- - Sunday, November 20, 2011


Bishops attack welfare reforms

LONDON — Eighteen Church of England bishops have signed an open letter published Sunday criticizing planned welfare reforms, in a rare intervention by the religious establishment in politics.

In a letter to the Observer newspaper, the bishops said that plans to cap the amount any household can claim in benefits at $790 a week risked pushing vulnerable children into poverty.

“The Church of England has a commitment and moral obligation to speak up for those who have no voice,” they wrote.

“We feel compelled to speak for children who might be faced with severe poverty and potentially homelessness, as a result of the choices or circumstances of their parents.

“Such an impact is profoundly unjust.”

The Children’s Society charity has warned that the cap could make more than 80,000 children homeless.

Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition was formed in May 2010 and pledged to push through tough spending cuts to reduce a record deficit, but the measures have sparked protests and fierce criticism.

The leader of the world’s Anglicans, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, backed the letter, a spokeswoman said, although he did not sign it. A source close to the archbishop said he does not sign open letters.


Poll: New government has record support

ROME — Italy’s new technocrat government, led by Mario Monti, has a near 80 percent approval rate as it embarks on the task of resuscitating the country’s economy, a new polled showed Sunday.

The incoming administration won support from 78.6 percent of those questioned for the Sunday edition of the left-wing daily La Repubblica.

That figure rose to an even more impressive 83.8 percent for Mr. Monti himself in the Demos poll taken on Nov. 17 and 18.

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