News Bites

-Holy Water. Canada’s largest Protestant denomination, the United Church of Canada, is taking action against water privatization by encouraging members to refuse bottled water, drink from the tap, and urge the Canadian government to resist national and international water privatization efforts.

-Scary Movie V. Twentieth Century Fox (owned by News Corporation) launched a new division in September to market “faith-based” films. “To be part of FoxFaith,” notes the company’s Web site, “a movie has to have overt Christian content or be derived from the work of a Christian author.”

-Global Law. Churches around the world applauded the adoption of two new treaties at the inaugural meeting of the U.N. Human Rights Council last June. The first “affirms the right of any victim to know the truth about … an enforced disappearance,” and the second advances the rights of indigenous peoples.

-U.S.-Iran. Christian and Muslim religious leaders from the United States met with Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in September to discuss how religious communities can help build a just and peaceful relationship between the U.S. and Iran. Ahmadinejad said he welcomed the group’s prayers for himself and President Bush.

-Friendly Skies? British billionaire Richard Branson promised to invest all profit from his Virgin Group airlines and trains over the next 10 years—estimated at $3 billion—to fight global warming and promote alternative energy. “With extreme wealth comes extreme responsibility,” Branson told the BBC in an earlier discussion on philanthropy.

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