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In the Press

  • A irector of the controversial campaign group Cage has been charged under the Terrorism Act, after refusing to give police his computer passwords.

    Muhammad Rabbani was detained at Heathrow Airport under counter terrorism stop-and-search powers and declined to give his logins as he returned from a foreign trip last year.

    The 36-year-old international director of the group attended Bethnal Green police station in east London with his lawyer to answer bail and was charged with seeking to frustrate a search under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000.

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  • On 8 June the UK goes to the polls for the general election. Whoever assumes power will have a profound influence in shaping public policy in matters which affect us, our families, churches, patients and colleagues.

    Some claim that politics and religion should not mix – 'We don't do God', famously said spin doctor Alistair Campbell. But God is intimately involved in politics. He is sovereign over the rise and fall of nations. He establishes governing authorities, and holds them ultimately accountable. As Christians, we should both pray for our political leaders and be subject to them.

    But God has also given us a part to play in who actually exercises civil authority. Each of us, before God and in good conscience, must make our own decisions about voting; but we have a duty before God to ensure that we exercise our votes wisely, thoughtfully and in an informed way.

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  • A swimming center in Western Sydney, Australia, has installed a curtain so it can cordon off one of its three pools into a "ladies only" swimming area on Sunday afternoons between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Richard McIntosh, the manager of Auburn's Ruth Everuss Aquatic Centre, has said that the move was made with the objective of encouraging more modest women to take up swimming. Muslim women and girls in particular, he said, would feel more comfortable swimming in a "ladies only" environment.

    According to Yusra Metwally, who founded the group Swim Sisters (formerly Burkini Babes) last year in response to the French Burkini ban, women wearing full-body swimsuits during public pool hours can be subjected to "questions, comments or stares."

    "I remember when I was younger I was told by a lifeguard that my clothes weren't appropriate for the pool," she recalled. "You feel like you are being policed and that you stand out."

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  • Nearly 40 years after the world was jolted by the birth of the first test-tube baby, a new revolution in reproductive technology is on the horizon — and it promises to be far more controversial than in vitro fertilization ever was.

    Within a decade or two, researchers say, scientists will likely be able to create a baby from human skin cells that have been coaxed to grow into eggs and sperm and used to create embryos to implant in a womb.

    The process, in vitro gametogenesis, or I.V.G., so far has been used only in mice. But stem cell biologists say it is only a matter of time before it could be used in human reproduction — opening up mind-boggling possibilities.

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  • TWO women made history over the weekend when they became the first same sex couple to get married at a church in Padiham.

    Elizabeth Pulleyn, 21, and Kimberley Mcphillips, 22, tied the knot at the Unitarian Chapel, Church Street, Padiham, in front of around 100 family, friends and Unitarian congregation members.

    Kimberley Pulleyn-Mcphillips wore a suit for the wedding, while Elizabeth Pulleyn-Mcphillips, a former Oakhill College student, wore a white dress.

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  • One of London's leading private schools is considering the introduction of gender neutral uniforms.

    Highgate School in north London is consulting pupils on a mix-and-match design that would not be called girls' or boys' dress.

    It comes as head teachers say they are having to change school rules to deal with growing numbers of children questioning their identity.

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  • Fewer countries ban same-sex relations than a decade ago and more lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people have legal protection from discrimination, but homophobic violence and abuse is rife, a global rights group said on Monday.

    The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) said same-sex sexual activity was a crime in 72 countries, a drop from 92 in 2006, when the global rights group began documenting laws regarding LGBT people.

    Gay marriage is now legal in 23 countries, and 43 states have banned hate crimes, including on the basis of race and sexual orientation, according to the ILGA report.

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  • Been searching for that perfect card to send a friend who's transitioning?

    After discovering it at a CVS drugstore, Renata Sancken recently tweeted photos of a new Hallmark card supporting trans loved ones.

    Filed under the section "Encouragement: Transgender/Transitioning," the card features a butterfly on the front with the words "You're becoming who you've always been." Inside, the card reads, "How wonderful is that?”

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  • A north London private school has drawn up plans to introduce gender-neutral uniforms in response to a growing number of pupils questioning their gender identity.

    Highgate school currently has an option for girls to wear a grey pleated skirt, but the school is consulting on a mix-and-match uniform policy which will not specify a different requirement for boys and girls.

    Girls can currently wear grey trousers or skirts as well as the dark blue jackets and ties which make up the rest of the uniform. Boys may not wear a skirt and also have to wait until they are 16 to wear earrings.

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  • A few days ago in Pakistan, a Christian pastor who has been "tortured every day in prison" since 2012 when he was first incarcerated, was sentenced to life in prison. Zafar Bhatti, 51, is accused of sending "blasphemous" text messages from his mobile phone; but human rights activists contend that the charge "was fabricated to remove him from his role as a Pastor."

    Read more.

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