I pray Chris Pratt will be an ally to LGBTQ Christians

(CNN)In response to criticism from actress Ellen Page for attending what she called an “infamously anti-LGBTQ” church, Chris Pratt, who spoke in a recent TV appearance about being a member of Zoe Church in Los Angeles, defended himself and his church. “Nothing could be further from the truth,” he posted on Instagram. “I go to a church that opens their doors to absolutely everyone.” Zoe Church, which Pratt attends, does not state its views on homosexuality on its website. (By contrast, a growing number of churches across the country explicitly affirm LGBTQ people.) While Pratt’s church instead has no public stance on LGBTQ equality, there are strong signals that raise questions about whether Zoe Church is fully inclusive. Sign up …

City centres ‘could become ghost towns’

Replacing failed shops ‘won’t save cities’ Three things that could save the High Street But it said the impact on high streets had been “stark”, resulting in “store closures, persistently empty shops and declining footfall”. “Some formerly thriving shopping areas are likely to become ghost towns and effectively close down altogether unless the government, councils, retailers, landlords and the local community act together,” it said. Level playing field One problem, the committee said, was that High Street retailers paid much higher business rates than online retailers because of their greater reliance on physical premises. Amazon UK’s rates, for example, are about 0.7% of its UK turnover, while most High Street retailers pay between 1.5% and 6.5%. View comments

What I found in dads old jukebox (it’s not what you think)

I think the intensity of today’s life, fueled by a ravenous and omnipresent digital media makes us long for a simpler time. I can’t rightly be nostalgic for the 50’s, because I didn’t live during them. But I can imagine what it was like at the advent of television, the wonder created by post-war American innovation and the pride our country felt having saved the world from Nazism, the clarity of purpose we had fighting communism. As I combed over the vacuum tubes and smelled that unique aroma of old electrical components heating up, I couldn’t help but feel the need to unplug more. SOMEBODY LEFT AN ANONYMOUS GIFT FOR ME – I HOPE I NEVER FIND OUT WHO DID …

Timeline of R. Kelly’s life and career

— 1975: At age 8, Kelly begins singing in church. Around the same time, his mother teaches him how Stevie Wonder sings by putting a nickel on the record player needle to slow down the revolutions. “So the runs could go really slow and then you learn them,” Kelly told ABC News in 2004. — 1979: At age 12, Kelly said, he “experienced a lot of things at a very young age that I don’t know if I was supposed to,” including witnessing older youth rape one of his girlfriends. — 1983: At age 16, his mother moves the family from the projects and enrolls her son at the prestigious Kenwood Academy, a Chicago public school. Kelly meets his mentor, …

Steve King plans to seek re-election: ‘I have nothing to apologize for’

(CNN)Rep. Steve King said he plans to run for re-election and rejected responsibility for his statements in The New York Times that appeared to defended white nationalism. In the article, King, as part of a defense of what he said was the “culture of America,” asked how certain terms had become controversial in modern discourse. “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?” he told the Times. “Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?” Despite the rebukes, and the possibility of primary challengers motivated by the controversy, King said he has no plans to retire from Congress. “I would tell (voters) don’t let the elitists …

Corbyn must ‘lead’ on tackling anti-Semitism

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionTom Watson: “I know that he (Jeremy Corbyn) will… share my horror” Jeremy Corbyn must take a “personal lead” over claims of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, his deputy has said. Tom Watson told the BBC’s Andrew Marr that there was a “crisis for the soul” of the party, fearing more MPs might follow the nine who resigned this week. But he said with the situation being so “grave”, Mr Corbyn understood he needed to make a “personal intervention”. A Labour spokesman said the party takes all complaints about anti-Semitism “extremely seriously”. Mr Watson said he had sent 50 such complaints to his leader this week. Image copyright AFP/Getty Images Image caption …

UK spies think they can handle Huawei in 5G networks. The US doesn’t agree

Hong Kong (CNN Business)The United Kingdom could undermine an American-led campaign to keep Chinese tech company Huawei out of super-fast 5G mobile networks around the world. The National Cyber Security Centre declined to comment Monday on the specifics of the Financial Times report but said in a statement that it has “a unique oversight and understanding of Huawei engineering and cyber security.” The intelligence agency is playing an important role in a broader UK government review examining the security of technology that operators plan to use in 5G networks in the country. “The review is looking at a range of options and will conclude in the spring. No decisions have been taken and any suggestion to the contrary is inaccurate,” …

Author Posts Funny Situations That A Modern Muggle-Born Would Experience At Hogwarts

You would have to live in a completely different universe to not be aware of the Harry Potter phenomenon. Even if you weren’t one of those diehard fans who anticipated every book release, saving up pennies or making your birthday wishes very apparent to your parents, you still have either witnessed the hype or at least watched the movies, right? But the recent years could be regarded as a great proof that the Harry Potter series wasn’t just a crazy fad that died out once the movies were done. With new Fantastic Beasts movies still rolling out and attracting crowds to the theaters, Potterheads big and small still remind the world that they exist. And as magical memes still land, …

General Motors CEO visits Toledo plant where nooses, ‘whites-only’ signs hung

(CNN)GM CEO Mary Barra visited employees on Tuesday at a Toledo, Ohio, plant that has been alleged to be the site of racial discrimination and harassment, and told employees all complaints are being taken seriously. Plant shift supervisors Marcus Boyd and Derrick Brooks, who worked different shifts, described being threatened and called racist names in the plant. Boyd said threats and racial slurs were a regular part of work life there. Brooks said he found a noose hanging in the area where he worked. As the only black employee in that space on his shift, he believed it was meant to intimidate him. In total, five nooses were found and reported to GM, according to the lawsuit. Boyd quit his …

Latest MP to quit Labour ‘ashamed’ of party

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionIan Austin spoke to 5 Live about quitting Labour Ian Austin has become the ninth MP to quit Labour this week, blaming leader Jeremy Corbyn for “creating a culture of extremism and intolerance”. He told the BBC the leadership had failed to tackle anti-Semitism and had turned the party into a “narrow sect”. But the MP for Dudley North said he had no plans to join the new Independent Group of former Labour and Tory MPs. Mr Corbyn denied claims bullying was rife in Labour, telling Sky News any “bad behaviour” had been dealt with. Meanwhile, his deputy Tom Watson said Mr Austin’s departure was a “serious blow” to Labour. Image copyright …

A company where everyone works from home. Here’s how to make it work

Having a 9-to-5 job doesn’t always mean sitting behind a desk. Opting for a 100% remote staff isn’t just a money saver, it also expands the talent pool a company can dip into and helps boost retention. But maintaining a strong corporate culture and an engaged and productive workforce can be tough when you aren’t getting daily face time.

Labour defectors betrayed seats, says Thornberry

They were followed by three Tory MPs who cited “a shift to the right” in their party and the government’s “disastrous handling of Brexit” as reasons for their departure. Latest MP to quit Labour ‘ashamed’ of party Who are the Independent Group and what do they want? Could new group reshape political tribes? The newly-formed “The Independent Group” – which at the moment remains a grouping in Parliament not an official political party – says it represents “the centre ground of British politics”. They have urged like-minded MPs from other parties to join them. But Ms Thornberry accused the Labour MPs of having had “the cheek to reject our new manifesto and our new leader”. She said: “It was our …

We’ll listen to critics, vows McDonnell

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionJohn McDonnell: “We need a mammoth listening exercise” Labour needs to carry out a “mammoth listening exercise” to address criticisms from its own MPs, says the shadow chancellor. John McDonnell had called for the seven MPs who resigned from Labour on Monday to face by-elections for their seats. But speaking on Tuesday, he focused on “finding a way forward” and the need to “bring people in [and] talk to them.” Jeremy Corbyn was “disappointed” MPs had left, but defended his polices as having “huge public support”. The reactions followed warnings that more Labour MPs could quit the party to join the new group of independent MPs. Image caption Chris Leslie speaks in …

How Robert Kraft became a billionaire

New York (CNN Business)Robert Kraft bought the New England Patriots in 1994 from an owner who wanted to move the team to St. Louis and call them the Stallions. And the Patriots today are worth $3.7 billion, the sixth most valuable pro franchise in the world, and Kraft is worth $6.6 billion, according to Forbes. He is the 79th wealthiest person in America. On Friday, Kraft, 77, was making headlines for other reasons. He was facing charges of soliciting prostitution, stemming from a raid on a day spa in Florida. A spokesperson for Kraft denied that he had committed a crime. Lee Igel, an associate professor at NYU’s Tisch Institute for Global Sport, said Kraft transformed the Patriots into a …

Churches can get rid of Sunday services

Previously, a rural priest would need to apply for permission from a bishop to not hold a Sunday service in each church. The Bishop of Willesden – the Right Reverend Pete Broadbent – chairs the Simplification Task Force formed in 2014 to improve the process of the Church of England. He said changing the law reflected the current practice of priests who look after multiple churches. Following the vote, he said: “You’re meant to get a dispensation from the bishop – this just changes the rules to make it easier for people to do what they’re already doing. It stops the bureaucracy. “This was just one (amendment) where we said, ‘Out of date, doesn’t work, we’re operating differently in the …