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In the Press

  • The Supreme Court in Pakistan has suspended the execution of a Christian woman convicted of blasphemy.
     
    Asia Bibi, who has been on death row for nearly five years, was given leave to appeal. No hearing date was set.
     
    She denies insulting the Prophet Mohammed, saying her Muslim accusers were acting on a personal grudge.
  • A controversial assisted dying activist dubbed 'Dr Death' will 'gas' people at the Edinburgh Fringe festival using his own euthanasia machine.
     
    Dr Philip Nitschke will ask his audience - some of whom may be terminally ill - to try his 'Destiny' machine to show them 'a peaceful and reliable means of death'.
     
    His 'easy to use' apparatus is a new version of the Deliverance machine he used to end the lives of four people in the 1990s.
  • Few things frighten Philip Woo, a pastor and missionary based in Hong Kong. The Lutheran has been spreading his faith among underground churches in mainland China for 25 years.
     
    But since 2013, he has also been engaging in a supposedly less risky activity: organising religious training for Chinese church leaders in the former British colony.
     
    For that, he was summoned to the religious affairs bureau of a district in the southern city of Shenzhen on 1 July, the same day that China enacted a sweeping national security law.
  • The most senior woman bishop in the Church of England is to be consecrated at Canterbury Cathedral later.

    Rachel Treweek, 52, the former Archdeacon of Hackney in the Diocese of London, will become the new Bishop of Gloucester.
     
    Two women bishops have already been appointed, but Mrs Treweek is the first woman to run a diocese and will be one rank below archbishop.
  • Another Christian athlete is giving thanks to God for giving him success in the field of sports. This time, the glory belonged to 39-year-old American golfer Zach Johnson who recently won the Open Golf Tournament in St. Andrews, Scotland.

  • The Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland today has turned down the request of a teenage girl and her mother who wanted to travel to England for an abortion and have it paid for by the National Health Service (NHS).

  • Two people are being convicted of child abuse image crimes every day on average, two years after a government pledge to crack down on the offence, the NSPCC says.

  • Western politicians and religious leaders should prepare the ground for talks with Isil through “face to face encounters” with their Muslim counterparts, the Archbishop of Canterbury has suggested.

    The Most Rev Justin Welby said the group which also calls itself Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant and Isis represented a “lethal danger to the human values on which civilised life depends” and reiterated his support for UN-backed military action.

    But, while ruling out direct talks with Isil at present, he signalled his support for setting up informal “back channels” with the group, similar to the secret communications with the IRA in the 1980s and 1990s which paved the way for the Northern Ireland peace process.
  • David Cameron is right to speak against religious extremism, even if it claims not to support violence. But what exactly is religious extremism? He defined it in opposition to British values, meaning democracy and the rule of law and so on. Maybe this is clear enough. But I think the matter can be clarified further.
  • Ofcom chief executive Sharon White has said the regulator has not been hampered by lack of legislation in cracking down on extremist broadcasts following David Cameron said it should be given beefed-up powers to tackle the issue.

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