Displaying items by tag: United Kingdom
The Sailors' Society, an international charity based in Southampton, started a crisis response network (CRN) in South Africa in 2015, providing trauma care and counselling wherever necessary. This network provided support to its 100th case this week, with piracy, death at sea and abandonment accounting for 59% of those supported. 26% of those seeking crisis response were affected by piracy. The CRN now has 52 chaplains trained to offer crisis support to seafarers around the world. The International Maritime Bureau saw 107 actual or attempted attacks in the past six months, up from 87 in the same period of last year, with Nigeria and Indonesia the main piracy hotspots. On 31 October, eleven seafarers were seized by pirates off the Nigerian coast. Piracy, and the fear of piracy, is a massive issue for seafarers.
Tracey Crouch, the sports minister, resigned on 1 November as a protest over the delay in cutting the maximum stakes from £100 in fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs). The Government had announced this plan in May 2018 (see ), and Philip Hammond announced in his Budget Day speech it would come into force in October 2019. Ms Crouch said pushing back the date was ‘unjustifiable’, and could cost the lives of problem gamblers. She tweeted: ’Politicians come and go, but principles stay with us forever.’ Culture secretary Jeremy Wright denied Labour claims that MPs had been led to believe the cut would come into force in April 2019. But in her resignation letter, Ms Crouch said: ‘Unfortunately, implementation of these changes are now being delayed until October 2019 due to commitments made by others to those with registered interests.’
Children from richer families used to benefit much more from public spending on education than those from poorer backgrounds. However, a report from the Institute of Fiscal Studies, based on research in state-funded schools between 2003 and 2010, notes a substantial shift in this pattern. Due to new policies such as ‘pupil premium’, which aims to help disadvantaged pupils of all abilities in publicly-funded schools to perform better, education spending is now more likely to be skewed towards poorer pupils. Also, the socio-economic gaps in higher education have narrowed. The report concludes, ‘The realistic evidence suggests that focusing more education spending on poorer pupils should lead to substantial improvements in their life chances’.
As the security minister, Ben Wallace, launched a new strategy to tackle organised criminal activity that costs the UK economy £37bn a year, the National Crime Agency (NCA) revealed the impact on British citizens. ‘The threat from serious and organised crime has changed rapidly, increasing in both volume and complexity. We know that it now affects more UK citizens, more often, than any other national security threat. It kills more of our citizens than terrorism, war and natural disasters combined.’ The Home Office said there are around 4,600 serious and organised crime groups in the UK, using violence and intimidation in communities to operate and prey on the most vulnerable, including victims of modern slavery and human trafficking. Mr Wallace, said, ‘Many serious criminals think they are above the law. They believe they can defy the British state and act with impunity against our businesses and our way of life. They are wrong.’
Parliamentary papers revealed that Boris Johnson had a £14,000 all-expenses-paid trip to Saudi Arabia, two weeks before the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in its Istanbul consulate. Mr Johnson flew to Jeddah for a three-day visit, where reportedly all expenses were paid by the ministry of foreign affairs. His goal was to meet regional figures to promote education for women and girls. When he was foreign secretary, he refused to back halting arms sales to Saudi Arabia, and was accused by human rights groups of blocking a UN investigation into Saudi war crimes committed in Yemen. The UK government’s support of the country has not wavered. Although the USA calls for a Yemen ceasefire (see the World article ‘Yemen: vision of ceasefire), Theresa May does not support this move, telling MPs that it would only work if there is a political deal between parties. See
The Festival of Life, a bi-annual event at the ExCeL exhibition centre, follows a vision given to Pastor Adeboye to organise a Holy Ghost all-night miracle service. The format has been repeated in many different countries, gathering Christians together for a night of fellowship, praise and prayers. An estimated 40,000 attended this year - the largest gathering of believers in the UK. The festival brings together people of diverse backgrounds, nationalities and denominations.
These are crucial days, and God is stirring His church. As previously reported (see ), the Pray for Scotland network has introduced a 24-hour prayer rota for churches to sign up and commit to pray for unity on 30 November (St Andrew’s Day). Across the nation, spontaneous days of prayer have been happening recently. No one knows what the Brexit outcome will be - but we know the One who has the answer! This is not a time to wait until the storm blows over. It is a time to battle for our nation - on our knees,crying out for His forgiveness and mercy and calling forth a fresh move of His Spirit to revive His Church and transform our communities.
The results of a survey of evangelical Christians by Ligonier Ministries show that the ongoing gospel ministry of local churches across Britain is absolutely vital. When asked whether the resurrection of Jesus actually occurred, one-third replied, ‘I don’t know.’ Even worse, 37% of those surveyed didn’t know whether God counts a person as righteous because of their own works or because of faith in Jesus Christ alone. Sinclair Ferguson, a Ligonier teaching fellow and associate preacher at St Peter’s Dundee, commented: ‘The results of this new survey show conclusively what we have sensed for years: the biblical teaching that once shaped British life now lies largely forgotten, ignored, or demeaned. Very few of our neighbours have ever heard about who Jesus Christ really is, and what he accomplished on the cross. This is surely a time to take every opportunity to share the gospel as the power of God for salvation.’ However, doubts have been expressed about the validity of this survey, given that it was based on a sample of only 132 people.
MPs are saying ‘women and girls across the UK face ‘relentless’ harassment on the streets, and not enough is being done to stop it.’ The members of the Women and Equalities Committee found it had become ‘normalised’ for girls growing up to experience harassment. They are calling for the government to tackle it. Harassment - from being shouted at and cat-called through to sexual assaults - is happening on transport, in bars and clubs, on online spaces, at universities, in parks, on the streets, and even on school buses. One 12-year-old on her school bus experienced boys pushing her off her seat, spitting at her, and calling her a slut. Pray for schools, youth clubs, and all meeting places for young people to re-educate boys about ‘how to treat girls’, so that acceptable behaviour is learned and practised as they mature.
Aasia Bibi, a Christian woman on death row in Pakistan, has urged Christians in the UK to pray for her. The message was conveyed by her husband Ashiq, who has travelled to the UK to highlight her plight. He said to Premier, ‘She told me that the community must remember her in their prayers because this is an international country. I need international pressure for the release of Aasia Bibi.’ He said her incarceration since 2009 has spelt nine years of suffering for the whole family. He added, ‘She always has said that Jesus is her life and she is living in the name of Jesus, and trusting that he will help her.’ For further information about Aasia’s case, see