The Conservative-led UK government was defeated in the House of Commons yesterday (5 September) after their Coalition partners broke ranks over the controversial bedroom tax. Several Liberal Democrats joined forces with Labour MPs on an Affordable Home Bill.
Sri Lanka must change, urge unions and intellectuals
Many health professionals have gone on strike in Sri Lanka, though this has been suspended for a fortnight by court order. Other workers too are threatening industrial action if their pay is not raised to match the cost of living.
Home secretary promise of crackdown on ‘non-violent extremism’
UK home secretary Theresa May has promised to get tough on “non-violent extremism” as well as terrorism. Unless this is narrowly defined, such measures may undermine civil liberties and do more to promote than to counter violence.
The 2014 Commonwealth Games brought moments of sporting glory, and a grand finale with Lulu, Kylie Minogue and Deacon Blue, to Glasgow. It also brought protests exposing the gap between Commonwealth ideals and reality in many member countries.
Women bishops approved: welcome step towards inclusion
The Church of England’s general synod has given the go-ahead for women to be bishops. The move won the required minimum of two-thirds of votes among bishops and both lay and clergy representatives at the gathering in York. (http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/20648) For some synod votes, the three ‘houses’ vote separately and a simple majority is not enough.
Lethal proposal for people with depression unable to work
People in the UK unable to work because of depression may have their benefits stopped if they do not undergo cognitive behavioural therapy, which it is assumed will cure them, a newspaper has reported. If this plan goes ahead, sizeable numbers of mentally ill people are likely to die.
Low share prices when the UK government privatised Royal Mail cost the taxpayer around £1 billion, a parliamentary committee has reported. Meanwhile the National Health Service and social services are in financial crisis.
A Church of England bishop has refused a licence to Jeremy Pemberton, a hospital chaplain, because he married his partner Laurence Cunnington. This may prevent him from taking up a new job closer to his home. This has further strained church’s leaders’ already tense relationship with those seeking greater inclusion.