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World news in brief

21 October 2016


Condemned: inmates in the north segregation area of death row at San Quentin State Prison, California, in August

Condemned: inmates in the north segregation area of death row at San Quentin State Prison, California, in August

Bishops speak out, as California votes on death penalty

BISHOPS from all six dioceses in California have issued a statement supporting Proposition 62, which, if passed, would repeal the death penalty in the US state. The US Episcopal Church set out its opposition to the death penalty in 1958. The Bishops acknowledged that “this may be an issue on which reasonable people of good faith might disagree,” but highlighted that the Church had repeatedly called on all its people “to work actively to abolish the death penalty in their states”. A previous proposition that would have abolished the death penalty was defeated in 2012.


‘No enemies in our family’ ACC chairman says

“THERE are no enemies” in the Anglican Communion, the Primate of Hong Kong, the Most Revd Paul Kwong, who chairs the Anglican Consultative Council, has said. Speaking after six months in the post, he said that he wanted the Standing Committee to “reach out to the people who like us – and those who ‘loathe’ us! After all, we are brothers and sisters – we are not enemies. There are no enemies in our family. Yes, we have people who have different views, who think differently, but that doesn’t mean we cannot talk to each other.” People were free to choose, he emphasised, but “I don’t want to see anyone walk away.” He urged the Communion to continue to pray for peace in a world where there appeared to be no safe place.


Trial of pastors in Khartoum continues

THE trial in Khartoum of three Christians charged with multiple offences, two of which carry the death penalty, continued this week (News, 9 September). The Revd Hassan Abduraheem and Abdulmonem Abdumawla have been detained in Sudan since December. The Revd Kuwa Shamal has been held since May. The prosecution has begun its case. The next hearing is scheduled to take place on Monday. The men are charged jointly with at least seven crimes, including waging war against the state and espionage, which carry the death penalty as the maximum sentence.


Canadian clergy appeal to Welby, after gay bishop elected

THREE of the clergy in the diocese of Toronto have written to the Archbishop of Canterbury to request an “intervention”, after the election of Canon Kevin Robertson, a gay man living with his partner, as Bishop of Toronto. Canon Murray Henderson, the Revd Catherine Sider Hamilton, and Canon Dean Mercer write that the inclusion of Canon Robertson on the ballot was “contrary to the present doctrine and discipline of the Anglican Church of Canada”, and that he was therefore “not duly qualified for the office of bishop”. The signatories told the Anglican Journal that the response they had received in Canada was “inadequate . . . We register our dissent and ask for your intervention.”


Iranian pastor released after six years in jail

A MINISTER, Pastor Behnam Irani, from the Church of Iran, a Protestant denomination, was released from prison on Monday, after completing a six-year sentence, Christianity Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) reports. Mr Irani, the father of two young children, was imprisoned for “action against the state” and “action against the order”. CSW reports that he has been subjected to psychological torture, including solitary confinement, and regular beatings. Mervyn Thomas, chief executive of CSW, welcomed Mr Irani’s release, after his “unjust arrest and conviction on false charges”, and condemned the “continuing systematic harassment and imprisonment of Christians and other religious minorities” in Iran.


World civilisation prizes announced

THE first Lui Che Woo prizes for world civilisation have been announced. The awards, launched by Dr Lui, a Chinese philanthropist, recognise work to improve the world for others. The judges include the former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Williams. The winners this year are Médecins Sans Frontières, for its work on tackling cholera and Ebola; the former US President Jimmy Carter and the Carter Center in the “promotion of harmony”; and Professor Yuan Longpin, who invented a high-yielding hybrid rice. Each will receive £1.93 million in cash.

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