic structures on the ocean floor. "Vents show up in halo-like images on a graphic display of the ocean floor," says Tivey. In a radius of about 100 metres around the vents, rock shows a distinctive lower magnetic intensity than the rest of the sea floor, because it has been reheated by the vents and lost its magnetization. See

Fertile Ground: Snippets of DNA persist in soil for millennia. Minuscule samples of sediment from New Zealand and Siberia have yielded bits of DNA from dozens of animals and plants, including the oldest DNA sequences yet found that can be traced to a specific organism. Researchers have retrieved from sediment cores plant DNA that is nearly 400,000 years old. See also


The edge of Physics: Special Edition of Scientific American on the latest in physics, antimatter, wormholes, and a unified theory. See

Light rambles through room-temperature ruby. Researchers have dramatically slowed light within a solid at room temperature. See

Parallel Universes April 14, 2003. Not just a staple of science fiction, other universes are a direct implication of cosmological observations. See