Covid-19 has plunged the world into an economic crisis and accelerated digitisation in the workplace. Adopting digital technology creates opportunities for millions of new businesses and jobs, but millions without access to technology are left jobless. Unequal access to the internet and technology will impact the unskilled and offline communities in the developing world where connectivity is expensive, slow and unreliable. For example, a vegetable trader in Nairobi may make basic mobile phone payments but cannot sell his produce online because most of his buyers are neither online nor aware of e-commerce. Governments in developing countries lack the funds, and private companies lack financial incentives to invest in broadband for all. The economic crisis triggered by the pandemic will discourage investing digital infrastructure where it is most needed. Pray for the 3.2 billion people who will remain unconnected, those who don't have laptop jobs or access to virtual education or work, to find ways to survive in post-pandemic times.
Taiwan has reported a sharp rise in incursions by Chinese warplanes into its air defence identification zone. Foreign minister Joseph Wu urged Beijing to ‘return to civilised international standards’ after a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said there was no so-called median line in the Taiwan Strait ‘as Taiwan is an inseparable part of Chinese territory’, to be taken by force if necessary, even though the island has been self-ruled for more than 70 years. Beijing has ratcheted up pressure on the democratic island since the 2016 election of President Tsai who rejects its view that Taiwan is part of ‘one China’. Taiwan accuses China of violating a long-held tacit agreement after China’s fighter jets began crossing the median line of the waters that separate the two sides. Now tension between the two is at its highest in years, with Taiwanese fighter jets scrambling to intercept the Chinese aircraft last week.
The Philippines have a Christian majority, with a population of over 100 million. 8-10 million Filipinos live abroad, working as nurses, engineers, domestic servants, nannies, casual labourers and sailors. Many are enthusiastic and effective witnesses for Christ, often in countries where Christianity is most restricted or persecuted. Some have suffered greatly for their faith. The Philippines struggle against poverty, injustice, corruption, poor infrastructure, unreformed land laws, tropical storms, and heavy-handed government. A rampant drug trade has evoked the murder of thousands, with victims rarely those responsible for drug trading. The government’s ‘war on drugs’ looks like a war on slum-dwellers - where most victims come from. The Church includes vibrant and charismatic grassroots movements devotedly following Jesus and moving in the Spirit. Their problems are those associated with rapid growth: splits, false teachings, personality cults, and widespread poverty. Pray for continued growth of Christian ministries among the urban poor.
A Louisville nurse, Breonna Taylor, was asleep with her partner Kenneth Walker III, when they heard a noise. They got up and went to the door shouting ‘Who is it?’ and got no reply. Plainclothes police entered the home without knocking, mistakenly thinking they would find drugs. Walker said he couldn't see but he fired one shot at the intruders, thinking they were burglars, hitting an officer in the leg. Next, the police fired over 30 rounds and killed Breonna. Their trial for murder was this week, but only one of the officers was indicted, on the charge of first-degree wanton endangerment. No-one was charged with murder. People are protesting nationally, saying that the message of this indictment is, ‘We don't care about you, especially if you are black, and even more if you are a woman.’ Police are using violence and pepper spray as the situation escalates in Philadelphia, Portland, Seattle, and elsewhere.
Opposition activist Joshua Wong was arrested over illegal assembly last October and the anti-mask law, which bans people from covering their faces during protests. He spread the news of his arrest via Twitter. Veteran social activist Koo Sze-yiu was also detained in connection with the incident. Referring to a rally planned for National Day, Wong said, ‘The government wants to produce a chilling effect on Hong Kong people in order to frighten people away from the 1 October march. I will continue to resist, and we should also let the world know Hong Kong people will not easily surrender. They can’t censor our commitment to fight for freedom. The chilling effect will not work and is not the way out.’ It is the third time he has been prosecuted since June.
President Ashraf Ghani said Afghanistan had UN values enshrined in its constitution, but the pandemic has exposed vulnerabilities. He said: ‘The industrial revolution is a driver of inequality and unemployment and we must think ahead of our time. Violence and warfare are another source of turbulence in the fifth wave of global terrorism. Peace talks with the Taliban are not enough: we must get to the root of the terrorism blighting our region and address it as the global phenomenon and threat that it is. Climate change brings floods and drought needing regional solutions based on international models. Afghanistan is the 17th worst-affected country. All the above culminates as an explosion of inequality. But Afghanistan is in the heart of Asia. Our water ties us together; our cultures and languages give us a common denominator; South Asia needs energy resources, and Central Asia’s abundance of them makes Afghanistan a connector.’ For the full statement, see
More than 1.8 million people tuned into Greg Laurie's new outreach film A Rush of Hope during the Labour Day weekend (4-7 September). It broke all attendance records in Harvest Crusades' thirty-year history as it aired on dozens of online streaming and on-demand channels and over 600 radio stations. It will also air on TV in major markets across the US and on cable networks; then it will be released to streaming platforms and on DVD in November. In a year of unending bad news the Harvest team heard from over 17,000 people who came to faith after they watched the film. Harvest’s founder said the film is a reminder that God is greater than a pandemic or any other challenge we are facing. He can do above and beyond anything we can dream, and He is still transforming lives. Watch the film’s trailer here
In 2016 Prayer Alert asked intercessors to pray for the success of an enormous wall, to be built with each brick representing an answered prayer. The local council approved the plan, which this week was ratified by the Secretary of State. Building will commence in spring 2021, with the hope of completion in autumn 2022. The Coleshill site is expected to attract 300,000 visitors each year. Each answered prayer gives hope to those who visit. Standing at 169 feet, the landmark will also host a visitor centre, cafe, bookstore, and a 24-hour on-site chaplaincy service.