Saturday, 2 February 2013

Richard Dawkins takes on ex-Archbishop

Also in this week's news roundup, Israel bombs Syria, Turkish terrorists bomb US embassy and Taliban attacks Pakistan military.

Israel bombs Syria
Airstrikes by the Israel Air Force on a Syrian Research Centre on the 29th of January are now reported to have been focussing on at least two more targets. The United States is said to have given Israel the green light to go ahead and continue the strikes amid rumours ‘weapons of mass destruction’ may cross the border and get into the hands of Hezbollah. Meanwhile Russia has condemned the airstrikes as unjustified.

US Embassy bombed in Turkey
Two people have been killed and several more injured by a suicide bomb attack on the US Embassy in Ankara in Turkey. President Obama has called the incident an act of terror. Turkey’s President has blamed the attack on a domestic left wing militant group believed to be Marxist. A Turkish TV journalist was also amongst the injured.

Taliban in Pakistan attack army base in response to US drones
At least 35 people have been killed in an attack on an Army Security checkpoint in north west Pakistan. Between two and four suicide bombers attacked the post in which at least 13 soldier lost their lives. The Taliban are claiming responsibility saying it is in response to last month’s US drone attack in North Waziristan in which two commanders were killed. US drone attacks continue to be hugely unpopular in Pakistan.
US Pastor’s tipping insult
A worker at Applebees restaurant in the US who was left with a receipt with her tip crossed out and the comment ‘I give God 10%, why do you get 18?’ by a Pastor, lost her job when she posted it on the internet and it went viral by Wednesday. The waitress posted the receipt as light entertainment but the Pastor complained and Applebees were not amused at the breach of privacy.
Richard Dawkins and ex-Archbishop debate religion in Cambridge
Atheist scientist Richard Dawkins attacked Islam’s ‘appalling attitude to women’ saying he was grateful to be a cultural Anglican during a debate at the Cambridge Union debating society on the place of religion in the 21st century. His opponent the ex Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Rowan Williams defended religion as the foundation of human rights, community building, compassion, fellow feeling and inclusion. The debate, which took place on the 1st of February and included other eminent scholars, was won by religion, with the House voting that it believed religion did have a place in the 21st century.

Gay marriage causing British prime minister, David Cameron, problems
David Cameron’s efforts to popularise the Tory image by legalising Same Sex Marriage may be backfiring, it has been reported this week. The Bill, which will be debated on Tuesday in the House of Commons, will allow same sex couples to marry, but will specifically ban the established Churches of England and Wales which oppose it, from conducting ceremonies. Other religious institutions can ‘opt’ out if they wish. However, if passed, a question concerning many is will British Law stand up against the European Court of Human Rights? It is now estimated that between 130 to 200 out of the 303 Conservative MPs will vote against the Bill. In Britain Civil Partnerships between same sex couples are already legal and offer the same rights as Civil Marriages but are not internationally recognised.

Jewish couple open way for Sharia divorces in the UK
The High Court has approved a Jewish couple’s divorce settlement which was decided under Beth Din, Rabbinical Law. It is thought to be the first time in British legal history where an English family judge has agreed to refer a divorce dispute to a religious court. It could have far reaching consequences opening up the way for Islamic sharia and other religious courts.

Catholic response to atheism at University of Toronto
A Catholic College at the University of Toronto has started a course on Atheism to stimulate dialogue and reflection on the subject as Canadian society becomes more secular. Twice the usual students are attending the surprisingly popular course offered in the middle of the day at Regis College Theology School, leading to a further one day course being offered on a Saturday. It is hoped that the eight week course examining the disconnect between people of faith and non believers will help to form a Christian response to Atheism. @TayyabaNoor02
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