Displaying items by tag: Global
On 10 June a bipartisan group of members of the US Congress launched a caucus against foreign corruption and kleptocracy at a virtual kickoff event. The new caucus will focus on fighting global corruption and kleptocracy (authoritarian governance model in which foreign officials use corruption to maintain their power and grow their influence in countries). Transparency International said this caucus is a clear recognition of the importance of combating global corruption by leaders, which has increased since the pandemic. Corruption, including stolen and misappropriated relief funding, harsh crackdowns on pandemic reporting in the media, and attempts to appropriate or dismantle democratic and rule-of-law institutions, robs all those in need of urgent aid.
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.
It took $120,000, and a reduced prison sentence, for a smartphone developer to collaborate with the FBI and Australian police in 2018 and kick-start Operation Trojan Shield. Three years later, the investigation involving 9,000 law enforcement officers from 17 countries saw authorities monitor 27 million messages from 12,000 devices in 100 countries and track the activities of over 300 organised crime groups. To date, there have been over 800 arrests and over eight tons of cocaine seized, 22 tons of cannabis, two tons of synthetic drugs, 250 guns, 55 luxury vehicles, and over $48 million. More arrests and seizures are expected. The ‘confidential human source’ had created a new hardened encrypted phone with a bespoke app called ANOM to organise drug deals and hits on rivals, and launder illicit earnings without detection. However, the criminals did not realise that all their messages were being monitored.
Across Nigeria 1,470 Christians have been murdered and 2,200 abducted since January. The most recent offence was in Kaduna State when eight Christians were killed and a church was burned down. Pray for an end to such attacks by Fulani Muslim herdsmen and jihadists. In Burkina Faso jihadists ambushed a baptism and killed 15 of the Christians. Al-Qaeda and IS have been growing in West Africa since January. Pray for God's peace for the many who are living in fear and protection over those who ran away. In India’s Rajasthan state 15 radical Hindu nationalists carrying swords, sickles, and a gun attacked the family of a pastor after they all refused to renounce their Christian faith. The assailants killed the pastor’s 52-year-old father. Pray for God to strengthen and encourage church planters and house churches in different Hindu-dominant villages. Armenian Christian gravestones are used to build roads in Azerbaijan as they seek to eradicate evidence of Armenian culture and identity.
Communism was Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels’ answer to corruption and greed. They vowed it would eliminate ‘the exploitation of one part of society by the other’ to create a utopian paradise on earth. In reality however, it was what Richard Wurmbrand (who spent fourteen years in prisons for his faith) called the ‘principal enemy.’ After being ransomed out of Romania and arriving in the West, Richard spoke about Communism’s effects on Christians and Christianity: ‘I cannot agree with evangelists and mission directors when they say today’s principal enemy is the materialism of the West. Today the principal enemy is Communism. Capitalism might have its evils, but it gives to the church the liberty to work for the salvation of souls. Communism uproots religion. The missionary energies must be concentrated upon the Communist lands.’ He wrote this in 1969, but Communism still continues to threaten and oppress God’s people globally.
29 June is traditionally regarded as the date on which the Apostle Paul was beheaded on the Appian Way in Rome. Join Christians around the world who will take time on that day to honor the legacy of those who, like Paul, gave their lives to advance the gospel. This year, Voice of the Martyrs is honoring the legacy of Rocio Pino, from Colombia. On 6 March 2011, Rocio was shot to death in retaliation for her witness for Christ to guerrilla fighters in Colombia.
Intense storms and violence forced 40.5 million people to become displaced within their countries last year, despite strict restrictions on movement globally to halt Covid spreading. Conflicts and natural disasters forced one person every second to flee within their own country in 2020, pushing up the number of people living in internal displacement camps. The number of Internally Displaced People (IDPs) was more than double the 26 million people who fled across borders as refugees. Three-quarters of the people who fled were victims of extreme weather. Intense cyclones, monsoon rains and floods hit highly-exposed and densely-populated areas in Asia and the Pacific, while the Atlantic hurricane season ‘was the most active on record’. Extended rainy seasons across the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa uprooted millions more. Experts say climate change is increasing the intensity and frequency of such extreme weather events. Norwegian Refugee Council chief Jan Egeland described the report’s findings as ‘shocking’.
Afghanistan, Pakistan, and northern and western India are some of the most dangerous places on earth to be a Christian. Over 325 million Muslims call this region home. If anyone chooses to follow Christ, they face intense opposition, even death. However no nation is closed to prayer. No people are outside his reach. And absolutely nothing is impossible with him. Muslims have spent four weeks fasting, praying and doing good deeds to be closer to God. They are looking for assured salvation. Pray for the Holy Spirit to meet their needs and for Jesus to permeate every unreached corner of the nations, including large industrial cities and rural tribal areas (especially in western south Asia). Pray for grace and love to extinguish all unbelief in Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Pray for the Christians living in Muslim communities to have the courage to continue to follow Christ regardless of intense persecution and to share God’s grace and love.
50,000 Christians are being held in North Korean prison camps. Some 3,000 Yazidi girls and women are missing in Iraq. 130,000 Muslims are in internment camps in Burma and as many as 3 million Uighur Muslims are in Chinese concentration camps. China finds two religions particularly problematic for the survival and existence of the Communist Party. Christianity and Islam. A recent report identifies ten countries which are the worst offenders and of particular concern. They are already designated as such by the US state department: Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan. US and NATO ally Turkey is listed as a tier-two offender. There are also recommendations to add India, Russia, Syria, and Vietnam to the list. See
One billion people around the world have never heard God's word in the language they understand best. There are 6,000 unique languages on earth today, and 2,000 languages need translating so that unreached peoples can read the scriptures in their heart language. A decade ago, ten Bible translation agencies formed an alliance to end what they call ‘Bible poverty’, and organised the ‘I Want to Know’ campaign, giving people an opportunity to sponsor translation of one or more Bible verses. They hope everyone will have access to the Bible in their native tongue by 2033. Walkie, a native speaker of the Yupik language of Alaska, remembers the moment his mother understood the Bible's message for the first time. ‘Before she died, I was able to read her Psalm 139 in Yupik,’ he recalled. ‘And she said, “Oh! So that is what it means to us!”’