Press Roundup Monday 1 February 2010

By Press Office
February 1, 2010

A selection of stories from today's press and other media that relate to Ekklesia's work, produced daily by James Vincent and covering papers such as The Times, Daily Telegraph, Independent, Guardian, and the tabloids.

Peace & War

Karzai offers Taliban olive branch
Afghanistan's president has appealed to Taliban fighters to lay down their weapons and accept Afghan laws as the government and its international allies pushed a programme to entice militants away from the insurgency.

Britain can expect to suffer 'many more casualties' in Afghanistan, top diplomat warns
Britain can expect to suffer ‘many more casualties’ in Afghanistan, a top diplomat has warned.

Gordon Brown to commit an extra £1.5billion to Afghan war
Gordon Brown will pour an extra £1.5billion into fighting the war in Afghanistan next year.

Detente with Iran recedes as US strengthens Gulf defences
Days after a State of the Union address that threatened "growing consequences" if Iran continues to ignore international concerns over its nuclear programme, the Obama administration has quietly revealed plans to increase its military presence and step up arms sales to friendly regimes in the Persian Gulf.

Israel denies Gaza war crimes in report to UN
Israel has delivered a report to the UN defending its actions in last year's Gaza war and insisting its troops did not violate international law, but has not agreed to hold an independent investigation as demanded.

'Nobel Peace Prize-winner Barack Obama ups spending on nuclear weapons to even more than George Bush'
President Obama is planning to increase spending on America's nuclear weapons stockpile just days after pledging to try to rid the world of them.

Comment: In the West Bank's stony hills, Palestine is slowly dying
In the richest of the Occupied lands, Israeli bureaucracy is driving Palestinians out of their homes. Robert Fisk reports from Jiftlik.

Globalisation & Development

Ten American Christians arrested in Haiti trying to take 33 orphans out of the country
Ten Americans have been arrested after allegedly trying to smuggle 33 children out of earthquake-stricken Haiti.

Haiti food lines focus on women
Under a new targeted approach to aid thousands of other women across Haiti's capital no longer have to battle with men at food hand-outs that in recent days have been chaotic and dangerous scrums.

Voodoo high priest claims aid monopolised by Christians
Haiti's voodoo high priest has claimed believers have been discriminated against by evangelical Christians who are monopolising aid sent to the earthquake-stricken country.

Comment: Making globalisation pay
Big corporations are using the banking crisis as an excuse for exploiting cheap labour. Is it time for a global minimum wage?

Comment: The west owes Haiti a bailout. And it would be a hand-back, not a handout
The Caribbean nation should be reimbursed for centuries of punitive treatment and brutality by the outside world.

Ecology & Environment

PM hails emissions 'turning point'
Pledges to cut emissions mark the "first steps towards a historic transformation" in the fight against global warming, Gordon Brown has said.

Global deal on climate change in 2010 'all but impossible'
A global deal to tackle climate change is all but impossible in 2010, leaving the scale and pace of action to slow global warming in coming decades uncertain, according to senior figures across the world involved in the negotiations.

Japan whaling programme challenged
Researchers from 12 countries will conduct research on whales in Antarctica in an open challenge to Japan's programme that kills up to 1,000 whales a year in the name of science.

Caught again! UN climate claims on ice loss melt away
The UN's climate change panel has been caught making unfounded claims for the third time in just two weeks.

Life & Death

Make right to die legal – Pratchett
Sir Terry Pratchett is to use a prestigious lecture to say that the "time is really coming" for assisted suicide to be legalised.

Drug traffickers face execution
A court in northern Vietnam has sentenced four men to death for trafficking heroin.

Comment: The great and the good support mercy killing - that's why I'm so worried
I am tired of being bombarded with emotional blackmail in favour of mercy killing. The opposite case is in my view better, but the emotive tragedies caused by legal euthanasia will only become obvious when it is too late, as happened with abortion.

Comment: Life is sacred – don't downgrade it
In our reaction to the Gilderdale case, it is easy to forget that suffering and self-sacrifice are part of a truly humane society.

Religion & Society

Queen's adviser meets Archbishop of Westminster after Pope's offer to Anglicans
A senior adviser to the Queen has met secretly with the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales to express concern over the Pope's offer for disaffected Anglicans to convert to Rome.

Comment: The Christians who call God 'Allah'
Muslims in Malaysia have burnt churches in protest at Christians calling their God Allah, but there is a precedent, says Christopher Howse.

Comment: A very modern illusion
Charles Taylor shows how faith and scientific progress both require leaps into the unknown.

Economy & Politics

Britain faces first hung parliament in 36 years after Tory lead slips
Britain is on course for its first hung parliament since 1974, according to the latest opinion polls.

One week to repay expenses: £50,000 ultimatum for fiddling MPs
At least six MPs will be given one week to pay back more than £50,000 in over-claimed expenses.

Sex & Gender

Teaching about gay equality should be 'embedded' in schooling, says David Cameron
David Cameron has said that teaching children about equality for gay people and the importance of civil partnerships should be "embedded" in Britain's schooling.

Rise of female breadwinners as one in five women earn more than their partner
Not so long ago it would have been unthinkable, but one woman in five now earns more than her husband or boyfriend.

Community & Family

Comment: It's shabby values, not class, that are to blame for society's ills
Harriet Harman's 'equality bible' was published this week - 450 pages of dripping, liberal invective that lays all the blame for society's ills on the class system.

Education & Culture

Popular church schools can set their own criteria to ensure pupils are devout
Most faith schools are voluntary-aided, which means that religious organisations help pay for their upkeep although they are funded by the local council.

Race & Identity

Poll shows Britons back limited curbs on the veil
The British people support some restrictions on wearing the burka in public but oppose an outright ban, according to a new poll for The Independent.

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