Some churches in Lebanon cannot turn on the lights or run fans to combat the heat because of extreme fuel shortages. There have been times when they have not been able to meet because people do not have enough fuel to drive their car or cannot access public transport. Some have turned to solar power to keep some lights on. Unfortunately, only wealthy people have access to this technology. Lebanon is ideally situated for solar power, seeing about 300 days of sunshine per year. The power shortages mean Christians lose access to the internet, and therefore to Zoom meetings or Facebook Live which bring services to people unable to attend. After a year’s wait Lebanon finally formed a new government, but it remains unclear if the new officials will do much to stop corruption and help the people.
Deterioration of democratic policies in the Palestinian leadership has caused a coalition of nongovernmental organisations to call it ‘political corruption.’ For years this coalition, named AMAN, focused on administrative and financial corruption. Now the eroding integrity of the Palestinian leadership has forced Transparency International to tackle a corrupt political system that among other things cancelled a long-overdue national election and ordered its security forces to harm a Hebron critic, that led to his death. They have also violently cracked down on demonstrations calling for accountability. An AMAN manifesto recently called Palestinians to reject the anti-democratic slippery slope and ‘fight this political corruption by creating a coalition that can contribute toward a more honest governance structure.’ If the current political corruption is not checked, Palestine will move into a dangerous zone.
The USA and Britain announced they would help Australia deploy nuclear-powered submarines (not nuclear-armed), taking a major step in challenging China’s broad territorial claims of its exclusive zone in the South China Sea. The announcement is a major step for Australia, which until recent years has been hesitant to push back directly at core Chinese interests. The decision to share technology for naval reactors, even with a close ally, is a major move for President Biden and bound to raise protests by the Chinese and questions from American allies.
Soldiers occupying Tigray are ethnically purging native people – detaining in concentration camps and massacring dozens. In Humera soldiers are going ‘door-to-door’ searching for ethnic Tigrayans in the campaign of slaughter with occupying soldiers saying ‘exterminate all Tigrayan residents in the city’. Last week Tigray forces attacked a hospital and religious site with artillery, killing civilians and looting medicine. See Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders have 800 staff treating war-wounded people, supporting five hospitals and running dozens of mobile clinics. See US officials recently reported fighters looting warehouses, trucks and causing destruction in every village visited. On 7th September the UN said 100 trucks of food and non-food items must enter Tigray daily to meet humanitarian needs. But less than 500 trucks have arrived since July. Over five million need emergency assistance and 400,000 face famine-like conditions. That number could get higher.
Since the February 1st military takeover, at least 1,045 protesters have been killed by security forces, and over 6,000 are currently in detention. The UK’s foreign ministry said it would impose an asset freeze on conglomerate Htoo Group of Companies and its founder Tay Za, who is involved in arms deals on behalf of the military coup leaders. The military junta has shown no signs of halting its brutal attack on the people of Myanmar and the UK with its partners will continue to restrict the junta’s access to finance and confine the supply of arms used to kill innocents, including children. The US has sanctioned Myanmar’s Minister of Information Chit Naing, Minister for Investment Aung Naing Oo, Labour and Immigration minister Myint Kyaing, and Thet Thet Khine, the minister for social welfare, relief and resettlement, as well as three members of the powerful State Administrative Council and their families – who are linked to the military coup.
On September 6th soldiers seized power, dissolved the government and detained Guinea’s President Conde. Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, a former French legionnaire, and his army want a transitional government and a new constitution. He announced on TV that all land and air borders are shut, the government is dissolved and ‘Guinea no longer entrusts politics to one man, we will entrust it to the people.’ Conde's popularity plummeted after he changed the constitution so that he could stand again. This caused protests killing dozens. Doumbouya released 80+ political prisoners who had campaigned against the constitutional change and met the heads of Guinea’s various military branches to unify the armed forces under his command. West Africa’s regional bloc (ECOWAS) suspended Guinea’s membership on 7th September and sent a high-level mission to Guinea on the 9th to re-examine its position. ECOWAS was criticised by activists for remaining silent about Conde’s third-term bid.
Islam is Malaysia’s official religion. People can practice other religions, but ethnic Malays are banned from leaving Islam. Aadam and his wife Kasih are Muslim-background believers facing hardships because they decided to follow Christ four years ago. A young couple with a passion to serve people have been persecuted by family and the community as they lead a few house churches with dozens of believers. The couple and their toddler son and newborn baby were thrown out of their house once their faith in Christ was discovered. Because of lockdown, Aadam was unable to work driving his lorry which was also recently deemed unroadworthy. They had nowhere to stay and no way to earn a living. International Christian Concern heard about their predicament and provided house rental and repair for his lorry, plus two months of groceries. Kasih was so emotional she could not stop crying.
Catholic hospitals will defy Queensland’s euthanasia laws that force them to allow doctors to administer end-of-life drugs in their facilities. Health provider Mater said, ‘We will not tolerate non credentialed doctors coming on-site, nor will we assist in the provision of voluntary assisted dying (VAD) in any of our facilities.’ The VAD laws were signed off by parliament and are due to go to a vote later this month. Catholic facilities provide one in five hospital and aged-care beds in Queensland and want the same right to oppose VAD at their facilities, as is the case with South Australian laws. The legislation is all but certain to pass but many oppose allowing unaccredited doctors to enter hospital rooms without notice or permission and then to assist in a medical procedure that is dangerous and undermines patient safety. The Queensland government is forcing Catholic hospitals, against their values and beliefs, to open their facilities to assisted dying.