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News in brief

22 December 2016


Arrivals: refugees disembark from the Italian Coast Guard ship Bruno Gregoretti, in the port of Naples, in October

Arrivals: refugees disembark from the Italian Coast Guard ship Bruno Gregoretti, in the port of Naples, in October

More migrants have drowned in the Mediterranean
THE number of migrants who have drowned in the Mediterranean Sea while attempting to reach Europe has continued to rise, topping 4800 during 2016, the International Organisation for Migration suggests. The figure is 1200 more than those who drowned in 2015, and with about 20 deaths a day, it will continue to rise before January. The total number of migrants making it to Europe, however, has fallen sharply to 350,000 in 2016, down from one million last year, the EU’s border agency has reported.


Next Principal of Ridley Hall announced
THE Revd Dr Michael Volland, the director of context-based training at the theological college Ridley Hall, in Cambridge, has been appointed as its next Principal. He succeeds Canon Andrew Norman, who has been appointed Director of Ministry and Mission in the diocese of Leeds. Dr Volland said that his experience of residential theological education had convinced him of the value of Ridley Hall to the Church.


Foodbank clients choose between heating and eating
HUNDREDS of thousands of people who have been given food handouts are also at risk of falling into energy poverty, research from the Trussell Trust has found. Some 46 per cent of people helped by their foodbanks are on pre-payment meters, which means that their electricity and hot water will be cut off if they cannot find enough money to put in the meter. Figures from Christians Against Poverty (CAP) suggest that a similar number (47 per cent) of CAP’s debt-counselling clients on pre-payment meters who had also needed emergency food had gone without heating or power during the winter months. The Trust’s fuelbank scheme, where foodbanks give vouchers for pre-payment meters, will be expanded to a further 18 centres, funded by a fine levied on Npower by the energy regulator, OFGEM.



Mayor of London promises to protect views
THE Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has promised to protect views of St Paul’s Cathedral from skyscrapers, under a plan that would introduce more stringent public consultations regarding planning permission, The Times reported on Tuesday. Concerns were raised this week over a 42-storey building in Stratford that has obstructed a “celebrated” view of St Paul’s from King Henry’s Mound in Richmond Park. “Consideration is to be given to including more distant boroughs to prevent this happening again,” Mr Khan said. “However, this would currently need government agreement, unless the necessary powers are delegated to the Mayor, as has been sought.”


Prime Minister vows to combat anti-Semitism
THE Prime Minister has vowed to combat “personally” the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe, and “to rid this scourge of hatred from the soul of our country”, in an article for The Jewish Chronicle, published last week. “The fact that antisemitism is on the rise again in mainland Europe should sicken us all; the fact it is on the rise here in Britain should shame us all,” Mrs May wrote. She also pledged to increase security provision for Jewish schools and synagogues, and to uphold plans for a Holocaust memorial in Parliament Square (News, 29 January). www.thejc.com


Correction. We apologise for misspelling the name of the director of the Church Society, the Revd Dr Lee Gatiss, last week.

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