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UK news in brief

17 March 2017


Memory aid: The Rosary is to be one of the artworks in an installation by Cristina Rodrigues, a Portuguese artist, at Manchester Cathedral, in the autumn, to mark the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s state visit to Portugal

Memory aid: The Rosary is to be one of the artworks in an installation by Cristina Rodrigues, a Portuguese artist, at Manchester Cathedral, in the aut...


Dean of Exeter to retire after a sabbatical

THE Dean of Exeter Cathedral, the Very Revd Dr Jonathan Draper, is to retire in August, after a sabbatical, the cathedral confirmed in a statement on Sunday. It comes after the report of a Visitation ordered by the Bishop of Exeter, the Rt Revd Robert Atwell, and completed in January last year, called for a culture change at the cathedral, and said that it was “worrying” that Dr Draper had not played a greater part in the pastoral care of the community since his appointment in 2011 (News, 23 September).


Anti-slavery code for Welsh businesses

THE Welsh government has issued a new code of practice to ensure that all public, private, or third-sector organisations provide written statements on what steps they are taking to combat modern slavery. TISC Report, a public database of slavery information, is to log these commitments. The new ethics code covers six key subjects, including recognising and responding to modern slavery, which is estimated to affect 50 million people worldwide.


Training launched for heads of multi-academy trusts

THE Church of England Foundation for Educational Leadership launched on Monday a training programme for existing or aspiring chief executives of diocesan multi-academy trusts. It will be delivered in partnership with the UCL Institute of Education, and Deloitte, and include sessions on leadership, finance, marketing, and school improvement. The lead partner for education at Deloitte, Julie Mercer, said that C of E schools played a “critical role” in the UK education system. “Great leadership teams within these schools increasingly need to balance operational and financial management alongside great educational outcomes.”


Budget should be decided by independent body, says bishop

THE national debt in the UK was unsustainable because it had been “allowed to rise so much” before the financial crisis of 2008, the Bishop of Chester, Dr Peter Forster, said during a debate on the Budget, in the House of Lords on Tuesday. “Getting our national finances genuinely into a better state will be a very difficult challenge amid all the political pressures which arise in a consumerist society so resistant to increased taxation,” he predicted. Budgets and tax-raising plans would therefore “best be proposed by an independent and cross-party body” to avoid eating into GDP to fund the NHS and social care.


Vicar gagged after breaching silence agreement

THE Vicar of Christ Church, Virginia Water, in Surrey, the Revd Dr Stephen Sizer, who was linked to an online article suggesting that Israel was responsible for the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001, has been barred from public ministry after breaching an agreement to stop speaking or writing about the Middle East again, the Bishop of Guildford, the Rt Revd Andrew Watson, has confirmed (News, 13 February 2015). Dr Sizer shared the material on his Facebook page last week. “I am very disappointed by Dr Sizer’s actions,” Bishop Watson said in a statement. “I have required him to cease all preaching, teaching, and leading of services with immediate effect. He will also desist from all use of social media until his retirement takes effect.”


Abuser jailed on evidence given by blinking

THE former Vicar of St Matthias’s, Stoke Newington, in London, Cyril Rowe, aged 78, has been jailed for four years this week, after being convicted at Bournemouth Crown Court of indecent assault against a young choirboy at the church between 1979 and 1981. The unnamed victim, who was paralysed by motor neurone disease, gave evidence against his abuser from a hospice in Streatham, south London, via video link, by “blinking his eyes” — a signal that was interpreted by technology similar to that used by the physicist Stephen Hawking to communicate (News, 17 February). The victim was nine and 11 years old when the abuse took place.


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