Displaying items by tag: Government
After discussions around the Royal Navy working with the Home Office and UK Border Force, it will soon lead operations to limit migrant channel crossings, enabling the Home Office to focus on reforms to the asylum system. Defence select committee chair Tobias Ellwood criticised government plans as ‘rushed’ and a ‘massive distraction’ for the Navy. It is not clear either how the military or other services would be involved or how they could coordinate operations. A source said there was ‘trepidation’ within the MoD about getting involved in such a complex issue. The plans could see Boris Johnson give the Navy authority over government vessels in the channel. Yvette Cooper said we have failed to do the serious and practical work with France that is needed to stop lives being lost and criminal gangs profiting from crossings.
The Nigerian government says efforts are under way to release Leah Sharibu, the Christian teenager who was one of 110 girls abducted in 2018 by the Boko Haram group ISWAP. Her classmates were released, but Leah refused to convert to Islam and was declared a ‘slave for life’ by ISWAP while remaining in captivity. The federal government announced it is using the military to ensure Leah and all captives regain their freedom, and armed groups operating in Nigeria’s northwest are now called terrorists. Reacting to the announcement, Dr Kathaza Gondwe, advocacy director for CSW, said, ‘It is belated news as Nigeria’s president has been promising Leah's parents since 2018 that he would work quickly to ensure her release. But it's a welcomed development. We can only pray the government will honour this commitment.’ CSW believes that categorising ISWAP as terrorists will help in how the armed forces deal with them.
About thirty people including Boris Johnson attended a ‘bring-your-own-drink’ party in Downing Street’s garden during the first lockdown. The gathering - and others that had happened under Covid restrictions - are now subject to an independent enquiry by Sue Grey. Because of the way he handled recent events and evaded probing questions before admitting attending the drinks party, the PM has damaged public confidence in him. He now faces calls to resign from Labour and some senior Tories. Conservative MP William Wragg said there is a carelessness among people in government over standards and possibly more than that. The inquiry could make or break Johnson’s premiership as his government descends into open warfare as he defied Scottish and English Tory politicians. He survived probably the worst day in his political career without Cabinet resignations, a leadership challenge, or a confidence vote among MPs.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s funeral was on 1 January. He was a driving force behind ending racial segregation and discrimination in an era when South Africa taught the world what courage and reconciliation could achieve. The contrast between those times of sacrifice, justice and glory, and today's corrupt political realities are stark. Deep economic frustration, high unemployment and inequality is governed by the African National Congress (ANC), which is at open war with itself and full of corruption. The day after Tutu’s funeral a fire severely ravaged much of the houses of parliament, causing ‘significant damage’ to the new assembly wing, including the National Assembly chamber where lawmakers sit. While firefighters were still working on ‘hotspots’ further flames erupted, threatening to cause the entire structure to collapse. We can pray that as men rebuild the houses of parliament, God will raise up and anoint political and community leaders to repair the damage done by mismanagement and corruption.
A BBC investigation found that 100 people with learning disabilities have been held in specialist hospitals for twenty years or more, including Tony Hickmott whose parents are fighting to get him rehoused in the community. A support worker at the hospital said he was the loneliest man there. He was sectioned under the Mental Health Act in 2001 and expected to be treated for nine months and then return home. He was declared fit for discharge by psychiatrists in 2013 but at the age of 44 Tony is still waiting for a home to be found with the level of care for his special needs. In 2015, the Government promised ‘homes not hospitals’ in its Transforming Care programme but repeatedly misses targets to close hospitals with excessive restraint, overuse of medication, lack of qualified, competent staff and violence on many wards. Pray for people to be moved close to home, back in their community with the right care and independence.
A group of scientists are urgently calling upon the Government to utilise a ten-day circuit breaker lockdown to get Covid numbers under control as the UK breaks its record for daily new cases since the beginning of the pandemic. Independent Sage (not affiliated to the Government's own Sage) issued the emergency statement calling for circuit-breaker measures to be implemented immediately if the spread of Omicron is to be halted. We pray for God’s timing over every decision made regarding the pandemic. Father God, we ask you to give Boris Johnson’s spirit the discernment needed to hear your voice and the strength to do your will. May all our politicians be deaf to flawed agendas of man or harmful distractions of the enemy. May they carry the authority You gave them with grace and unity. We pray for politicians to have a double portion of wisdom.
The national primary health care agency (NPHCDA) destroyed 1,066,214 expired doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine that were donated to them in October but had to be used by November. The decision to destroy the vaccinations followed several testing processes showing it was necessary to destroy them to protect Nigerians from being harmed. NPHCDA’s director said they had an option to try and use these vaccines beyond the labelled expiry date, but decided to destroy them at the point they expired. The vaccines came with a short life span, some as short as two weeks. NPHCDA said while Nigeria appreciated the gesture of the donors, it was not in the interest of Nigeria that vaccines with a short lifespan were sent there. Only ten million Nigerians have been vaccinated to date: Nigeria’s target is 110 million people.
Boris Johnson won the biggest Conservative majority since Margaret Thatcher. His popularity among Conservative MPs marked the end of Tory Brexit rebellions. Now many believe his popularity and authority is waning. When the Commons voted on new Covid regulations on 14 December, Boris was forced to rely on opposition votes to get his plans through. The Conservative party has become rebellious toward their leader. Pray for God to break the stronghold of rebellion in politics. Pray for Boris to make wise decisions that are heaven-sent, uniting the government and meeting the needs of the nation as it faces Omicron. The chancellor has raised concerns about the medium-term costs of handling the pandemic in a ‘Covid O’ meeting of senior ministers this week. Several billion pounds have been allocated to cover vaccines, boosters, and therapeutic drugs costs until April. Ask God to give prudent strategies to the chancellor which cover unforeseen Covid costs while avoiding raising taxes.
11% of Lebanon’s population is over the retirement age (65), and 80% of retired people have no health care coverage. Previously Habeeb and Elham had a good life; they could eat meat, afford medicine and have the lights on. But those times are over. When Habeeb retired their income stopped and now the 80-year-olds face poverty and uncertainty. ‘There is no government pension when you are old, no one is helping. How can we pay our bills?’ asks Habeeb with tears in his eyes. Lebanon has one of the world's worst economic crises. The Lebanese pound has lost 90% of its value since 2019. The banking system crumbled with much of the elderly’s life savings. The young are abandoning Lebanon in search of a more dignified life. Lebanese lack electricity and water, and food and medicine are difficult to import. The aid group Medonations imports medication and provides it to those who need it, and there are a few relief outlets for the vulnerable.
The impact of the Omicron variant on the UK is uncertain but may require a very stringent response, according to the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE). Ask God to give SAGE officials all the wisdom and stamina needed as they collect data on the variant. May they have ample discernment analysing the data and preparing for a potential wave of infections. Officials are throwing everything at a campaign to roll out booster jabs to all adults this winter in response to Omicron. Pray for Pfizer and others which have already begun to explore making new vaccines. The CEO of Moderna said it will take 95 days; also, the high number of mutations the virus uses to infect humans could mean that existing vaccines need to be modified and a higher dose booster jab needed to be the ‘first line of defence’. See