Displaying items by tag: Global
Since 2014 Russia has secretly funnelled $300 million to foreign political parties and candidates in at least 24 countries in Europe, Africa ,and elsewhere to shape political events beyond its borders. Putin wants to weaken democratic systems and promote global political forces aligned with Kremlin interests. A senior US official, speaking to reporters on the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence findings, said the administration decided to declassify some of the review’s findings to counter Russia’s ability to sway political systems. ‘By shining this light on Russian covert political financing and attempts to undermine democratic processes, we are putting these foreign parties and candidates on notice that if they accept Russian money secretly, we can and we will expose it’, the official said. Countries identified included Albania, Montenegro, Madagascar, and Ecuador. An unnamed Asian presidential candidate received millions in cash. Russia also used shell companies, thinktanks and other means to influence political events, sometimes to the benefit of far-right groups.
The 77th session of the UN General Assembly opened on 13 September 2022, with a high-level debate running from the 20th to 26th. This year’s theme, ‘A watershed moment: transformative solutions to interlocking challenges’, acknowledges the shared roots of crises such as Covid-19, climate change and conflict, and the need for solutions that build global sustainability and resilience. Like all crises, these have unique and disproportionate impacts on women and girls. From harsher economic fallout to heightened risk of violence, women and girls are suffering in specific ways that require targeted solutions - a need that too often remains unmet. These crises are unfolding against the backdrop of a global backlash on women’s rights, compounding forces that threaten to undo already insufficient progress. Pray for this session to generate more action towards achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls around the world.
Barnabas Aid invited people to join them for their Suffering Church Action and Awareness Week launch on 22 October at their new UK offices in Swindon. It also launched its new medical.gives project. The meeting provided an overview of the increasing suffering endured by Christians, and how we can understand the times we are living in. There were also updates on recent projects supported by Barnabas Aid, under God’s guidance. If people were unable to get to Swindon, Barnabas Aid were livestreaming the event.
While explosions rocked a Crimean ammunition depot, disrupting railway services and causing 2,000 people to be evacuated from a nearby village, the Russian defence minister claimed Ukrainian military operations were being planned by the Americans and British while NATO increased its troop deployment in eastern and central Europe ‘several times over’. Vladimir Putin also said the bloc of Australia, UK, and the USA had the potential to develop into ‘a political-military alliance’. Meanwhile Russia’s Black Sea fleet struggles to exercise effective sea control, with patrols generally limited to the waters within sight of the Crimean coast, according to British intelligence reports. The fleet continues to use long-range cruise missiles to support ground offensives, but is keeping a defensive posture. Britain is training 10,000 Ukrainian raw recruits in marksmanship, battlefield first aid, and urban warfare. Canada, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and Nordic nations are also providing training.
The UN expects five million people to flee Ukraine. The world was already facing the highest levels of displacement on record. The war in Syria killed 400,000 and destroyed healthcare, education, and infrastructure, forcing millions to cross treacherous waters to safety. An estimated 745,000 people crossed the border from Myanmar into Bangladesh after violence erupted in Rakhine state. The rapid movement and huge influx of Rohingya refugees put massive strain on existing refugee camps like Cox’s Bazar and on the host communities who are supporting new arrivals. Every day 37,000 people across the world flee their homes due to persecution or conflict; 26 million people flee their homes annually due to climate-related disasters; and one in five refugee or displaced women are estimated to have experienced sexual violence. In this season of global recessions, pray for adequate financial donations to be given to agencies delivering life-saving aid to refugees. Pray for ample food, water, sanitation, blankets and shelters to reach the vulnerable.
Lockdown, confinement, violence, and isolation is the daily reality for hundreds of thousands of people with disabilities around the world. Many are locked in sheds, cages, or tethered to trees and are forced to eat, sleep, urinate, and defecate in the same tiny area, sometimes for years at a time. Why? Simply because they have a psychosocial disability (mental health condition). This inhumane practice called ‘shackling’ occurs because of the widespread stigma surrounding mental health, and a lack of access to adequate support services, both for those with disabilities and for their families. Hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children - some as young as ten - have been shackled at least once in their lives in over sixty countries. In 2020 #BreakTheChains published a ground-breaking report exposing the global scale of chaining, and in Kenya, achieved a ruling which found that this practice was inhumane and held the people responsible to account.
Devastating flash floods have killed 37 people and hundreds are still missing in eastern Kentucky’s worst disaster for decades. The death toll will continue to rise. Hundreds of homes and businesses have been destroyed. People are sitting on their porches, hoping somebody is coming to save them. See In July, Sydney in Australia was hit with a month’s worth of rain in five days; people are still cleaning up three feet of swirling mud. Pakistan has 7,000+ glaciers, but rising global temperatures are causing them to melt rapidly, creating thousands of glacial lakes that might burst and release millions of cubic metres of water and debris, flooding villages in just a few hours. Worsening Indian monsoons cause Mumbai residents to commute on Venetian gondolas and inflatable dinghies. This year residents are being asked to tweet details about floods in their neighbourhoods. The data is then used to issue immediate geographically-specific flood alerts.
WHO has declared monkeypox a global health emergency. The first case was in a child in 1970. Since then, outbreaks were small and traceable to an individual returning from a country with monkeypox. But the current outbreak is different, with sustained person-to-person transmission of infection. By 22 July there were 16,593 confirmed infections in 68 countries (none having had monkeypox before). Most infections are in Europe. The majority of infections are in men who have sex with men, especially those with multiple partners. There are concerns of under-reporting of cases in some countries. On 28 July the US federal government allocated 786,000 vaccine doses to local authorities after the Food and Drug Administration cleared them for use by people aged 18 and older who are at high risk. See There is limited supply of the two-dose Jynneos vaccine, and infections could become endemic or be introduced into at-risk groups such as children, the elderly, and pregnant women.
When our brothers and sisters are displaced because of their faith in Christ, we can support them through prayer. As we pray, we open our hearts to their needs and grow deeper in fellowship with them. Pray for the Lord to meet all their needs. (Philippians 4:19) Pray for their healing from physical and emotional trauma. (Psalm 147:3) Pray for them to be able to love and forgive their persecutors. (Matthew 5:44) Pray for persecutors to repent and trust in Christ. (Luke 15:10) Christians in Burma, China, Eritrea, India, Iran, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Vietnam are persecuted by their governments and religious freedom is violated. Afghanistan, Algeria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, the Central African Republic, Cuba, Egypt, Indonesia, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Sudan, and Turkey are countries whose governments allow or engage in ‘severe violations of religious freedom.’. Take time to pray for Christians in these nations.
Hunger is stalking the world. In 2017 the UN vowed to eradicate it by 2030. Yet the number of people affected globally reached 828 million last year, and an unprecedented 345 million are currently experiencing acute food insecurity. Since May 2020 there has been a 55% increase in the food price index. The head of the World Food Programme said, ‘We thought it could not get any worse’ - but the Ukraine war has worsened freight and fertiliser costs due to rising fuel prices, and has blocked ports. Ukraine and Russia previously accounted for almost one-third of global wheat exports. Many middle-income countries have spent large parts of their reserves due to the pandemic. Even in wealthier countries, more parents are going hungry to feed their children. In low-income countries rising prices are deadly. Around 2.3 billion people face moderate or severe difficulty obtaining enough to eat, which could result in social unrest and political violence.