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World news in brief

31 August 2012


E-pilgrimage: an American tourist reads from her iPad while riding a donkey fitted with a wi-fi outfit, in the village of Hoshaya, in Galilee. Tours are on offer that allow visitors to ride donkeys while surfing the web. Organisers hope that the tours will attract younger people to Galilee

Christians to advise Egyptian President

President Mohamed Morsi of Egypt has appointed two Christians to his team of 21 aides, and three women, his spokesman confirmed on Monday, in recognition of a promise that he made at the time of his election in June. The aides include a Christian intellectual, Samir Morkos Abdel, as an assistant for democratic transformation. Two women, one of whom is Christian, are ministers in the cabinet of 35. Christians make up a tenth of the population of Egypt.

Boost for Washington Cathedral fund

A GRANT worth $5 million has been donated by a philanthropic foundation, the Lilly Endowment Inc., to the fund to restore Washington National Cathedral. The announcement came on the first anniversary of an earthquake that caused extensive damage to the building. The cathedral's interim Dean, the Very Revd Dr Francis Wade, said that almost $8 million, out of a target of $50 million, had been raised so far.

Rob Bell's successor announced

A NEW teaching pastor has been appointed at Mars Hill Bible Church, in Grandville, Michigan, in the United States, after Rob Bell ( Features, 5 August 2011), its founding pastor and an author, departed for California earlier this year. Kent Dobson, formerly the church's worship director, will now lead the church. He is the son of Ed Dobson, pastor emeritus at Calvary Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan, and he currently works in the Spiritual Life Office at Grand Rapids Christian Schools. Mr Dobson will be formally introduced on 9 September.


Final performance: the American singer Whitney Houston, who died earlier this year, plays Emma, a mother who forms a singing group in Detroit, in 1968, in the film Sparkle, which was released earlier this month


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