News Roundup

UK Boarding school teachers instructed to adopt transgender terminology

Teachers at British boarding schools have been instructed to use gender neutral vocabulary in order to better accommodate transgender pupils. In a set of guidelines issued by the Boarding Schools’ Association, teachers are told to address transgender pupils as ‘zie’, ‘zir’ and ‘zem’ to avoid causing offence. The guidance further informs teachers of a range of gender identities to be catered for, such as ‘genderqueer’, where a person says they are neither male nor female, and ‘pansexual’, where a person says they are attracted to men, women and transsexuals. Additionally, schools have been asked to make available an equality pledge to be signed by visitors at individual schools.

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Medical staff in Cyprus arrested for illegal abortions

At least six medical practitioners at a hospital in Turkish Cyprus have been charged with performing abortions on infants older than five months gestation, and one full-term. According to reports, those to be brought before the courts include the hospital’s owners, the head physician, a doctor, an obstetrician, and a nurse. The charges come after police investigations led officers to the secret burial site of a number of infant bodies. Turkish Cyprus allows for abortion up to the first 10 weeks of development.

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Christian community in Pakistan threatened after blasphemy case

Muslim clerics in Punjab, Pakistan, have allegedly called on followers to burn Christian homes unless a Christian accused of blasphemy is arrested. James Nadeem went into hiding after he was accused of using social media to send a poem insulting to the Prophet Mohamad. Police have already moved to detain the man’s sisters, reportedly to place pressure on Nadeem to surrender, but he has not yet down so, apparently leading to the threats from local mosques against the Christian community as a whole.

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Canadian Anglican Church votes to conduct same-sex weddings

The Anglican Church in Canada has voted to conduct same-sex wedding ceremonies. In a poll at the Church’s general synod in Ottowa, the motion on same-sex ceremonies was at first defeated by a majority of clergy but subsequently reversed when supporters of the move pointed to a miscount among lay voters. The Anglican Network in Canada expressed dismay at the move which, it said, was “clearly in contrast to the scriptural teaching of marriage and moves the Anglican Church of Canada apart from the Anglican Communion worldwide”.

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More US states challenge Obama transgender directive

Ten more states in America have joined the fight to sue the Obama administration over its transgender directive on access to toilet and shower facilities. Announcing the beginning of the latest legal actions, Nebraska’s Attorney General Doug Peterson said of the directive: “It’s putting school districts in a terrible position. It’s trying to push a certain agenda through our school systems, and we need to simply stand up and say this does not make sense.” Arkansas, Kansas, Michigan, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Wyoming joined Nebraska in the lawsuit.

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US abortion industry hampering government investigation

A congressional panel investigating America’s abortion industry and trade in foetal remains for research has accused abortion providers and companies of hampering its work. Already midway through its investigation, the Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives says multiple requests for information from clinics and companies have not been complied with. According to a preliminary report from the panel, 34 different entities have not fully complied with its requests for documents. “Instead of helping us shine light, they’re trying to pull the curtain and hide what’s actually happening,” Sean Duffy, a panel member said. “The industry, I would argue, has been less than cooperative, and I think we have to ask ourselves, why?”

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High birth rate sees Ireland’s population at record high

Ireland’s high birth rate has helped Ireland’s population grow to its highest level in 150 years, new figures show. The latest census reveals that, despite high levels of emigration, the Republic’s population has reached 4.65 million, up from 4.58 million five years ago. Justin Gleeson of the All-Ireland Research Observatory based at Maynooth University said. “In the last two census periods we saw major population increases of about 8 per cent”. He continued: “Now we’re seeing much more marginal increases of about 1.5 per cent. While the natural population increase [births minus deaths] is still very positive in Ireland, the major contributory factor to this lower population growth is the change in net migration flows.”

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UK births to women over 40 outstrip under-20s

Women in Britain aged 40 and over are having more babies than those under 20 for the first time in 70 years. According to new Office for National Statistics data, based on a cohort of 697,852 live births in 2015, 15.2 births per 1,000 were to women over 40, compared to 14.5 per 1,000 for women in their teens, a disparity not seen since 1947 in the wake of World War II. Advances in fertility treatment as well as more women in higher education and attitudes around the importance of a career and the rising costs of childbearing are behind the rise, the ONS says. The data also shows that fertility rates have dropped in all age groups under 25 while increasing for all age groups 30 and over.

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Canadian Archbishop laments ‘decline in respect for life’ with suicide law

The Catholic Bishop of Vancouver, Michael Miller has described a “rapid decline in respect for life” already growing across Canada as a result of a newly introduced assisted suicide law and warned of growing threats to palliative care. “Last week in British Columbia,” he said, “we saw the first constitutional challenge of the new law, demanding assisted suicide for non-terminal illnesses. A few days ago, a Montreal hospital said that it may allow assisted suicide in its palliative care unit. Across Canada, some provincial governments and medical regulators are trying to compel participation in euthanasia and assisted suicide by doctors and other health-care workers. Can anyone doubt that before long what few protections exist will be history, just as Canada’s previous law against assisted suicide is history?”

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US legislators pass conscience protection Bill on abortion

The US House of Representatives has passed a Bill designed to protect the conscience rights of pro-life Americans who are against funding abortions or participating in terminations as medical practitioners. The House voted 245 to 182 in favour of the Conscience Protection Act. During the debate on the legislation, House Speaker Paul Ryan stated: “No one should be forced to violate their conscience—least of all by the federal government. That’s all this Bill says. The federal government—or anyone who receives taxpayer dollars—cannot discriminate against health care providers who do not perform abortions.” Pro-Life groups warmly welcomed the passage of the Bill.

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