Press Roundup Tuesday 2 February 2010

By Press Office
February 2, 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.

Religion & Society

Pope condemns Harman equality drive as 'violation of natural law'
The Pope yesterday made an unprecedented attack on Britain's equality legislation, claiming Harriet Harman's attempts to bring in new laws enforced sinful behaviour.

Anger after Pope slams 'unjust' UK equality laws
Pope Benedict XVI has sparked fury among secular and gay rights campaigners after he attacked equality legislation in Britain for running contrary to "natural law" and restricting the freedom of religious communities.

Roman Catholic Church clashed with Labour over gay adoption, faith schools, embryo research and abortion
With 4.1million members in England and Wales, a quarter of whom attend Mass each Sunday, the Roman Catholic Church has proved a vocal and effective opposition to Labour in recent years.

Wartime Pope Pius XII 'more concerned about Communism than Holocaust'
Britain implored the controversial wartime Pope to speak out against the Holocaust but Pius XII was more concerned about the threat posed by Communism, according to documents in the National Archives at Kew.

England is 'cesspit of Islamists', says Soyinka
England is a "cesspit" and breeding ground for fundamentalist Muslims, the Nobel laureate and political activist Wole Soyinka has said in an interview in which he also accused Britain of allowing the existence of "indoctrination schools".

Comment: Has the Pope declared war on Labour?
The Pope has never made any secret of his opposition to legislation in any country that would force Catholic institutions to employ people who openly flout Church teaching, says Damian Thompson.

Comment: Papal aggression
Pope Benedict's view on equality and dissent will cause shock and outrage ahead of his visit.

Comment: Freedom comes before equality
The effect of some equality legislation has been to impose unjust limitations on the freedom of religious communities.

Comment: Did we forget about love?
It's difficult for some to acknowledge, but secularists have shown the church how to be more Christian over the equality bill.

Comment: Religion doesn’t have monopoly on morality

Peace & War

Israel admits solders were wrong to shell UN site
Israel has reprimanded two high-ranking officers over the firing of artillery shells at a UN compound during the Gaza war last year - the first admission of any high-level wrongdoing.

China attacks US 'Cold War' mentality over Taiwan arms sales
China has accused the United States of 'rude and unreasonable Cold War thinking' over its decision to sell £4 billion worth of arms to Taiwan.

Niger Delta peace process 'dead' as militants target Shell facility
Militants bent on sabotage of Nigeria's oilfields have declared a return to conflict amid a power vacuum left by the two-month absence of the country's ailing President Umaru Yar'Adua.

Comment: Israel feels under siege. Like a victim. An underdog
Anyone who is anyone in Israel will come to Herzliya this week for a conference about the state of the Jewish nation. Our correspondent joined them and found a climate of unprecedented insecurity – and paranoia.

Comment: False hopes for Palestine
Reports of optimistic developments in the Palestinian Territories are premature – they are still crushed by Israel's control regime.

Comment: A misreading of Iran that risks a fatal replay of Iraq
There is no evidence at all that Iran colluded with al-Qa'ida.

Economy & Politics

PM 'to offer electoral reform vote'
Gordon Brown is expected to offer MPs a vote on a referendum to ditch the traditional first-past-the-post voting system for Westminster elections.

Give MPs a £15,000 pay rise, says 'sympathetic' watchdog
MPs are in line for a bumper £15,000 pay rise after the next election under secret plans being drawn up by the new parliamentary expenses watchdog.

Gordon Brown likely to win general election if there is a high turnout, poll says
Gordon Brown is likely to win the general election if there is a high turnout, according to an opinion poll out today.

Geert Wilders to test British free speech with anti-Muslim film screening
Geert Wilders, the radical anti-Muslim Dutch politician, will seek to test free speech in Britain next month when he makes a second attempt to visit the House of Lords to screen a controversial film equating Islam to Nazism.

Ecology & Environment

Leaked climate change emails scientist 'hid' data flaws
Phil Jones, the beleaguered British climate scientist at the centre of the leaked emails controversy, is facing fresh claims that he sought to hide problems in key temperature data on which some of his work was based.

'Solar panel loans' to help homeowners invest in green energy
Homeowners will soon be able to take out "solar panel loans" to cover the high costs of renewable energy. Solar panels typically cost up to £12,000 to install yet take decades to pay for themselves in energy savings.

Comment: So all these climate revelations were a dastardly foreign plot
It hasn't occurred to King that the emails might have been leaked by an insider.

Education & Culture

Comment: Non-Hindus please apply
The new Hindu state school is welcome – so long as it opens its doors to those of all faiths, and none.

Comment: Faith education

Life & Death

Archbishop of York condemns the push for mercy killings
Mercy killing is being legalised on the back of a celebrity-driven campaign and without reference to Parliament, the Archbishop of York claimed yesterday.

Comment: A tribunal of mercy
As I face Alzheimer's, I want to die at a time of my choosing. We need a better way of assisting loved ones who wish the same.

People & Power

‘Pay up to free Brit captives’
Pressure was mounting on the Government yesterday to negotiate a ransom for two captured Brits.

Government 'is blocking deal for Paul and Rachel Chandler'
A company that claimed to have had a deal for the release of Paul and Rachel Chandler scuppered by the British Government's refusal to negotiate with hostage-takers today demanded to be allowed to arrange their release.

Sex & Gender

Comment: The ex-gay files: The bizarre world of gay-to-straight conversion
Is homosexuality a form of mental illness? A small but evangelical band of psychotherapists believe that it is – and they're on a mission to 'heal' the afflicted. Patrick Strudwick enters the bizarre world of gay-to-straight conversion.

Comment: The NHS pays to 'cure' homosexuals
Shrinks who prey on the anxieties of gay people are not helping the lot of gay people one bit and don’t deserve referrals from the NHS, says Alex Singleton.

Crime & Justice

Lawyers on £1m a year in legal aid shambles
Furious MPs demanded a cap on lawyers’ pay yesterday after it emerged that £25million of taxpayers’ money was overpaid in legal blunders – with some barristers earning more than £1million.

Globalisation & Development

Shame of street kids working on India stadium ahead of Commonwealth Games
Lumping rocks, these are the ragged street urchins helping to build Indias sporting jewel.

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