Displaying items by tag: United Kingdom
Over 3,300 people took part in BBC research into the impact of the pandemic on the lives of disabled people. Most said their disability had worsened and over 2,400 said routine, often vital, medical appointments had been cancelled. Disability charity Scope said the findings confirmed that disabled people's needs ‘had been forgotten’. There were young autistic people who had attempted suicide because they could no longer cope with drastic changes; others were isolated and alone, their support networks gone or hours of care cut. A family told how care had been almost stopped for their disabled daughter, while her father, who had had Covid, was offered a range of treatments. Her cochlear implant needs retuning regularly but has not been checked for two years. Her physiotherapy has not continued, and her walking frame no longer fits. Her last eye test was over the phone.
The Dukes of Cambridge and Sussex met on 1 July to unveil a statue of their mother, Princess Diana, on what would have been her 60th birthday. It was William and Harry's first appearance together since the Duke of Edinburgh's funeral in April. The statue, commissioned by the brothers in 2017, will stand in Kensington Palace's redesigned Sunken Garden. At the time, they said they hoped it would help visitors to the palace ‘reflect on her life and her legacy’. Also the royal princes have reportedly bonded over England's Euros victory over Germany by exchanging texts and speaking before their reunion.
Amazon and Google are under UK competition watchdog scrutiny regarding fake reviews on their platforms. The competition regulator is probing the tech giants in relation to breaches of consumer protection law. Their ‘specific concerns’ were raised about whether the two companies were ‘doing enough’ to detect ‘fake and misleading reviews or suspicious patterns of behaviour.’ An initial sweep, begun in May 2020, cast doubts on whether the firms investigate and remove such reviews, and if they impose ‘adequate sanctions’ to deter reviewers or businesses from violating rules on honest posts - in particular by taking action against repeat offenders. ‘Our worry is that millions of online shoppers could be misled by reading fake reviews and then spending their money based on those recommendations’, said the watchdog. Last September, Amazon had to delete 20,000 product reviews, written by seven of its top UK reviewers, following a Financial Times investigation discovering reviewers were paid to post thousands of five-star ratings.
Theresa Villiers MP asked Sajid Javid, ‘Now that thousands of people are allowed to gather together at a football match to shout and cheer as much as they want, is it not time that we allowed congregations in church to sing hymns together?’ The new health secretary replied, ‘I can tell you that that is certainly what I would like to see; it is my intention to allow that to happen as soon as possible. When it does, I hope we can sing a hymn together.’ During the debate, one exasperated comment was, ‘As a member of the parliament choir, I want to meet with other members in a socially respectable way to sing the music that inspires us and to lead our lives as close to normality as we can. What we want is a road map and a timescale.’
On 25 June five people were killed and hundreds injured as a tornado wreaked havoc in the Czech Republic, with tennis-ball-sized hailstones hitting several villages in South Moravia. In the village of Luzice 120 houses were destroyed or damaged, roofs ripped off, windows blown out, cars overturned and debris scattered through the streets. Eight people were hospitalised after a tornado hit Chicago suburbs and damaged over 130 homes. In England a tornado that hit Barking left the area looking as if a bomb had gone off. Houses were seriously damaged, walls knocked down, and cars destroyed. Flash flooding caused trees and debris to be blown around the streets. There were also flash floods in Somerset.
Social care organisations want Boris Johnson to fix the broken care system.They want long overdue changes to funding social care and ‘immediate’ cash injections to cover costs incurred during the pandemic. Councils need money for new technology and fairer deals for care staff. In 2019 Boris Johnson vowed to fix the funding crisis ‘with a clear plan we have prepared’, but discussions around changing costs are still ongoing. Social care is not free to vulnerable people with assets over £23,500. Below that they receive council help. Consequently, thousands of people annually must sell their homes to pay for their care. Charities warned that ‘every week of dithering means an extra 13,000 pensioners being denied vital help’. It is believed the PM supports a £50,000 lifetime cap on care costs to shield pensioners from catastrophic bills. However Rishi Sunak is concerned over finding £10billion a year to pay for this.
At the end of 2020, national records reported that over 1,200 people had died of a drug-related death, putting Scotland at the top of the chart for drug-related deaths in Europe. The report painted a heart-breaking picture of loss and pain in so many families and communities across Scotland. Evangelical Alliance Scotland, Bethany Christian Trust, and Cross Reach carry out amazing work caring for some of the most vulnerable people in our communities, but they want to find out how they can further support the work of churches and agencies that focus on drug addiction. Therefore they are currently carrying out a survey with key questions around how drug addiction affects people's churches and how they can together provide sustainable solutions.
Sir Jeffrey Donaldson is widely expected to become the next leader of the DUP in the extraordinary political drama which has consumed the party in recent months. This follows the resignation of Edwin Poots; his main challenge will be to restore stability following one of the most turbulent periods in the DUP’s history. He originally put his name forward to become leader after Arlene Foster was ousted following internal party unrest, but was defeated by just one vote in the DUP’s first ever leadership election last month. He will have to pick up the pieces and deal with many of the same challenges which faced his predecessor. He may be expected to take a harder line over the Northern Ireland Protocol, which unionists oppose.
We celebrate all that has been done in the past by God’s people across this nation: church planting, mission, transformation and social care. Many Christians believe that God is taking His people back to the very roots and foundations of His gospel, releasing and empowering a people who will move in the mandate of this season - to make disciples of all nations. Pray for apostles to arise in fresh levels of authority, building, empowering and equipping God’s people, so that the Kingdom will be released into all areas of society. Pray for teachers to be raised, to preach the word in all its fullness of truth, calling the Church back to its first love. Pray for evangelists to teach and equip the saints – so that the gospel is preached into all communities with signs and wonders following.
When Covid hit last year, our nation quickly turned to science - epidemiologists seeking to contain the virus and researchers creating vaccines. But how much did the church use the opportunity to point to our hope beyond death? On 30 June, a Church Unlocked livestream will feature Canon J.John and other evangelists talking about how the pandemic and lockdowns have changed evangelism. Has the widespread use of streaming technology transformed how the Church will reach out? What are the felt needs of those around us, post-Covid, and how can we help people see that Jesus is the answer to those needs?