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Found 25 results

  1. https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/thousands-anti-lockdown-protesters-gather-22597555 The protest in Berlin was even bigger sadly 38,000 in Berlin, 10,000 in London
  2. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have left hospital after the arrival of their third child, a boy. The couple's second son, who was born at 11:01 BST, weighing 8lb 7oz, is fifth in line to the throne. Prince George and Princess Charlotte had visited their brother at the Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital, London. Leaving the hospital Prince William said the couple were very happy, before holding up three fingers and joking he had "thrice the worry now". "We didn't keep you waiting too long this time," he added. When someone asked him whether the couple had decided on a name, he said: "You'll find out soon enough." Read more: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-43864933
  3. UK - Big Ben sounds its midday bongs for the last time in four years... and it upsets many Brits! Â
  4. UK - Conservation work set to silence much-loved Big Ben for four years Â
  5. NORTH KENSINGTON, London – Not less than four members of Jehovah’s Witnesses survived the inferno that ravaged the 24 storey Grenfel Tower, London killing at least 79 people. None of the witnesses died in the inferno, which has led to revolution and evacuation of about 25 other blocks that have failed fire resistant test in London. The 4 witnesses however lost their apartments and properties in the fire. “Witnesses that live near the now fire-gutted apartment building provided food, clothing, and monetary aid to their fellow members and their families that were affected. The Witnesses are also offering spiritual comfort to the grieving members of the North Kensington community”, the JWs said on their website.Jehovah’s Witnesses are known worldwide for their speed in mitigating the affliction of their neighbours worldwide.See full statement below. Jehovah’s Witnesses are assisting victims of a catastrophic fire that engulfed the Grenfell Tower, a 24-story apartment building in the North Kensington area of London, in the early morning hours of June 14, 2017. Authorities are reporting that at least 79 people were killed. Four Witnesses were evacuated from the apartment building, two of which were residents of Grenfell Tower. Fortunately, none of them were injured, although the Witnesses’ apartments were among those completely destroyed in the blaze. Witnesses that live near the now fire-gutted apartment building provided food, clothing, and monetary aid to their fellow members and their families that were affected. The Witnesses are also offering spiritual comfort to the grieving members of the North Kensington community. http://starconnectmedia.com/four-witnesses-survive-grenfel-tower-fire-in-london/
  6. In Newcastle town centre. UK. The Chronicle Live. 15 June 2017. A council worker will stand trial after he was accused of being drunk at the wheel of his road sweeper in Newcastle city centre. John Paul Carruthers, who has since resigned from his post at Newcastle City Council, was allegedly over the legal drink-drive limit when he ploughed into a Jehovah’s Witness stand on Northumberland Street near to Haymarket Metro Station. Prosecuting, James Long told Newcastle Magistrates’ Court: “The allegation is that he was driving a Newcastle City Council road sweeper when he collided first with a Jehovah’s Witness stand next to Haymarket Metro Station. He carried on then a short while later was detained on Ridley Place and was said to be aggressive. READ MORE: http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/newcastle-council-roadsweeper-drink-drive-13183193
  7. Terrorist incident at Manchester Arena Police shutdown central Manchester, early Tuesday morning, after a suspected explosion at the Manchester Arena killed 19 and injured 50. Suicide Bomber suspected The incident is thought to have occurred at 22.35 local time (21.35 GMT), at the end of an Ariana Grande concert as 20,000 + attendees were leaving the premises. Emergency vehicles streamed to the arena and helicopters circled above as police urged people to stay clear of the area. As we all get more details about this event please post news below as a reply
  8. Arbroath man who acted aggressively towards his wife sentenced to 180 hours of unpaid work
  9. Dorking residents inspired to life-changing response to migration crisis Kristin and Peter Nevins came to Dorking from the US and piled their four children into two bedrooms so they could begin hosting refugees © Anna Gordon “If they ask, say you’re my nephew,” Constance Nash advised the young Syrian man staying with her, in case he encountered an unfriendly neighbour. Ms Nash has a lot of foreign guests this year at her home in Dorking, a leafy town in the Surrey hills about an hour’s train ride south of London. First came the Eritrean woman who was 28 weeks pregnant and then the wounded Syrian soldier and his Congolese friend, who had been sleeping rough. Then there were the Syrian and Sudanese teenagers. “They said they came on the train,” Ms Nash said. “Not in the train, on the train.” There was George from Ghana and Jean from the Congo and the Zimbabwean and Sudanese, and Ahmad, a soft-spoken pharmacist from Aleppo who stayed for five months. Ms Nash refers to them not as refugees but “guests”. She and a motley group of nearby residents have been hosting them during the past year to make their modest response to the global migration crisis and fill the sizeable gaps left by the British government. Constance Nash: 'It’s not charity. At all. It’s human solidarity.' © Anna Gordon “It’s not charity. At all. It’s human solidarity,” said Ms Nash, who — like her guests — is a foreigner who never expected to land in Dorking. A frenetic Parisian, she moved to the town 17 years ago after marrying an Englishman and then ended up staying after the marriage ended. She hates the idea of spinning her experience into a feel-good story, insisting: “We don’t do cute in Dorking.” “Actually, we do,” corrected her friend Carmel O’Shea, who was seated in Ms Nash’s kitchen-cum-salon on a recent afternoon. Also passing through were Syrian and Congolese refugees, a gaggle of schoolchildren and neighbours, a tattooed Anglican curate and his wife, a pair of cats and an unusually active turtle. Britain has pledged to accept 20,000 Syrian refugees. The government selects families from UN camps and meticulously screens them before offering asylum, housing, English lessons and a living allowance. But that ignores many others — from Syria and elsewhere — who arrive in the UK on their own. Some come with fake passports, or hidden in the back of trucks using the Channel tunnel. In theory, these people can claim asylum and, if necessary, receive government lodging. But in practice, many become trapped in a suspicious, slow-moving bureaucracy. In the interim, they may end up sleeping on church floors, in hospital emergency rooms or even on London’s night buses, as Jean sometimes did. The Nevins talk to Constance Nash in her kitchen. All three are part of the Dorking Group of local hosts © Anna Gordon “If it’s not deliberate then it’s the least competent government ever,” said Peter Nevins, a curate at the local Anglican church. He and his wife, Kristin — both from the US Midwest — moved to Dorking in August and piled their four children into two bedrooms so they could begin hosting. First came a Nigerian man, who stayed for a few days, and then a Syrian jeweller and baker, who had become friends in Calais’ infamous “jungle” migrant camp, and stayed for a few weeks. “The rooms should be filled, as far as I’m concerned,” Kristin shrugged. The Dorking Group, as the 10 local hosts informally call themselves, take referrals from an Epsom-based charity known as Refugees At Home, which has its own web page and Facebook group. The guests are first screened by the Red Cross and Refugee Council. Refugees At Home visits the hosts to check them, too. “Everyone just acts as if it’s going to be a friend’s friend [staying],”said Ms Nash, who first contacted Refugees At Home in August last year after reading about Icelanders pledging to house 11,000 refugees. “I got all agitated and said: ‘Let’s do it in England.’” Still, she recalled fretting after being briefed on her first arrival. “What if we don’t like her? She has nightmares. What if she sleepwalks?” Her son, Raph, 15, also confessed he was “a bit worried” about sharing the house with a stranger. But those fears melted. “When it clicks, it feels like the most normal thing you’ve ever done,” Ms Nash said. So much so that Raph’s school friend went home one day and asked his mother, Ms O’Shea, why they were not hosting any refugees. “I was hugely apprehensive. I wouldn’t even do French exchange with my kids,” Ms O’Shea said. Ahmad, a Syrian pharmacist, spent 10 months in the Calais 'jungle' before making it to the UK © Anna Gordon But she ended up opening her home to Mohammad, a 22-year-old Iranian builder — and sobbing when he left five months later. “I think we thought we were offering someone a room. It’s much more than that,” she said. Besides the humanity of it, hosting has wider benefits, the Dorking Group argues. Chief among them is that it speeds refugees’ integration, immersing them in the culture and language and making it easier for them to build their own lives if they win asylum. “It’s things like: why are the English always talking about the weather?” said David Preedy, a retired project manager. “It’s the kind of thing you don’t get going through the faceless, official scheme.” For Ahmad, the Syrian pharmacist, Ms Nash’s home was a refuge after a harrowing journey. He fled Aleppo in 2013 as the war intensified, paying a smuggler €1,050 to take him from Turkey to Greece. His nose was broken by bandits in Macedonia, where he was jailed. He also spent 10 months in the Calais “jungle” before making it to Britain. David Preedy, a retired project manager, has just had his first refugee to stay “When I stay in Dorking, I feel I am among my family,” he said in halting English. His asylum request was finally approved last week. But he appeared more focused on the news back home, repeatedly returning to a smartphone with images of bloodied corpses and rubble. Dorking has not been universally welcoming. When Ms Nash posted leaflets promoting her work around town they were torn down. Even the best-intentioned hosts admit they can become worn out. The Iranian family of Jehovah’s Witnesses that Mr Preedy and his wife took in ended up staying for nearly nine months. In addition to expenses for bus and train fares and food, Mr Preedy became drawn into the bureaucratic tangle of jobcentres, immigration law and the challenges of opening a bank account. “We saw them through the whole asylum process, which is mind-blowingly depressing,” he said. Still, he came away uplifted. “It’s given me a completely different perspective on people,” he said. Ms Nash also sounded transformed. “You really do connect and then it rips you apart when they leave,” she said. “But you know? It’s good sorrow, good sadness.” Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2016. All rights reserved. You may share using our article tools. Please don't cut articles from FT.com and redistribute by email or post to the web. https://www.ft.com/content/5f1b2d90-c5d8-11e6-8f29-9445cac8966f
  10. (CNN)The UK's fertility regulator has given the green light to a treatment that will make it possible for babies to be made from two women and a man. The new advancement in in vitro fertilization, developed by doctors in Newcastle, is intended to prevent children being born with certain fatal genetic diseases. The first child to be born in the UK through the new method could arrive by the end of 2017. The procedure will allow the donation of mitochondria, which provides energy for cells, to mothers with mutations within the DNA of their own mitochondria so they do not pass the mutations on to their child. What are mitochondria? Mitochondria are small structures found in our cells that generate the cellular energy used to power every part of our bodies. Mitochondria have their own DNA, which controls only mitochondrial function and energy production. This is separate from our "nuclear DNA," which makes us who we are and determines appearance and personality. (Source: Wellcome Trust) Replacing your mitochondria Mitochondrial diseases are genetic conditions; about one in 4,300 affected children are estimated to be born with these conditions every year. Mitochondria provide humans with energy and are present in almost every cell within the body. Known as "mitochondrial donation," the IVF technique involves replacing faulty mitochondria inherited from the mother with the healthy mitochondria of another woman. Most of a cell's genetic material, or DNA, is contained within the nucleus, but a very small amount (less than 1%) is found in the mitochondria. This mitochondrial DNA is inherited only from the mother through her eggs. If the mother's mitochondrial DNA is faulty, it is possible that she may pass on a number of rare but very serious mitochondrial diseases, including muscle weakness, diabetes, heart problems, epilepsy and stroke-like episodes. In serious cases, they can lead to death. About 1 in 6,500 children are thought to develop a serious mitochondrial disorder, according to Newcastle's Wellcome Trust Centre for Mitochondrial Research, which has been a leading partner in the project. A historic decision "Today's historic decision means that parents at very high risk of having a child with a life-threatening mitochondrial disease may soon have the chance of a healthy, genetically related child," said Sally Cheshire, Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority chairwoman. "This is life-changing for those families." An expert panel reviewed the development, safety and efficacy of these techniques over five years and four reports, she added, saying the authority feels that "now it is the right time to carefully introduce this new treatment in the limited circumstances recommended by the panel." Moving forward has been approved, but caution is still recommended. "Although it is tempting to rush ahead with new treatments, the UK approach of testing public opinion, putting the issue to Parliament and carefully monitoring laboratory research has proved to be the most responsible and sustainable of introducing new, cutting-edge treatments into the clinic," Cheshire said. "Such an approach has allowed us to balance innovation with safety, maintaining public trust as we go." In February 2015, UK lawmakers voted in favor of a law that would allow the pioneering technique using DNA from three people. The Newcastle team aims to offer treatment for up to 25 women a year affected by mitochondrial disease, but the treatment could be held back if they don't have enough healthy donated eggs. Playing catch-up The UK is probably not the first country in the world to have children born through the three-person technique. A Jordanian couple and doctors in New York claimed they performed the procedure in Mexico, with the child being born on April 6. The use of this reproductive technology was originally intended to prevent Leigh syndrome, a severe neurological condition that affects at least one in 40,000 newborns. The mother in this historic case previously had four pregnancy losses and had given birth to two children, one of whom survived less than a year and another who lived only six years, both due to this syndrome. For religious reasons, the mother wanted to use a technique that would not require the destruction of a fertilized egg. A team of doctors, led by Dr. John Zhang, founder of the New Hope Fertility Center in New York City, went to Mexico to perform the procedure, as it is not licensed in the US. But the UK may now see many babies being born through the method in the coming years. "Mitochondrial donation offers a real opportunity to cure a class of potentially devastating inherited conditions and will bring hope to hundreds of affected families in the UK," said Dr. Dagan Wells, associate professor at the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at the University of Oxford. "Research teams, such as those of Professors Herbert and Turnbull in Newcastle, have done sterling work to assess safety of methods for replacing defective mitochondria, and their research has provided much reassurance in that regard. "The HFEA's decision to allow clinics to apply for permission to perform mitochondrial donation finally opens the way to begin using this technology for the benefit of families that have faced much heartbreak and hardship as a result of carrying a mitochondrial disorder." "This marks a momentous and historic step, and we hope families next year will begin their journey to eradicate these genetic diseases," added Dr. Adam Balen, chairman of the British Fertility Society. "Clinics will now need to apply for a license, and the regulator will grant them, taking into account each application extremely carefully." CNN's Meera Senthilingam contributed to this report. http://edition.cnn.com/2016/12/15/health/babies-three-people-embryos/index.html
  11. Crews remain at the Nicholas Street building in Manchester city centre following the blaze in the early hours of Friday Firefighters outside the building in Chinatown (Photo: Steve Allen) Firefighters are still at the scene of a devastating Chinatown fire which claimed the lives of two people - believed to be rough sleepers. Crews remain at the Nicholas Street building in Manchester city centre following the blaze in the early hours of Friday. A handful of firefighters are working to ensure the fire is completely out. They doused small pockets of fire overnight - and expect to be at the building for the rest of the day. Crews - and an aerial appliance - extinguished smoldering embers in the basement of the building on Friday night. Tragically, two bodies were discovered by fire service search and rescue dogs on the first floor of the five-storey building. They have not yet been identified, but are thought to have been members of Manchester’s homeless community. Police confirmed that one line of enquiry is that they had started a fire to keep warm, though the cause of the blaze has not yet been established. The fire has caused outrage among homeless charities and MPs, who have called for more action to tackle homelessness in the city. Amanda Croome, manager of Manchester’s Booth Centre, which offers advice and support for homeless people, said she was stunned by the incident and hoped it would prompt urgent action. MPs blamed the government’s austerity drive for the rocketing number of rough sleepers. Salford and Eccles MP Rebecca Long-Bailey said: “We can’t go on with this type of society. This isn’t civilisation.” The alarm was raised just before 2.15am on Friday. The building was left devastated by the inferno and the roof caved in. The blaze has caused severe damage to the building. Crews were forced to tackled the fire from a distance to avoid falling debris, with fears the structure could collapse. Council engineers are working with a building inspector as the site has been deemed structurally unsafe. Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101 - quoting incident number 146 of 25 November - or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111. http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/firefighters-remain-scene-chinatown-fire-12233873
  12. A man used a fake name and lied about having a sick grandson in hospital to con a woman out of £1,000. Ian Leak, 54, also pretended to be his own son to dishonestly obtain £350 from another woman so that he could get cash to buy a new fridge-freezer. Leak, of Park Avenue in Louth, was handed a suspended prison sentence after magistrates said he abused the women's "kindness and generosity". Dan Pietrykas, prosecuting, said Leak, who has multiple sclerosis, became friends through the Jehovah's Witnesses with a woman who passed two amounts of £500 to him between October and November last year. He had told her his name was 'Tim Leak' and he had to go and see his grandson ill in hospital. Mr Pietrykas said he also became friends with another woman and, in March 2015, she gave him £350 to buy a new fridge-freezer. He had told her his name was Kieran Leak - the name of his real-life son. Leak was interviewed by police in June this year where he admitted making up the names and lying about having a sick grandson. And in court, he admitted to both charges of dishonestly obtaining money. Elizabeth Hart, mitigating, said Leak suffered from "very serious ill health" and had multiple sclerosis. She said his long-term relationship had ended, leaving him very isolated. She said he started leading a fantasy life, making phone calls to people who had befriended him. Ms Hart said he did suffer from genuine financial hardship and had he explained his true situation to the people concerned, they would probably have given him the money anyway. She said he had no previous convictions and his appearance in court was a "significant punishment" for him. The magistrates told Leak he had abused the women concerned by duping them into parting with their money and that other "more deserving parties were unable to receive that money." They told him it warranted a custodial sentence of two months imprisonment but decided to suspend it for 12 months. He was also ordered to pay compensation of £1,350. http://www.grimsbytelegraph.co.uk/man-lied-about-having-sick-grandson-to-con-woman-out-of-cash/story-29913159-detail/story.html
  13. Solar panels are great. So is architectural conservation. But what should we do when historic buildings want to incorporate cutting edge clean energy technology? It's probably always going to be a balancing act. But Business Green reports on an impressive project over in the UK, in which the 1,000 year old Gloucester Cathedral has installed 150 solar panels in an effort to cut its environmental impact. Mypower, the installers, claim it's the oldest building in the UK—and maybe the world—to install a commercial-size solar array. Of course, cathedrals have one big advantage over many other historic sites: They are really, really tall. And the fact that they are surrounded by ornate buttresses and gargoyles and other fancy architecture means that the solar panels will mostly be hidden from the ground—meaning the cathedral gets to cut its energy costs by a quarter without really compromising its historic, architectural integrity. Interestingly, cathedrals and other older churches also have another benefit when it comes to going solar. Namely, they were usually built pointing directly from east to west—leaving a huge area of south-facing roof that's ideally placed for maximum solar gain. Given that the Church of England has declared climate change "a great demon", and has even divested itself from the dirtiest fossil fuels, I suspect we will see many more churches going solar as the costs come down. This particular atheist is going to be singing the praises of the church if that really does happen. http://www.treehugger.com/renewable-energy/1000-year-old-cathedral-goes-solar.html
  14. Jehovah's Witnesses under pressure over handling of sexual abuse claims Organisation faces fight to prevent Charity Commission examining its records of abuse claims after supreme court rejects its attempt to block inquiry A spokesman for the Jehovah’s Witnesses said: ‘We are in no position to, and neither would we wish to, force any victim of abuse to confront their attacker.’ Photograph: Fairfax Media via Getty Images The Jehovah’s Witnesses organisation is under increasing pressure to address its handling of sexual abuse allegations as it faces legal setbacks, bills of over £1m and a fight to prevent the Charity Commission examining its records of abuse claims. Last month a judge upheld a ruling against the UK’s leading Jehovah’s Witnesses charity, the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society of Britain (WTBTS), that the Jehovah’s Witnesses had failed to protect a woman, known in proceedings as A, from sexual abuse starting when she was four years old. Now the supreme court has rejected a highly unusual attempt by the WTBTS to block a Charity Commission inquiry into how the Jehovah’s Witnesses charity handles allegations of abuse. The extent of the charity’s challenges and the length of time they have gone on for are unprecedented in recent times, a spokesman for the Charity Commission said. In A’s case the high court awarded damages and the WTBTS have been left facing legal fees totalling about £1m after attempting to appeal against the judgement three times. The decision in A’s case sets a precedent that could expose the organisation to further claims. It continues to fight Charity Commission orders to provide documents on sexual abuse allegations, as well as other aspects of the inquiry, in lower courts. Fay Maxted, chief executive of the Survivors Trust, a national sexual assault charity, said: “These are cases where someone has been sexually violated and had their whole trust in the safety of their religious community blown away. “It’s deeply disappointing that a faith-based organisation appears to be so determined to try and avoid answering questions about its own behaviour … “This is something the Catholics and Church of England have also had to deal with – these big institutions will fight and fight every step of the way.” The ways in which large institutions – from the BBC to the Church of England – respond to allegations of sexual abuse has been under intense scrutiny in recent years. But the governmental investigation into the issue, the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse (IICSA), was thrown into turmoil following the unexpected resignation of its chair, Lowell Goddard, last week. The home secretary on Thursday appointed Prof Alexis Jay as the new chair. The Guardian understands that some survivors of sexual abuse by members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses are considering making submissions to the inquiry’s truth project, a strand gathering survivors’ testimony. A, the woman at the centre of the civil case, was abused by a senior member of her congregation for five years from the age of four. It emerged during court proceedings that he had confessed to a different attack and was removed from a senior role, but had “repented” and was allowed to continue within the congregation. The police were not told and her mother said in court that she had no recollection of being warned about him. A said her mother told leading members, known as “elders”, about the abuse when she was about 14. Her attacker had been released from jail for other sex attacks and was asking to return to the congregation, she said. “All the while I had it hanging over my head that if I wanted to raise any allegations … I would be forced into a judicial committee, I would have to confront him face to face,” she told the Guardian. Although the church can “disfellowship” – expel – people for minor offences, A says her abuser was allowed to remain. “Had they discovered he was playing the lottery, he would have been disfellowshipped without question, but he admitted to them he had abused children, and he still wasn’t disfellowshipped,” A said. She finally reported the abuse to the police after the elders did nothing. “I came to the view that I would either try and kill myself again, run away or just go to the police.” He died before the police could question him about the allegation. The judge ruled the congregation was “either not warned at all or not adequately warned” about the risk posed by A’s abuser. A spokesman for the Jehovah’s Witnesses said: “Anyone who commits the sin of child abuse faces expulsion from the congregation … Any suggestion that Jehovah’s Witnesses cover up child abuse is absolutely false.” He added: “Congregation elders do not discourage [reports to the authorities] or shield abusers from the authorities or from the consequences of their actions.” Another woman, Jane*, who is also suing the organisation after she was raped by a member as an adult in 1990, said she was urged to face her rapist at a private hearing known as a judicial committee. It left her “completely traumatised” and led to the breakup of her marriage, she said. Her attacker was eventually jailed in 2014, and she decided to sue after watching elders on the witness stand. “I thought, nobody’s taken responsibility for this. You could have held up your hands and said, ‘I’m sorry, we were in the wrong’,” Jane said. The Charity Commission launched statutory inquiries into Jehovah’s Witnesses charities in May 2014. This was shortly after claims emerged that elders in the Manchester New Moston congregation held a meeting at which three adult survivors of child sex abuse were brought face to face with their abuser, shortly after his release from prison for their abuse. A spokesman for the Jehovah’s Witnesses said: “We are in no position to, and neither would we wish to, force any victim of abuse to confront their attacker.” The commission, which has the power to investigate how charity trustees handle safeguarding, launched separate inquiries into the Manchester New Moston congregation and the WTBTS, which oversees the nation’s 1,500 congregations and is believed to play a significant role in handling allegations of abuse. The Jehovah’s Witnesses challenged both inquiries in the courts, arguing that they would breach the trustees’ human right to religious freedom. They also challenged orders to produce documents on how they had handled allegations of sexual abuse in recent years. Chris Willis Pickup, head of litigation at the Charity Commission, said: “Following two years of legal proceedings in five different courts and tribunals, the supreme court has finally brought Watch Tower’s challenge to our inquiry decision to an end.” The commission had received only “limited information” from the Jehovah’s Witnesses, he said. The Charity Commission is encouraging anyone with similar complaints to come forward. While a small number of charities launch legal appeals against the commission’s decisions, the extent of the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ challenges and the length of time they have gone on for are unprecedented in recent times, a spokesman for the Charity Commission confirmed. A’s solicitor, Thomas Beale, said: “Sadly, given our experience of the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ approach to litigation in cases involving survivors of child abuse, it comes as no surprise that WTBTS has at every stage relentlessly challenged the legal basis and scope of the Charity Commission’s inquiry. “In our case … they adopted similar tactics, dragging our client through years of painful and distressing litigation … We have always maintained that this is a time for apologies, not appeals.” The Jehovah’s Witnesses said in a statement: “Jehovah’s Witnesses abhor child abuse, a crime that sadly occurs in all sectors of society … We are committed to doing all we can to prevent child abuse and to provide spiritual comfort to any who have suffered from this terrible sin and crime. “We also see a need to protect the confidentiality of those who seek spiritual comfort. Nevertheless, we shall diligently abide by court judgments.” Name has been changed at the individual’s request - https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/aug/12/jehovahs-witnesses-under-pressure-over-handling-of-sexual-abuse-claims
  15. A ROTTEN smell lingering around the River Rea on New Road in Rubery is causing concern among residents, who claim the site is a danger to children. Last week the Advertiser published a story about an alleged illegal business running from a car park next to the New Rose & Crown pub, with one woman describing the debris-covered land as an “eye-sore”. But other residents have since claimed that the car park, which leads on to the river bank, is also a health and safety hazard and an “accident waiting to happen”. Rednal resident Jennifer Edwards, 79, is a member of the Rubery Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses, which regularly holds meetings at the Kingdom Hall on the other side of the river. She said: “It’s not just an eye-sore. More seriously it’s a health and safety danger now. The bank on the car park looks like it could collapse. There’s no fence, no hedge. If someone fell in they could drown, or even if they swallowed some of that dirty water, they could get some kind of poisoning. “That river rises up so quickly and the bank is so unstable. What if children were playing near there? It’s so dangerous.” According to Mrs Edwards, the water in the river is either low-level with a foul smell, or dangerously high and fast-moving, dependant on the weather. She said: “Last week the River Rea was an obscure little trickle and covered in scum, then after the heavy rain last Friday it had turned into a raging torrent. I saw how high it was on Friday because I crossed the bridge over it. “All last week the smell from it was terrible – it was just a smelly trickle of water.” Mrs Edwards says the smell is frequently a problem in the summer. Derek Millward, 67, who also lives near to the site, said: “The river is full of debris and it needs cleaning out. It’s an accident waiting to happen. On Saturday it was really bad, when it was raining. The amount of debris in there made the water rise up and it went right up to the bank. There’s a bridge where people go to Kingdom Hall there, and the river was as high as the bridge.” Severn Trent Water, which is responsible for cleaning sewage in the area, said it has not received any complaints about the river, but plans to investigate the potential pollution problem. A spokesperson for Bromsgrove District Council said: “We do carry out inspections of the watercourses and we did receive a complaint about the state of the brook at this location. “As we couldn’t access this section ourselves we did contact the land owners to advise of their responsibility to maintain the brook and indeed will continue to follow this up.” http://www.eveshamjournal.co.uk/news/regional/14698963.Residents_call_for_action_over_smelly_Rubery_river/
  16. The world’s largest aircraft, the Airlander 10, compared by some to a giant pair of buttocks, took off on its maiden flight from Cardington Airfield in Bedfordshire.
  17. THE vast Jehovah Witness UK headquarters under construction near Galleywood has been praised by a building watchdog. Inspectors from the Considerate Constructors Scheme (CCS) – an independent building watchdog – have commended the International Bible Students Association (IBSA) for its presentation and working methods on the Temple Farm site. The glowing report came as IBSA announced groundworks to the £150 million development will begin between September and December. Once complete, it will provide homes for 1,200 Jehovah Witnesses across 16 five-storey blocks. A large printing plant, offices, auditorium, health and fitness centre, water treatment plant and on-site parking for 1,040 vehicles are also in the pipeline. Meanwhile, Temple Grove Park, which lies to the east of the site, is being remodelled to accommodate a wildflower meadow for residents to relax in. In its latest newsletter, IBSA said it will continue to work hard until the project is complete. “The report included the following observations. “This is a very well presented site. “Working methods are planned to minimise the impact of vibration, noise and dust as far as possible. “The organisation looked for opportunities for training of female operatives. “Eleven of the 15 heavy plant operators are female,” it said. CCS awarded the site a total of 38 out of 50, before granting it a Certificate of Performance Beyond Compliance. BT Openreach and a number of other companies have started work on road access into the site. Temporary 40mph speed restrictions are in place along the B1007 near the Bakers Lane junction, which should last another four weeks. The restrictions are due to the preparation of a new roundabout, pedestrian crossing, cycle path and bus shelters, recently approved by Essex Highways. Earlier this year, IBSA representatives attended Stock and West Hanningfield Annual General Meetings, where they answered a series of questions regarding the development. A spokesman said: "Feedback received from these meetings is of value to us, enabling us to address any concerns raised by those in the community." http://www.chelmsfordweeklynews.co.uk/news/billericaynews/14683094.Jehovah__39_s_Witness_HQ_receives_glowing_report_following_building_inspection/
  18. THE word of God and its many forms thereof have been celebrated at the annual convention of Jehovah's Witnesses. Some 6,500 people turned out at the Bournemouth International Centre last weekend (AUG 5-7) for the Remain Loyal to Jehovah event. And it seems their teachings span a plethora of countries as visitors were told that printed, audio and video literature is delivered in more than 750 languages, including 80 sign languages. This was made all the more evident when a number of foreign nationals were able to speak to delegates despite the convention being delivered in English, a spokesperson said. Holly Powell, local media representative, said: "An Argentinean woman who has had contact with Jehovah’s Witnesses in South America asked for a convention programme at the event’s welcome desk. One of the Witnesses at the desk spoke Spanish so was able to greet and welcome her in her language, which she greatly appreciated. "A young Romanian couple who had taken up a free personal Bible study course with the Witnesses decided to attend the convention. They also invited along the husband’s brother and his family. After enjoying the first morning, the family accepted a Bible study aid, the book What Does the Bible Really Teach? in the Romanian language with a view to beginning the free course immediately. "A Polish staff member asked how he could get a Bible. He was shown right away how to download a copy onto his electronic device in his language. All were impressed to see publications, both printed audio and video, in their mother tongues – and all free of charge." The week leading up the convention saw a huge number of Witnesses at mobile literature displays across Bournemouth inviting people to the convention. Ms Powell added: "Jehovah’s Witnesses are pleased to welcome all, in line with their heart-felt desire to let the Bible’s message reach 'every nation and tribe and tongue and people' as the Bible directs at Revelation 14:6." http://www.bournemouthecho.co.uk/news/14681442.Thousands_of_Jehovah___s_Witnesses_flock_to_BIC_for_annual_convention/
  19. After the Brexit vote, climate hawks voiced concern that a new British government could be less aggressive in fighting climate change. Looks like they may have been right: New British Prime Minister Theresa May hasn’t even unpacked her bags at 10 Downing Street and she’s already got green groups very worried. May announced Thursday that she would axe the Department for Energy and Climate Change and replace it with the newly formed Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Climate experts and politicians called the move “plain stupid,” “terrible,” and “beyond daft.” “The decision to shut down DECC is a deeply worrying move from Theresa May,” said Green Party Member of Parliament Caroline Lucas. “Climate change is the biggest challenge we face, and it must not be an afterthought for the Government.” Also troubling, May appointed Andrea Leadsom as the new environment secretary, a woman who has regularly opposed climate action. One of the first questions Leadsom asked officials when she became energy minister last year was, “Is climate change real?” Leadsom also supported selling off British forests in 2011, a thwarted proposal that proved to be deeply unpopular with British citizens. http://grist.org/politics/britains-new-leader-just-replaced-the-climate-department-with-a-business-department/
  20. British Jews Fear State Crackdown On Circumcision, Kosher Meat And Religious Schools "The purpose of the state in my view is not to impose cultural values on a minority which has its own cultural values and which does not clash, fight or inflict violence on anybody else", says David Frei British Jews may be forced to rethink their future in the UK in the face of increasing criticism of religious practices including circumcision, religious schools and ritual slaughter, according to a prominent figure at the London-based Beth Din religious court. David Frei, a British-born barrister and registrar at the Beth Din since 1999, has warned of a growing trend of anti-religious sentiment in Britain that has followed record levels of atheism and Islamist terrorist atrocities in Europe that have turned people against faith – be it Judaism, Islam or Christianity – as a whole. He fears the British government will look to crack down on religious freedom in the UK in response to public opinion. He also believes the Jewish Orthodox community will resist any attempt to legislate against customs such as kosher meat, Jewish yeshivas or the practise of circumcision, which is mandated in the Torah. “I think there are genuine fears at the moment in any number of areas – including circumcision and ritual slaughter – that the state may one day take a more interventionist role and it is very disturbing. At one point or another Jews will have to evaluate their future in the country if this was to happen,” Frei told IBTimesUK in a wide-ranging interview published on 28 January. “There is a very secular wave that is washing over this country at the moment. There is no question that fewer people than ever before believe in God. The opinion polls will show you that 30 or 40 years ago, the vast majority of people believed in God and now the vast majority don’t.” Frei spoke as part of an IBTimesUK investigation into the role of Sharia courts in Britain in the face of criticism by both the government and independent politicians such as Baroness Cox. Beth Din has operated in the UK in one form or another for some four centuries and today still officiates in cases of Jewish divorce, which has a starkly different form to divorce under British civil law. Beth Din has so far escaped the scrutiny that Sharia has fallen under in recent years, with critics arguing Islamic divorces discriminate against women – who, unlike men, have to go through the Sharia divorce court process and get permission from male relatives. Men are permitted to divorce their wives verbally. It is argued that Jewish divorce law is similarly discriminatory in that it requires the husband to give his consent to a divorce, which cannot go ahead if he refuses. This has led to the phenomenon of so-called “chained women” in Britain, unable to remarry as their estranged partners refuse to agree to the divorce. But speaking this week, Frei said Jews knew what they were getting into when they had an Orthodox marriage. He said: “People are voluntarily taking upon themselves additional restrictions because they believe in it. The reality is that if you are a religious Jew, the way that you think marriage is performed is platform X and divorce platform Y. And what is wrong with that? “That is a restriction that [they have] taken upon [themselves]. That is what you believe in, your value system. That is not a threat to any society.” In this, and in practices such as circumcision, religious schools and kosher meat, Frei said it was not the role of the government to impose on the personal religious beliefs of its citizens. He said: “The purpose of the state in my view [is] not to impose cultural values on a minority which has its own cultural values and which does not clash, fight or inflict violence on anybody else. We are a law-abiding community. We are people who have given a full and valued contribution to British society, so why should the state come barging in and tell us what we can and can’t do in terms of matters of personal religious belief.” On religious schools, Frei said hostility appeared to have come from the rise in extremist Islam and attacks in Europe and further afield, a link that he felt was unfair. He said: “Very shortly after the most recent attacks in Paris, the first letter I read was about chucking out religious schools and I thought is there any evidence that any of these terrorists had ever actually attended a religious school? I don’t think so. They are better off asking to shut down the internet, because that is causing it rather than religious schools.” This article was first published at IBTimes, by Orlando Crowcroft
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