A church in Pennsylvania has invited couples to bring their assault rifles in to be blessed. Members at the World Peace and Unification Sanctuary in Newfoundland have been asked to attend the service with AR-15 semi-automatic rifle or equivalents such as an AK semi-automatic rifle. An AR-15 was the weapon used by Nikolas Cruz when he opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland north of Miami on Valentine's Day, killing 17 people.

The hand of the Prophet Isaiah himself may have created an 8th-century BCE seal impression discovered in First Temple remains near Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, according to Hebrew University archaeologist Dr. Eilat Mazar. “We appear to have discovered a seal impression, which may have belonged to the prophet Isaiah, in a scientific, archaeological excavation,” said Mazar this week in a press release announcing the breathtaking discovery. Mazar’s team uncovered the minuscule bulla, or seal impression, during renewed excavations at the Ophel, located at the foot of the southern wall of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The discovery was published on Wednesday in an article, “Is This the Prophet Isaiah’s Signature?” as part of a massive March-June issue of the Biblical Archaeology Review dedicated to its recently retired founding editor, Hershel Shanks. The clay impression is inscribed with letters and what appears to be a grazing doe, “a motif of blessing and protection found in Judah, particularly in Jerusalem,” according to the BAR article.

DOHA (AFP) — The presence of Israeli teams at a youth handball tournament in Doha that started Thursday has sparked calls on social media for Qataris to withdraw their children from the competition. Israel sent a boys’ team and a girls’ team to the Handball World School Championship, a biannual international tournament for students aged 15 to 18, played since the early 1970s. It is not the first time Israeli athletes have competed in Qatar, but their participation has brought renewed scrutiny to Doha’s foreign policy eight months into a diplomatic crisis with its Arab neighbours. On Twitter, users claiming to be Qataris accused Doha of trying to normalize relations with Israel. “I ask all parents to withdraw their children and prevent them from participating in this normalization of relations,” one user wrote in Arabic. “Now it is the time to speak to your children about Palestine.”

Jeremy Corbyn’s support for men to self-identify as women is alienating Labour Party supporters. The Labour leader reiterated his position last month, and the Party has also opened up some female-only posts to men who say they are women in recent weeks. Writing on the parenting website Mumsnet, one woman described herself as “a staunch Corbynite, and party activist” but his remarks on transsexualism had prompted her to turn away from the Labour leader. Another Labour supporter, who said she had campaigned for the Party in the General Election, said: “This is a very important issue for me and I believe for women in general.” She added that if self-identification was introduced, she may not vote for the Party. “I fervently hope that he is also interested in listening with an open mind to feminist concerns”, she commented.

Welsh politicians must heed a stark warning from New Zealand that a smacking ban does criminalise loving parents, campaigners say. New legal analysis on the situation in New Zealand – which banned smacking in 2007 – has shown that the law “criminalised parents who smack their children, even if only lightly, for the purposes of correction”. In Wales, The Be Reasonable campaign has warned that outlawing smacking would see parents handed a criminal record for lovingly disciplining their children. Last month, a twelve-week consultation on banning smacking was launched in Wales with ministers seeking to repeal the existing defence of “reasonable chastisement”. Politicians and activists pushing for a ban have repeatedly claimed that parents will not be criminalised. But in New Zealand, a former UK national known as “DC”, was convicted of smacking and lost custody of his sons. His conviction was later quashed by the Court of Appeal, which admitted that the consequences of his conviction were “out of all proportion to the gravity of offending”.