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UK news in brief

20 November 2015

Illuminations: a painting by Cathy Young, an Anglican artist based in Luton. Inspired to paint saints after attending a quiet day about icons more than 20 years ago, her first featured St Benedict and St Dominic. "I love being asked to paint saints that I am not familiar with, because I can get to know them as friends before painting them," she said last week. Painted on box canvas with acrylics, her work includes a series based on the monochrome woodcuts by Gustave Doré, found in The Divine Comedy by Dante. She is currently looking for venues for an exhibition. https://iconismus.wordpress.com/

Illuminations: a painting by Cathy Young, an Anglican artist based in Luton. Inspired to paint saints after attending a quiet day about icons more tha...

Jury fails to reach a verdict over accused vicar

A JURY has failed to reach a verdict at the trial of the Vicar of Haverhill with Withersfield, Canon Ian Finn, who is accused of defrauding his church of £13,000 in fees for services, by keeping the money in his own bank account (News, 23 January). He denied fraud by abuse of position. A further hearing is scheduled for 24 November, when the Crown Prosecution Service will indicate whether it will be seeking a retrial.

Radio presenter quits after calling lawyer ‘bigoted’ on air

THE comedian Iain Lee has left his job as a presenter on BBC Three Counties Radio after calling a Christian Concern lawyer, Libby Powell, “bigoted” for describing homosexuality as a sin. The two were engaged in a discussion about the case of a Pentecostal minister, the Revd Barry Trayhorn, who resigned from HM Prison Littlehey in Cambridgeshire, where he was a gardener and led worship, after facing disciplinary action over an alleged “homophobic statement”. He is being represented by Ms Powell at a tribunal over a claim of unfair dismissal. Both Mr Lee and the BBC issued apologies for the interview.

Letter requiring 40-denier cover-up attracts criticism

A LETTER telling all girl pupils to wear opaque black tights in the “interest of modesty” was issued this month by St Hild’s C of E School in Hartlepool. The deputy head pastoral, Grant Carswell, told parents that this was “to ensure your child is properly safeguarded on their way to and from school”. The instruction drew criticism from the Fawcett Society, among others, which described it as “not acceptable in 2015”. In response, the acting head, Tracey Gibson, told The Daily Telegraph that it had had “unforeseen and unhelpful outcomes”, but was an “interim” response to the length of pupils’ skirts’ being “a subject of concern”.


More Muslims say they see Islamophobia

MORE than half of British Muslims say that they have seen abuse or discrimination against fellow Muslims, up by 40 per cent since 2010, a study by the Islamic Human Rights Commission, released on Wednesday, suggests. Only 18 per cent of 1780 Muslims surveyed said that they had never witnessed Islamophobia, down from 50 per cent five years ago. Last year, a total of 52,528 hate crimes, of which 3254 were religiously motivated, were recorded in England and Wales. On Tuesday, a woman in Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland, said that the petrol-bomb attack on her home was motivated by the fact that her husband is a Muslim.


Charities advise companies on responsible tax decisions

THE charities Action Aid, Oxfam, and Christian Aid have released a report advising multinationals on how to make responsible tax decisions that will have "positive impacts" on practices in developing countries. The report Getting To Good, published on Tuesday, gives examples on transfer pricing, use of tax incentives, and lobbying, and welcomes reforms to domestic and international tax law. Multinational businesses are called on to go "above and beyond" the legal compliance required, by publishing reports early, and considering the human-rights impacts of their tax decisions.


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