BPR Mailing List Digest
January 24, 2000

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To: (BPR Mailing List)
Subject: [BPR] - Religion News Today
Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2000 08:44:51 -0500

From: "Moza" <>

          C U R R E N T N E W S S U M M A R Y
              by the Editors of ReligionToday

January 24, 2000

A church choir sings in bars and prisons. Those are places "where
we were guaranteed to find hurting people," said Deanna Shrodes,
choir director at the North Carroll Assembly of God in
Manchester, Md.
...At Christmas, patrons at motorcycle bars and cocktail lounges
listen attentively, Shrodes told the Pentecostal Evangel. When
the singing ends, choir members say, "Merry Christmas, God loves
you," and hand each person a wrapped package that includes a
Bible and information about how to become a Christian and contact
the church.
...The choir has held services for the last three years at Towson
Women's Prison, a maximum-security facility. Shrodes said she has
seen 70-80 women in a single service become Christians, and said
that some guards attend.
...The 30-member choir also visits homes to pray for people.
Members ring doorbells, introduce themselves as church members,
and ask if anyone needs prayer. People are shocked, and some
break down crying, saying, "You've come at the right time,"
Shrodes said. The church gets many calls from people saying, "we
know you're the church in town that really prays," and sharing
their needs.

A "resurrected" missionary preached to tribespeople. Herbert
Behrens, a missionary from South Africa, traveled to the Central
African nation of Malawi in the 1980s to minister to the Yao
tribe, DAWN FridayFax (see link #1 below) said.
..."What is your name and what do you want from us?" Chief
Chauke, a regional leader of the Yao, asked Behrens at their
first meeting. "My name is Herbert and I have come to preach you
the Gospel of Jesus Christ," Behrens replied. Pandemonium broke
out when the tribal elders began talking all at once, Behrens
said. The chief eventually calmed them down and gave him
permission to preach.
...Years later he discovered why they reacted so strangely, he
said. In the 1960s another missionary named Herbert had come to
the village and made six converts, but the villagers killed them
all. When they heard Behrens' name and purpose they believed that
the first Herbert had come back to avenge himself. The second
Herbert and his team have planted 12 churches among the Yao.

More than 2 million Africans have watched the Jesus film through
the Church of the Nazarene (see link #2 below). Thousands of
people have professed faith in Christ and 72,286 are attending
follow-up classes to learn more about the faith because of the
film, Nazarene Communications Network News said. "Our emphasis
this year is in training leaders to do follow-up and church
planting," Wally Marais, coordinator for church growth and
evangelism, said. The African region of the Nazarene church hopes
to gain 1 million members by 2010.

Indian Christians honored their modern martyrs Jan. 23. More than
3,000 people from 24 states attended a short ceremony, then
walked in remembrance of those who gave their lives for the cause
of Christ last year, Voice of the Martyrs (see link #3 below)
...Christian marched through the streets of Calcutta, starting at
Mother Teresa's tomb and ending at St. Thomas High School. The
crowd carried life-sized images of martyred Christians, including
missionary Graham Staines (see link #4 below), Catholic priest
Arul Doss, and pastor Botla Ratnam. Members of the families of
the martyrs held a memorial service before the march.

Abortion and anti-religion groups are trying to get the Vatican
out of United Nations business. More than 400 groups have joined
See Change, an organization seeking to reduce the Vatican's
influence, Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute said. The
Vatican has Permanent Observer status and enjoys some influence,
though less than member states.
...The Vatican stands in the way of women's rights, See Change
says. The Church has been the main opposition to U.N. initiatives
to expand abortion rights and redefine families to include
homosexuals, the institute said. The campaign is not likely to
persuade the U.N. to downgrade the Vatican's status, but might
intimidate Vatican representatives, the institute said.
...Most of the groups that belong to See Change are pro-choice on
abortion, in favor of population control, or hostile to religion,
the institute said. Members include the International Planned
Parenthood Federation, the National Abortion Federation,
Population Concern, the Center for Research on Population and
Security, American Humanist Association, and Atheists United.

Seventy bills limiting abortion and 57 increasing abortion rights
were passed last year in the United States, a report from the
National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League said.
Neither side in the debate was pleased with the results.
...Texas and Michigan passed the most laws restricting abortion,
seven each, the report said. North Dakota surpassed Louisiana as
the state where abortions are most difficult to obtain because of
legal restrictions. Sixteen states passed laws promoting
abstinence over other forms of birth control.
...Abortion rights groups applauded passage of laws requiring
insurance coverage for contraceptives in nine states, and a New
York law protecting clinics from violence and harassment.


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To: (BPR Mailing List)
Subject: [BPR] - First artificial DNA can create new forms of life
Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2000 08:47:33 -0500

From: "Moza" <>

January 23 2000 BRITAIN

First artificial DNA can create new forms of life

Jonathan Leake and Roger Dobson

SCIENTISTS have made the world's first synthetic DNA - the molecules that
form the blueprint for life.

The breakthrough means that the first artificial organisms could be "born"
within two years and raises the prospect of humans redesigning whole
species, including themselves.

The DNA was created at the University of Texas where researchers have
mapped out the exact way it will be configured to create synthetic organism one (SO1),
the microbe destined to be the world's first man-made creature.

"We are synthesising DNA to create the first synthetic organism," said
Professor Glen Evans, director of the university's genome science and
technology centre. "SO1 will have no specific function but once it is alive we
can customise it. We can go back to the computer and change a gene and
create other new life forms by simply pressing a button."

The researchers are planning to create a series of designer bugs, with
super-efficient mechanisms for infecting target tissues such as cancer
tumours - and then killing them. Some would infect the human gut to produce
vitamin C.

Critics, however, have warned that the scientists risk unleashing a microbe
master race with increased powers to infect humans and wildlife.

The researchers' success lies in having found a way to create long chains of
DNA. Such chains are made up of four types of molecule which join up in
twosomes known as "base pairs". The base pairs then link to form a ladder that twists
into the famous DNA double helix.

In nature, one chain of DNA can contain hundreds of thousands of base pairs.
Until now, however, scientists have found it impossible to join together more
than 100.

Evans's team has broken this barrier with a technique that first creates
short chains of DNA and then joins them together in a controllable way.

The scientists are close to achieving chains that contain 100,000 base
pairs - enough to form the basis for simple life forms.

The design for SO1 is based on analyses of the genes of other small
bacteria. Genes are the functional units of DNA, each one being responsible
for creating a protein essential to processes such as respiration.

Evans plans to copy the vital genes from each bacterium, select the best and
join them together. In nature all DNA also contains "junk genes" with no
function but Evans plans to omit these - possibly making SO1 the most
efficient organism that has lived.

The work to create SO1 is complex but the test of success will be simple.
Can SO1 feed and reproduce? If so, then Evans will indeed be celebrating
new life. Opponents, however, will regard such an event very differently.

Tony Juniper, policy and campaigns director of Friends of the Earth, said
the bugs could present a serious threat to human health and the
environment. He said: "Scientists have already unleashed genetically modified organisms and
we are now seeing the damage they can do. Playing God by creating entirely
new life forms could have very serious consequences which should be publicly and
fully debated."

Others are less perturbed. Michael Reiss, a specialist in bioethics at
Cambridge University, said he would become concerned only if such life
became sentient. "In the 19th century people thought there was some vital
essence to life and there was real controversy when the first organic
compounds were made. My own view is that DNA is just an extension of that
process," he said.

Evans believes that man will one day be able to create complex life forms.
For now, however, the first benefit could be simpler - the end of the
vitamin pill. "Humans need but cannot make vitamin C because we lack one
particular enzyme," he said. "If we put that enzyme into one of our
artificial organisms and drink it, the bug will live in our guts making
vitamin C for ever."

The Sunday Times,


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To: (BPR Mailing List)
Subject: [BPR] - Hubble pictures
Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2000 13:09:36 -0500

From: "Moza" <>

Latest Hubble Space Telescope Observations

Hubble Reopens Eye on the Universe
[This one is called the "Eskimo" because it looks like the face of a man with
his face surrounded by a fur parka.]

Beta Pictoris Disk Hides Giant Elliptical Ring System
[This star is "ringing like a bell."]

Multiple Galaxy Collisions Surprise Hubble Astronomers

A Grazing Encounter Between Two Spiral Galaxies
[This looks like 2 eyes.]

Star Birth in the Trifid Nebula
[This looks to me like a horned monster with its arms outstretched.]

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To: (BPR Mailing List)
Subject: [BPR] - Arutz-7 News item
Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2000 14:07:08 -0500

From: "Moza" <>


Zo Artzeinu [This is Our Land] and other organizations will be joining forces
for a unique demonstration against the division of Jerusalem tomorrow night.
The event features two stages - one motorized, and one on foot. In what
appears to be a meticulously-planned event, demonstrators from around the
country will arrive in the capital - with pro-Jerusalem posters and flags on
their cars - at 5:30 PM. Drivers will park their cars in the Kidron Valley,
where the Moslem Waqf has dumped the remains of the treasures it dug up
from under the Temple Mount. The participants, holding torches, will then
march to a spot close to the Mount, and will there take part in an allegiance-
declaring ceremony to Jerusalem and to the site of the Holy Temple. Women
in Green has announced that its members and others will gather at the
Laromme Hotel in Jerusalem at 4:45 PM, from where they will drive in a
convoy to Nachal Kidron. One group of demonstrators will set out from
Gamla in the Golan, where 1900-year-old coins bearing the words "For the
Liberty of Jerusalem" - the theme of tomorrow's demonstration - were

The stated short-range purposes of the event: to raise an outcry about the
destruction wrought by the Waqf on the Temple Mount, to create public
pressure to contain the damage, and to raise awareness about the fact that
Jerusalem is being "stolen" from us. In the long range, the goals are to
renew the essential connection between the Jewish People and Jerusalem,
and to build a united public force around a true Jewish ideology that will serve
as an alternative to that which now guides our political and cultural

Arutz Sheva News Service
Monday, January 24, 2000 / Sh'vat 17, 5760

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