News in Brief
An archive of 47 million documents on the Nazi Holocaust has been opened to the public in Bad Arolsen in Germany. The documents contain detailed records on 17.5 million forced labourers, concentration camp victims and political prisoners. Until now the files were only used to trace missing persons, reunite families and provide information for compensation claims. The archive is managed by the International Committee of the Red Cross and takes up 16 miles of shelving.
The Government has accused China of carrying out state-sponsored espionage against parts of Britain’s economy, including the computer systems of big banks and financial services firms. A report in the Times newspaper said firms compromised by Chinese attacks include one of Europe’s largest engineering companies and a large oil company.
Teddy bear offends
Gillian Gibbons, a primary school teacher from Liverpool working in Sudan, was convicted of insulting Islam after allowing children in her class to call a teddy bear Mohamed, the name of the Islamic prophet. Sentenced to 15 days detention she was released early after a presidential ‘pardon’. Following the trial hundreds of protesters called for her execution.
Pope Benedict XVI has created 24 new cardinals at a ceremony in St Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican. Among the appointees was the head of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland, ‘Primate of All Ireland’ Dr Sean Brady. There are now 202 Catholic cardinals.
The Lord’s Day Observance Society has gathered almost 4000 signatures in a petition against Sunday ferry sailings from the Isle of Lewis. The Society intends to lobby the Scottish Government to dissuade operator Caledonian MacBrayne from pursuing a proposal for seven-day sailing.
Woodland birds once common across Britain and Europe are declining. Species like the nightingale, lesser spotted woodpecker and wryneck have reduced significantly, says a recent report in the scientific journal Ibis. Bird population studies across 20 European countries revealed that some woodland bird numbers had fallen by up to 20% in the past two decades. A third of the 90 forest birds examined have declined since the 1980s.