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God created women to be men’s companion: Pope

by AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
December 30, 2009

Print: Province

Pope Benedict XVI said Wednesday God wanted women to be a companion for men and neither his slave nor dominating boss, as he brought up family issues during his weekly audience at the Vatican.

(4) comments | Read the full article.

Build-a-Bomber: Why do so many terrorists have engineering degrees?

By Benjamin Popper
December 30, 2009

Print: Slate

People with engineering degrees are more likely to become radicalized than people with any other graduate degree, even Islamic Studies.

(2) comments | Read the full article.

Officials Point to Suspect’s Claim of Qaeda Ties in Yemen

By ERIC SCHMITT and ERIC LIPTON
December 27, 2009

Print: New York Times

The man who tried to ignite an explosive device on the Delta flight to Detroit grew up privileged but later became a religious extremist.

(4) comments | Read the full article.

Christmas card snowflakes ‘corrupt nature’ by defying laws of physics

Ian Sample
December 23, 2009

Print: The Guardian

The fragile truce between science and art came under strain today when common depictions of snowflakes threatened to divide the two cultures over the festive season. In the latest salvo between the warring factions, Christmas card manufacturers, advertising agencies and children’s book publishers are accused of corrupting nature with “incorrect designer versions” of snowflakes that defy the laws of physics.

(3) comments | Read the full article.

Vatican defends move to beatify wartime pope

AP
December 22, 2009

Print: AP

The Vatican said Tuesday that moving Pope Pius XII closer to sainthood is not a hostile act against Jews, even though the wartime pontiff has been criticized for not speaking out enough against the Holocaust.

(3) comments | Read the full article.

Whatever Doesn’t Kill Some Animals Can Make Them Deadly

By SEAN B. CARROLL
December 22, 2009

Print: New York Times

Resistance to the neurotoxin tetrodotoxin has evolved independently multiple times in different geographies and in very unrelated classes of animals.

(4) comments | Read the full article.

Stem cell treatment restores sight to partially blind man

Ian Sample
December 21, 2009

Print: The Guardian

A man who was partially blinded when ammonia was squirted in his eye during an attack 15 years ago has regained his sight after receiving a pioneering stem cell treatment.

(3) comments | Read the full article.

Losing Faith

Paige Thomas
December 21, 2009

Print: Hustler

This article is about debaptisms in the United States and those taking place in other countries.

Read the full article.

Nerdstock 2009: Christmas for rationalists

Roger Highfield
December 21, 2009

Print: New Scientist

Welcome to Nine Lessons and Carols for Godless People, a variety show featuring a stellar cast of comedians, musicians and scientists, who - with cerebral sparkle and some realist tinsel - descended on London’s 3000-seater rock venue, the Hammersmith Apollo, last night.

(2) comments | Read the full article.

Hamas using English law to demand arrest of Israeli leaders for war crimes

James Hider
December 20, 2009

Print: The Times

The Islamist group Hamas is masterminding efforts to have senior Israeli leaders arrested for alleged war crimes when they visit European countries including Britain, a top Hamas official involved in the effort has told The Times. The claim comes amid continuing diplomatic fallout after a British arrest warrant was issued last week against Tzipi Livni, who served as Foreign Minister during Israel’s Gaza offensive last winter.

(4) comments | Read the full article.

West warns that Somalia is becoming a haven for international terrorists

Tristan McConnell
December 20, 2009

Print: The Times

Somalia has become a playground for an Islamist group known as al-Shabaab. It has banned bras, football, dancing and musical ringtones in the areas it controls. This weekend al-Shabaab decreed that men must grow beards and shave their moustaches. Its fighters have destroyed Sufi tombs and disinterred colonial-era Italian corpses. Its Sharia courts have ordered public floggings, the chopping off of hands and feet of thieves, the stoning to death of adulterers and beheadings of apostates and spies.

(1) comments | Read the full article.

Stonehenge bones may be evidence of winter solstice feasts

Maev Kennedy
December 20, 2009

Print: The Guardian

Some 4,500 years ago, as the solstice sun rose on Stonehenge, it is very likely that a midwinter feast would already have been roasting on the cooking fires. Experts believe that huge midwinter feasts were held in that period at the site and a startling picture is now emerging of just how far cattle were moved for the banquet. Recent analysis of the cattle and pig bones from the era found in the area suggests the cattle used were walked hundreds of miles to be slaughtered for the solstice celebrations – from the west country or west Wales.

(2) comments | Read the full article.

Christian teacher sacked for offering to pray for sick pupil

Nigel Bunyan
December 20, 2009

Print: The Telegraph

A Christian teacher was sacked within hours of offering to pray for a sick pupil during a home mentoring visit. Olive Jones, 54, said yesterday that she has been made a victim of religious persecution for discussing her faith with the child and her mother, who complained about her behaviour. After she was sacked, she was told the family had strongly objected to her approach because they are non-believers, and that a formal complaint had been lodged about her.

(1) comments | Read the full article.

Jihad: The Musical is to open in London

Tim Walker
December 20, 2009

Print: The Telegraph

Even before it opened on the Edinburgh Festival fringe in 2007, there were calls for Jihad: The Musical to be boycotted by theatre-goers. Now Mandrake hears that the controversial production will open in London at the Jermyn Street Theatre early in the New Year. Although it features songs such as Building A Bomb Today and I Wanna Be Like Osama, Ben Scheuer, its composer and co-lyricist, insists that it is not in the worst possible taste.

Read the full article.

John Paul II, Pius XII closer to sainthood

AP
December 19, 2009

Print: MSNBC

Pope Benedict XVI moved two of his predecessors closer to possible sainthood Saturday, signing decrees on the virtues of the beloved Pope John Paul II and controversial Pope Pius XII, who has been criticized for not doing enough to stop the Holocaust.
The decrees mean that both men can be beatified once the Vatican certifies that a miracle attributed to their intercession has occurred. Beatification is the first major step before possible sainthood.

(1) comments | Read the full article.

Evangelical church opens doors to gays

AP
December 19, 2009

Print: MSNBC

Rev. Mark Tidd is an outlaw pastor of sorts. His Denver community, less than a year old, is an evangelical Christian church guided both by the Apostle’s Creed and the belief that gay people can embrace their sexual orientation as God-given and seek fulfillment in committed same-sex relationships.

Read the full article.

When Does Death Start?

By DARSHAK SANGHAVI
December 19, 2009

Print: New York Times

The necessity for fresh organs for organ donations is causing ethicists to discuss the question of how to define death.

(7) comments | Read the full article.

Russian Orthodox Church will join with Vatican in bid to crush secularism


December 19, 2009

Print: National Secular Society

The Russian Orthodox Church and the Vatican – which have been engaged in a power-struggle for centuries – are moving to form a strategic alliance under the banner of fighting secularism.

(8) comments | Read the full article.

Cambodia to expel China Uighurs

BBC
December 18, 2009

Print: BBC

A group of 20 Chinese Uighurs who fled to Cambodia after ethnic riots in July will be expelled, a Cambodian official says. The Uighurs fled China for Cambodia following clashes with Han groups, who have moved into the Xianjiang region by the millions in recent years. The mainly Muslim Uighurs have been seeking greater autonomy and religious freedom. Human rights groups fear the group will face persecution upon its return to China.

Read the full article.

Terry Pratchett on religion: ‘I’d rather be a rising ape than a fallen angel’


December 18, 2009

Video: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/video/2009/dec/19/terry-pratchett-religion

At the Guardian Book Club, bestselling author Terry Pratchett gives his views on science and religion.

Read the full article.

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