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In the Press

  • 20 churches were destroyed in Syrian Aleppo, Deputy Chairman of the Commission for UNESCO of the Russian Federation and the Committee for Russian-Syrian cooperation Alexander Dzasokhov said.

    "It is a magnificent city in Syria that was famous not only for its renowned architecture and cultural sites, but it was a place where Christian aspect of this long-suffering nation has always been present. It suffers great destructions now. According to the recent data, 20 churches were destroyed there," he said on air The Church and the World TV program on Rossiya-24 channel.

    Dzasokhov believes the future of humanity depends on the outcome of the Syrian question.

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  • In 2013 the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, declared war on Wonga and other payday lenders crucifying borrowers with 5,000% interest loans. Three years later it looks as if his prayers may have been answered.

    CFO Lending, which was fined £34m this week by the Financial Conduct Authority, is just the latest operator brought to its knees by regulators punishing bad lending behaviour. CFO, which traded under brand names Payday First, Money Resolve and Flexible First, will have to hand money back to nearly 100,000 victims of its unfair practices.

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  • The Prime Minister Theresa May has reiterated her belief that the country needs more faith schools.

    Earlier in September there was controversy when the government confirmed rules preventing the building of more Catholic schools would be relaxed.

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  • Former prime minister Tony Blair has entered the controversy about tackling Isis - saying it is essential to recognise and acknowledge the rise of Islamic extremism if it is to be defeated.

    “I actually use the word Islamist extremism. What I think is important is the need to distinguish Islamism which is political and at its extremes has violence,” he said. “What is important to recognise there is this totalitarian ideology, and balance that with saying that this is not what Islam is about.”

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  • A petition with more than 20,000 signatures calling for the legalisation of same sex marriage in Northern Ireland has been presented to the Northern Ireland Assembly.

    The online petition, collated by LGBT news service The Gay Say, was handed to speaker Robin Newton by People Before Profit MLA Gerry Carroll on Tuesday.

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  • The family court service in England and Wales is facing a “clear and imminent crisis” because of a sustained increase in the number of child care cases, its most senior judge has said.

    In an emergency statement issued through the judicial office, Sir James Munby, the president of the family division, said he could not simply ask lawyers or court staff to work harder. “The fact is that we are approaching a crisis for which we are ill-prepared and where there is no clear strategy to manage the crisis. What is to be done?” he asked.

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  • Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo have agreed to block ads for services that determine the sex of unborn children in India, adhering to an order from the country's highest court. As the BBC reports, India's health ministry told the Supreme Court on Monday that the three web companies will block 22 keywords related to prenatal sex testing. The court was hearing a case that seeks to block online content that promotes prenatal sex-selection services, which were outlawed in 1994.

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  • Conservative and liberal Christians have criticised a new bishops' group set up to discuss the issue of homosexuality.

    Some conservatives are upset that such a group has been set up at all.

    Liberal Anglicans are equally angry, complaining that the new Bishops' Reflection Group contains no members who have advocated a change in the Church's traditional teaching on marriage.

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  • The Church of England has appointed a senior figure to drive up the proportion of black and ethnic minority clergy against a backdrop of data showing the church is failing to match national demographics.

    The proportion of black and minority ethnic (BAME) people among those embarking on the process of becoming a priest fell to 1.9% last year, compared with a share of the general population of about 15%.

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  • Professor Eduard Verhagen, who is responsible for the Groningen protocol for the euthanasia of infants, has predicted that a centre for the euthanasia of children will open within a year in the Netherlands.

    Under current Dutch legislation, euthanasia is legal for infants up to a year old, and for children over the age of twelve.

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