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In the Press

  • A group of 51 Muslim states has blocked 11 gay and transgender organizations from attending a high-level meeting at the United Nations next month on ending AIDS, sparking a protest by the United States, Canada and the European Union.

    Egypt wrote to the president of the 193-member General Assembly on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to object to the participation of the 11 groups. It did not give a reason in the letter, which Reuters saw.

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  • For centuries the key Christian sacraments of baptism and communion have symbolised people coming together in one place.

    But under potentially radical plans being considered by the Church of Scotland, the rites could be administered online for the first time in a move to redefine the idea of a congregation in the internet age.

    The suggestion, to be debated by members of the Kirk’s decision-making General Assembly which meets in Edinburgh next week, stems from initiatives such as streaming services to enable housebound parishioners to join in despite being unable to be physically present.

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  • The BBC is a ‘politically correct’ organization. The original Reithian vision set out that one of the institution’s aims is to educate the nation. What Andrew Marr ten years ago described as “culturally liberal”, an “urban organisation with an abnormally large number of young people, ethnic minorities, and gay people” does not just refer to the internal culture for employees, but is part of the agenda and philosophy for educating the nation in the 21st century.

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  • Two-thirds of adults would be upset if their child told them that they were in love with someone of the same sex according to a survey of 96,000 people in 53 UN member states. 

    The survey (pdf), which was conducted by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) found that regional differences in opinion exist, but that overall the findings show “deeply entrenched heteronormative concepts of sexual orientation and gender identity”. Only 28% of respondents globally said they would find it acceptable if a male child always dressed and expressed themselves as a girl.

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  • The prevalence and severity of mental ill-health among students on the nation’s campuses has been increasing and continues to rise, according to a report.

    Comparing 2014 to 2015, 80 per cent of UK universities highlighted a noticeable increase in complex mental health crises among their student population.

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  • Records from UK health chiefs showed 3,451 women gave addresses in Ireland - almost 10 a day - while attending clinics in England and Wales last year.

    The report showed there has been a 48% decline in the numbers travelling to terminate a pregnancy since 2001.

    Helen Deely, head of the Health Service Executive's crisis pregnancy programme, said the reduction was welcome - but cautioned about the dangers of using abortion pills bought on the internet.

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  • Pro-life advocates held over 140 marches across Poland on Sunday, with participants totalling somewhere between 200,000-300,000 despite bad weather in some cities.

    The Center for the Support of Family and Life Initiatives has coordinated the events since 2006 on May 15, a pro-life feast in Poland. A local committee with representatives from social and church organizations organizes each march. Some marches took place before May 15, and others will happen in June.

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  • A gaming ad featuring a partial image of a crucifixion sent out at Easter has been banned from appearing again because of its likelihood to cause serious offence.

    The email for Boylesports Enterprise showed a hand nailed to a length of wood alongside the text: "Boylesports Gaming - nailed on bonus".

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  • Modern culture tells us that each person has their "one," a perfect partner to share the rest of their lives with.

    Although polygamy is practiced in various cultures, humans still tend toward monogamy. But this was not always the norm among our ancestors. Other primates -- the mammalian group, to which humans belong -- are still polygamous, too.

    "The modern monogamous culture has only been around for just 1,000 years," says Kit Opie, an evolutionary anthropologist from University College London.

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  • As Eastenders' Peggy Mitchell commits suicide in the face of terminal cancer, TV's inability to envisage a positive response to end of life suffering comes back into focus.

    When a character in the BBC medical drama Holby City remarked that they didn't want to die 'stuck in some dingy hospice', it struck Hospice UK Policy and Advocacy Director Jonathan Ellis that

    'hospice care in the BBC Drama Department must be pretty bleak. Just two months ago a character on EastEnders, Stan Carter, was dying and other characters raised objections about his being transferred to a "grotty hospice".'

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