London: Christians have protested against a Church of England vicar for allowing Muslims to conduct prayers at St John’s church, Waterloo in central London. Dozens of Muslims took part in the event at the church in what is thought to have been the first time a full Islamic prayer service has been held within the Church of England. The vicar, the Rev Canon Giles Goddard, a prominent liberal cleric, joined in the event, reading a passage from the Bible and inviting the congregation to give thanks to “the God that we love, Allah”. But evangelical clerics were angered by the service which they said marked a breach with canon law which forbids any variation from the official liturgy if it contains “any departure from, the doctrine of the Church of England in any essential matter”. It was also “offensive” to Christians being persecuted for their faith around the world, they said.
Tycoon sells BHS to Retail Acquisitions Limited
London: BHS chief Sir Philip Green has sold his struggling retail chain for just £1. BHS, which has 171 stores and 11,000 staff, has been sold to a vehicle called Retail Acquisitions Limited, which is led by Keith Smith, a former broker. There were at least two “high net worth” individuals backing the consortium who have not been named.
Morrisons to close 23 stores following heavy loss
London: Morrisons, Britain’s fourth largest grocer, plans to close 23 of its M Local convenience stores with the loss of 300 jobs, although it is yet to confirm which ones. The company made the announcement as it posted a £792m pre-tax loss for the year to February 1.
Avoid coffee, TV and fad diets to stay slim
London: An NHS watchdog has said that coffee, smart phones and fad diets were undermining the healthy lifestyles of Britons. They said that children should not be given sweets as a treat and water should replace fizzy drinks, according to detailed guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice). The treatments adviser has issued practical suggestions for the first time on how to avoid becoming obese.
Experts criticise pension buy-back plans
London: Experts said that plans to allow pensioners to sell their annuities for cash could become a big scandal. They warned that cashing in a life-long income for a one-off lump sum could leave some people penniless in their old age. The buyback scheme could feature as a consultation proposal in the budget. It would not have time to become law in this parliament, but could be enacted by a future government.
Loneliness, isolation can claim your life
Washington: Researchers from Brigham Young University in the US found that loneliness and social isolation can claim the lives of people under 65. Tim Smith, a co-author, added: “Not only are we at the highest recorded rate of living alone across the entire century, but we’re at the highest recorded rates on the planet. With loneliness on the rise, we are predicting a possible epidemic in the future.”
Rail companies accused of looting passengers
London: Rail companies were accused of looting passengers for parking their vehicles. According to reports some passengers were being charged more than £200 a day for parking. Figures show that train operators made almost £800 million from non-railway charges such as parking and catering last year, an increase of more than 4 per cent. Some station car parks charge £215 for a 12-hour stay. The most expensive annual parking ticket stands at more than £ 3,000.
Police accused of not giving priority to sex abuse probe
London: Police are not giving the much needed seriousness to sex-grooming cases and entrust the inquiry into the hands of junior officers, it was revealed. Mistakes made by Greater Manchester police exposed vulnerable Rochdale children to a further two years of abuse by a group of fast-food workers and taxi drivers of Pakistani origin. An inquiry report notes that a police “community impact” assessment seemed more concerned about the welfare of serial child abusers than the “threat and risk of harm” they posed to so many young girls.
Centenarian drivers on the rise
London: Figures from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency revealed that more than 200 people who have crossed the age of 100 are still driving their vehicles. In all, 226 people born before 1915 hold a valid driver’s licence, including two aged 105 or over. The data showed 4.3 million motorists aged 70 or over and some 1.16 million motorists are aged 80 and over, while 82,811 are aged 90-plus.
Women on the pill warned against Crohn’s disease
Washington: According to US doctors women who were taking contraceptive pill have three times more chance of developing Crohn’s disease, the incurable complaint affecting the digestive system.
Research in the US suggested there may be a previously unidentified link between a huge upsurge in cases of Crohn’s in the last 50 years and the explosion in oral contraceptives since the Swinging Sixties.
Belle de Jour author insists she was a call girl
London: Brooke Magnanti, the writer and commentator, went to court to defend her claims that she worked as prostitute, saying she will "present evidence that I was a sex worker" in an unusual libel battle with her former boyfriend Owen Morris. Magnanti’s legal team is expected to argue that such a claim would be instead damaging to the reputation of a woman who made her name writing a blog about her time working as an escort, which went on to become two bestselling books and the successful TV series starring Billie Piper, Secret Diary of a Call Girl.
Britain advised to stay in EU
London: Open Europe, a think tank, said in a new report that leaving the European Union would do little to cut the £33 billion burden of red tape on Britain. Instead, Britain should stay and fight to reform the EU from within, they said.
Cyclone Pam devastates Vanuatu
Port Vila: Super Cyclone Pam killed at least 6 people and injured 30 others in Vanuatu capital Port Vila alone and brought widespread damage to island archipelago. Vanuatu's President Baldwin Lonsdale said climate change was a key factor in the devastation wrought on the Pacific nation. Aid agencies estimate more than 90 per cent of housing has been damaged or destroyed in the capital, which has a population of about 45,000.
China must pardon corrupt officials, says author
Beijing: He Jiahong, a leading legal scholar and author, said that China must pardon two million corrupt Communist Party officials to avoid falling into a “vicious cycle” of sleaze that could ultimately lead to the government’s collapse. Xi Jinping, the party’s chief, has been waging a determined offensive against corruption since taking power in late 2012, purging a succession of powerful political and military leaders.
Great grandmother celebrates 100th birthday with a sky dive
Cape Town: Georgina Harwood, a 100-year-old great grandmother has celebrated her birthday by undertaking a sky dive in Cape Town. Georgina performed the jump which saw her plummet to earth at 125 mph with instructor Jason Baker. She was watched by friends and family who flew in from Australia and England to celebrate the birthday with her and handed her a glass of pink champagne on landing.
German churches open their doors to refugees
Frankfurt: Parish churches across Germany have opened their doors to asylum seekers in an unprecedented challenge to EU rules they say are turning genuine refugees away. Some 222 Protestant and Catholic churches are currently providing sanctuary to 411 people, according to the German Ecumenical Committee on Church Asylum. The overwhelming majority are asylum seekers.
3 teenagers arrested over bid to join Isil militants
London: Three teenagers suspected of being on their way to join Isil militants in Syria were arrested after the parents of the boys alerted police. Upon their return to the UK from Turkey, counter-terrorism police arrested the trio - a man aged 19 and two 17-year-old boys, from north-west London - on suspicion of preparing terrorist acts. They were given bail but would be required to return to the police station for questioning.
Lack of sleep linked to high BP
London: A new study has suggested that people who regularly fail to get enough sleep appear to have an increased risk of developing high blood pressure. High blood pressure is a major cause of heart attack and stroke. However, it rarely carries any signs or symptoms. In fact, a person can look and feel well even if they have it. The only way to know if you have it is to have your blood pressure checked by a health professional.
Christians urged to speak for their beliefs
London: Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, urged Christians not to hide their religion at the work place and speak up for their beliefs. It follows a report commissioned by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) which asked people about any incidents in the workplace relating to their religion.
Nick Clegg blocks laws banning extremists from varsities
London: Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg has blocked new laws intended to stop extremist speakers from universities, raising fears that Britain will be left more vulnerable to attack. Clegg vetoed the plan during private talks with David Cameron, after one of the worst Cabinet rows in the coalition’s five-year rule. Liberal Democrat leader said he could not support moves to require university bosses to vet visiting speakers and prevent impressionable students from falling under the spell of extremists.
CPS accused of blocking prosecution of abortion doctors
London: Prosecutors have been accused of allowing gender abortion in Britain after blocking an attempt to bring charges against two doctors accused of agreeing terminations based on the sex of unborn baby girls. Dr Prabha Sivaraman and Dr Palaniappan Rajmohan were facing the first ever private prosecution on gender abortion charges after being filmed while apparently agreeing to arrange terminations because of the gender of the foetus in an undercover investigation in 2012. They were summoned to courts to answer allegations in what would have been a landmark prosecution. But the CPS has announced that it would use its powers to quash the case.