There are concerns of an exodus among Christians in northern Iraq if aid assistance dries up, a lawyer representing local church leaders has told Premier. Stephen Rasche, who represents the Chaldean archdiocese of Irbil, fears internally displaced Christians and other religious minorities will flee the country entirely. On a brief visit to London, the external legal counsel member is due at Parliament on Thursday when he will call on the UK government to commit £5 million towards the "perilous" situation. Speaking with Premier, Mr Rasche said: "The funding that we're looking for right now is emergency funding so that we can continue [helping] the medical, shelter, food and clothing needs. "The concern is that, if we're not able to adequately provide these things, they will leave."

Powerful arguments against euthanasia and assisted suicide have been put forward by a new campaign group ahead of an attempt to change the law in New Zealand. The ‘16,000 voices’ campaign focuses on people who made submissions to the New Zealand Parliament Health Select Committee on assisted suicide. The committee was set up in response to calls for the legalisation of both assisted suicide and euthanasia. Dr Jane Silloway Smith, whose analysis of the submissions formed the basis for the campaign’s research, said: “Most Kiwis assume that the majority of the submissions given must have been in favour of euthanasia – but that’s not the case at all – quite the opposite!”

The New Zealand Olympic team has been criticised for allowing a transsexual weightlifter to compete in an international competition. Laurel Hubbard, a 39-year-old man who is living as a woman, won gold in the over 90kg division of the Australian International competition this week. His combined total of 268kg was almost 20kg greater than the female runner-up, Samoan athlete Luniarra SipaiaTranssexual people often take hormone suppressant drugs or have hormone injections to change their physical appearance. Hubbard was allowed to compete in the women’s competition because he passed International Olympic Committee criteria, which involves testing athletes’ levels of testosterone.