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Church of England issues new guidelines on welcoming trans people into the faith
ChrisHepburn/iStock (LONDON) -- The Church of England has issued new guidance saying that it "welcomes and encourages the unconditional affirmation of trans people" and offers clergy ways to help them celebrate the sacrament of baptism in a meaningful, inclusive way. The pastoral guidance will be incorporated into a revised edition of Common Worship, the Church of England’s service book, and has already been published online. The revised print edition of Common Worship will be issued early next year. The document includes advice to ministers regarding how to celebrate baptism with a trans parishioner and how to sensitively use preferred gender...
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Two dead, 11 injured in shooting in France, officials say
pixinoo/iStock (STRASBOURG, France) -- At least two people have been killed and several more injured in a shooting in France, according to government officials.The local prefecture in Strasbourg, about 300 miles east of Paris, wrote on Twitter than an individual opened fire in the center of the city on the Rue des Orfèvres around 8 p.m. local time. The shooting is being treated as a terrorist attack, the Paris counter-terrorism prosecutor’s office told ABC News.Of the wounded, seven people were seriously injured and four were slightly hurt, the local prefecture said.The suspect has been identified, and police are looking for...
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Russia buries legendary human rights activist Lyudmila Alexeyeva
Carsten Koall/Getty Images (MOSCOW) -- Russia on Tuesday buried the legendary human rights activist, Lyudmila Alexeyeva, whose fearless efforts to force the Soviet Union and later Russia's government to observe its citizens’ rights made her a national celebrity.Alexeyeva died on Saturday at the age of 91.One of the last well-known Soviet-era dissidents, Alexeyeva was the doyenne of Russia’s human rights movement and an icon of the long struggle against political repression in the country. She had continued to campaign until her death and had appeared at rallies well into her eighties, denouncing the new turn back to authoritarianism under Vladimir...
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Police arrest man outside British Parliament for trespassing
400tmax/iStock (LONDON) -- A man was arrested by British armed police on Tuesday for entering the grounds of the British Houses of Parliament.Police have yet to rule out whether the incident is terror-related.“A man was detained and arrested by Carriage Gates inside the Palace of Westminster on suspicion of trespassing at a protected site,” London's Metropolitan Police said in a statement. “A Taser was deployed. Enquiries into the circumstances continue.”The man, who has not been identified, was led away from the scene by police. Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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Five Marines missing off coast of Japan declared dead
U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. AaronJames Vinculado (WASHINGTON) -- The five Marines missing off the coast of Japan for nearly a week following an aviation mishap have been declared dead by the U.S. Marine Corps.The Marines were aboard a KC-130 refueling aircraft that may have been attempting to refuel in midair a F/A-18 fighter jet last Wednesday."The Marine Corps has pronounced the five remaining Marines involved in the F/A-18 and KC-130 aviation mishap deceased," according to a statement from the III Marine Expeditionary Force based in Japan. "The change in status comes at the conclusion of search and rescue...
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Russia sends bombers to Venezuela amid country's economic, humanitarian crisis
omersukrugoksu/iStock (CARACAS, Venezuela) -- Two Russian bombers landed in Caracas, Venezuela Monday amidst an economic crisis there that has left three million refugees in its wake and caused shortages of food and medical supplies.The Russian Ministry of Defense said the Tu-160 bombers and two support aircraft landed at the Simon Bolivar International Airport on Monday. During the 6,200-mile flight, the ministry said the bombers were briefly escorted by Norwegian F-16s, presumably flying a NATO air police mission.This is the third time Russia has sent bombers to Venezuela. The other flights in 2008 and 2013 were for joint exercises with the...
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Meghan Markle makes surprise appearance at British Fashion Awards
Joe Maher/BFC/Getty Images (LONDON) -- A glowing, pregnant Meghan Markle made a surprise appearance Monday night at the British Fashion Awards to honor the designer of her wedding gown during the British fashion industry's big night.The Duchess of Sussex presented the British Designer of the Year Womenswear Award to Clare Waight Keller, the first female artistic director of the fashion label Givenchy, at the Royal Albert Hall in London Monday, where she made an unannounced appearance during the awards show.While her growing baby belly stole the spotlight, Meghan's fashion ensemble also turned heads.She donned a black one-shoulder dress and had...
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Australian woman, 102, becomes oldest skydiver in the world
Mauricio Graiki/iStock (ATHELSTONE, Australia) -- A 102-year-old Australian woman has become the oldest skydiver in the world while also raising awareness for the disease that killed her daughter.Athelstone, Australia, resident Irene O'Shea celebrated her 100th birthday by skydiving for the first time, and has taken the extreme leap of faith every year since, according to SA Skydiving, the Adelaide-based company that O'Shea has jumped with each time.Sunday's skydive, which broke the world record, "went smoothly," SA Diving said, describing her as "an absolute joy to have in the dropzone."O'Shea's daughter died of motor neurone disease years ago, according to SA...
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Legendary Russian human rights activist Lyudmila Alexeyeva dies at 91
Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images (MOSCOW) -- Lyudmila Alexeyeva, the doyenne of Russia's human rights movement and one of the country's most revered activists, has died.Alexeyeva, who for decades exposed oppression under the Soviet Union and then post-Communist Russia, was so respected that even President Vladimir Putin found it necessary to show her deference.A veteran of the celebrated, Soviet-era dissidents of the 1970s, Alexeyeva helped found the USSR's first human rights organization, the Moscow Helsinki Group, which chronicled abuses committed by the Communist authorities.After Putin came to power and authoritarianism in a softer form returned again to Russia, Alexeyeva continued her campaigns....
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Eight people investigated for Italian disco stampede deaths, prosecutors say
ChiccoDodiFC/iStock (ROME) -- A teenage boy was being held in connection with the stampede at a disco in Italy that killed six people, including five children, prosecutors for the regional and minors said Monday.Seven other people -- three managers of the disco and four owners of the building -- were also being investigated in the incident, which occurred Friday night in a town east of Florence.Speaking at a press conference in Ancona on Monday, Giovanna Leboroni, a prosecutor for the regional minors court, confirmed that the boy was being investigated for having sprayed a substance in the disco Friday night.Leboroni...
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US sanctions three senior North Korean officials amid stalled nuclear talks
ronniechua/iStock (WASHINGTON) -- The Trump administration sanctioned three senior North Korean officials for human rights abuses and censorship in the country as discussions between the U.S. and North Korea over the regime's nuclear weapons program have stalled.The U.S. Treasury Department, which announced the sanctions, said they were in honor of American Otto Warmbier, the 22-year-old college student who died after being released from North Korean custody in June 2017. He would have turned 24 on Dec. 12.The sanctions are also part of a congressionally mandated report that details North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's violently oppressive rule. In particular, the...
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Macron addresses French nation after weeks of unrest, announces new economic measures
Chesnot/Getty Images (PARIS) -- French president Emmanuel Macron addressed the nation in a recorded TV speech on Monday and announced new economic measures in response to weeks of violent protests across the country.Speaking calmly and slowly from the Elysee Palace, the 40-year-old head of state confessed that the anger of protesters was "deep, and some of their claims legitimate." He added that these protests come from "40 years of malaise."Macron announced that the minimum wage would increase by 100 euros per month in 2019. He also said that a tax hike for the poorest pensioners will be cancelled at the...
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