Britain and France have now agreed to unite to stop illegal migrants from crossing the Channel. Interior minister Suella Braverman said Britain faced an ‘invasion’ from people in small boats, saying, ‘It is in the interests of the UK and French governments to solve this problem together. There are no quick fixes, but this arrangement means we can have more gendarmes patrolling French beaches and ensure UK and French officers work hand in hand to stop people smugglers.’ There will be 40% more UK-funded officers patrolling French beaches in the next five months. A task force will focus on reversing the rise in Albanian nationals and organised crime groups exploiting illegal routes. British officers will work in French-led control rooms and on the ground to improve coordination and intelligence sharing. There will be drones, detection dog teams, CCTV, and helicopters to help discover and prevent crossings, plus reception and removal centres in France to prevent journeys to the UK of economic migrants.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine, a major exporter of grain, led to the blocking of all grain shipments until an agreement called the Black Sea Grain Initiative was signed in Istanbul between Ukraine, Russia and the UN. This agreement will expire on 19 November unless renewed. Renewal negotiations were being facilitated by the UN throughout October until the 29th, when a drone attack on Russian naval ships prompted Russia to suspend participation. Talks resumed on 2 November, with hopes to extend the agreement for a year. On 17 November Ukraine’s minister of infrastructure said the initiative would be prolonged, but only for 120 days.

The veteran politician has the official mandate to form a new government, paving the way for his comeback as the head of what is widely expected to be the most right-wing coalition in the country’s history. However, the 73-year-old promised to serve all Israelis, ‘those who voted for us and those who did not - it is my responsibility’. After unprecedented political gridlock forced five elections in under four years, Netanyahu’s Likud party and its ultraorthodox and ultranationalist allies received a clear majority in parliament. He must now build a coalition with his allies and quickly wrap up the negotiations. His next moves will be closely scrutinised as unease mounts in some quarters over his policy plans and the goals of his controversial governing partners. Violence has soared between Israel and the Palestinians recently, causing the deadliest period in years in the West Bank, with near-daily army raids and increased attacks on Israelis.

World leaders met for the annual G20 on 15-16 November, intending to discuss global economic plans. On the second day Volodymyr Zelenskiy presented proposals for a ‘Ukrainian formula for peace’ which was followed up on his telegram channel. He said, ‘Ukraine has always been a leader in peacekeeping efforts, and the world has seen it. If Russia says it supposedly wants to end this war, let it prove it with actions. We will not allow Russia to wait, build up its forces, and then start a new series of terror and global destabilisation. There will be no Minsk-3, which Russia will violate immediately after the agreement. There is a Ukrainian formula for peace for Ukraine, Europe and the world, and a set of solutions, when implemented, really guarantee peace. Ukraine offers the leading states of the world to be co-creators of peace together with us.’

India’s religious diversity is under threat from the spread of religious intolerance as well as government policies and laws. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh arm of the BJP promotes a Hindu nationalist agenda and is dividing communities on religious grounds, leaving the nation’s religious minorities unsettled about their future. Pray for India’s government today: transform their hearts to treat every individual and community with respect and to protect their right to freedom of religion or belief. Pray also that the appointment of India’s first president from an indigenous community, President Draupadi Murmu, will bring positive changes for all India’s indigenous communities. Heavenly Father, we pray for Your protection over all the nation’s religious minorities. We pray that those in power will respect and acknowledge the right of everyone to freedom of religion or belief. Where there is unrest, bring peace, and where there is persecution, we ask for impartiality.

Christians in Qatar are inviting the global church to join with them in praying for a move of the Holy Spirit during the World Cup, which begins on 20 November. The country is number 18 on the World Watch List. Although foreign Christians can worship in relative freedom, Qatari Christians are forbidden from having their own churches or even entering a church. Converts can also face extreme pressure from their family and community. Despite these challenges, the church in Qatar is growing - and there is the expectation that it will continue to do so during the World Cup. ‘We’re expecting a big move of the Holy Spirit during the World Cup,’ says a church leader for expats and migrant workers. ‘We already see the move of the Holy Spirit in Qatar. God is visiting people in their dreams. God is doing miracles. God is doing healings among the Qatari people.’

Despite increasingly repressive rule under the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), dissent occurs regularly and is geographically widespread, according to a new analysis by Freedom House. It recorded 668 instances of dissent in China from June to September, as people spoke out against stalled housing projects, labour rights violations, fraud, Covid policies, and state violence, among other grievances. The analysis found that ¼ of cases involving people who engaged in dissent faced authorities’ reprisals - including violence, intimidation, detention, and censorship - illustrating CCP’s efforts to restrict organised collective action. Contrary to what China wants the world to believe, individuals throughout the country are standing up to Beijing’s machine of censorship and repression to make their voices heard. More Chinese are courageously exercising their fundamental rights to free expression and assembly. Some are achieving concessions from private companies and local officials, which is troubling to the increasingly oppressive party.

Pyongyang, North Korea's capital, once called ‘Jerusalem of the East,’ can no longer claim that title as the Juche doctrine is now its religion, with the Kims as its deities. Christian church information is limited. It survives as an underground church where meetings are held in secret. If members are caught, they will go to prison or a labour camp. Intense media control means that few North Koreans have heard the name of Jesus. The government dictates people’s lifestyle through generic provisions and limiting personal differences. Much of North Korea is underdeveloped., and natural disasters and military spending have strapped the economy. In the past fifteen years, two million people have died due to food shortages. The country relies on foreign aid to feed its people. North Korea is accused of torture, slavery, public executions, forced abortions, infanticides, as well as detaining possibly as many as 200,000 political prisoners.

Page 7 of 1907