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In the Press

  • Tim Farron's refusal to say that gay sex is not a sin is "pretty offensive" and will upset many people, MPs have said.

    The Liberal Democrat leader was challenged over his stance after The Observer said he failed to fully answer questions about gay sex when asked, and he was accused of being homophobic.

    Mr Farron was asked to clarify his beliefs when on ITV's Peston on Sunday, saying "being gay is not a sin", before adding that he was "getting tired" of the line of questioning.

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  • An overuse of mobile phones by parents disrupts family life, according to a survey of secondary pupils.

    More than a third of 2,000 11 to 18-year-olds who responded to a poll said they had asked their parents to stop checking their devices.

    And 14% said their parents were online at meal times, although 95% of 3,000 parents, polled separately, denied it.

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  • Lord Alton has done a useful (and very interesting) bit of digging on how the current party leaders have voted over recent years on a series of Right to Life issues. It is reproduced here with permission and no further comment: their voting records rather speak for themselves.

    2017 is the fiftieth anniversary of the passage of the 1967 Abortion Act. It went through its Second Reading in the House of Commons with only 29 MPs voting against. Since then more than 8 million British babies have been aborted and millions of human embryos experimented upon – with laws even allowing the creation of animal-human hybrid embryos. The next Parliament will almost certainly vote again on whether to permit euthanasia and today many more MPs now support the right to life.

    When voters come to use their votes on June 8th they will not only be voting for a new Government, they will be voting for individual Members of Parliament who will hold in their hands the gift of life or death.

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  • UKIP is to include a ban on the full veils worn by some Muslim women as part of its general election manifesto, its leader Paul Nuttall has said.

    Speaking on the BBC's Andrew Marr show Mr Nuttall said wearing a burka or niqab in public was a barrier to integration and a security risk.

    He also said UKIP could undertake not to stand against Brexit-supporting MPs.

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  • A Dutch sailing boat offering legal abortions has taken up a position off the west coast of Mexico. It is offering free, legal medical terminations for the victims of sexual violence.

    The Women on Waves boat arrived off the coast of Guerrero state last week on the invitation of more than 40 women's organizations who are campaigning for abortion to be legalized throughout the country.

    On Thursday the ship sailed out to international waters where two women received safe, medical abortions. The women were given abortion pills and remained under observation for several hours before returning to shore. The female crew does not perform surgical abortions.

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  • The city of Birmingham in the West Midlands, the heart of England, the place where the Industrial Revolution began, the second city of the UK and the eighth-largest in Europe, today is Britain's most dangerous city. With a large and growing Muslim population, five of its electoral wards have the highest levels of radicalization and terrorism in the country.

    In February, French journalist Rachida Samouri published an article in the Parisian daily Le Figaro, in which she recounted her experiences during a visit there. In "Birmingham à l'heure islamiste" ("Birmingham in the Time of Islam") she describes her unease with the growing dislocation between normative British values and those of the several Islamic enclaves. She mentions the Small Heath quarter, where nearly 95% of the population is Muslim, where little girls wear veils; most of the men wear beards, and women wear jilbabs and niqabs to cover their bodies and faces. Market stalls close for the hours of prayer; the shops display Islamic clothes and the bookshops are all religious. Women she interviewed condemned France as a dictatorship based on secularism (laïcité), which they said they regarded as "a pretext for attacking Muslims". They also said that they approved of the UK because it allowed them to wear a full veil.

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  • When a 25-year-old, known just as Riyanto, entered the Eben Haezer Church of Pentecostal Assembly in East Java on Christmas Eve of 2000, he did not know that his life was about to end. He had been aware, however, of the risk he was taking by being there altogether, particularly on Christmas Eve. As a member of the Banser -- the youth wing of Indonesia's largest Muslim cultural organization, the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) -- he had already made the choice to sacrifice personal safety to protect Christians from falling prey to radical Islamists.

    Shortly after mass, as parishioners began to exit the Protestant house of worship, the reverend handed Riyanto and other guards at the entrance an unattended bag he had found among the pews. Looking inside the package and realizing that it contained a bomb, Riyanto took swift action. "Get down!" he called out to all those who were still inside the building.

    But Riyanto himself did not duck. Instead, he clutched the explosive tightly to his chest, in an effort to prevent mass casualties. Within seconds, Riyanto was blown to bits.

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  • Conservative Anglican archbishops from Africa and Asia are plotting to create a new 'missionary' bishop to lead traditionalists in the UK – after warning that the Church of England is becoming too liberal on homosexuality.

    The rebel archbishops are set to give the green light to the controversial plan at a crucial meeting in Africa this week in defiance of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.

    Insiders said the move was the 'nuclear option' as it would represent a highly provocative intervention into the Church of England by foreign archbishops and a direct challenge to the authority of Archbishop Welby, who is nominal head of Anglicans worldwide.

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  • Britain's first 'gay dads', Barrie and Tony Drewitt-Barlow are not just charismatic advocates of same-sex marriage, but also of the often secretive world of surrogacy that allowed them to become parents.

    Since they began building their family – five children by an assortment of egg donors and surrogate mothers, with triplet daughters planned soon – they have become the industry's best known ambassadors.

    The men are blessed with money, looks and a loving relationship. They have used all three to place themselves at the heart of Britain's national debate about the legality and morality of this sensitive subject, the donation of eggs and the renting of a womb to create new life.

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  • A jailed jihadi was put in segregation for plotting to behead prison guards – but a judge has ruled that the move breached his human rights.

    Nadir Syed, 24, was placed in isolation at the top-security Woodhill jail after he led other Muslim inmates in chanting 'Allahu Akbar' ('God is Great'), banging on cell doors and threatening to decapitate warders.

    Documents seen by The Mail on Sunday reveal that staff were warned not to be left alone with him to 'prevent the risk of hostage-taking', while Syed had also claimed he would 'radicalise the whole unit' in another prison.

    Read more.

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