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UK news in brief

09 February 2018


Saving history: a synagogue in Belarus, one 160 identified as at risk in a project that has mapped 3318 synagogues — the remnant of 17,000 built in Europe before the Second World War. The project was launched this week by the Foundation for Jewish Heritage and the historian Simon Schama. Two of the at-risk buildings are in the UK: in Merthyr Tydfil and Sunderland

Saving history: a synagogue in Belarus, one 160 identified as at risk in a project that has mapped 3318 synagogues — the remnant of 17,000 built in Eu...


‘Let heterosexual couples form civil partnerships,’ says MP

TIM LOUGHTON, a Conservative MP, has begun an attempt, through a Private Member’s Bill, to permit heterosexual couples to form civil partnerships. Mr Loughton said that it was “not fair” that opposite-sex couples had “the single option of marriage”. He also supports calls for mothers’ names to be included on marriage certificates, and for stillborn babies to be registered. The Government has said that his Bill — the Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration etc.) Bill — has its backing. It has been given an unopposed second reading.


New chairman for USPG

JOHN NEILSON, secretary of Imperial College London, is to chair the trustees of the Anglican mission agency USPG. He worked in Whitehall for more than 30 years, holding posts in the Department of Energy, the Economic Secretariat of the Cabinet Office, and the Department for Trade and Industry. He has served on various boards, among them the Met Office and the Royal Albert Hall. He worships at St Mary’s, Wimbledon, and has just completed a ten-year term on the audit committee of the Archbishops’ Council. He succeeds Canon Chris Chivers, whose six-year term will finish in July.


Priest cleared of inappropriate sexual conduct

THE Bishop’s Disciplinary Tribunal for the diocese of Leicester has cleared the Revd Timothy Blewett, a former army chaplain, of inappropriate sexual conduct. A woman had alleged that Mr Blewett “forced himself upon her and had sexual intercourse with her”. The tribunal ruled at the end of December 2017 that it was “not satisfied on the balance of probabilities” that an improper sexual relationship had occurred. The tribunal said, however, that he “did not maintain appropriate boundaries [in] his role as spiritual director”.


Salvation Army launches scheme for people with dementia

THE Salvation Army has launched a programme, Singing By Heart, for people with dementia, to help them connect with others and reawaken memories. The initiative, open to members of all denominations, uses a mixture of popular hymns and songs to help trigger past memories and emotions.


Dignity not to do with assisted dying, says think tank

A NEW report from Theos, a Christian think tank, argues that personalised end-of-life care should be the priority rather than assisted dying. The report, Dignity at the End of Life: What’s beneath the assisted dying debate?, argues that, instead of gracing a campaign to legalise euthanasia, “dignity” stems from investing the necessary time and resources in high-quality care. The report’s author, Andrew Grey, said that someone at the end his or her life should be helped to feel “valued as a human being, and as a member of their community and society as a whole”.


PAClowns attend the 72nd annual Joseph Grimaldi memorial service at All Saints’, Hackney, in east London. The service, organised by Clowns International, pays tribute to the man recognised as the “king of clowns”

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