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In the Press

  • While Scottish public life has grown steadily more secular, the issue of religion in modern schools is no less potent. Until now it has been a matter for each parent to decide whether to withdraw their child from religious activities if it conflicts with their beliefs.

    The Humanist Society of Scotland (HSS) is now seeking a judicial review of the Scottish Government’s policy not to allow 16 to 18-year-olds to make the decision for themselves.

    Read more.

  • Federal Cabinet has signed off on plans to hold the same-sex marriage plebiscite on February 11 next year, and to allocate public funding for both the "yes" and "no" campaigns.

    The proposal will be put to Coalition MPs at their party room meeting in Canberra today and will increase pressure on Labor to declare its hand and state whether it will support the legislation needed to hold the plebiscite.

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  • Victorians may be able to access voluntary euthanasia in the near future, after Health Minister Jill Hennessy declared she supports it and that the parliament and Labor government had to look at the issue closely.

    Earlier this year a cross-party parliamentary inquiry recommended Victoria introduce voluntary euthanasia.

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  • Two organizers of a Christian summer camp were detained in China’s northwestern Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, for 10 and 15 days, respectively, on Aug. 4 on the charge of indoctrinating minors with superstitious beliefs.

    Zhou Yanhua and Gao Ming, both members of Yining County Church, were preparing to drive a group of children to a summer camp when, half an hour before they were set to depart, police arrived to detain the two women and take all of the children present to the police station to register their IDs.

    An elder from Yining County Church, Xie Xianhua, said officials also called the families and school teachers of the children involved, threatening to deduct the teachers’ wages or keep the students from being admitted to higher grade levels.

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  • A 77-year-old fertility doctor who is accused of impregnating patients with his own sperm is now facing felony charges after nine children of former patients found out they were siblings.

    Dr. Donald J. Cline was charged in an Indiana on Friday with two felony counts of obstruction of justice, NBC News reports. Cline appeared in Marion Superior Court on Monday and was released on the condition that he return on Oct. 17 to court.

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  • Finland’s Parliament discussed a bid to block equal marriage, after a string of citizen’s initiatives on the issue.

    In November 2014, the Finnish Parliament passed a citizens’ initiative on gender-neutral marriage by a tight vote of 105-92, after a number of previous defeats.

    Read more.

  • A Conservative MP has proposed removing bishops from the House of Lords in response to Government plans to reduce the number of MPs from 650 to 600 as part of its manifesto bid to "cut the cost of politics".

    Charles Walker, who is chair of the Commons' Procedure Committee, has set out plans to eject 21 Church of England bishops from what he calls the "bloated" Upper House, which has 805 members.

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  • Fifty religious leaders from the Christian and Muslim minorities in India met together last week to discuss the religious freedom challenges facing both groups under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government.

    Christians are “facing physical, symbolic and structural violence” from Hindu extremists across the country, said Father Z. Devasagaya Raj at the conference in New Delhi on 5-6 Sep.

    This view is backed up by the recent report from the Evangelical Fellowship of India’s Religious Liberty Commission, which recorded 134 attacks on Christians or their churches in the first half of 2016 – already almost as many as the annual totals for both 2014 and 2015.

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  • Mosques are being encouraged to draw inspiration from church choirs as part of a drive to develop a distinctively “English” brand of Islam led by the former Conservative Party chairman Baroness Warsi.

    Muslim devotional verse and music could be adapted to sound similar to hymns sung in parish churches, drawing from the centuries-old traditions of English choral music, it has been suggested.

    The idea is among a series of proposals being discussed at a “very English” tea party in Surrey hosted by Lady Warsi and organised by the think-tank British Future.

    Read more.

  • A new study on euthanasia trends in Belgium, which shows an increase in reported cases since legislation was introduced, provides lessons for countries that have legalized assisted dying. The research is published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

    Read more.

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