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In the Press

  • A 14-year-old girl who wanted her body to be preserved in case she could be cured in the future, won a historic legal fight shortly before her death.

    The girl, who was terminally ill with a rare cancer, was supported in her wish to be cryogenically preserved by her mother - but not by her father.

    A High Court judge ruled that the girl's mother should be allowed to decide what happened to the body.

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  • THE news that the BBC will no longer have a dedicated executive in charge of religious broadcasting is evidence that it is “failing in its responsibility to take religion seriously”, the Sandford St Martin Trust has said.

    The Trust, which advocates for religious broadcasting, said in a statement that it was “very concerned” to hear that Aaqil Ahmed, the BBC’s Head of Religion and Ethics, would not be replaced when he leaves shortly.

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  • Bogus crisis pregnancy agencies are set to be outlawed after the government last night committed to a major overhaul of how abortion information is regulated.

    It is the first time a government has moved to shut down crisis pregnancy agencies which give inaccurate or misleading advice. It follows an investigation by The Times that exposed a clinic run by a Catholic anti-abortion group claiming that terminations could cause breast cancer and turn women into child abusers. The Women’s Centre on Berkeley Street in Dublin is now at the centre of a gardai investigation.

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  • Churches that are theologically conservative with beliefs based on a literal interpretation of the Bible grow faster than those with a liberal orientation, according to a five-year academic study.

    “If we are talking solely about what belief system is more likely to lead to numerical growth among Protestant churches, the evidence suggests conservative Protestant theology is the clear winner,” said David Haskell, the Canadian study’s lead researcher.

    The findings contradict earlier studies undertaken in the US and the UK, which attempted to discover the underlying causes of a steep decline in church attendance in recent decades but concluded that theology was not a significant factor.

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  • Ash is an eight-year-old who was born as a boy but who now identifies as a girl, and who was also the star – this is probably the right word – of the first film in the Channel 4 documentary series Kids on the Edge (Wednesdays, 10pm). A clever girl and an extrovert, she is not, from what I could see, the kind of child who much likes to hear the word “no”. Told she wouldn’t be allowed to join a certain class in school – the one with her friends was too full – she swiftly threw a tantrum. “It’s because she’s not getting her own way,” her mother said, closing her bedroom door and retreating downstairs.

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  •  The number of ultra-Orthodox Jewish schools believed to be operating illegally in the east London borough Hackney now outstrips those which are legal, the council has suggested for the first time.

    The admission by a senior education official at a furious council meeting on Wednesday night has intensified concerns for the safety and welfare of hundreds of children who are being taught in often isolated conditions with little contact for the secular world. 

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  • Nicola Sturgeon has told the Scottish parliament that the devolved government would explore the possibility of giving women from Northern Ireland access to abortions in Scotland’s health service free of charge.

    Responding to a question from Green party MSP Patrick Harvie on Thursday, the first minister said: “I am happy to explore with the NHS what the situation is now in terms of the ability of women from Northern Ireland to access safe and legal abortion in NHS Scotland and whether any improvements can be made.

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  • Christian couple who have been fostering two young children from the early part of this year have had their application to adopt them turned down, because guess what? That’s right, they have the wrong views on same-sex parenting. It doesn’t matter that reports from social workers have praised the couple for the ‘lovely care’ which they have provided, nor does it matter that the couple already have two adopted children who have formed strong relationships with their foster siblings and neither does it matter that this Christian couple have 'worked well with all professionals'. 

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  • In my previous post (which I have renamed so that this flows more clearly from it), I observed a growing crisis for progressivism, as people across the political spectrum are rejecting its form of discourse. Within this post, I will venture into far more controversial territory. I will speak directly about some issues that we commonly politely skirt. It is not my intent to give offence, although I appreciate that may easily be taken. For this reason, I request your patience and charity. If we never talk directly about such issues, we will forever be falling into the same problems and little progress will be made.

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  • His new book Black Flag Down: Counter-extremism, Defeating ISIS and Winning the Battle of Ideas calls for a rejection of the idea that there is a simple connection between faith and extremism, according to the Guardian.

    He said the idea had led officials to define "extremism" so broad even the Archbishop of Canterbury fell foul of it.

    "I'm now convinced we need a new model of radicalisation that reflects the fact that it is grievance, not God, that inspires many to turn to violence," he wrote in the Guardian.

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