Displaying items by tag: North America
Five human rights organisations want Spain and Morocco to investigate the deaths of 18 migrants, the injuries of 76 others, and the actions of 140 Moroccan security officers when migrants attempted to scale a fence separating the two countries. Spain's Commission for Refugees decried ‘indiscriminate use of violence to manage migration and control borders had prevented people who were eligible for international protection from reaching Spanish soil’. Meanwhile, UNHCR is asking both Africa and Europe to enhance legal frameworks and operational capacities at land and sea borders and urban centres plus youth programming and local community-based development as alternatives to dangerous journeys. In America the bodies of 51 dead migrants were discovered inside a lorry in San Antonio. An official said they found ‘stacks of bodies and no water in the truck. Sixteen survivors are in hospital with heat stroke and exhaustion, including four minors. No children were among the dead. See
This week, policymakers in Canada received a wake-up call to address the country's money laundering problem, known as ‘snow washing’. Following reports of money laundering through gambling, real estate and luxury car sectors, the government of the province of British Columbia convened an independent commission to look into the problem. They called on numerous witnesses, experts and Transparency International. They found serious failings from the provincial through to the federal level. Real estate professionals rarely recognise money laundering. Pray for better guidance from the federal financial intelligence unit. Secrecy in real estate ownership aggravates the problem. One-third of the 100 most valuable residential properties are owned through anonymous shell companies. Pray for more indexes that record the true owners of companies, trusts or partnerships owning real estate. The need for Canada to accelerate this fight is even clearer in light of the difficulties the country now faces in implementing its own sanctions against Russian kleptocrats following the invasion of Ukraine.
The US's overturning of women’s rights to abortion is reverberating globally, with activists on both sides of the debate responding. In 1978 Italy legalised abortion. The current rise of politics, closer to the Catholic church, has brought it back into focus, and the US decision is rumbling in Italy. A former foreign minister said it showed the risk in Italy of moving backwards and ‘losing achievements that seemed permanent’. But on the right, ‘A great victory’, declared Simone Pillon, hoping Italy and Europe would follow suit. In Ireland, America’s ruling triggered a swift, passionate response, stirring deep emotions where abortion was only recently decriminalised. Many vocal Irish campaign groups and activists still exist on both sides. A pro-abortion rights' activist in El Salvador, where abortion is banned in all cases said, ‘This will embolden the most conservative groups in our countries who consistently deny women rights.’ In Canada and India similar loud debates are being discussed in the media, Twitter and online.
Linda Taylor, a septuagenarian known as ‘Miss Linda’, came to Michigan nearly twenty years ago. She first came to help the homeless and needy, and now her neighbours are returning the favour. In February her landlord threatened to evict her. Linda didn’t know what the future held. She had lived in the same house for 19 years. The news of her predicament spread, and her community spent months protesting that she must not leave. The demonstrations worked. Linda’s landlord reconsidered, giving her the option to buy the house, but she didn’t have the money. Little did she know what was about to happen. The neighbourhood rallied behind Miss Linda, profoundly moved by her years of selfless dedication and service. They raised $275,000 and gave the cash to their beloved neighbour. Linda became a homeowner on 31 May. To celebrate, the neighbourhood came together on 5 June for a block party in her honour. Her story is a perfect reminder of the biblical principle of reaping and sowing.
Southern Baptists in the USA have adopted a resolution that rejects ‘prosperity gospel’ - the theology that Jesus' sacrificial and atoning death grants believers health, wealth and the removal of poverty and sickness. The resolution’s proposer said, ‘This is a distortion of biblical generosity, exploits vulnerable people. and blames those who are sick for lack of faith while corrupting a biblical understanding of suffering. The concepts come from African, pagan practices and voodooism.’ The resolution was adopted with overwhelming support; it was resolved that ‘God and God alone is our highest good and our supreme treasure - not health, wealth, or the removal of sickness. Our confidence is in our eternal inheritance purchased through the work of Christ and is guaranteed by the indwelling work of the Holy Spirit.’ The resolution asserts that Christians must ‘guard against false teaching and false prophets who come to us in sheep's clothing.’
The US House of Representatives has voted through a series of measures regulating the sale of guns. The new measures would bar sales of semiautomatic weapons to people under 21 and ban large-capacity magazines. But Republican opposition in the Senate means the bill has little chance of entering law, despite a renewed focus on gun control in the wake of a series of mass shootings. Hours before the vote, survivors of the Uvalde school shooting gave emotional testimony to lawmakers which reduced some to tears. The primary school shooting in the Texan city claimed the lives of 21 people, including 19 young children. One 11-year-old girl said she had smeared her classmate's blood on herself to play dead, and graphically described the moment the gunman shot her teacher in the head. Breaking news: on 9 June a gunman killed three and injured many others, yet another example of what the debate is about: see
On 24 May, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos entered Robb Elementary School in Texas, armed with a handgun and a rifle. He killed nineteen pupils and two teachers before he himself was shot dead. This was the deadliest school attack for a decade. Amid the outpouring of shock and grief, Joe Biden asked, ‘Why do we keep letting this happen? Why are we willing to live with this carnage?’ This tragedy has reignited the debate about guns, particularly since there had already been 27 other school shootings this year. Since his election, the president has made a number of pledges to tighten legislation, but he faces an uphill battle to convert any of them into action, given the fierce opposition from the Republicans and the powerful gun lobby.
On 25 May, a pastor in Atlanta was horribly murdered. Rev Marita Harrell had been living and serving in the city for thirty years. According to police, she had been mentoring and counselling a 27-year-old man who had recently left prison.' The 57-year-old was visiting the home as part of an outreach programme to ex-prisoners. Investigators believe the man stabbed her at his home and then dumped the body in a minivan which he later abandoned. He has now been arrested on suspicion of murder and arson. A Facebook post read, ‘Please keep her husband and two daughters in your prayers. May God's comforting arms envelop her family, friends, and loved ones.’
The EU is finding it difficult to decrease its dependence on Russian oil and gas. One alternative is the proposed EastMed pipeline, which would carry natural gas extracted from fields under the waters of Israel's and Cyprus's exclusive economic zones to Greece and from there to other European countries. The pre-feasibility studies of the pipeline, conducted from 2015-18 and paid for by the EU, found that the project is ‘technically feasible, economically viable and commercially competitive’. The US under secretary of state for political affairs, meeting with her counterparts in Turkey, has said that more pipelines are needed in the Eastern Mediterranean. However, the USA prefers to steer business to Turkey rather than to America's democratic allies, Cyprus, Israel and Greece. Algerian gas pipelines are also acceptable to the Americans, but the long-planned EastMed pipeline is not.
According to a lawsuit, Alaska Airlines violated federal and state anti-discrimination laws when it fired two Christian flight attendants who spoke out against the Biden administration-backed Equality Act bill which adds ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender identity’ to a protected classes list for public places, education and employment. Marli Brown and Lacey Smith, who have brought the lawsuit, were fired shortly after expressing concern about the bill after the airline asked for employees’ comments on it. They were compelled by their Christian faith to speak out against the bill's impact on religious freedom and women's sports, among other things. The airline immediately removed them from flight schedules, terminated their employment, and disparaged their religious expression and beliefs as 'hateful,' 'discriminatory,' and 'offensive’. Alaska Airlines' treatment of the two women and its various public statements show that it does not tolerate employees who hold biblically-based, traditional religious beliefs on issues of sexual morality, the lawsuit says.