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News in brief

27 November 2008

Liz McClarnon, from the group Atomic Kitten, who won the BBC  Celebrity Masterchef in July, is giving up food for a day for the World Vision 24 Hour Famine campaign, to be held from 13 to 15 February next year to raise funds for children and young people in the developing world. Other supporters included Gabriella Cilmi, the singer, and Fearne Cotton, the BBC RAdio DJ, who will abstain from singing and listening to music respectively. www.thepinkcity.org; or phone 01908841212 to take part.

Founder honoured
Janis Feely of Stevenage, Herts, who set up the charity The Living Room to help people recover from addictions, won the Inspiring Individual section of the first Inspire Awards, presented in Westminster last week

On the buses
For four weeks, the charity MEMO is advertising a message to those fearful about the credit crunch (above).

Bus badge
The British Humanist Association, which plans a campaign, “There probably is no God” (badge, left), also using bus posters (News, 24 October), has received £35,000 from the Equality and Human Rights Commission

Bishop’s concern for learning-disabled prisoners
THE Bishop of Liverpool, the Rt Revd James Jones, has described a report by the Prison Reform Trust on the treatment of people with learning disabilities in the Criminal Justice System as “uncomfortable reading”. The report, Prisoners’ Voices, says that these vulnerable prisoners face systemic and routine discrimination from the point of arrest to release. “Vulnerable people and those with disability have a legal as well as a moral right to be treated equally. Unless these issues are addressed, it will undermine the concept of justice within the criminal justice system,” the Bishop said.

Harassment-case policeman sacked
PC GRAHAM COGMAN has been dismissed from Norfolk Police after a misconduct hearing. PC Cogman had claimed that Norfolk Police promoted gay rights over religious beliefs, and was accused of being homo­phobic after sending an email to colleagues describing homosexuality as sinful (News, 25 July). He was dismissed for misconduct after being found guilty of two charges at a hearing this week: one of failing to comply with a lawful order over the use of police computers, and the other of failing to treat a colleague with politeness and tolerance. He is taking Norfolk Police to an employment tribunal on grounds of harassment because of his traditional Christian values. The case is due to be heard in April next year.

BBC Bible-story series scrapped
A SIX-PART BBC series dramatising well-known Bible stories has been scrapped indefinitely because of “funding and timing” issues. The project was due to be shown on BBC1 next year, and to feature a recreation of stories such as Noah and David and Goliath. A BBC spokes­woman said that the Corporation “remained committed” to making a drama series based on the Bible.

St Paul’s reaches £40m target
ST PAUL’S CATHEDRAL announced this week that its restoration project had reached its £40 million target. The news coincides with the 300th anniver­sary of the topping out of the Cathed­­ral, when the last stone was placed above the dome. Over the past eight years, most of the Cathedral has been cleaned and repaired. The final part of the project, the cleaning of the north elevation, is due to be finished by 2010. The £40 million was raised by more than 850 donors, without support from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Scott Holland lecture, page 24

Overseas Primates attend USPG meeting
FIVE Primates gathered in the UK last week at the USPG: Anglicans in World Mission consultation. The three-yearly conference examines ways the organisation can improve its work with the Anglican provinces, and this year marks the 150th anniversary of the Universities’ Mission to Central Africa (UCMA), which in 1965 merged with the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (SPG) to form USPG. The Primates are those of Tanzania, Brazil, West Africa, Myanmar (Burma), and the Indian Ocean.

Correction: a reference to Dr Philip Giddings in last week’s NEAC story should have read Philip Lovegrove. Our apologies.

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