Press Roundup Wednesday 3 February 2010

By Press Office
February 3, 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

Victory for religious groups as Labour gives up on Equality Bill clause condemned by Pope
The Government has backed down over a clause in the Equality Bill that was described as an “unjust” restriction on religious freedom by Pope Benedict XVI.

Thousands sign online petition against Pope’s visit to Britain
Four thousand people have signed an online petition to protest against the Pope’s planned four-day visit to Britain later this year.

Gordon Brown's invite to Pope Benedict XVI leaves Church anxious about costs
Delighted though the faithful are that Pope Benedict XVI is coming to Britain later this year, concern is growing about who is going to pay for the visit.

Richard Williamson 'unrepentant' over Holocaust denial
Richard Williamson, the Catholic Bishop soon to face trial in Germany on charges of denying the Holocaust, is apparently unrepentant, allegedly telling colleagues recently it was a "huge lie" that six million Jews were murdered by the Nazis.

Comment: Why I, as a gay man, agree with the Pope - Harriet Harman's equality mania only promotes intolerance
You might assume then, as an out, proud, gay man that I would be appalled by the Pope's extraordinary public attack on Harriet Harman's Equality Bill.

Comment: All of us deserve equality
The pope's attack on UK equality legislation is misguided. LGBT Catholics are entitled to freedom from discrimination too.

Comment: An odious view, indeed. But I'm with Pope Benedict on this one
The pope's right to practise what he preaches needs defending in the face of Harriet Harman's intolerant equalities bill.

Comment: The Pope is right about the threat to freedom
We may not agree with the Vatican line on homosexuality. But the State is trampling on our rights as individuals.

Comment: Sex isn't the Pope's only battle
Pope Benedict can hardly be said to be meddling by stating moral principles, says Christopher Howse.

Comment: Wole Soyinka's rash words
Is England really a "cesspit" and breeding ground for fundamentalist Muslims, as the Nobel laureate has it?

Economy & Politics

Voting reform plan faces Tory resistance
Labour will fight the general election by promising to change the voting system as part of a decade-long programme to build a "new politics".

Labour MPs criticise plan to drop parliamentary reform proposals
Gordon Brown's credentials as a ­constitutional reformer were attacked by some of his most senior backbench MPs today when it became clear he was going to ditch reforms to strengthen ­parliament's control of the executive.

Chiefs at war over MP exes
Sleaze watchdog Sir Christopher Kelly last night declared war on the man in charge of cleaning up MPs' expenses.

Comment: Who will fight for electoral reform?
Gordon Brown has pledged a referendum on the alternative vote system – but who is passionate enough to campaign for it?

Comment: MPs and voters beware – the expenses scandal isn't over yet
MPs insist voters are more interested in the recession. But the damage is immense.

Peace & War

Blair misled Parliament over Iraq, claims former minister Clare Short
Tony Blair misled Parliament over Iraq because he was convinced it was right to topple Saddam Hussein, former minister Clare Short claimed today.

Barak: make peace with Palestinians or face apartheid
Ehud Barak, Israel's defence minister, last night delivered an unusually blunt ­warning to his country that a failure to make peace with the Palestinians would leave either a state with no Jewish ­majority or an "apartheid" regime.

Israeli commander: 'We rewrote the rules of war for Gaza'
Civilians 'put at greater risk to save military lives' in winter attack - revelations that will pile pressure on Netanyahu to set up full inquiry.

Russia and US 'agree to nuclear deal'
The US and Russia have agreed in principle on a deal to replace the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (Start) that expired in December after 15 years as the centerpiece of nuclear arms control, the Wall Street Journal reports today.

Comment: Laws of conflict do not allow for killing civilians in this way
Israel conducted an armed operation in the most populated civilian area in the world.

Community & Family

Children 'should be made to care for parents'
Children should look after their parents when they get old, one of Britain’s leading family lawyers said yesterday.

'Britain is one of world's most unfriendly countries towards children'
Britain is suffering a “deep malaise” as one of the world’s most hostile countries towards young people, the outgoing children’s commissioner has warned.

Life & Death

Iran to execute nine dissidents ahead of Feb 11 anniversary
Iran will execute nine dissidents "soon", an official said on Tuesday, as President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stepped up a campaign to crush the country's opposition movement.

Comment: In 37 years as a cancer doctor, I've never had a patient who asked for euthanasia
One of Britain's most respected doctors, Karol Sikora, condemns Terry Pratchett's call for assisted death tribunals.

Race & Identity

UK population 'to hit 85m unless we cut immigration'
Immigration must be slashed by three-quarters to keep Britain’s population below 70 million by 2030, a senior Tory MP warned yesterday.

National identity at risk from immigration, warns women's group
Britain's national identity is under threat because of the scale of immigration, one of Britain's largest women's organisations has warned.

Crime & Justice

Ugandans sue Britain over colonial era crimes
Ten Ugandans are suing the British government for £300 billion in damages for crimes committed by colonial officers in the late 1800s.

Ecology & Environment

Fury as giant Belo Monte Amazon rainforest dam is approved by Brazil
Brazil has approved the controversial construction of a giant hydroelectric dam in the heart of the Amazon, defying a 20-year protest by indigenous and environmental campaigners who say that the project will devastate the surrounding rainforest and threaten the survival of local tribes.

Globalisation & Development

Britain facing food crisis as world's soil 'vanishes in 60 years'
British farming soil could run out within 60 years, leading to a catastrophic food crisis and drastically higher prices for consumers, scientists warn.

Sex & Gender

Military commander says gay ban should be lifted
The top military commander in the United States told Congress yesterday that not only is it time to review the "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays serving in the military instituted by former President Bill Clinton but that getting rid of it entirely would be the "right thing to do".

Although the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia, the article may reflect Ekklesia's values. If you use Ekklesia's news briefings please consider making a donation to sponsor Ekklesia's work here.