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World news in brief

11 January 2013


Lining up: Indian students protest in Guwahati, Assam, on Saturday, about the fatal rape-attack of a woman in Delhi last month

Lining up: Indian students protest in Guwahati, Assam, on Saturday, about the fatal rape-attack of a woman in Delhi last month

Minorities at risk of sexual violence in India, says CSW

THE "endemic" sexual violence perpetrated as part of communal violence against minorities in India has been highlighted by Christian Solidarity Worldwide in the wake of the gang rape and subsequent death of a 23-year-old student in Delhi last month. The charity's South Asia team leader, David Griffiths, said: "Rape has often been used as a weapon to spread fear and humiliate the community being targeted for violence. . . We wish to express our profound concern and solidarity with them, and urge the government to act swiftly on their behalf at a time when the horror of rape and sexual violence is very much on the national agenda."

Nadarkhani freed, but lawyer remains in prison

THE Iranian pastor Yousef Nadarkhani, recently returned to prison after being acquitted of apostasy (News, 4 January), has been released, Christian Solidarity Worldwide reports. His lawyer, Mohammed Ali Dadkhah, is serving a ten-year prison sentence after being found guilty in September of "actions and propaganda against the Islamic regime" and keeping banned books in his home. Concerns have been expressed for his well-being after reports that he is suffering from memory loss, and is under pressure to make a televised confession of guilt.

Gay marriages to be held in US National Cathedral

SAME-SEX marriages will soon be held at the Washington National Cathedral, cathedral officials have told Associated Press. Same-sex marriage is legal in the District of Columbia, and, since 1 January, is now legal in the state of Maryland. In November 2012, the Episcopalian Bishop of Washington, the Rt Revd Mariann Edgar Budde, gave permission for same-sex couples to marry in both areas, and for Episcopalian clergy to preside.

South Carolina contests 'land grab'

THE Episcopal Church in the United States is facing a lawsuit from the diocese of South Carolina, which is seeking to "protect" its property and identity. The Bishop of South Carolina, the Rt Revd Mark Lawrence, announced that the diocese had disaffiliated itself from the Episcopal Church in November after a long-running dispute with its leadership over issues such as gay clergy (News, 23 November). The Church has argued that dioceses cannot leave, and that "congregations and property remain in the diocese to be used for the mission of the Episcopal Church." The Canon to the Ordinary, the Revd Jim Lewis, said last Friday that the diocese predated the establishment of the Episcopal Church: "We want to protect these properties from a blatant land grab."

Congo university attacked

AN ANGLICAN university in Congo was attacked in December for the first time since it opened two years ago. The Vice-chancellor of the Université Anglicane du Congo, Canon Daniel Sabiti Tibafa, said that, on 22 December, armed people broke into his family's house and threatened to kill him unless he gave them money. Gunshots were fired, but there were no serious injuries.

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