News Roundup

Study finds just 1% chance of microcephaly from Zika

A new study has shown that pregnant women who contract the Zika virus have just 1% chance of their babies developing microcephaly. As the Zika virus continues to strike large areas of South America and has re-ignited fierce debates on abortion, researchers have released their findings on a 2013 outbreak of Zika in French Polynesia which challenges the accepted link between the virus and the developmental issues in foetuses. The French Polynesia outbreak infected an estimated 66% of the total population.
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Prominent Catholics endorse Ted Cruz for US President

Over 50 conservative Catholic activists and political leaders have voiced their support of Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz. The move is being seen as an attempt to attract even greater Catholic support for Mr Cruz to thwart the efforts of Donald Trump towards gaining the presidency in what has become a divisive and heated campaign for the Republican nomination.
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Chilean Congress passes abortion bill

Legislators in Chile have passed a bill to legalise abortion in cases of rape, risk to the mother, and foetal abnormality. The lower house of Congress vote on the issue was passed 66 to 44 and now heads to the Senate for a vote. Abortion was legal in Chile until 1989, when it was outlaw by the regime of General Augusto Pinochet. The drive to reintroduce the practice to Chile is backed by the administration of President Michelle Bachelet (pictured).
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Family is active agent of mission: Bishop Leahy

The Church needs to “dream big” and see the family as an active agent of mission, says Bishop Brendan Leahy of Limerick. Delivering an address, ‘Dreaming Big – the rediscovery of the Family Today’ to clergy, Bishop Leahy said that we can easily get caught up in issues, problems and challenges and forget that we need to keep alive the vision of just what a great gift family life is.
 
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State funding threat forces Diocese out of family life centre

There are fears over State funding for bodies with a religious ethos after it was confirmed by the Diocese of Elphin that it has been forced to withdraw from a family life centre in Roscommon after pressure from Tusla, the State’s child and family agency. The Irish Catholic newspaper reports that the diocese has reluctantly withdrawn so as to protect funding to the ongoing work of the centre.

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Call for ‘academic rigour’ in religious education

The headmaster of one of Ireland’s leading Jesuit schools has called for an academic approach to religious education to better protect religious ethos. As he addressed Catholic educators at a meeting in Dublin, Gerry Foley of Belvedere College warned that, “unless there is an academic rigour in RE you don’t really do it”.

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US declares Islamic State actions ‘genocide’

US Secretary of State John Kerry (pictured) has said America accepts that the Islamic State (IS) group has committed genocide against Christians and other minorities. Describing IS as “genocidal by self-proclamation, by ideology and by actions”, Mr Kerry called for an international investigation and criminal charges for those believed to be responsible for atrocities.

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Parents threaten to remove schoolchildren over ‘transgender day’

Parents of children attending a primary school in Britain have threatened to remove their children over proposals by the school, St Mary the Virgin primary school in Hartfield, East Sussex, to have a transgender day at which children as young as four will be asked to explore their sexuality. Parents have described the planned day as “politically correct nonsense”.

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Magistrate to sue over same-sex adoption opposition

A British magistrate who was sacked from his post for his stated opposition to same-sex adoption is to sue Justice Minister Michael Gove for his comments on the case.
Richard Page was removed after an investigation by the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office into a 2015 interview he gave in which he stated that children do better when adopted into a family comprising a man and a woman. Michael Gove described him as “biased and prejudiced against single sex adopters”.
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California clears the way for assisted suicide

June 9 will see the first physician-assisted suicide in the US state of California. The ‘End of Life Option Act’ was forced through the state legislature following a move by supporters to launch a special session to bypass opposing committees after the proposed legislation failed to garner enough support in regular sessions. The state now joins Oregon, Washington, Montana, and Vermont in legislating for assisted suicide.

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