In November Christian Concern and the Christian Schools’ Trust are jointly hosting another online conference, with free follow-up networking events, for Christians in education. In C S Lewis’ The Last Battle, the call to come ‘further up and further in’ is made to those on the cusp of a great new adventure. Those in education with a distinctively Christian vision will be stirred through these events, to ‘go deeper’ into His plans for them personally and for those they educate. Over 300 teachers and educationalists joined the previous online conference in February. The organisers are inviting all Christians in education to be part of this growing movement, seeking to be distinctively Christian in schools across the UK and beyond: being encouraged, envisioned, and equipped to serve the Lord in their schools, and to meet and network with other Christian teachers in the same key stage or subject.
Boris Johnson and Joe Biden met on 10 June. Joe Biden has Irish roots, and many believe Britain should not underestimate the strength of his feelings against tinkering with the Northern Ireland Protocol if it puts the Good Friday agreement in jeopardy. Boris Johnson wants to ‘tinker’, putting the agreement at risk. He was seen by many Americans as Britain's equivalent of Donald Trump, and indeed he was lavish in his praise of the former president. But British PMs need to get on with whoever is America’s president. Boris, from a privileged background, needs to get on with Joe, who is from a poor working-class background. The one thing the two men do have in common is that they both are Catholics: one is a practising believer, the other needs more practice.
The UK and the EU are in disagreement over the Northern Ireland Protocol; one sticking point is the export of sausages from the UK. Maros Sefcovic, the European Commission vice-president, says there have been ‘numerous and fundamental gaps’ in the UK's implementation of the trade deal and the EU will act ‘firmly’ if the UK does not agree on deadlines for complying with its obligations. Environment secretary George Eustice claimed the Northern Ireland Protocol, and the way the EU wants to implement it, make it impossible for UK producers to sell British sausages to Northern Ireland. Boris Johnson's spokesman said there was ‘no case whatsoever’ for blocking the sale of chilled meats. The UK has also accused the EU of failing to engage with its own proposals, especially with the issues pertaining to people in Northern Ireland.
About 60% of British suppliers have experienced import delays in the past month. The six-day-long Suez Canal blockage in March is partly to blame, as goods meant to arrive weeks ago are still stuck on container ships elsewhere. But there are other factors. Covid-19 restrictions, increasing global demand for shipping containers, disruption caused by India's public health crisis, and a shortage of packaging materials means UK businesses are already struggling to meet summer demand. With competition for container space so high, smaller businesses are being priced out of landing the goods and materials that they need. Items like camping equipment have seen a spike in demand as more families look to domestic holidays.
The High Court has found the government acted unlawfully when it gave a contract worth £560,000 to a company run by friends of the PM's former chief adviser Dominic Cummings. Ministers have denied any favouritism was shown towards the market research agency Public First. But the judge decided a failure to consider other firms could be seen as suggesting a ‘real danger’ of bias. Cummings wanted the contract to be given to a firm whose bosses, Rachel Wolf and James Frayne, were former colleagues of himself and Michael Gove.
Law professors have urged the US commission on international religious freedom to intervene for the Finnish Christian MP, Pavi Räsänen, who faces criminal charges for tweeting her views on marriage and sexuality. The bishop-elect of the Evangelical Lutheran Mission also faces prosecution for publishing a booklet in which Ms Räsänen made similar comments. The professors ask the commission to ‘press our government to use its legal powers and fulfil its duties under US law to aid victims of human rights violations such as Pavi Räsänen and Bishop Juhana.’ The prosecutor general’s pursuit of these charges sends an unmistakable message to all Finns: no one who holds to the traditional teachings of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and other religions on questions of marriage and sexual morality will be safe from state harassment if they openly express their moral and religious convictions.
M4 Ready is a ten-month online training course for people who have a potential to plant, lead and multiply churches in their nations. It is intended for younger leaders in local churches, denominations, networks or organisations with a more than average leadership potential who already have some track record of entrepreneurship, initiating new things, and bringing change. The M4 team process goes on to give further two years of training that seeks to help the church planter and their team succeed in the first years of church-planting. Success means that, at the end of the training process, the team is prepared to launch a healthy reproducing church that glorifies God and impacts society. See also the UK article ‘Bringing the Word of God back to the UK’.
Neela, an Asiatic lion, died on 3 June at a zoo in Chennai after showing Covid symptoms. Eight other lions also tested positive; they have been quarantined, given antibiotics, and are under observation by veterinary teams. There have been other coronavirus cases reported in animals, including two white tiger cubs dying in Pakistan and lions testing positive in Spain. Many countries have reported infections in farmed mink. There is also evidence that mink have passed the virus back to humans in a mutated form. Meanwhile Russia has started vaccinating animals against coronavirus after registering the world's first animal-specific jab in March. Several regions have now started vaccinations at veterinary clinics. Interest has been shown in the Carnivak-Cov vaccine by the EU, Argentina, South Korea and Japan. Another vaccine is being developed by a US pharmaceutical company.