Nieuws volgens datum: 5 Feb, 2021

Romania baptisms: Six-week-old baby’s death sparks calls for change


The death of a six-week-old baby hours after a baptism ceremony in Romania has prompted an Orthodox archbishop to say such rituals will be analysed to avoid further tragedy. The baby had a cardiac arrest after he was immersed three times in holy water. He had a violent death and liquid was found in his lungs, an autopsy found. Some 60,000 people have signed a petition calling for change. Archbishop Calinic is the most senior member of the clergy to back reform. He told Romanian website Adevarul that he believed in the future the practice of immersing a baby would be reviewed and “the most appropriate decision taken to respect [Church] ordinances and carefully avoid unwanted accidents”. A manslaughter inquiry has been opened by prosecutors into the priest who carried out the baptism in the north-eastern city of Suceava.(BBC)…[+]

Virginia lawmakers vote to abolish state’s death penalty


Lawmakers in the US state of Virginia have voted to abolish use of the death penalty as a criminal punishment. On Friday the state’s House of Delegates followed its Senate in voting to end the practice, paving the way for Governor Ralph Northam to sign the repeal into law. The decision means Virginia will become the first southern US state to abolish capital punishment. The move comes at a time of renewed debate across the US about executions. Former President Donald Trump resumed them on a federal level last year after a 17-year hiatus. Some 13 people were put to death in a matter of months – including six executions carried out after the election despite a flurry of legal challenges.(BBC)…[+]

‘Smallest reptile on earth’ discovered in Madagascar

smallest rep

Scientists believe they may have discovered the smallest reptile on earth – a chameleon subspecies that is the size of a seed. Two of the tiny lizards were discovered by a German-Madagascan expedition team in Madagascar. The male Brookesia nana, or nano-chameleon, has a body of just 13.5mm. This makes it the smallest of about 11,500 known species of reptiles, according to the Bavarian State collection of Zoology in Munich. Its length from top to tail is 22mm (0.86in). The female is far bigger at around 29mm, the institute said, adding that other specimens were yet to be located, despite “great effort”. “The new chameleon is only known from a degraded montane rainforest in northern Madagascar and might be threatened by extinction,” said the Scientific Reports journal. Oliver Hawlitschek, a scientist at the Center of Natural History in Hamburg, said: “The nano-chameleon’s habitat has unfortunately been subject to deforestation, but the area was placed under protection recently, so the species will survive.”(BBC)…[+]