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News in Brief

December 2007

News in Brief

Touching wood

A survey published in The Times newspaper on 31 October found that: 62% of Britons believe that we have souls; 62% believe in fate; 47% believe in life after death; 41% believe in telepathy; 38% believe in ghosts; 31% believe in extraterrestrial beings; 23% believe in horoscopes; and just 16% believe in lucky charms. However, 51% of us are likely to ‘touch wood’ to avoid bad luck!

Da Vinci’s ‘Last Supper’

One of the art world’s most famous paintings – and the subject of speculation amongst religious conspiracy theorists – the Last Supper by Leonardo Da Vinci will soon be available for everyone to admire or examine for clues. A high definition electronic copy of the painting is to be posted on the Internet by an Italian technology firm allowing it to be viewed from computers all over the world. The 16-17 gigapixel image is on its website ( The 500-year-old mural depicts Jesus Christ presiding at table for a final meal with his disciples before his crucifixion. It is here, according to the Bible account, that he predicts that one of his twelve apostles will betray him.

Smacking won’t be banned

Smacking will not be banned in England and Wales because most parents are against the move, the Government announced recently. Children’s Minister Kevin Brennan told MPs: ‘ a majority of parents say that smacking should not be banned outright … the Government will retain the law in its current form, in the absence of evidence [that] it is not working satisfactorily’. Many Christians were opposed to the ban and wrote to their MPs. Their concerns were also voiced by the Christian Institute amongst others. This display of public opposition probably played a crucial role in persuading ministers not to ban smacking.

The cost of dying

The cost of dying in Britain has gone up to almost £6000 according to two surveys from a national insurance group. Axa Sun Life claims the typical cost of dying is £5,923, which includes the cost of a modest funeral and legal expenses for dealing with the estate of the deceased person. On average it costs about £500 more to be buried rather than cremated.

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