Daily Archives: November 14, 2009

Church bells to ring out warning on climate change

Churches want to create a ‘chain of chimes and prayers’ around the world

Breitbart | Nov 12, 2009

climate church bells

A man rings bells outside a church in Moscow during the Easter holiday. The World Council of Churches has called on churches around the world to ring their bells 350 times during the Copenhagen climate change summit on December 13 as a call to action on global warming. AFP

The World Council of Churches on Thursday called on churches around the world to ring their bells 350 times during the Copenhagen climate change summit on December 13 as a call to action on global warming.

The leading council of Christian and Orthodox churches also invited places of worship for other faiths to join a symbolic “chain of chimes and prayers” stretching around the world from the international date line in the South Pacific.

“On that Sunday, midway through the UN summit, the WCC invites churches around the world to use their bells, drums, gongs or whatever their tradition offers to call people to prayer and action in the face of climate change,” the council said in a statement.

“By sounding their bells or other instruments 350 times, participating churches will symbolise the 350 parts per million that mark the safe upper limit for CO2 (carbon dioxide) in the atmosphere according to many scientists,” it added.

The chimes are meant to start at 3.00 pm local time in each location.

The WCC brings together 348 Protestant, Orthodox and Anglican churches representing about 560 million Christians in 110 countries.

The Council of European Bishops Conferences, which gathers Roman Catholic bishops and archbishops, is also supporting the campaign, according to a letter released by the WCC.

The UN summit in the Danish capital on December 7 to 18 is meant to produce a new global treaty to broaden cuts in emissions of greenhouse gases blamed for climate change, but the negotiations are still riven by disagreements.

The WCC acknowledged that plans for a bell ringing campaign have stirred controversy.

“In some countries, the question has been raised whether churches have the right to use their bells for what may be considered to be a political campaign,” said Guillermo Kerber, WCC programme executive on climate change.

“Those who support the campaign see the care of creation and of people’s lives and livelihoods threatened by climate change more as an ethical and spiritual issue that, of course, has political implications, not in a partisan sense but referring to the common good,” he explained.

Queen: Let them pay to remove their DNA


Queen’s Speech: pay to have your DNA removed from database

Innocent people will have to pay £200 ($334) to fight to have their DNA removed from the national database under proposals in the Queen’s Speech next week.

Telegraph | Nov 13, 2009

by Tom Whitehead and James Kirkup

A new power will allow members of the public to challenge a chief constable’s refusal to delete their profiles in court – but they will have to pay an application fee to do so.

The proposals are contained in a new policing bill to be unveiled on Wednesday, part of a “slimline” programme of legislation that will also set out plans to reform the House of Lords and curb bankers’ bonuses.

The limited package – which is likely to include fewer than a dozen bills – will draw accusations that Gordon Brown’s Government has run out of ideas.

Ministers say that with a general election due to be called in the spring, there is not enough parliamentary time for a larger programme of legislation.

Some bills will be published in draft form only, and will then be included in the Labour general election manifesto.

The Policing Bill will be introduced as full legislation, and the Home Office hopes it will be passed before Parliament is dissolved next year.

Up to a million people are on the national DNA database who have never been charged or convicted for an offence. There are now more than 5.3million profiles on the system, making it the largest of its kind in the world.

Other proposed powers contained in the bill will allow police to take the DNA and fingerprints of UK nationals who committed crimes abroad and who have since returned to the UK and those who committed crimes here in the past but have, for one reason or another, not had their DNA taken.

Three more bills will deal with the public services: a Social Care Bill to offer free personal care at home for those with severe need; an NHS Bill to create maximum waiting times for some surgery and consultations; and a Schools Bill to create five-yearly checks on teachers’ competence and give parents the right to request one-to-one tuition for children.

There will be a Financial Services Bill to give the Financial Services Authority new powers over bankers’ pay and bonuses in crisis situations, and a Fiscal Responsibility Bill: enshrining Labour’s plans to reduce the deficit in law; and

There will also be a draft Lords Reform Bill, seting out plans for direct elections to the Lords for the first time.

Labour has been attempting to reform the upper house since it came to power in 1997, but never achieved the progress it promised.

Most of the hereditary peers have been removed from the Lords, but 92 remain. The rest are life peers appointed by party leaders.

The bill will stop short of an all-elected chamber, which would involve expelling Church of England bishops from the Lords. Instead, it will propose an 80-per cent elected chamber, with the option to move to 100 per cent over time.

David Cameron, the Tory leader, has said he is prepared to consider an elected element in the Lords, but in the meantime he is also drawing up plans to create dozens of new Conservative life peers.

The Government earlier this year suggested that it would introduce legislation that could allow a referendum on changing the first-past-the-post system for Westminster elections. Some ministers are still pushing for such bill, but Downing Street has ruled it out.

Obama hails China’s expanded role in world affairs

AP | Nov 13, 2009


TOKYO — President Barack Obama said Saturday that he welcomes a robust China on the world scene, but he cautioned that all nations must respect human rights, including religious freedoms. In a speech to prominent Japanese, Obama called himself “America’s first Pacific president” and urged greater cooperation between the United States and Japan and other Asian countries.

He played down some Westerners’ fears of an ascending China, especially in economic affairs.

“We welcome China’s efforts to play a greater role on the world stage, a role in which their growing economy is joined by growing responsibility,” Obama said.

“The United States does not seek to contain China,” he said. “On the contrary, the rise of a strong, prosperous China can be a source of strength for the community of nations.”

But Obama diplomatically reminded China and other non-democratic nations in Asia that the United States wants them to allow more freedoms to their citizens.

“Supporting human rights provides lasting security that cannot be purchased in any other way,” he said. “That is the story that can be seen in Japan’s democracy, just as it can be seen in America’s.”

Obama said all people want to speak their minds, choose their leaders, access information and worship as they please.

He did not mention particular sore spots such as Tibet, a region of China where authorities have suppressed religious freedom and nation aspirations. He did, however, criticize Burma for suppressing human rights and North Korea for pursuing nuclear weapons.

In a weeklong visit to Asia, Obama is emphasizing cooperation, warning North Korea that there will be tough, unified action by the U.S. and its Asian partners if the Koreans fail to abandon their nuclear weapons programs.