"Banned" Bible comedy sells out

Two performances of The Reduced Shakespeare Company's play The Bible: The Complete Word of God (Abridged) have sold out following the decision to reverse a ban on it showing at the local council-run Theatre At The Mill in Newtownabbey, near Belfast. The decision was overturned at a full meeting of the town council, having previously been imposed as a result of pressure from a Christian councillor. (Chortle)

News conference protests not allowed warns Winter Games chief

Protests by athletes over Russia's anti-gay propaganda law during news conferences at the Sochi Winter Olympics are unacceptable as they go against the Olympic Charter, Games chief Dmitry Chernyshenko has said. The president of the International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach had previously suggested that while Olympic rules forbid political protests by athletes on the podium, athletes could make their views known at press conferences. (Reuters)

Pope Francis on the cover of Rolling Stone

Pope Francis has become the first religious figurehead to appear on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine, reinforcing his image as a "rock star" Pope. The magazine's cover story, entitled "The Times They Are A-Changing", hails the "Pope's gentle revolution" of the Catholic Church. Francis was recently named the best-dressed man of 2013 by men's magazine Esquire. (Independent)

Liberal Democrat candidate responds to Jesus & Mo cartoon free speech row

The Liberal Democrat candidate Maajid Nawaz, who has faced death threats and calls for his deselection over his tweeting of an image from the web comic Jesus & Mo, has responded to his critics, saying that his aim was to defend Islam "from those who have hijacked it just because they shout the loudest". Writing for the Guardian, Nawaz said that his "intention was to highlight that Muslims can engage in politics without insisting that our own religious values must trump all others' concerns, and to stand before the mob so that other liberal Muslim voices that are seldom heard, women's and men's, could come to the fore." (Guardian)

Simple way to make stem cells in half an hour hailed as major discovery

Scientists at the Riken lab in Kobe, Japan have developed a new technique which allows them to make stem cells in just half an hour. Cells from animals can be turned into stem cells by immersing them in a mildly acidic solution, and experiments in mice have shown that they grow into healthy tissues and organs. It is believed the technique could be repeated in human tissue, potentially leading to a revolution in regenerative medicine. (Guardian)