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UK news in brief

05 February 2016


Striding out: a model shows an item from Gucci's 2015 cruise wear collection, in New York, last June

Striding out: a model shows an item from Gucci's 2015 cruise wear collection, in New York, last June

Cloisters of Westminster to become Gucci catwalk

THE cloisters of Westminster Abbey are to be transformed into a catwalk this summer for the Italian fashion label Gucci, reports from The Daily Telegraph suggest. The next Gucci Cruise show, by the creative director Alessandro Michele, will take place at the Abbey on 2 June. The director has previously favoured industrial settings in Milan over historic buildings.


Group warns over human-embryo decision

A SECULAR watchdog, Human Genetics Alert (HGA), has responded to the decision by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority on Monday to grant a licence to modify human embryos genetically. The director of HGA, Dr David King, said: “This research will allow the scientists to refine the techniques for creating GM babies. . . So this is the first step in a well mapped-out process leading to GM babies, and a future of consumer eugenics.”


Religion can make you happier, statistics suggest

RELIGION can make you happier and more satisfied with life, figures from the Office for National Statistics’ “well-being” research programme suggest. A sample of the UK population is asked to rate their lives on a scale of nought to ten for the programme, which is now in its fifth year. In the latest survey, published on Tuesday, respondents with no religious affiliation recorded lower levels of happiness, life satisfaction, and self-worth than those who had a faith. British people who are non-religious also reported lower levels of anxiety than those who practised religion.


Dons seek end to fossil-fuel investment

MORE than 300 academics at Oxford and Cambridge have signed a joint statement calling on the institutions to pursue more “morally sound” investment policies that have no basis in fossil fuels. Signatories of the student-led campaign, including the former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Williams, and the Astronomer Royal, Lord Rees, said that the universities should direct their endowment funds, which amount to £9.3 billion, towards more ethical institutions, and avoid “pressure” from the fossil-fuel divestment movement.


Vicar criticises Muslim politician for ‘insulting Christians’

THE Vicar of All Saints’, Small Heath, in Birmingham, the Revd Oliver Coss, has criticised a local Labour politician, Muhammad Afzal, in his Sunday sermon, for slander against the Christian community. Mr Afzal, who is the chairman of Birmingham Central Mosque, reportedly told the organisation Muslim Women’s Network UK that “domestic violence was happening mainly in the Christian community because they get drunk.” Fr Coss spoke to his congregation this week of “bad will” from a “particular religious leader. . . who thought it permissible last week to insult Christians, and many others, with his words”.


Vicar warns over alms boxes after thieves jailed

THE former Vicar of St Mary’s, Martlesham, the Revd Patricia Shuler, has warned other parishes to guard against thieves after an Essex pair were caught on CCTV using wires to steal from the church’s alms box in November 2014. The couple, Wally Loveridge and Sheila Parker, were jailed for 22 and 18 months respectively at Ipswich Crown Court on Tuesday. Ms Shuler suggests that churches put a marked banknote inside their collection boxes, to find out if they are victims of theft.



Clarification. Responding to last week’s report “Manx priest resigns after dispute”, concerning Canon Jules Gomes, a spokesman for the diocese said that under the Code of Practice for the Clergy Discipline Measure the Bishop could not make any comment until the process was ended, at which time he would make a full statement.


New date. The play With Full Conviction (News, 29 January) will now have its première at St Wilfrid’s, Bognor Regis, on 20 February, and then run on the next two nights at All Saints’, Hove.

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