Food bank network sees surge in Britain

A U.K. food bank network says the number of hungry Britons repeatedly coming in for meals has more than doubled over the past year, a surge it blames on a bad economy and welfare reforms.

The Trussell Trust says nearly 350,000 people have received at least three days’ emergency food over the past 12 months, a 170 percent increase over the previous year.

The Salisbury, England-based trust, which currently counts 345 food banks, said Thursday it had expanded its network by 76 percent over the same period but that demand is still outstripping supply.

The growing number of hungry Britons is still minuscule by U.S. standards, where some 45 million people receive food stamps to help them get enough to eat.

Israeli police: Church defaced in Jerusalem

Israeli police say an investigation is underway to find vandals who defaced one of Jerusalem’s best known churches.

Spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the vandalism was discovered on the Church of the Dormition in Jerusalem’s Old City.

The church is built on the site where many Christians believe the Virgin Mary died.

Rosenfeld said that along with anti-Christian slurs, the words “price tag” were found scrawled on the church’s exterior. He said police are searching for the perpetrators.

That phrase is usually used by a fringe minority of Jewish extremists to protest what they perceive as the Israeli government’s pro-Palestinian policies and retaliation for Palestinian attacks.

Mosques, churches, dovish Israeli groups and even Israeli military bases have been vandalized with “price tag” damage in recent years.

Humanist groups sue over monument cross

A humanist group is suing a California city for funding a monument depicting a soldier kneeling at a cross.

The Riverside Press-Enterprise reports that the American Humanist Association served Lake Elsinore with the suit.

The suit claims the Riverside County community violated the separation of church and state by agreeing to pay $50,000 to create a monument with a soldier kneeling before a cross-topped grave.

The veterans’ monument would be placed in front of the city’s Diamond Stadium.

City Councilman Brian Tisdale says the design shows a World War II soldier mourning a comrade and isn’t meant to be religious.

However, William Burgess of the humanist group says it still comes down to a government putting a religious symbol on public property.

Associated Press