Two faith charities will be partnering with local councils to help correct misinformation about the Covid-19 vaccine in the communities they serve. The UK Government announced on Monday that Near Neighbours will receive £1 million and Strengthening Faith Institutions will be awarded £1.15 million.  It’s part of a wider government scheme called “Community Champions" which will make £23 million available to councils in England to help dispel myths about Covid-19 and about the coronavirus vaccine, and boost take-up of the jab. Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said it was being targeted at areas with plans to reach out to groups such as older people, disabled people, and people from ethnic minority backgrounds who are more likely to suffer long-term impacts and poor outcomes from the virus. Senior NHS figures have previously expressed concern that people in some black and Asian communities are reluctant to take up the vaccine - either for religious reasons or past concerns about "unethical" experiments carried out in the last century. Professor Francis Davis, a Christian professor of religion and public policy at Birmingham University and non-exec director for an NHS Trust, applauded the idea.

 
 
 

Police used stun grenades to clear ultra-Orthodox rioters from the streets of Bnei Brak early Monday after a group attacked two buses, setting one on fire and completely destroying it. The mob pulled an Arab driver from his bus and beat him, lightly injuring him before setting the vehicle on fire, Hebrew media reports said. The vehicle was completely gutted before firefighters could reach the scene, with the flames burning through nearby electric cables and causing a blackout in parts of the ultra-Orthodox city located near Tel Aviv. Several residents of nearby buildings were evacuated amid fears the bus could explode. Police said in a statement that four people were arrested on suspicion of damaging property, including the arson attack on the bus, as well as attempting to harm emergency workers and endangering the public.

 
 
 

Schools across Scotland have been reporting parents to local authorities if they are unsupportive of their child’s desire to ‘swap gender’. The Sunday Times reports that dozens of referrals have been made on the back of publicly-funded guidance produced by pro-trans lobby group LGBT Youth Scotland. The Scottish Government distanced itself from the guidance in 2019 after The Christian Institute issued a legal letter expressing “significant concerns” over the “misleading” material. ‘Supporting Transgender Young People: Guidance For Schools in Scotland’ says teachers should not tell parents if their child changes gender in school unless the child, who could be as young as four years old, gives permission, and that if parents are “struggling” with their child’s transgender identity, staff can consider raising this with the local authority. Among the councils receiving referrals from schools were West Lothian, Orkney and North Ayrshire. Clackmannanshire Council also confirmed referrals had been made, with schools claiming this was “to support transgender pupils who had additional and more complex issues that required targeted interventions”. Since 2018, West Dunbartonshire Council has received six referrals from schools asking for additional guidance to enable staff or parents to better “support transgendered pupils”.