Displaying items by tag: Pacific
The USA and Britain announced they would help Australia deploy nuclear-powered submarines (not nuclear-armed), taking a major step in challenging China’s broad territorial claims of its exclusive zone in the South China Sea. The announcement is a major step for Australia, which until recent years has been hesitant to push back directly at core Chinese interests. The decision to share technology for naval reactors, even with a close ally, is a major move for President Biden and bound to raise protests by the Chinese and questions from American allies.
Catholic hospitals will defy Queensland’s euthanasia laws that force them to allow doctors to administer end-of-life drugs in their facilities. Health provider Mater said, ‘We will not tolerate non credentialed doctors coming on-site, nor will we assist in the provision of voluntary assisted dying (VAD) in any of our facilities.’ The VAD laws were signed off by parliament and are due to go to a vote later this month. Catholic facilities provide one in five hospital and aged-care beds in Queensland and want the same right to oppose VAD at their facilities, as is the case with South Australian laws. The legislation is all but certain to pass but many oppose allowing unaccredited doctors to enter hospital rooms without notice or permission and then to assist in a medical procedure that is dangerous and undermines patient safety. The Queensland government is forcing Catholic hospitals, against their values and beliefs, to open their facilities to assisted dying.
The Uprising prayer movement is worldwide, organised by youth but with the whole Body of Christ invited to participate. They are seeking to usher in a move of the Holy Spirit to unleash them into their prophetic destiny: uniting the young and old generations in seeking God, and believing their united fellowship, worship and intercession will usher in a prophetic move of the Holy Spirit, releasing an anointing that will cause them to be sent out and be the Jeremiahs in the nation. Smith Wigglesworth prophetically proclaimed, ‘Australia, you have been chosen by God for a great move of the Holy Spirit. This move of God will be the greatest move of God ever known in mankind’s history and will start towards the end of the 20th century and move into the 21st century. This move of God will start a great revival in Australia, spread throughout the whole world and usher in the second coming of Jesus. This will be the final revival before the coming of the Lord.’
A documentary about a ten-year-old Aboriginal boy's experience in school has reignited the debate about Australia's failure to give indigenous children a good education and a fair start in life. Australia's ‘national shame’ was recognized in 2008, and the government pledged to ‘close the gap’ for indigenous people in terms of life expectancy, child mortality, education and employment. By 2020 most of the seven targets had not been met. Seventeen new targets have now been set, in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups. Currently young indigenous people are 17 times more likely to be jailed than non-indigenous counterparts (43 times more likely in the Northern Territory). A young indigenous man is more likely to be in prison than university. In Aboriginal town camps there are days with no milk, and children eat breakfast at school. Some nights there is no electricity, so children play I-spy under the stars.
17-year-old Hereiti lives on the largest of the Cook Islands in the South Pacific Ocean. She says the ocean is the ‘lifeblood’ of her community, and that when it is ‘healthy’, the people are too. But she worries that rising sea levels and pollution are threatening the health of the ocean. ‘Life Below Water’ is goal 14 of the UN’s sustainable development goals, a set of targets announced in 2015 to transform lives around the world by 2030. The UN wants to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, and significantly reduce marine pollution by 2025. In 2015, world leaders agreed to 17 global goals (officially known as the Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs). Five years on, there is more work than ever to do. Reaching these goals has the power to create a better world by 2030, through ending poverty, fighting inequality, and addressing the urgency of climate change. See
Days of torrential downpours caused rivers and dams to overflow around Sydney and south-east Queensland. The military helped search and rescue in a ‘one-in-fifty-years event’. By 22 March 18,000 people had been evacuated and 10 million people across Australia were under a weather warning. Dead livestock floated through floodwater and houses were engulfed, causing over 22,000 flood damage claims to be lodged by 25 March. Receding waterlevels have begun to expose the extent of flood devastation to collapsed homes and businesses.Pray for those who have lost homes, farms, cattle, and businesses to have government support. Pray for people ordered to evacuate, still sheltering in centres living in fear and apprehension of what they will find when they return home. Pray for people warned to prepare for flash flooding and landslides as rivers rush in their direction. New South Wales Health is warning residents to be aware of the risk of contamination and water-borne diseases. See
A key member of the ‘independent and objective’ panel advising Tasmanian MPs on Voluntary Assisted Dying (VAD) has a long history of strong advocacy for the reform, prompting concerns about bias. University professor Margaret Otlowski is one of four review panel members whose expert report will help shape the state’s final voluntary assisted dying law, which is set to pass parliament in March. The panel was requested by Premier Peter Gutwein, a declared supporter of the bill, to provide independent and objective advice to MPs ahead of the vote. This advice is to include a comparison with legislation in other jurisdictions, an objective analysis of safeguards, the interrelationship between VAD and palliative care, and stakeholder feedback. Opponents of the bill have said they are concerned that the professor, as the key legal expert on the panel, has been a consistent and firm supporter of VAD.
The explosion in Lebanon has reignited fears among Sydney residents where a huge chemical plant sits within three kilometres of the Sydney central business district (CBD). Residents have been demanding for years that the stockpile, four times larger than Beirut’s, should be moved away from the CBD and surrounding suburbs. Explosives expert Tony Richards said it is worth noting that plants used to produce and store ammonium nitrate and other explosive chemicals are not uncommon. There are thousands of facilities just like Beirut’s in Texas, Paris, and other places.
The National Council of Churches has called on all Christians across Australia to set aside Sunday 2 August as a day of prayer, worship and optional fasting, as the state of Victoria in particular continues to battle with the pandemic. The council’s president, Bishop Philip Huggins, said in a letter to member churches, ‘We all know the impact of the pandemic here and overseas, including on some of our own loved ones. At our council meeting this week, we directors all shared our vivid and poignant current reflections. What we can offer again now are our prayers together. Hence this encouragement to you all. It is comforting when we know we are all praying together to our Saviour. From our various traditions, there are prayer resources, ancient and contemporary, which we have been offering already.’
Cyclone Harold, a category 5 cyclone, hit the Pacific nation of Vanuatu on 6 and 7 April, ripping off roofs and downing telecommunications across large parts of the north and west of the country as it tries to fight the coronavirus outbreak. There have been hurricane-force winds, heavy rainfall, flash flooding, properties flattened, and trees torn down. Luganville, with a population of 16,000, was ravaged. Communications to Vanuatu’s two largest islands are cut. Vanuatu is in a state of emergency, with borders closed to international arrivals, a curfew, and gatherings of more than five people banned. Some restrictions were lifted to allow people to gather at mass evacuation centres (see) On 8 April Harold flattened homes and flooded towns in Fiji. Emergency officials are scrambling to establish communication with outlying islands. Harold killed dozens in the Solomon Islands before destroying Vanuatu, and is expected to hit Tonga within days.