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In the Press

  • For more than 30 years, a state in Africa’s most populous country essentially ignored a law put in place by its military government that required preachers to get licenses, limited the playing of religious cassettes, and outlawed derogatory language by religious organizations and leaders.

    But this spring, governor Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai is attempting to revive the policy. A new bill from his administration would restrict both Muslim and Christian preaching among Kaduna’s 6.5 million people by requiring pastors to obtain annual permits.

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  • Today, China Aid released its 2015 Annual Report of Religious and Human Rights Persecution in China, which indicates that religious persecution and human rights abuse by the Chinese government against its citizens has risen 4.74 percent since 2014 based on six specific categories of persecution.

    All six categories, which include the total number of persecution cases, the number of religious practitioners persecuted, the number of citizens detained, the number of citizens sentenced, the number of severe abuse cases and the number of individuals in severe abuses cases, increased between 6.15 and 174.65 percent. The category with the largest increase was the number of cases of verbal, mental and physical abuse, including torture, which increased from 71 in 2014 to 192 in 2015.

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  • I am sure there will be those who claim this is a stitch-up. I am aware that Boris’s entry commits two solecisms. Amid the first deluge of entries I intemperately announced (via Twitter) a unilateral ban on this rhyme for ‘Ankara’. I also think Boris should have settled either on ‘goats’ and ‘oats’ or ‘goat’ and ‘oat’. As a classical scholar himself he must know that the rhyme is not wholly perfect and that on such occasions one must find a way around the problem and simply go with the plural both times or not at all.

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  • A shake-up of adoption rules in England aims to move more children more quickly from the care system to family life.

    The Children and Social Work Bill, unveiled in the Queen's Speech, aims to reduce delays in placing children with an adoptive family.

    The new law will also aim to improve social care standards across England.

    Read more.

  • The UK government will require pornographic sites to verify users are over 18 as part of a raft of measures announced in the Queen's Speech.

    As part of its Digital Economy Bill, the government promises more protection for children online.

    It also pledged more protection for consumers from spam email and nuisance calls, by ensuring direct consent is obtained for direct marketing.

    Read more.

  • ROD Liddle has been suspended from the Labour Party and summoned to appear before the party’s controversial inquiry into anti-Semitism, it emerged today.

    The Sun columnist and Labour member for 37 years said that the suspension was for “language” he had used in a blog about the anti-Jewish crisis that engulfed the party earlier this month.

    However he claims that officials “did not specify which bit they objected to”.

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  • The Evangelical Alliance has cautioned against plans for new laws to tackle extremism, announced in today's Queen's Speech.

    Head of public policy Simon McCrossan commented:

    "It's extreme to try and tell religious groups what they can and can't teach under the guise of fundamental British values. It's extreme to threaten to send Ofsted inspectors into churches if they don't teach British values. This government's trying to fight extremism with extremism and the main casualty will be our fundamental freedoms."

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  • People with Down’s syndrome, their families and advocacy groups are concerned that the 2015 abortion statistics released today show an increase in the number of abortions for Down’s syndrome.

    The statistics show an increase from 662 abortion for Down’s Syndrome in 2014 to 689 in 2015. This is likely to be due to the private availability of cfDNA testing which has already been blamed for an increase in numbers of children with Down’s syndrome screened out by termination.

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  • I'll never forget the anguish I felt when I waved goodbye to the children I had fostered for nearly three years. Tess and Harry, gorgeous blonde-haired, brown-eyed siblings, came to stay with our family when they were both less than 18 months old and left when they were almost ready for school.

    I was so anxious the day I was introduced to their adopters that I burst into tears before we even shook hands. It was the relief as much as anything else; the eagerness on their faces and kindness in their eyes reassuring me the siblings would be safe in their arms.

    The day before the introductions, I took the little ones to have their hair cut. “I’m meeting New Mummy and Daddy tomorrow,” Tess told the hairdresser, bobbing around in her chair. The children clung to me and cried when I told them they were moving on and they were still a little withdrawn, but there was intrigue there as well.

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  • A fresh crackdown on extremism will see hate preachers hit with a "civil order regime" to stamp out their "brainwashing" of youngsters, the Queen’s Speech revealed.

    Tough new rules clamping down on radicals trying to tempt Britons to jihad will be introduced as part of a Counter Extremism and Safeguarding Bill.

    The Queen said it would "prevent radicalisation, tackle extremism in all its forms and promote community integration".

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