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UK news in brief

10 May 2013


German pietà: a life-sized sculp­ture, created in 1904 by Balthasar Schmitt for St Paul's, Munich, is on display in the crypt of Canter­bury Cathedral until 27 August

German pietà: a life-sized sculp­ture, created in 1904 by Balthasar Schmitt for St Paul's, Munich, is on display in the crypt of Canter­bury Cathedr...

THE Government's failure to include in the Queen's Speech its promise to spend 0.7 per cent of GDP on foreign aid has left the chief executive of Tearfund "bitterly disappointed". On Wednesday, Matthew Frost said: "Charity begins at home, but it doesn't stay here." The legislative programme set out in the speech focused on home affairs, although it referred to the Prime Minister's presidency of the G8 and "work to prevent sexual violence in conflict worldwide".

A PROTESTER at the Occupy camp outside St Paul's Cathedral has been cleared of raping a woman on the site. On Thursday of last week, a jury at the Old Bailey found Malcolm Blackman, aged 46, not guilty on two counts of rape. The claimant told the court that she had been attacked by Mr Blackman in January 2012, in a tent in the camp.

THE Government's same-sex marriage Bill was blamed by Conservative activists for the party's performance in last week's local elections, in which 335 council seats were lost. On Tuesday, Robert Woollard, the chairman of Conservative Grassroots, a recently formed network of party members, said that efforts by election activists had been "deeply undermined by David Cameron's personal commitment to redefine marriage". A ComRes online poll of 1502 people in April found that, of those who voted for the Conservatives in 2010, a quarter said that the Bill made them "less likely" to vote for the party in the local elections.

THE sixth anniversary of the disappearance of Madeleine McCann (News, 25 May 2007), was marked by the Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu, on Friday. Dr Sentamu said prayers for Madeleine and her family at Bishopthorpe Palace, where prayers are said for her every day: "We should not give up hope; nor should we stop supporting those that are hurting."

MINISTERS in the Church of Scotland should undergo a regular "structured review", a process currently regarded by many as "potentially unsettling, or a threat best avoided", suggests a report due to be presented at the Church's General Assembly next week. The Special Commission Anent Ministerial Tenure and the Leadership of the Local Church emphasises that the review would not be a examination aimed at "weeding out the problem cases", but a "process of guided reflection".

A NIGHTCLUB-owner, Ben Read, who has rebranded a club in Carlisle "The Church", replete with a crucifix above the entrance and an image of a DJ in a pose reminiscent of Christ on the cross, is unrepentant. Mr Read told The Cumberland News: "The cross has gone past being a piece of religious iconography. It's fashionable and it's a trendy thing to wear." A Roman Catholic priest from a parish near by, Fr Michael Docherty, said that the use of the cross "corrupts" its meaning: "Something that should be a symbol of good and virtue is corrupted for material gain."

A PROGRAMME for people suffering from problems with food has been launched by Burrswood Hospital in Kent, a Christian facility. The "Insights into Eating" programme is a two-week residential package, designed for those who "want to start to address their 'emotional' eating habits".

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