All week Europe has been battling wildfires fuelled by soaring temperatures in Portugal, France, Turkey and Spain. Pray for 3,500 Portuguese firefighters battling dozens of blazes in record-breaking temperatures. Pray for the 600 people in Leiria who were forced out of their homes, and over 3,000 who were evacuated in Turkey. Pray for devastated people like 77-year-old Adelino, a Portuguese farmer who said, ‘Everything burned. It looked like the end of the world.’ Pray for Spanish farmers who have lost over 70,300 hectares. Pray for 1,000 French firefighters trying to control two major wildfires. 4,000 hectares have already burned in southwest France.
On 12 July the Gardaí seized €1.1m worth of cocaine and arrested three men at Dublin Airport with support from German and South American police and revenue officers. Investigations are still ongoing. The previous day, an Uzi machine gun, silencer and two magazines of ammunition were found in Dublin, the second such discovery since March. Before 2012 the guns were issued to the Gardai. The weapons will be analysed to establish if they were used in any recent attacks. No arrests have been made and the investigation is continuing.
Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau pledged to send more military support for Ukraine at the NATO summit. His defence minister said that Canada will boost Ukraine’s arsenal by sending 39 General Dynamics-made armoured vehicles ‘this summer’. The fleet, which comprises combat support vehicles that can be used as ambulances, maintenance and recovery vehicles or to transport troops, is part of Ottawa’s $500m military support for Kyiv. They are in addition to a separate multi-billion dollar contract for 360 vehicles being delivered for the Canadian armed forces there.
Joe Biden will visit Israel and Saudi Arabia from 13 to 16 July. The 16th is a Jewish fast day in remembrance of Jerusalem's walls being breached. On that day the president will visit Saudi Arabia where Washington has been brokering talks to transfer a pair of Red Sea islands from Egypt to Saudi Arabia, in a deal that would see Riyadh take small steps toward formal diplomatic ties with Jerusalem. It is also believed that Biden’s visit to the Gulf kingdom is to seek an increase in its oil production and coordinate with regional partners on Iran. The president’s schedule of two days in Jerusalem and Bethlehem indicates Washington also aims to solidify the two-pronged ties with Jerusalem while assuring the Palestinians that his administration is still proactively committed to the two-state solution.
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.
The prime minister, the president with his family, and his brother the finance minister all fled the country after thousands stormed the president’s residence, demanding their removal for mismanaging the economy and causing Sri Lanka’s financial ruin. The nation hoped these departures would end the family dynasty that has dominated Sri Lanka's politics for two decades. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, speaking from the Maldives, said he would step down by 13 July but his resignation letter did not arrive, causing further clashes between riot police and protesters in which 84 were injured and one killed. A curfew is in place in a bid to ward off any further protests and troops secured the parliament building in armoured personnel carriers. If Mr Rajapaksa resigns as planned, Sri Lankan MPs have agreed to elect a new president on 20 July to serve until 2024. There is concern that if the president does not publicly quit, the people will continue demonstrating and the military will be increasingly involved.
Hundreds of prisoners escaped from the Kuje medium-security prison near Abuja due to an attack attributed to Boko Haram. Equipped with explosives, the attackers freed 600 of the 994 inmates and only about half of the escaped prisoners have been found. A large number of captured Boko Haram fighters were released in the attack. Armed extremist groups have been gaining power in Nigeria, with a lack of effective opposition from security forces and government officials. Boko Haram has maintained an insurgency in Northern Nigeria for thirteen years and displaced over 2.4 million people through violent attacks and threats. They have murdered tens of thousands of Christians and forcibly converted many others. Please pray for the end of their attacks, and for the Lord to soften the hearts of militants.
85 million people, 98.6% of Iran’s population, are Muslim; only 0.2% are Christian. Massive numbers of Iranians have come to Jesus in recent years. From only 500 Muslim-background believers in 1979, many estimates suggest the number is even greater than one million. Large numbers of Persian people have also encountered the risen Christ outside of Iran. The Church has not grown this fast since the seventh century. In Iran, a person can receive a death sentence for abandoning their religious faith. This growth is a remarkable move of the Holy Spirit, with many signs and wonders, dreams and visions. But we still need to pray for a mighty move of God across the nation; for the Iranian believers to be protected as they share their faith; and for those who are translating the Bible into the many different dialects spoken in Iran to reach every lost tribe.