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Archbishop Murilo Krieger of Salvador, Brazil, is mediating a military police officer strike that has caused havoc and left at least 95 people dead in Bahia State. • The Irish government has decided to cut special grants to Irish families meant to cover the cost of first Communion and confirmation expenses, which “could include a white dress, veil, shoes and bag,” from 242 euros to 110 euros. • In a debate on assisted dying at the Church of England Synod on Feb. 6, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, warned that legal moves to allow assisted suicide would be a “disaster” and reduce English society’s attitude toward the sanctity of life. • The government does not have the competence or authority to “‘redefine’ marriage or ‘expand’ its definition,” said Archbishop José H. Gómez of Los Angeles on Feb. 7, criticizing a court decision that overturned California’s Proposition 8, a 2008 initiative forbidding same-sex marriage. • Students from groups affiliated with religious denominations at Vanderbilt University protested the school’s new nondiscrimination policy, which requires that membership and leadership positions in any registered student organization be open to any applicant.

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