Displaying items by tag: Global
The world is in a critical hunger situation. The global prevalence of moderate or severe food insecurity in 2020 was equal to the previous five years combined. Nearly one in three people globally (2.37 billion) did not have enough food in 2020. Moderate or severe food insecurity affects over 30% of the world. Covid-19 had a devastating impact on the global economy, triggering an unprecedented recession not seen since the Second World War, and the food security and nutrition status of millions of people, including children, will deteriorate if we do not take swift action. We can pray for God to inspire united humanitarian and peacebuilding policies in conflict-affected areas that will ease blockages to food distribution and develop avenues of safe transit of all aid. Pray for the UN to intervene in food supply chains so that costs of nutritious foods are lowered.
In 2013, China's President Xi Jinping said that ‘whoever controls data has the upper hand’, and ever since he has been on a technological quest to build what some call a blueprint for a digital dictatorship. It would not only allow China's communist government to control huge volumes of data on its own citizens but also of those around the world. Dustin Carmack, who worked as chief of staff for the director of national intelligence, said, ‘You are talking about vast amounts of data they are running between, either in covert or overt cyber-attacks. In other realms, they are sucking up massive amounts of data around the globe that could have nefarious purposes in the long run.’ China has over 415 million surveillance cameras deployed throughout the country. Beijing uses digital currency, social security cards, social credit systems, and online interactions to keep an even closer eye on its citizens. Experts say China wants to be the global leader in exporting its authoritarian surveillance tech to other like-minded regimes.
A disturbing but common feature of modern warfare is incidents of violence against hospitals, patients and healthcare workers. A recent report cites 806 incidents of violence against or obstruction of healthcare in 43 countries and territories in ongoing wars and violent conflicts in 2020, ranging from the bombing of hospitals in Yemen to the abduction of doctors in Nigeria. At least 185 health workers were killed and 117 kidnapped. Attacks continue with impunity, as several states fail to act on global commitments and frameworks intended to safeguard medical professionals saving lives. The nature of conflict now includes more non-state armed groups, but they all attack healthcare. Pray for health workers alone, with very little support, suffering trauma from violence.
The Omicron variant has spread globally. Leaders hoping lockdowns and travel bans had ended now face disruptions that could affect their economies and popularity. Italy’s PM Mario Draghi has made economic recovery a cornerstone of his leadership, but he is under fire for enforcing some of the strictest vaccine mandates in Europe. His honeymoon period could be derailed if further lockdowns or disruptions send the economy into a nose-dive. Inflation and supply-chain chaos are headaches for America. Uncertainty over Omicron threatens to make things worse after a wobbly economy and a shambolic departure of troops from Afghanistan. Biden’s handling of the pandemic previously inspired voter confidence but has now caused his popularity to drop. It is unlikely that he will take risks that could harm the US economy. China’s president is pursuing an increasingly elusive zero Covid strategy. If Omicron is more transmissible than previous variants, China's leadership could be questioned domestically.
A renowned and well-established research institution found only 5% of pastors/priests in every worldwide Christian tradition have theological training with a recognised degree. 90% of pastors only have some kind of informal or non-formal theological education. Formal theological education has a clearly defined programme, curriculum, exams, degrees, and associated accreditation processes. The thousands of informal programmes have nothing similar; there are no guidelines, no standards, and no outcomes that could be globally accepted. Each one does what it considers best. Often the concepts and beliefs of the founders or leaders of each denomination or mission agency determine how the various training programmes are carried out. One teacher and missionary leader stated publicly that he had personally trained more than 15,000 pastors for ministry; each pastor received about six weeks of training, and were then ordained as pastors. He and his board believe that such training is sufficient.
Millions of children around the world face violence, discrimination, or bereavement because they or their parents are Christians. This has a huge impact on their faith and self-esteem. Pray for all who invest in these children through Christian education, trauma care and schooling, to ensure a better future for them and the long-term survival of the church. Pray for single parents in Africa, especially mothers whose husbands have been killed for their faith. Ask God to provide for their practical needs and pray that they will lean on the Lord to help them raise godly children. Christian children in North Africa can find it extremely hard to embrace the faith of their parents as they grow up in an Islamic society. Pray for more Bible education classes to be provided for parents so that they are equipped to bring up their children ‘in the training and instruction of the Lord’ (Ephesians 6:4).
Israeli minister Karine Elharrar could not attend a COP26 meeting because the room was not wheelchair-accessible. This reflects how many disabled people are ignored and left out of climate change conversations; despite the UN Human Rights Council saying those with disabilities are among those most ‘adversely affected in an emergency’. When a heatwave hit Montreal, hospitals helped those experiencing the effects of heat exhaustion, but 61 people died. A quarter of those had schizophrenia. Schizophrenics take anti-psychotic medication which makes them less tolerant to heat, increasing the risk of heatstroke, dehydration and death. What happened in Montreal is a snapshot of things to come. When California fires caused power outages Gerald Niimi’s ventilator stopped, He struggled to breathe and died two days later. During the wildfires disabled Californians had difficulty fleeing their homes. Those able to escape found many emergency centres providing water, bathrooms and safety were not accessible. 12 German disabled care home residents died when sudden flooding hit. They were unable to evacuate, because wheelchair-users cannot get into a rubber dinghy.
Billionaire Jeff Bezos recently made a journey into space. He said his expedition on a space ship had radically changed his view of the world. He has pledged £1.47 billion to help restore nature in Africa. The Amazon founder said he expected his rocket to alter ‘the lens from which he viewed the world’, but he didn’t anticipate the extent to which that would be true. He said, ‘Looking back at Earth from space, the atmosphere seems so thin, the world so finite and fragile. Two-thirds of Africa’s land is degraded, but this can be reversed. Restoration improves soil fertility, raises yields and improves food security, making water more reliable, creating jobs and boosting economic growth, while also sequestering carbon.’
At the time of writing there are 16 days to the start of COP26 in Glasgow when leaders from 197 nations will assemble and decide what to do about climate change. This will be the largest gathering of world leaders ever to take place in the UK. We can pray according to 1 Timothy 2:1-2 that God will inspire all in authority with understanding, wisdom and discernment. May they be as the men of Issachar and understand the times and know what to do. Pray for God to give His church clear directions for prayer in accordance with His will in the days leading up to the conference and during the event, and for His Kingdom before and during the conference so that ‘as the ‘kings of the earth take counsel together’ they will know that ‘they are but men’ (Psalm 9:19-20) and that God’s sovereign purposes will prevail (Proverbs 19:21; Isaiah 66:18).
The Pandora Papers are 12 million documents revealing hidden wealth, tax avoidance, and money-laundering by the world's rich and powerful obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). They worked with 140+ media organisations in the biggest-ever global investigation. 600 journalists in 117 countries trawled through files for months to find a) the prominent Tory donor who was involved in one of Europe's biggest corruption scandals; b) the King of Jordan's £70m spending spree on properties in the UK and US through secretly-owned companies; c) Azerbaijan's leading family's hidden involvement in property deals in the UK worth more than £400m; d) the Czech prime minister's failure to declare an offshore investment company used to purchase two French villas for £12m; e) how the family of Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta secretly owned a network of offshore companies for decades. The files exposed over 330 politicians from 90 countries using secret offshore companies to hide their wealth. See also UK article ‘Tory donations disclosures’.