Displaying items by tag: United Kingdom

Thursday, 24 September 2020 21:44

Boris Johnson's son baptised

Boris Johnson and his fiancée Carrie Symonds have confirmed that on 12 September they had their four-month-old son Wilfred baptised by Father Daniel Humphreys at Westminster Cathedral. While little is known about the PM's religious beliefs, Carrie Symonds is a practising Catholic. As it happened, this event provided a solid alibi for Boris when he was accused of travelling to Perugia for a short holiday. The accusation was withdrawn after it became apparent they had mixed up Johnson with former PM Tony Blair. A spokesman said that journalists could ‘confirm with the priest’ that the PM was not in Italy but instead at his son’s baptism.

Published in Praise Reports
Thursday, 24 September 2020 21:32

Coronavirus: ministers balance science and politics

On 21 September the government’s chief scientific adviser said that without further action the UK could see 50,000 new coronavirus cases daily by mid-October, leading to about 200 daily deaths a month later. He stressed the figures were not a prediction but an estimation if nothing is done to curb the current doubling of numbers every seven days. Speedy action is required to bring numbers down: see On 23 September, the day after a Cobra meeting chaired by the PM, new rules were declared: closing pubs, bars and restaurants at 10 pm, and more face masks rules. Fines for breaking rules were increased. The motto ‘Stay At Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives’ has been retired after an intense period of lockdown. Now Boris Johnson wants to ‘save lives, protect the NHS’ and ‘shelter the economy’.

Published in British Isles
Thursday, 24 September 2020 21:30

Justin Welby comments on PM’s tighter restrictions

The limit for wedding ceremonies and receptions is now only 15, a figure which includes the couple, the officiant, and guests. Funeral numbers remain at 30. Boris Johnson said, ‘I am deeply, spiritually reluctant to make any of these impositions, or infringe anyone’s freedom, but unless we take action we risk having to go for tougher measures later, when the deaths have already mounted and we have a huge caseload of infection such as we had in the spring.’ The Government's rule of six for social gatherings excludes weddings, funerals, baptisms, and organised outdoor sports. Justin Welby said, ‘It’s clear that the next six months will be challenging. It’s an urgent reminder that we must keep supporting each other - especially those who are struggling financially, physically, or emotionally.’

Published in British Isles
Thursday, 24 September 2020 21:28

Kickstart - churches and charities working together

A new government scheme is enabling churches and charities to support some of the most vulnerable in the job market. The pandemic has disproportionately impacted those aged 18-24. Between March and August there was a 124% increase in claims for Universal Credit from people in this age group. With the economic future remaining uncertain, Rishi Sunak announced a new job creation scheme to help avoid damaging long-term employment for young adults. Dubbed the ‘kickstart scheme’, this package of support will subsidise the employment of 16 to 24-year-olds by providing six-month quality work placements that don’t cause existing employees or contractors to lose work; give a minimum of 25 hours per week for six months; paying at least the national minimum wage for their age group; and should not require people to undertake extensive training before they begin the job placement.

Published in British Isles
Thursday, 24 September 2020 21:26

Abuse at NHS health unit

Ten workers at a hospital in Essex were suspended and two members of staff referred to the police amid claims that vulnerable patients with autism or learning difficulties were ‘dragged, slapped and kicked’. CCTV footage at the hospital, showing episodes of physical and emotional abuse, was passed to police after an unannounced visit by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection unit. At the time, the ten-bed hospital held eight adult female patients, who experienced ‘abusive, disrespectful behaviour' by staff. Staff failed to use ‘appropriate restraint techniques’, became angry with residents, and dragged them across the floor. Suspended workers included some who witnessed incidents but failed to report them. Pray for greater scrutiny of safeguarding procedures in care homes; for godly principles to generate the visible and hidden wellbeing of vulnerable communities; for complaints made by residents to be investigated and acted upon if necessary; and for God’s comfort for the abused.

Published in British Isles
Thursday, 24 September 2020 21:23

Climate Week: Prince Charles calls for 'swift' action

The Prince of Wales has warned the climate crisis will ‘dwarf’ the impact of coronavirus. In a recorded message at the virtual opening of Climate Week on 21 September, he said that Covid-19 provided a ‘window of opportunity’ to reset the economy for a more ‘sustainable and inclusive future’ and the pandemic was ‘a wake-up call we cannot ignore’. In his message, he said, ‘Without swift and immediate action, at an unprecedented pace and scale, we will miss the window of opportunity to “reset” for a more sustainable and inclusive future. The environmental crisis has been with us for far too many years - decried, denigrated and denied. It is now rapidly becoming a comprehensive catastrophe that will dwarf the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.’ There is growing concern among citizens globally about climate change, although there are big differences about the level of urgency required to tackle the issue.

Published in British Isles
Thursday, 24 September 2020 21:19

Christian organisations banned from Twitter

Without warning and with no explanation, Twitter suspended the accounts of Voice for Justice UK, ParentPower, 40 Days UK, and RSE Authentic. Twitter has not responded to requests for an explanation and for reinstatement. All four UK organisations are conservative and support traditional family values in education, seeking to protect children from abuse and exploitation. They also seek to uphold Christian belief and freedom of speech. None of them has at any time expressed or endorsed views contrary to or prohibited by Twitter’s terms of service. On the contrary, while supporting the family and upholding traditional moral values, all four respect individual freedoms and the right of choice, and campaign for children to be protected from exposure to materials that will cause demonstrable harm.

Published in British Isles
Thursday, 24 September 2020 21:17

UK volunteers could be given virus to test vaccine

The UK could carry out Covid ‘challenge trials’, where healthy volunteers are deliberately infected with coronavirus to test possible vaccines. Challenge studies were used to test vaccines for flu, cholera and typhoid, but there were treatments to prevent volunteers from falling ill. Coronavirus trials have the added risk that should volunteers become unwell, the only drugs available will control the disease not remove it. University student Alastair Fraser-Urquhart will volunteer if the trial goes ahead. He said, ‘I think it might save thousands of lives and bring the world out of the pandemic sooner.’ Professor Peter Horby said the trials have the potential to advance science and help us to better understand coronavirus. ‘The risk in a healthy young adult with no underlying conditions is extremely low. What's been holding things up are ethical considerations.’

Published in British Isles
Thursday, 17 September 2020 22:45

National prayer landmark granted planning permission

In 2016 Prayer Alert asked intercessors to pray for the success of an enormous wall, to be built with each brick representing an answered prayer. The local council approved the plan, which this week was ratified by the Secretary of State. Building will commence in spring 2021, with the hope of completion in autumn 2022. The Coleshill site is expected to attract 300,000 visitors each year. Each answered prayer gives hope to those who visit. Standing at 169 feet, the landmark will also host a visitor centre, cafe, bookstore, and a 24-hour on-site chaplaincy service.

Published in Praise Reports
Thursday, 17 September 2020 22:45

National prayer landmark granted planning permission

In 2016 Prayer Alert asked intercessors to pray for the success of an enormous wall, to be built with each brick representing an answered prayer. The local council approved the plan, which this week was ratified by the Secretary of State. Building will commence in spring 2021, with the hope of completion in autumn 2022. The Coleshill site is expected to attract 300,000 visitors each year. Each answered prayer gives hope to those who visit. Standing at 169 feet, the landmark will also host a visitor centre, cafe, bookstore, and a 24-hour on-site chaplaincy service.

Published in Praise Reports
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