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‘Pope Francis has been slammed by church officials and sex abuse survivors for cutting penalties for paedophile priests.

The Pope is said to be applying his vision of a ‘merciful church’ to sex offenders by reducing punishments to weaker sentences, such as a lifetime of prayer and penance.

It has been revealed by church officials that Pope Francis overruled advice given to him by the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith about two priests – allowing them to be punished by a lifetime of prayer.’

Read more: Pope cuts penalties for paedophile priests – including one let off with just a lifetime of prayer for abusing five young boys

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‘The Trump administration is considering pulling the United States out of the United Nations Human Rights Council, a body that has been accused of being biased against Israel and criticized for including abusive governments, according to two sources in regular contact with former and current U.S. officials.

No immediate withdrawal is expected ahead of the council’s next session, which starts Monday, but discussion of abandoning the council is likely to alarm international activists already worried that the United States will take a lower profile on global human rights issues under President Donald Trump.

A final decision on membership in the council would likely involve Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, as well as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, and of course the president himself.’

Read more: Sources: U.S. considers quitting U.N. Human Rights Council

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‘U.S. President Donald Trump announced on Saturday that he would not attend the annual White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, a high-profile event that draws celebrities, politicians and journalists.

“I will not be attending the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner this year. Please wish everyone well and have a great evening!”, Trump wrote on Twitter.

On the campaign trail and in the White House, Trump has had a strained relationship with the press, calling journalists “the enemy of the people” and frequently criticizing outlets and individual reporters whose coverage he does not like.

The reporters’ group said it would go ahead with its April 29 dinner despite Trump’s absence. The Washington event typically draws movie stars, politicians and business leaders to hear a humorous speech by the sitting president.’

Read more: Donald Trump to skip White House Correspondents’ dinner as feud with the press escalates

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‘A US government memo setting out strategies for preventing leaks of classified information, has been leaked to the media.

The four-page document details how Donald Trump’s new secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, might be able to prevent the public disclosure of sensitive information, including issues affecting ongoing policy discussions within the department.

“When such information is leaked … It chills the willingness of senior government officials to seek robust and candid advice, which ultimately is to the detriment of informed policymaking and the reputation of the institution from which the leak emanated,” it states.’

Read more: US government memo on the danger of leaking to the media has been leaked to the media

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‘The Australian government joined the widely unpopular Iraq War in 2003 – deploying troops, warships, and combat aircraft – solely to boost its relationship with George W. Bush’s White House, a declassified Australian army paper has revealed.

A report, written by Dr. Albert Palazzo of the Australian Army’s Directorate of Army Research and Analysis (DARA) between 2008 and 2011, was accessed by Fairfax Media and cited by the Sydney Morning Herald. DARA is a branch of the Australian Army Headquarters and serves as the Army’s think tank

The 572-page declassified document provides enough evidence to prove that then Prime Minister John Howard joined former US President George W. Bush in invading Iraq only to strengthen Canberra’s ties with Washington.

It also gives insight into how the political decision to enter the unpopular war was made – Howard’s statements about enforcing UN resolutions, combatting global terrorism, and contributing to the post-war reconstruction of Iraq were dismissed in Palazzo’s report as “mandatory rhetoric.”’

Read more: Australia joined 2003 Iraq War solely to boost ties with Bush – army think-tank

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‘Back in the 18th century, political reformer Henry Fox was advocating giving the vote to more people. But only, he insisted, to what he called ‘the better sort’. Not ‘the mob or the mere dregs of the people’. Heaven forbid!

Now, in the 21st century, such derogatory sentiments about ‘the people’ are dangerously back in fashion — ever since they dared vote for Brexit in Britain, and for Donald Trump in the United States.

Questions are being asked in high places about whether ordinary voters are fit to make decisions on major issues.

As a result, democracy — the cornerstone of our way of life — is being undermined, its very survival put at risk. Its modern enemies are mustering from all corners — but most worryingly from the Left, the very area where its stoutest defenders should be.’

Read more: Tyranny of the minority: How the most sinister trend of our age is a poisonous conviction taking root on the Left and among the elite that ordinary people are too stupid to be trusted with voting

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‘Michael Heseltine has put himself at the head of a rebel Tory campaign to stop Theresa May taking Britain out of the EU with no deal – unless she gets the go ahead from MPs.

The peer says he will defy orders by Tory whips to not vote for a change to the Brexit Bill, which will give Parliament a veto over the outcome of Mrs May’s Brussels negotiations, including if she walks away without a deal.

Writing in today’s Mail on Sunday, Lord Heseltine says: ‘This is not a confrontation with the Government. It is to ensure the Commons can exercise its authority over the defining issue of our time.’

The revolt comes at the same time as a separate campaign to force Mrs May to guarantee the rights of EU nationals in the UK to stay here – before talks even begin.’

Read more: Michael Heseltine is to lead Lords’ Brexit revolt as part of a rebel Tory campaign to stop Theresa May taking Britain out of the EU without a deal

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