Displaying items by tag: North America
Prime minister Justin Trudeau has apologised for giving a standing ovation to a war veteran who served in the Nazi Waffen-SS during Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's visit to Canada. Yaroslav Hunka, a 98-year-old Ukrainian veteran, was applauded by the House of Commons, who were unaware of his Nazi past. House speaker Anthony Rota later apologised for introducing him for applause, calling it a mistake. Trudeau condemned Rota's actions and described the incident as deeply embarrassing for the parliament of Canada and all Canadians. Jewish and Holocaust education organisations raised concerns about the celebration of a Nazi veteran. Rota, who accepted full responsibility for his actions, extended his apologies to Jewish communities in Canada and around the world. The incident occurred after Volodymyr Zelenskiy delivered a speech seeking support from Western allies. Hunka's Nazi unit has been accused of committing crimes against Polish and Jewish civilians during the Holocaust.
Canada's high commission in India has said that it has decided to ‘adjust’ staff presence in the country temporarily after some diplomats received threats on social media platforms, adding to spiralling tensions between the two countries. The statement from the high commission came soon after an Indian company published a notice that it was suspending visa services for Canadian citizens. Tensions between the two countries escalated earlier this week when Canada said that it was ‘actively pursuing credible allegations’ linking Indian government agents to the murder of a Sikh separatist leader in British Columbia in June. Prime minister Narendra Modi's government has categorically rejected the claims. With both nations expelling a diplomat each, and India urging its nationals in Canada to ‘exercise caution’, relations between the two countries have touched the lowest point.
President Biden's son, Hunter, has been criminally charged with three counts of lying when buying a firearm, after a proposed plea deal collapsed. This is the first time the child of a sitting president has been criminally prosecuted. All three counts relate to Mr Biden allegedly lying on forms while buying a firearm when he was a drug user. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison, the justice department said in a statement. The younger Mr Biden's legal woes have become a political lightning rod as his father seeks re-election. Earlier this week, Republicans in the House of Representatives announced an impeachment inquiry into President Biden: among the accusations being levelled against him are that he lied about his involvement in his son's business dealings while serving as vice-president. Two Internal Revenue Service investigators have also claimed that the justice department stymied their investigation into Hunter Biden's tax return.
The first translation of the Bible into the Mohawk language has been published in Canada. Portions of the Bible in Mohawk were published in 1715 in a book of Morning and Evening Prayer, but this is the first time the entire Bible has been in print in the language indigenous to North America. Harvey Satewas Gabriel has studied his native language all his life and dedicated 40 years to his goal. In a recent interview, 84-year-old Harvey said, ‘You never get tired of working with the Word of God’. Translation of and engagement with the Scriptures is strategic and valuable for revitalising language and culture. The Canadian Bible Society hopes that having the whole Bible in print will make a positive contribution to the life of the Mohawk church.
Firearms are the most common cause of death for people under 17, outranking traffic accidents. Gun-related deaths amongst youths have doubled in ten years. Pew Research found gun deaths among under-18's in the USA rose by 50% between 2019-2021. It is not just the physical wounds that need treating. Experts who work with gunshot victims say that children who have been shot are much more likely to be shot again because they go back to the same places and the same people. That child not only gets traumatised physically, but also mentally. Young victims need help getting back on the right track - that means enrolling in school, finding new friends, and getting a job - to break the cycle of violence. Dr Katie Donnelly has launched a youth violence intervention programme. Instead of treating gun-shot wounds as isolated incidents, it takes that horrific moment in a young person's life and turns it into a starting point for change.
A handful of twenty-somethings went outside the four walls of their church to share the Gospel on the streets every Sunday night for five years. On fire with Holy Spirit power, they led their peers to Jesus - even changing the spiritual atmosphere of the area. They knew there was more for them than saving souls, and their actions led to planting a church for the new Christians led by Ivan, the son of the pastor who encouraged their outreach. He organised the United Church to disciple, train, and send followers of Jesus to proclaim His salvation. The church then birthed Jesus March, a ministry of United Revival Ministries, both under its auspices. The ministry has hosted 125 prayer and worship events, connected with 200 churches, commissioned 6,500 evangelists, and introduced thousands of people to Jesus since its formation five years ago. By 2024 United Revival will have brought Jesus March and evangelism training, worship, and prayer to nine American cities.
An increasing number of American Protestant church goers believe that financial prosperity is part of God's plan for them and that giving more money to their church and charities will result in blessings from God. Lifeway Research found that 52% of churchgoers say their church teaches that God will bless them if they donate more. Additionally, 76% believe God wants them to prosper financially, and they must do something for God to receive those material blessings. Such churchgoers are reflecting the heretical belief that material blessings are earned from God. Lifeway Research also noted that Covid and financial struggles due to inflation may have contributed to their changed beliefs. The prosperity gospel, or ‘the Word of Faith Movement’, teaches that believers can use God for material gain, particularly among younger and less educated churchgoers.
A new drive to uphold the right to pray and express religious beliefs in public settings has been launched. First Liberty Institute Texas announced the ‘Restoring Faith in America’ campaign seeks to defend the right to display the Ten Commandments, nativity scenes and other faith affirmations, as well as to protect the right to pray openly. Christian football coach Joe Kennedy was sacked from Bremerton High School for praying on the field after games. A lawsuit was filed against the school district: the Supreme Court ruled in Joe’s favour, and he was reinstated. His attorney for the case is encouraging Americans to ‘take a knee’ with Coach Kennedy as he returns to the field in September, supporting public affirmations of faith.
Wildfires have devastated communities on Maui and Hawaii. The historic town of Lahaina has burned to the ground. Pastor Milhoan from South Maui said, ‘I’ve been deployed to Iraq twice. Maui looks like a war zone, a smouldering mess.’ Over 110 Maui residents are dead. Only 25% of the fire zone has been searched; ruins are marked with an orange X after initial searches and HR if human remains were found. People with missing relatives give DNA samples to help identify victims. Red Cross, churches, mission agencies, hotels and holiday lets are housing residents and distributing food, clothing medicine, etc. But a different horror is emerging - looting vacant homes and bodies of the dead. Enomoto had to use violence to stop someone he found looting the charred body of an elderly woman. There was gold and jewellery everywhere. Pray for the looting to stop as fire zones are searched.
Georgia prosecutors have charged Donald Trump and 18 others with attempting to overturn his 2020 election loss. Trump is facing thirteen new charges, including racketeering. Racketeering is organised crime where someone makes money through illegal activities. Penalties are prison terms - five to twenty years, or £197,000 fines - which can help persuade subordinates to cut deals with the prosecution in exchange for lesser sentences. Organised criminal activity is prosecuted under the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (Rico) Act; this includes convicting mafia bosses. When the court proceedings take place, they will dominate the next presidential election - making it a campaign unlike any other.